I am delighted to be joined by Christie Barlow, author of fantastically funny and warm women’s fiction. Christie tells us about which books and authors have influenced her…
Which authors/books did you like to read as a child?
I had many books on my bookshelf as a child and was an avid reader. My favourite childhood author has got to be Enid Blyton. Five on a Treasure Island has stayed with me from the age of seven when I can remember sitting on an old trunk in my bedroom and not moving all day until I’d finished it. The marvellous characters and the adventures of the Famous Five I will never forget and I have introduced my children to this series. These books are absolute classics and every child should have the opportunity to read them, they are truly fantastic.
Were you good at English at school? Did you like it?
I loved English in school and I loved my teacher at primary school. She said my story telling and imagination held no bounds. I wrote a diary every day from primary school age up until my first child was born and they are all bound together in the loft waiting to be read one day! Maybe some of those childhood experiences will find their way in to a story plot.
What genres do you like to read? Have they had an impact on the genre you write?
I prefer a feel-good romance book. My favourite author in this genre is Cathy Bramley. Her books have just the right blend of romance and comedy. I prefer to read books that have warm and believable characters – ones you’d want to be friends with. I suppose I have tried to instil some of these characteristics in the personalities in my books.
If you were to write a different genre what would it be and why?
I have an idea for a psychological thriller which I hope to write one day. I can really appreciate the research that goes in to writing a believable thriller – so it presents a challenge for me that I want to explore. I already have the idea…so that’s a start!
Did any author’s work encourage you to pick up your pen and write and if so who, what and why?
It’s my children who were the impetus behind me writing. Not long after my 40th birthday, we were chatting as a family about careers and what the children could do when they finished school. When they asked me what I would really like to do, I blurted out, ‘Write a book’! Once the words were spoken, I decided I should follow through and show them that anything is possible. Now, with 4 books published and all Amazon bestsellers, I am so chuffed to show them that anything really is possible.
Are there any authors who, as soon as they publish a new book, you have to get it?
There is no author in particular that I have to get as soon as it comes out. I enjoy a lot of authors and when I finish a book, I see what takes my fancy at the time.
Which books have you read that have made you think ’Wow, I wish I had written that’ and what was it about the book?
Oh, I can easily answer that one! Evil Games by Angela Marsons is totally captivating. It’s not my normal genre, but it had me hooked from page one.
Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? (Be careful, I don’t want you getting sued!)
Now there is a very probing question. I have! GASP! Everyone is currently thinking OMG is Rachel Young real? Does Christie Barlow know a woman named Penelope Kensington who she went speed dating with and named a baby Lulu? I’m sorry to disappoint, but all those characters were off the scale and pure fiction. However, in my novel Kitty’s Countryside Dream, the character Kitty Lewis inherits a chicken farm. This book would have never been written if it wasn’t for a local farmer who sold me my very first chicken seven years ago. Since then, he has taught me everything I needed to know about rearing and breeding chickens. Chickens have become a way of life in our house and it was my very own feathered friends that provided the little spark of inspiration for this book.
My characters aren’t based on specific people but I have drawn on my own experiences and memories. It’s important that I am able to relate to my characters and love who they are – faults as well. It’s all part of creating these unique personalities that you put into your book. But as my favourite primary school teacher said, I have an imagination that knows no bounds! I think it’s why writers write and actors act – it gives us the opportunity to unleash our imaginations and create a fictional experience that pleases our audience.
Thanks Christie for taking part and the great answers.
About Christie Barlow
Christie is the author of A Year In The Life Of A Playground Mother, The Misadventures Of A Playground Mother, Kitty’s Countryside Dream and Lizzie’s Christmas Escape. She lives in Staffordshire with her husband, four kids, horses, chickens and a mad Cocker Spaniel. Her writing career came somewhat as a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. She is a mum who wrote a book to prove to her children whatever you want to do in life go for it. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a number one bestseller in the UK and USA.
Christie’s latest book Lizzie’s Christmas Escape is out now and can be purchased HERE.
Connect with Christie
You can read my review of Lizzie’s Christmas Escape HERE and my review of Kitty’s Countryside Dream HERE.