Guest Post: My Top Literary Influences by Teresa Hamilton

I have great pleasure in sharing my blog space with a very dear friend and talented author, Teresa Hamilton, today. Teresa has written two stand alone novels which deal with relationships. I loved her first book, Choices, in which she developed her own brand of ‘hen-lit’, and thoroughly enjoyed her newly released, Love Suzi x, whilst on holiday this year.

Rather interestingly, Teresa is going to be at Daisy White’s Pop-up Indie bookshop at Swan Walk, Horsham on Friday 27th September, signing copies and generally meeting and chatting. If you are local, do stop by for a chat. I can’t wait to hear all about it!

You can read my full review of Love Suzi x here.

When Jane asked me about my literary influences it really set the old grey matter whirring. I was sitting in the hairdressers (as you do) waiting for my colour to cook and cast my mind down memory lane. As the page began to fill with notes I looked at the list in front of me and thought ‘what a weird collection of choices’. But there you go, we are all unique and that’s all I’m going to say to introduce these.

 

  1. My English teacher, Dr Reilly. When studying English Literature Alevel I thought she was completely bonkers at the time. But now I realise it was her passion for her subject that made her quote ad-lib, including actions, from numerous texts to press her point home to her unappreciative pupils. I can still picture her, perched on the wooden desk, leg swinging, quoting from As You Like It. Although I wasn’t one of her brightest stars I now appreciate her passion and am forever grateful.
  2. Virginia Woolfe. I read To The Lighthouse at university and was left bereft to read what happened to Mrs Ramsey. It made me realise how important it is to create a character your reader falls in love with and cares about.
  3. Poetry – especially William Blake, Thomas Hardy, Robert Frost, Wordsworth. The skill of creating such emotive images in a few words never fails to impress me. I’m there riding on the back of the horse looking at ‘The Road Less Travelled’ or ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, or swirling round on a frosty river on my skates in Wordsworth’s The Prelude. I wonder if that is why I find the constraint of 140 Twitter characters so engaging, but that’s probably a whole new discussion. I must have a thing about horses in poetry as the one poem I chose to learn by heart for homework once was The Listener, Water de la Mare. If ever we meet, for goodness sake don’t ask me to quote it!

  4. I’ve always loved reading biographies. People’s lives fascinate me. We are all so different and have such varied experiences that we accept as part of our normal everyday lives. What seems banal to some is extraordinary to others. My favourite at the moment is about women’s lives in China and Japan, all kicked off by Yung Chang’s Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China.
  5. Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles made me appreciate the importance of setting plot at a pace to make your book a page turner. It doesn’t have to be the fastest paced book to make it successful. If the plot is intricate and the characters engaging it will keep the reader wanting more. I  lived with Tess, loved every page and so wanted things to go right for her.
  6. Reading the second and subsequent opening chapters of Louis de Bernières’s Captain Corelli’s Mandolin nearly made me give up but I was determined to keep going believing that after having fallen in love with Dr Iannis on the first page, I had to find out how he fitted into the whole scheme of things. Once I arrived on Kefalonia with Pelagia I was hooked. It was only on the second reading of the book that I fully appreciated the importance of those first difficult pages. This pressed home to me the necessity of having an opening that would grab the reader. I would have missed the book that I’d take on my desert island otherwise.
  7. I know my love affair with books started at primary school. Picture books have a magic of their own. During my teaching years one of the best parts of the day would be to gather the class around my armchair and open a book and a world of possibilities. I have too many favourites to mention them all but I just loved reading the Harry and the Dinosaurs series to my son Harry; the Brambly Hedge series still sits on my bookshelves today and Baby Bear in Whatever Next gave me no end of problems trying to get his ‘rocket’ to stay on the wall for my classroom display. 

         

As I said in the beginning – an eclectic mix!

 I’m currently working on my third book Three of a Kind, another hen-lit book out next year and am hoping to publish my memoir Scream Silently a humorous account of my year of cancer treatment with the NHS in the meantime.


Here’s the link to buy :- Love, Suzi x  

Here’s the trailer link.

 

Teresa Hamilton’s brilliant debut novel, Choices, made history being the first book to be sponsored by advertising since the nineteenth century. With the publishing industry crammed with chick-lit novels, Teresa introduces ‘hen-lit’ as a new genre for thinking women all over the world.After studying in London,Teresa has continued to teach at Primary and Adult Education level for over twenty years – interspersed with bring up three children, being a portrait photographer and years as cabin crew for a major airline.

It is this experience she draws on for her latest book LOVE,SUZI x, about the adventures of flight attendant, Suzi Frazier, written in disarmingly honest, humorous letters to her childhood friend, Eve. She has also written a humorous memoir of her year of cancer treatment with the NHS, children’s texts and won writing competitions. Teresa lives in East Sussex, UK, with her husband, 3 children, 2 dogs, 1 ancient cat and a fish. She also owns www.eastiseasthome.co.uk – a web store selling unique home accessories.

For more information about Teresa and her writing please go to her website www.teresahamilton.co.uk




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