Welcome to Vikki Patis, author of The Girl Across the Street.
A huge thank you to Ruby for inviting me!
I’ve always been a reader. As a child with a disability, I often sat on the sidelines with my nose in a book while my classmates played football or ran around the playground. I lost myself in books, imagining I was on an adventure with the characters instead of stuck in bed. As I grew older, I continued to use reading as a way of escaping real life, starting a book reviewing blog and engaging with authors. I’ve always wanted to be an author too, and I truly believe that one of the best things you can do as a writer is to read. Choosing my favourite books is always difficult, but here goes!
- Matilda by Roald Dahl
I can’t remember the very first book I read, but Matilda was definitely one of my favourites. Her troubled childhood was similar to mine, and her special powers inspired me. It taught me that I can be anything, that I could be different and that it was okay to be different, themes which arise in my own writing now.
- Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Yes, I’m part of the Harry Potter generation. I read them as they came out, but I think I stopped reading at Order of the Phoenix, because at the time, teenage Harry got on my adolescent nerves. I picked the books back up when I was in my twenties and was soon lost in the wonderful world J.K. Rowling created. I suppose it is Rowling’s own story which inspires me as an author, particularly her honest account of her journey to publication. As a reader, I have witnessed how her writing has developed over the years, from Harry Potter to the books she writes as Robert Galbraith. It reminds me to keep going, and to use everything as a learning experience.
- Comes the Blind Fury by John Saul
I read a lot of John Saul’s books when I was a teenager. I used to rely on the library, but when it was closed or I couldn’t get there, I raided my mum’s bookshelves instead. I think she had most of John Saul’s books, and it was tough to choose just one, but Comes the Blind Fury has stuck with me for years.
- The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
I have reread this book at least three times, and every time I do I fall in love with it again. It’s dark and clever, featuring two strong female characters who are battling to survive within the constraints of Victorian society. Faber’s characters feel so incredibly real, and it’s something I aspire to do with my own characters.
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
I read The Handmaid’s Tale when I was at university, stumbling upon an old, dog-eared version in a charity shop. Atwood’s writing is simply stunning, and I was captivated by the story, devouring it within hours. There has been an influx of excellent feminist fiction in recent years (Vox by Christina Dalcher, The Power by Naomi Alderman, The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh), and I believe Atwood has been a huge inspiration for many writers, myself included.
- NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
Although he is the son of Stephen King, Joe Hill is an author who has earned success on his own merits. NOS4A2 is dark and utterly terrifying, and Hill really does draw you into his tangled web.
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
One of my first forays into the psychological thriller genre, Gone Girl, despite its faults, will always have a place on my shelf. It was one of the first times I encountered the unreliable narrator, and the big twist left me breathless.
- Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
This book is just stunning. I particularly love historical fiction which features women and their stories. Kent is such an exquisite writer, and her descriptions of Iceland in the 1800s are raw and beautiful.
- This is How it Ends by Eva Dolan
I think I genuinely gasped when I reached the twist in this brilliant, contemporary book. Dolan had managed to reel me right in, so when I realised that all was not as it seemed, I was stunned. I love books that can shock me, and it’s something that has inspired my own writing in a huge way.
- Bone China by Laura Purcell
I love books that cross genres, Purcell’s novels always do just that. Part historical, part mystery, part horror, Bone China is gripping and mysterious. Books like this have inspired me to write outside the box of my chosen genre, allowing me to explore and dig deeper as a writer.
You’re hiding a secret that only she can see.
Her name is Beth. She came into my life when I needed her the most. We lead very different lives, but she’s the only person who understands me.
She was the only other witness to the terrible accident on the street between our homes. The only person who saw the cracks in my perfect life before I had the chance to cover them up.
It’s been so long since I’ve had a friend. Someone to talk to, to listen to, to laugh and dream with.
Beth would never do anything to hurt me.
She only wants what’s best for me, for my marriage.
Vikki Patis is the author of bestselling psychological thrillers, The Girl Across the Street and The Diary. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found with her head in a book, baking gluten free cakes, or walking in the Hertfordshire countryside.