2) Laura Ingalls WilderIt’s inspiring that she started writing when she was elderly. She clearly remembered what happened when she was a little girl and wrote the ‘Little House’ series. If she hadn’t done it, we would have missed fascinating stories about a pioneering family in America travelling west. She’s proof that it’s never too late to begin.
3) L.M. MontgomeryShe must be one of the masters of how to make an episodic plot shine. In my teens, I devoured not only the Anne series, but everything L.M. Montgomery wrote. We may think of them as historical stories now, but for her they were contemporary tales set in her own familiar environment, something I have a passion for.
4) Emily BronteI read ‘Wuthering Heights’ when I was 15, and it became the text I kept returning to in my quest to figure out how to write well. I thought her plot was perfect and she made her setting shine. I must have spent hours delving into exactly how her second generation of characters in that story were a mirror of the first.
5) Harper Lee‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was another text I tried to pull apart in my teens to figure out just how she did it. Using an 8-year-old narrator like Scout Finch to tell the story of how her father defended Tom Robinson seemed a stroke of genius. And the way Boo Radley’s story finished up tying together with the Finch family’s story was very well done.
6) Francine RiversShe introduced me to the concept of writing contemporary Christian fiction. I read ‘The Scarlet Thread’ in the mid nineties and it resonated with me. Since then, I read all her other contemporary novels. (I enjoyed her historical novels too.)
7) Jane AustenShe proves that good writing may also be useful from a historical point of view. Her novels give us a perfect glimpse into the lives of young gentry in the Georgian Era. Her characters are masters of witty dialogue too. And she’s another author who was simply writing contemporary stories about places she knew well.
8) J.K. RowlingThe Harry Potter series are like a work of art in many ways. I was amazed that, even as an adult, I didn’t want to put them down. I’d be waiting at the door of K-Mart the first morning of every new release. I’d never bother until they came down in price. And I was prepared to tussle with my then 12-year-old son to hold on to the final one, for the thrill of being first to finish.
9) Charles DickensHe continues to impress me with the volume he managed to produce. Most of his novels ended up as thick as bricks, yet he did all the necessary editing without the aid of a computer. His characters (not to mention their unique names) were often entertaining, and his stories helped to highlight the plight of poverty-stricken families in the Victorian era.
10) Daphne du MaurierI went through a phase in which I was fascinated with everything British. I loved her exciting plots, with their dashes of mystery and romance.
12) Kathryn KennyShe’s one of those authors whose name many of us may not recognise, even though we grew up loving her writing. She wrote most of the Trixie Belden series. I managed to collect all of those paper back novels. Her plots never failed to surprise me, and I loved Trixie and all her friends and brothers.
13) Joyce Lankester BrisleyShe was the author of the Milly Molly Mandy books. I loved them when I was tiny, and re-read them to my daughter many years later. They are just simple stories about how little it took to impress a small girl who lived in an English village in the early 20th century. Brisley did her own gorgeous illustrations.
15) Lynn AustinHer Christian fiction is among my favourite. She seems to be able to choose any historical period and make it come alive, from the Bible to the Depression era. Her research must be enormous, but she still seems to manage to produce as many books as other authors.
About Paula Vince
Best Forgotten- winner of CALEB Award 2011
Paula Vince is the award-winning author of several contemporary Christian romances with elements of mystery and suspense. She lives in South Australia's beautiful Adelaide Hills with her family. Her most recent novel, 'Imogen's Chance' was published in April 2014 (and will be reviewed here next week).
Would you like to contribute a Friday Fifteen? If so, email me via my contact page to set a date. Contributions are welcome from anyone—readers, reviewers and authors. It's an opportunity to share some of the authors (and books) which have influenced you, and to pick up some ideas for new authors to read.