Fresh panic set in when I remembered it was my turn to blog today. Oh, help! What could I talk about? I was pondering this dilemma when a very interesting discussion came on the radio following publication of a list of favourite children's books, as selected by five well-known Children's Laureates here in the UK. One of the first obvious points to note were the complete absence from the list of writers including J K Rowling, Roald Dahl, Philip Pullmam, Beatrix Potter and A A Milne.
Each of the five writers selected their seven favourite books. The selection is "not meant to be a list of books all children should read, but rather provides an insight into what inspired some of today's finest writers", the Times Online explained. (You can read the piece here http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/children/article6181796.ece )
Anyway, it started me thinking about favourite children's stories of my own. A A Milne's Pooh books are included in my list, as are other classics like The Secret Garden, The Silver Sword, Enid Blyton's Famous Five and Secret Seven, and the superb Anne of Green Gable series by Lucy Maud Montgommery. Featuring most strongly in my memories are all the wonderful pony books by the Pullein-Thomson sisters, including Show Jumping Secret and the Phantom Horse stories, Mary O'Hara's Flicka, Thunderhead and GreenGrass of Wyoming books, Ruby Ferguson's Jill books, the Sue Barton nurse books by Helen Doye Boyleston, and Willard Price's fabulous series of adventure books that shaped my lifelong passion for wildlife and conservation.
I'm not surprised that the most popular writers of today didn't feature in any of the five selected writers lists. After all, it is the books, characters and adventures we embark on and experience throughout our own formative years that shape our love of reading and hone our imaginations. I feel very blessed that my parents actively encouraged my reading, shared with me their joy of books, and gave me one of the greatest gifts of all - one that lasts a lifetime.
That I have been lucky enough to extend my love of books from pure enjoyment and relaxation into what I do for a living is beyond belief, and I never cease to give thanks. My next two Medical Romances set in my fictional Scottish town of Strathlochan, come out as a double bill in May and June in the UK.
First up - and out now - is THE EMERGENCY DOCTOR CLAIMS HIS WIFE, which tells the story of Nathan Shepherd and Annie Webster. The back blurb states:-
Pulses rise at Strathlochan Hospital when a tall, dark-haired, drop-dead gorgeous new doctor strides purposefully through the doors, especially Dr Annie Webster's! Nathan Shepherd is her ex – the very man she's never been able to get out of her system.
It's been five years, and they both have very different recollections of their break-up. Whatever the tensions between them, neither can deny the smouldering passion they still share.
It's clear to Nathan they have unfinished business, and this time he's not leaving without answers ... or his woman!"
Poor Nathan has had a while to wait to be reunited with Annie. I had just begun to write his book when I was asked to stop by my editor and to focus on an exciting new project, which turned out to be the superb continuity series, BRIDES OF PENHALLY BAY, set in Cornwall and
I'll be back next month to introduce you to the second book of this Strathlochan duet, THE REBEL SURGEON'S PROPOSAL, when Luke Devlin returns with one goal in mind ... finding Francesca Scott.
Whatever your memories of childhood and your choice in genre these days, I wish you all the contiued gift of reading and the lifelong joy it brings.