Thank you to the Crowvus team for featuring me on your blog! So excited to be able to showcase my books; after all, the next best thing to reading books is admiring them on a shelf! I try to keep my books in a rough order based on genre, and I also have larger books at the bottom of the bookcase and smaller at the top. Is it just me that does this??
Starting from the bottom shelf, I have my chunky hardbacks (hardbacks… so luxurious…). Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwaters series is a fairly recent discovery; set in ancient Ireland where the gods of the forest still hold sway, this is a beautifully complex family saga which has helped inspire my current work in progress. Families tied together by magic, wicked spirits, and undying love – perfect for any hopeless romantic. Also on this shelf is Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy (useful for picking up medieval details), and the complete Sherlock Holmes – a car-boot find for 50p with lovely, vinyl-like pages. The big black folder at the end is crammed full of notes, ideas, scenes etc for my writing.
The next two shelves feature some of my favourite authors. Philippa Gregory – I know she can be a bit “soapy”, but her attention to detail is impressive, as is the way she brings to life the female characters of the Tudor and Plantagenet eras.
Angela Carter’s Virago books of fairytales – it was so exciting and liberating to realise I wasn’t the only adult to still love fairytales!! Sounds such a silly thing to say, but I honestly felt that they were for children only. Angela Carter’s collections of fairytales have been such a source of inspiration, both writing-wise and in terms of what it means to be a woman. Nowadays, virago means a bad-tempered shrew of a woman. However, the original definition of the word refers to a female warrior, and I think this is one archaic term we should be proud to reclaim! Also on these shelves is the Brothers Grimm fairytales and Tales from 1,001 Nights; because, if you’re going to read fairytales, you might as well read the best.
I am obsessed with Taylor Adams’s books. They’re so cleverly written; basically “locked room mysteries”, but in the strangest of places! If you’re into thrillers, and don’t mind a tiny bit of gore, I would wholeheartedly recommend them. And Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy – her writing is a wealth of Russian jewels, all dark and dangerous and luxurious.
Next shelf up contains a lot of poetry. I so wish I were able to write poetry (or, at least, good poetry), but my mind is too obsessed with order to be able to just go with the flow. However, I can still appreciate the beauty and spirit of writers such as Sylvia Plath, T S Eliot and Edward Thomas – a particular favourite, not quite as well-known as he should be. Here, I also have my absolute favourite book of all time – The Once and Future King, by T H White. The humanity, sadness and hope, as well as the way White sums up the Arthurian legend within the form of a Greek tragedy – I will always return to this book when my writing well runs dry. Next to it is the book which inspired White’s tale, Le Morte d’Arthur, which literally translates as “the death of Arthur” – such a neat way of showing how the entire Arthurian legend is building towards Arthur’s death and doom. And on that cheerful note…
We reach the top shelf! Here, I must confess, I keep my “slightly steamy” books – Jodi Ellen Malpas, Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty trilogy. YA titles also feature here; Rosamund Hodge (again, more brilliant fairytale re-tellings), Sally Rooney’s Normal People, and Karen M McManus. Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber is another particular favourite, as is Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Mr Quin.
And that concludes my bedroom bookshelf! Lots of lovely inspiration for my own books, Addicted to Love, a contemporary romance, and Tangerine Seventeen, a 1960s spy-comedy thriller. I am currently in the process of editing my third novel, a fantasy fairytale-retelling, featuring a princess who also happens to be a sorceress, and a king who should hate magic but cannot help being drawn to her. You can find out more about my writing at https://www.nicolaniemc.com/. Thank you once again to Crowvus for allowing me to share my books!