SSDD #1 – Essie Fox

SSDD is a new series of interviews on the blog where I will be asking authors, book bloggers and others in the book industry five questions in order to find out more about the love of books. Originally this series was to be called “Dog Ear Half Dozen” but I’ve since found that the brilliant Ben Johncock has been doing this on his blog for some time. I didn’t want to look as if I was copying Ben or treading on his toes, I’m not that guy (though great minds, eh?!). So, I thought I’d change it up a little.

The first person to join the round table and answer the questions is Essie Fox, author of The Somnambulist and the upcoming Elijah’s Mermaid. You can find more about Essie on her website or even follow her on Twitter.

Which author inspires you? Whether in your work, life or reading habits.

Just one? I suppose it must be Charles Dickens – partly because I write neo-Victorian novels and who could be more inspirational? And partly because there’s always something new to discover in his work, ranging from the comic to tragic, and with so many different themes. But, even more than that, the work of Charles Dickens has influenced so many of the writers I love to read – both his fellow Victorians, and some of our own contemporaries, such as Sarah Waters and Charles Palliser, and the now sadly dead Michael Cox.

Which book has caused the biggest emotional response from you? (Not just sadness, but joy, anger, etc)

I’m not sure if it would be the same now but when I read Wuthering Heights at the impressionable age of seventeen, I was so immersed in the darkness, the passion, the bleak, unromanticised world, that I raged and cried for hours on end at the cruelty and tragedy it exposed.

Which book do you wish you had written and why?

Restoration by Rose Tremain. It’s everything I love in a book. The prose is deceptively ‘simple’ in style yet possesses a lyrical quality. The story is intelligently told – a highly entertaining romp with wonderful characterisation; all framed around great historical events.

Go to a bookcase at random, close your eyes and point at a random book. What is the book and have you read it yet?

Ah – it’s John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany. I have read it. It’s wonderful!

What is your favourite book and why? (One you’d save from fire, take to a deserted island and recommend everyday of your life)

How about the Encyclopaedia Britannica? There would always be something new to learn, and those facts could then inspire my mind to new flights of imaginary fancy – and hopefully to write new books.

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