4 April 2014

Friday Fifteen: Susan Barnes

Friday Fifteen: Fifteen books which have influenced your life or your writing. Today, a warm welcome to Susan Barnes from New South Wales.

Fifteen authors who have influenced me

I have written elsewhere about non-fiction authors who have influenced me so in this list I have stuck to fiction authors, which was more difficult because I am rather picky. Nevertheless I've been enriched by the fiction I have read.

1. Enid Blyton

I loved the Folk of the Faraway Tree but I didn't read many of her other titles.

2. Madeleine L'Engle 

A Wrinkle in Time, which was surprising because I don't normally like sci-fi but I loved the message of this book.

3. Elinor Brent-Dyer 

The Chalet School series. I enjoyed lots of school based novels when I was at school. I like reading about contexts that I can relate to.

I loved boarding school stories as well. 

4. Julie Campbell 

Trixie Belden series, I quite like a little mystery.

5. Pamela Brown 

The Swish of the Curtain and a little creativity.

6. Lucy Montgomery 

I loved the Anne series and anything else she wrote.

7. L. P. Hartley 

The go-between. I had to read this in Year 12 and then later read it again as an adult. Always interesting to reread a book you remember well from earlier days and realize what you missed the first time around.

8. Neville Shute

When I left school I had trouble transitioning to adult fiction. My parents only read murder mysteries and thrillers which didn't interest me. I didn't like fantasy or sci-fi or straight romance. I liked stories about everyday situations and people that I could identify with. I remember going to the library and being overwhelmed with choice yet not being able to find anything I thought I like. I did however enjoy Neville Shute's books.

9. Hugh MacKay 

House Guest. I read my children's books from school including this year 12 novel of my daughter's which I enjoy much more than she did. I also enjoyed MacKay non-fiction titles.

10. Francine Rivers 

Redeeming Love. Loved this but couldn't get into her other books.

11. Lynn Austin 

Loved her historical fiction. I found this author when I typed Christian fiction into a library's database.

12. Paula Vince

I went to the Writing Conference on the Gold Coast in 2012 and found a whole bunch of Aussie Christian writers like Paula who wrote contemporary stories about real people in real situations. I couldn't believe what I'd been missing.

Susan enjoyed that 2012 writing conference so much that she's organising a conference for Christian writers to be held in Melbourne, in October 2014. You can find out more at the website

13. Rose Dee 

As above.

14. Andrea Grigg 

As above.

15. Penelope McCowan 

As above.

About Susan

Susan Barnes likes to write devotional thoughts on Bible passages, book reviews and inspirational articles. She loves to challenge people's thinking and regularly blogs at www.abooklook.blogspot.com.au. She is also a librarian and pastor's wife.

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.


  1. nice list Susan, I LOVED Enid Blyton. Read so many of her books so many times.

  2. Thanks for including me on your list, Susan! A lot of what you read as a child I have enjoyed also. And Nevil Shute too.

  3. Hi Susan,
    Yes, thanks for including us from numbers 12 to 15. I had no idea that 2012 conference was your intro to us. That's fantastic.
    I read Pamela Brown's 'Swish of the Curtain' in about Year 8, and wanted to put together my own theatre company. I thought it was terrific.
    Lynn Austin is one of my favourites too. Her historical fiction covers so many different eras, and draws us right into the stories.

  4. It's true Paula, I came away from that 2012 conference feeling like I'd been living under a rock!