Like many people, a book that I remember clearly was one of the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis – The Magician’s Nephew. It was the first book I ever owned, as it was a present from my older sister. It was a while later before I discovered there was more than one book in the series, and could borrow them from the public library.
But there were others that have stayed with me – in particular, Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. Again, I borrowed these from the library in town, as we had little money to spend on books back then. I think the books I loved most were adventure stories of some kind – even Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven were on my list of favourites.
But it’s not actually a book that had perhaps the greatest influence on me – it was a writer, Malcolm Saville. The one title I remember reading was Not Scarlet But Gold (one in an adventure series again), and Saville was the only author I was ever brave enough to write to. A couple of months later, a letter arrived for me, all the way from England. He’d written back! I wish I still had the letter but I’ve never forgotten how he took the time to send me something personal, not photocopied or printed from a file for the hundredth time.
Sherryl’s most recent book is ‘Dying to Tell Me’ – published in the USA by KaneMiller, September 2011. For more, visit Sherryl’s website and blog.