Welcome to Sam Carrington, author of The Open House.
Thank you for inviting me to talk about my life in books, Ruby! There were a huge number of books in my early life that were special, memorable, and influential in shaping me and my choice of genre to write in – far too many to mention. So, I am taking some from when I was young – which seems an awfully long time ago – and some from more recent times.
- The Valley of Adventure by Enid Blyton
Enid Blyton’s books were a massive part of my childhood, and I read many. But I’ve picked the The Valley of Adventure from the ‘Adventure’ series. I devoured this book, staying in my room for hours at a time because I wanted to finish it – but was then disappointed when it did. I believe my love of mysteries began with these books.
- Children of The Dust by Louise Lawrence
I read this novel – a post-apocalyptic tale following the fallout of a nuclear war – in about 1985, and it really intrigued me. I found it fascinating, yet scary, and it was unlike any novel I’d read before. It interested me so much that I then read Z for Zachariah, a similar post-apocalyptic story. And now, well . . . I won’t mention the C-word!
- The Outsiders by S.E Hinton
This is a coming of age novel set in America and depicts boys from rival gangs: the Greasers and the Socs. It’s ultimately about friendships, loyalty, class conflict and family ties. I first read it when I was twelve. This story will always hold a special place for me because through it, a lifelong friendship formed. I’d just started at secondary school and was going through a tough time of it, and realised another pupil, Jo, was also reading this book. It’s through talking about the themes in the story that our friendship was firmly forged. To this day, some thirty-six years later, we still quote lines from the book – and we frequently tell each other to ‘stay gold, Ponyboy’! Jo also makes an appearance in my latest novel, The Open House.
- The Tommyknockers by Stephen King
This was the first really ‘fat’ book I read! I loved that this had a horror element, but it was the science fiction that hooked me. Aliens. Another fascination of mine growing up. Ok, I’m STILL a lover of all things extra-terrestrial and despite writing psychological thrillers, there’s another ‘otherworldly’ side of me itching to get out!
- The Sculptress by Minette Walters
I read this when I was pregnant with my second child – which happened to be around the same time I first became interested in becoming a writer myself. (Although it was many years before I attempted to write something!) I would snatch every moment my toddler allowed to read this brilliant book. I loved the characterisation and just really got emotionally involved with the story. It definitely shaped my future reading material and influenced my later desire to write in the psychological/crime genre. I managed to hunt down a first edition of this book recently, too, which I was thrilled about.
- The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
I’m not a religious person, and this wouldn’t have been a book I would usually choose. But my book club did, and so I felt compelled to give it a go. I’m so pleased I did. It’s only a short book – I read it in one afternoon, but somehow it really got under my skin and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This book stayed with me. I recently read the highly anticipated follow-up to Five People, The Next Person You Meet In Heaven, which was fabulous.
- Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes
This is a top-notch psychological thriller tackling the topic of domestic abuse. It’s a powerful story, probably one of the first of its kind I’d read. This book stayed with me long after I’d read the last page and has remained one of my all-time favourite reads. It’s on many, many people’s top lists of psychological suspense novels and I aspire to have a book as impactful as this on the shelves one day!
- Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell
When I finished this novel, I knew I was going to love Dr Kay Scarpetta for a long time and would be buying book after book in the series! This was possibly the first time I’d read a book with such a strong female lead, and it was this novel that propelled me into my obsession with forensics and the crime genre. After reading Postmortem, my dream job became that of a medical examiner – undertaking post-mortems and piecing together evidence to bring the killer to justice. Obviously, I’m yet to realise this particular dream but do enjoy piecing mystery elements together in my own writing now.
- The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
This is a beautifully written book and one of the first non-crime books chosen in my book club. I don’t tend to read anything set before my time (not sure why, just one of those things) so would probably never have picked this one up. I’m so pleased I read this though as it’s now one of my all-time favourite books. I just loved how the story was written and how the author drew me in and made me care so much about the characters.
- The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
At the time I was reading this I was going through a few personal issues and it seemed like a good idea to read about someone else’s problems! I think it’s why the book has stayed with me. I read it in one day while I was staying on my own in a flat by the sea. It was one of those books that kept me turning the pages, engrossed in Pat’s mission to get back with his wife, Nikki, as they are having ‘apart time’. This book left an impression on me as a person and as a writer; the way the author wrote about mental health and how it impacted on different relationships was inspiring.
The Open House by Sam Carrington is published on 10 December 2020.
Everyone’s welcome. But not everyone leaves…
Nick and Amber Miller are splitting up and selling their Devon family home. But despite the desirable location, the house isn’t moving. Not a single viewing so far.
When their estate agent suggests an open house event, Amber agrees, even as she worries about their gossiping neighbours attending and snooping around their home.
But Amber has more to worry about than nosy neighbours. Because thirteen people enter her house that afternoon, and only twelve leave.
Someone doesn’t want the house to sell, and is willing to do anything to stop it…
Sam Carrington lives in Devon with her husband, two border terriers and a cat. She has three adult children and a new grandson! She worked for the NHS for fifteen years, during which time she qualified as a nurse. Following the completion of a psychology degree she went to work for the prison service as an Offending Behaviour Programme Facilitator. Her experiences within this field inspired her writing. She left the service to spend time with her family and to follow her dream of being a novelist.