We are celebrating the release of one of my favorite Lucy's new book! Lucy Atkins, whose debut, The Missing One was thoroughly enjoyed by me, is up on our blog discussing her reading life! Find out her book obsession growing up!
My reading life
Ok, so here’s a list of classic books that I did not read as a child:- Wind in the Willows - Secret Garden - The Hobbit - Anne of Green Gables - Alice in wonderland - The Railway Children - Any of the Famous Five books…
I could go on….It wasn’t that I came from a home of non-readers. My parents are book lovers, and our house was stuffed with books. I didn’t read these books because I was mad about horses, and so from the age of about 6 to 14 I read nothing but Pony books. I can still recite the opening lines of my favourite, Rebel Pony.
My mother was a lexicographer (she wrote the Collins Robert English-French dictionary) and she would come back from book fairs with bags stuffed full of small, hardback pony books that she got for 20p each. I read and re-read those books. My mother sometimes put a different book on my bedside table, but I generally ignored it, and she never made me feel this was wrong. She never pressurized me that I ‘should’ be reading a certain kind of book. She simply enabled my love of pony books. As a result, I came to see all books as magical – feeding my imagination, my dreams, my passion.
I did move on from pony books as a teenager, to novels by Thomas Hardy, DH Lawrence, The Brontes. I didn’t find this a leap because I trusted books to let me in – I wasn’t intimidated by them, because I’d learned that books were my friends. Reading through childhood and adolescence opened up new chambers in my mind. It expanded my vocabulary, it taught me about the world, it introduced me to feelings and concepts I had not yet experienced. But above all, it made me a writer.
I wrote and illustrated my first ‘novella’ – you guessed it, a pony book! – when I was nine years old. My mother laminated it and I still have it. It felt entirely natural to me to write as well as to read. I never thought about it, or questioned it. The two activities seemed like part of the same whole.
I’ve now read those children’s classics out loud to my own three children, who have loved them, but I’ll always be grateful to the pony books of my childhood: they were the greatest gift.Learn more about Lucy’s books at www.lucyatkins.com Follow lucy on Twitter @lucyatkins. Or Facebook: Lucy Atkins Writer.
Find out more about The Other Child.
When Tess is sent to photograph Greg, a high profile paediatric heart surgeon, she sees something troubled in his face, and feels instantly drawn to him. Their relationship quickly deepens, but then Tess, single mother to nine-year-old Joe, falls pregnant, and Greg is offered the job of a lifetime back in his hometown of Boston. Before she knows it, Tess is married, and relocating to the States. But life in an affluent American suburb proves anything but straightforward.
Unsettling things keep happening in the large rented house. Joe is distressed, the next-door neighbours are in crisis, and Tess is sure that someone is watching her. Greg's work is all-consuming and, as the baby's birth looms, he grows more and more unreachable. Something is very wrong, Tess knows it, and then she makes a Jaw-dropping discovery...
Reviews: 'Truly unnerving. The neck-prickling suspense starts on the very first page, building and building until I wanted to get in the car and drive to Boston to rescue Tess and Joe myself. Atkins perfectly captures the vulnerability that comes with moving overseas, away from friends and support networks, and uses it expertly in this compelling novel. Not just one-more-page gripping but perceptive and beautifully written' Lucie Whitehouse, author of Before We Met.
'Taut, tense, and beautifully written. I held my breath between chapters and didn't sleep until I reached the end' Clare Mackintosh, author of I Let You Go.'Tense, involving and clever. I defy you not to get hooked' Jane Lythell, author of After the Storm.