Ten Books That Changed Me by Amy Andrews
To be honest, sitting to write this article, I thought it was going to be difficult. I mean ten books that changed me is very different to ten books I liked/loved/loathed etc. For a book to change you is a BIG thing. To be honest, I didn’t think there would be ten. But then I got to thinking and well…I am a writer, so…
I’m going to start at my early years and move into adulthood although, it has to be noted that these later books aren’t necessarily presented in chronological order.
- Anne of Green Gables
What can I say about Anne? It’s the first book I remember reading by myself – although my mother had read it to me first. And, most importantly, it sowed the seeds for my love of Beta heroes! Thank you, Gilbert Blythe.
- Charlotte’s Web
This is the first book that ever made me cry and to this day it’s still probably the only plot I remember with absolute clarity from my childhood because of the emotion. It taught me the power of connecting emotionally with your reader, the beauty of a good old ugly cry and the power of portraying friendship in literature.
- Pride and Prejudice
An unpopular opinion, I know, but this book was my first ever wall banger. It was a high school English read and its verbosity drove me nutty. Yeah…it was the times but, Lordy, I wanted to smack all the Bennet sister’s heads together. It taught me that I never wanted to write like that for which I am ever grateful.
- Wuthering Heights.
Possibly also controversial. This book changed my life and I really can’t articulate why – it just did. It, too, was a high school read and, after the experience of Austen, not one I was relishing. In fact I went in thinking very dark things especially as we’d already been made sit through the black and white movie version with Timothy Dalton. I urge you to avoid that movie at all costs! But…the book swept me away, utterly. To this day I remember my heart swelling in my chest as I flew through the pages. I suspect if I read it in 2018 I’d probably want to murder Heathcliff (or at the very least run away – fast), but at the time I was spellbound and that heart swelling sensation is what I try to recreate in my books.
- Lord of The Rings trilogy
These were the books that taught me I was never, ever, ever going to be a fantasy writer. I admired Tolkien’s world building but by half way through book three I realized I didn’t give one single fuck about middle earth or anyone in it. And I’m thankful for that because it taught me, even if it was only subliminally at the time, I am a contemporary writer through and through.
- Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie
This book, without a doubt, has changed me the most. Prior to reading it in my early 20’s, my definition of romance pretty much revolved around the 80’s Mills and Boon romances from mainly English authors – Charlotte Lamb, Carole Mortimer, Penny Jordan etc, which I adored. Then someone said, “You should read this, it’s brilliant,” and they handed me Bradley. And it caused a seismic shift in my definition of romance. I’d never known that romances could be funny and irreverent and quirky and snarky and awesomely bantery (pretty sure neither of those are words). It was so good, so wonderful and I knew, with sudden clarity, that I wanted to write like that. It’s the biggest ever light bulb moment in my writing career.
- Bridget Jones’s Diary
This book was another light bulb moment for me, causing another deviation in my journey. This was chick lit and I loved it. It had the snark and banter that I was aiming for but was more female centric and focused on women and their friendship groups and I wanted to write that, too. It changed what I was writing and changed my voice, too. Or maybe deepened it is a better way of putting it – it added another layer to my voice.
- Cullen’s Bride by Fiona Brand
This book was the first in a navy seals series written in the 90’s by a New Zealand Harlequin Silhouette author. The sexual tension in this book (and the next 2 – Heart of Midnight and Marrying McCabe) is off the charts and I read and reread them analysing how Fiona had done it because I wanted my books to have that kind of zinging sexual tension as well. I’m not much of a re-reader but, to this day, Cullen’s Bride is top of my re-read list.
- The first medical romance I ever read
I don’t know the name of it. I’m not being coy here because I write for the line, I really don’t remember the title. But I do remember it had a small medical error in it which was a turning point in my pre-published journey. If nothing else I knew, as a nurse, I could write an accurate medical romance, so I switched to targeting the medical line instead and, 12 years later, my first medical romance hit the shelves. Now, we all make errors in our writing from time to time, god knows I have despite my medical background, that’s not the point. The point is, reading that book changed my life irrevocably because it led me to taking the first real steps in my publishing journey and to my first real money!
This quirky little number – my 50 something book, changed the way I thought about my writing entirely. It was a book that came totally out of left field. Joy, the main character, walked into my head fully fleshed out, demanding to have her story told. Only she was an ex hillbilly-punk-rock chick who was a cadaver makeup artist and who also, by the way, saw ghosts.
I didn’t know how to write that story. I didn’t know how to write a murder/mystery with an ex disgraced cop turned PI hero. So I made Joy go and sit in the corner. I made her sit in the corner for 2 years! Until Joy could no longer be ignored. I was scared writing her story. I was out of my depth. I had no clue what I was doing from one word to the next. But I did it – one word at a time.
Joy taught me I could write anything. She taught me I could write outside my comfort zone. And that it’s good to push yourself to do something different. Now…will I rush out and write that zombie apocalypse romcom that’s currently bugging me? Probably not any time soon. But I’m not frightened of it anymore because I know I can do it.
Tempted By Mr Off-Limits
How to handle a powerful attraction…
Get it out of your system quickly!
In this Nurses in the City story, Lola Fraser knows better than to fall for her best friend’s brother, paramedic Hamish Gibson. Living together while he’s training could get awkward—fast! But as they work together on a heartrending case, they can’t resist the temptation to take their minds off work. Surely one night will be enough…until they discover it isn’t!
Releases Sept 18th.