The Four Types of Books that Influence our Writing! by SJV
Before we were writers, we were readers. Obsessive, fantastic, stay-up-to-all-hours-of-the-night, readers. Reading has always been, and will always be, a huge part of our friendship and worlds. From stories, like The Hungry Caterpillar and Where The Wild Things Are, which are synonymous with our childhood, to eagerly awaiting the next Harry Potter installment, to swooning over our latest literary heartthrob (Jamie Fraser – can we get an amen!), we are constantly reading, reviewing, sharing and searching for our next great read. In our experience, there’s a book, or kind of book, fitting for every mood, life phase, professional moment and I-need-a-story-to-live-vicariously-through episode. This was especially true for the stories we couldn’t help but gravitate towards or sit and recall while writing our first book, The Book Ninja, and our most recent release, While You Were Reading.
Here’s some of the great stories that inspire our writing, and that we wish we could read all over again for the first time.
The Funny Ones
Our two novels have been described by some as fitting within the ‘up lit’ (or uplifting literature) genre; books that are brimming with optimism, human connection, kindness and heart. This makes us very happy as we wanted to write books which delved deep and touched on themes, such as love, loss, friendship and self-doubt, while making people’s insides smile. Some of the authors which did this for us include Maria Semple (please write another book soon!!) – we regularly laughed out loud and salivated over the prose while reading Today Will Be Different and Where’d You Go, Bernadette – and Graeme Simsion and Holly Wainwright – fellow Aussies and writer role models. The Mummy Bloggers is a book that is so relatable in today’s social media obsessed world. The writing is sharp, poignant and witty. We cannot recommend this book enough! We also found ourselves gasping and laughing while enjoying Crazy, Rich, Asians (thank god the movie was as good as the book) and An Absolutely Remarkable Thing.
The Lovey Dovey Ones
Don’t tell our partners, but our heart still aches at the mere thought of some of our great literary loves! Our first great love? Alexandra Belov AKA Shura AKA The One Who Got Away from The Bronze Horseman. He is bold, passionate, eloquent and protective. Henry De Tamble (The Time Traveller’s Wife) and Jamie Fraser (Outlander) – our heart literally skipped a beat when our editor likened our character, Sunny, to this burly Scotsman – they are sensitive, fiercely loving and daring. Then there are the romances encased in the pages of books like The Girl You Left Behind, The Light Between Oceans and The Fault in Our Stars that left us wanting more.
When creating the love interests in our stories, we strove to write characters that were effortlessly romantic, that challenged gender stereotypes, that were flawed and endearing and respectful all at the same time.
The ‘All The Feels’ Ones
Sometimes it just feels good to curl up under the covers with a cup of peppermint tea and have a good cry. We love books that crawl under your skin and make us consider a different perspective or delve deep into another’s relationship. Books that encourage us to grow our empathy and strive to be kinder and more sensitive beings. The Light We Lost, An American Marriage, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, A Littler Life and Still Alice are but some in a long list of stories that have given us some serious book hangovers.
The You Wish You’d Written First Ones
Finally, there are the books that are so brilliant that we can’t help but wish we could grab some polyjuice potion and morph into these authors permanently and never look back. Some of the most affecting and sensational books we’ve read of late include: Something in the Water, Lost & Found, Big Little Lies, Tin Man and The Wife Between Us (by fellow female co-authors!). The writing in each of these books is purposeful, thought-provoking and lyrical. Three cheers for all the books that linger in your mind long after turning the final page!
Love Ali and Michelle xx
While You Were Reading publishes in eBook first on 27th June 2019.