The writers who staff the secret library usually have fascinating back stories. I particularly like the biog that was sent to me for this week’s guest, Karla Forbes, so I am going to quote it in full, and then we’ll get straight to her choices. Thanks, Karla, for taking part and nominating your three books that don’t get enough attention.
Here we go!
Karla Forbes first began writing books when she was twelve years old. Heavily influenced by Ian Fleming, she wrote about guns, fast cars and spies. Naturally, she knew nothing of her chosen subject and was forced to use her imagination to make it up as she went along. These books, half a dozen in total, ended up being thrown out with the rubbish. Several years later, she dabbled in a futuristic sitcom and a full length horror story. Although both of these efforts were also consigned to literary oblivion, at least no one could have accused her of being in a genre rut.
She began writing properly more than ten years ago and her first book, The Preacher was published on Amazon in July 2011. Twelve books in total are available to download from the Amazon Kindle bookstore. Other books will follow at regular intervals. She writes about ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations and she aims for unusual but scarily believable plots with a surprising twist.
She lives in Sussex with her husband and bull mastiff and has discovered that the secret of keeping them both happy is regular meals, praise and affection. They split their time between the UK and Germany where their favourite haunts are the Harz mountains and Bavaria.
Karla loves receiving your feedback so if you have the time, please email her via the website or place a review on the Amazon Kindle bookstore.
Meet the Tiger by Leslie Charteris
Meet the Tiger was Charteris’s first novel introducing the character of Simon Templar. He was a young author, just 21 years old when he wrote it and later, when he had honed his skills, he more or less disowned it saying that he could see so many flaws that it was a miracle to him that it had ever been published. I think he was being hard on himself. I remember saving my pocket money and each time I had enough in the piggy bank, rushing excitedly to the shops to buy another Saint book. It inspired me to try writing my own books and by the age of 12 I was churning out my own thrillers featuring a dashing hero in the likeness of Simon Templar. Of course my own books, at such a tender age, were doomed to failure but I have a lot to thank Leslie Charteris for as it was his books that introduced me to the world of thrillers which still obsesses me to this day.
The Machine Stops by E M Forster
l came across this novella in the ’60s. Although I read it in a couple of hours, it has stayed with me ever since. Despite the fact that it was written over a hundred years ago, it foresaw so many things in today’s society such as the internet and social media. It tells the story of mankind living underground and having all of its daily needs taken care of by a machine. Everyone lives in their own cell like room and they rarely meet other people but they all think they have hundreds of friends because of their connections through their electric interfaces (sound familiar?) It is only when the machine starts to break down that they realise how false their lives are and when the machine stops they are doomed to die because they no longer have the skills to fend for themselves. A warning for mankind written by a man with remarkable prescience.
Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M Auel
This was very famous in its time and I apologise in advance for mentioning it here but it was a remarkable book which taught me so much about the art of storytelling. My own books are very fast paced with plenty of action and I freely admit that I could never write a book like this. It rambles on for page after page with almost nothing happening and with almost no dialogue. In other words, it shouldn’t have been successful and yet it was. I was personally gripped with this long saga of nothingness. In fact, I couldn’t wait to turn the page and read more nothingness. How could this be? It taught me that there are many types of books and many different approaches to writing and although authors should be aware of the rules such as show not tell, avoid information dumping, dialogue speeds up the action, narration slows it down etc, rules are there for guidance only and should not be slavishly obeyed.