Thanks for having me on the blog today, Wendy. I always love to talk about books! I was born in California (and always a California girl at heart). I'm now a teacher in the Upper Midwest. My husband and I are lucky enough to have two smart, wonderful children who live on opposite coasts of the US. There are way more than three books that are important to me, but I chose ones from three different stages of my life and my writing career.
When we first discussed this series of blog posts, I mentioned that it would be interesting to see whether a Yank like myself would have different choices from the Brits. So, of course, the first book I picked was by an English author on a quintessentially English topic, The Once and Future King, by T. H. White. I read this book in my teens and was completely, entirely entranced. It had everything -- noble knights, a beautiful queen, a cause worth fighting for. Everything except a happy ending. That wasn't White's fault, but it always seemed wrong to the future romance writer hidden deep inside the Arthurian legend geek.
In my twenties I hadn't discovered romance yet, outside of Jane Austen, but I read a lot of literary fiction. That's when I discovered Ada by Vladimir Nabokov, another story of forbidden love. It does have a happy ending, but only after everyone who knows how forbidden the love between the protagonist and his beloved actually is has died. This book is, in fact, perfect. The wacky alternative reality in which it is set, the wry humor, the grand passion, and above all the exquisite language blend into a world far less perfect than Camelot, but one you never want to leave. Which was exactly the problem. The book was such an utter delight that the would-be writer who had bubbled to the surface of my consciousness by then knew she could never writer anything so magical, and for a long time she gave up trying.
Mumblety-mumble years later I'd discovered romance novels (thanks to my mother) and even started to write, but wasn't yet able to see myself as an author. Then someone recommended Nora Roberts's Born in Fire. Although the novel is set in Ireland, Roberts's was clearly an American voice. A voice that let me believe for the first time I could do this. I could write stories that might not be as rich and meaningful as White's or as beautiful and witty as Nabokov's, but stories that could touch a reader's heart.
So I guess this ends up being about Yanks vs. Brits in a way, after all. The literary and romance worlds I read in was so British (or otherwise non-U. S.) for so long that it became a barrier, not to finding my voice, because I always had that, but a barrier to owning my voice. White and Nabokov gave me something to aspire to as a writer, but Roberts gave me permission, as it were, to be a writer.
What an inspiring ode to greatness. I will have to find Ada, it sounds right up my street. Thank you for telling us about those three books. I'm sure others will be inspired to search too.Nancy has had a lot of success with her latest book out, Found: One Secret Baby
LA lawyer Rosalie Walker will do whatever it takes to protect her adopted son. She promised his mother before she died that she’d look after him and keep him safe from his paternal family. So when delectable Morgan Danby walks into her office in search of his nephew, she must keep the baby in her care a secret—even if one look from Morgan makes her want to share everything with him…
As a favour to his step-mother— the woman who actually raised him, unlike his real mother who abandoned him as a child—successful businessman, Morgan is searching for the son of his incarcerated step-brother. He can tell Rosalie is hiding something and the temptation to seduce her for her secret is strong, but will he be able to handle the consequences once all is revealed…?
Buy links: B&N http://tinyurl.com/j63ycn3
Thanks so much for coming on. And if you would like to hear more from Nancy Holland, you can find her here:
FB: Nancy Holland
And if anyone else would like to share their 3 special books with me, please do get in touch. All welcome. :-)