30 May 2014

Friday Fifteen: Andrea Grigg

Friday Fifteen: 

Fifteen books which have influenced your life or your writing. Today, a warm welcome to Andrea Grigg, a Kiwi who now lives in Queensland. I reviewed her debut novel, A Simple Mistake, and am looking forward to reading her second, which is due in August 2014.

Here's Andrea and her Friday Fifteen:

1. A.A. Milne

My parents read to me from a very early age, and I loved this guy. Not just for his Winnie the Pooh stories, but for two books of verse entitled, When We Were Very Young, and Now We Are Six. These books were first printed in 1924 and 1927, although my editions are 1961 and 1964 – practically vintage! I can still recite a poem called The End. Give me a platform and I’ll oblige.

2. Enid Blyton

Despite it being ‘politically incorrect’ I was hooked on Noddy. (Somehow, I came through unscathed, along with my Big Ears egg cup) But my favourite Enid Blyton stories were the Famous Five series. When we went on our annual holiday to a little cabin in a place called Ngunguru (in NZ’s Northland) my dad put up a sign on the door: Welcome to Kirrin cottage. The home of Julian, Dick, George, Anne and Timmy the dog. I was in heaven.

3. Louisa May Alcott

Little Women, Good Wives, Little Men, Jo’s Boys – I read them all. But out of these four, Little Women had the most significant effect on me. I was so upset when Beth died, that, at the age of eleven, I rewrote the ending. How I wish I’d kept it!

4. Laura Ingalls Wilder

It’s a wonder I didn’t end up writing historical prairie fiction. I loved reading the Little House on the Prairie novels and was thrilled when they eventually came to TV, even though I was a lot older by then. I used to watch them at a girlfriend’s place with her mum, who hid her face behind a newspaper so we couldn’t see her cry. These stories
are truly for all ages.

5. Beverley Cleary

This lady is a prolific writer and is now 98 years old! Apart from all the wonderful Ramona and Beezus books, she wrote one called Fifteen, about Jane and her first love, Stan. I was about that age when I read it and it resonated with me so much. I think she could be responsible for my interest in romance writing ...

Then came my fixation with authors from the UK:

6. Mary Stewart – romantic suspense, historical, fantasy
7. Catherine Cookson – historical romance
8. Daphne du Maurier – mostly historical with elements of romance
9. Victoria Holt (aka. Jean Plaidy, Phillipa Carr) – historical romance
… and yet I don’t write historical romance. Go figure.

Three ladies from England, Ireland and Australia:

10. Jill Mansell – contemporary romance and very funny. Loads of banter and one-liners.
11. Cathy Kelly – women’s fiction with strong elements of romance. Lots of family influence.
12. Monica McInerney – an Aussie girl married to an Irishman. Monica writes fiction set both here and in Ireland. Two books in particular have fabulous plots and rich characters: At Home With the Templetons and The House of Memories,

I love these authors but they don’t write from a Christian world view. And that was what got me thinking that perhaps I could try writing a book myself, a romance which didn’t compromise my morals or beliefs. And so I had a try. I wouldn’t put myself in the same calibre as these women yet, but hopefully, one day I will be.

And finally, the Christian contingent! Interestingly, they’re all from the USA.

13. Francine Rivers 

I just love her books.

14. Melissa Tagg 

A new writer on the scene who writes fun, contemporary romances. Look out for Made to Last, and Here to Stay.

15. Becky Wade 

Becky has just released her third novel, Meant to Be Mine, which I recently reviewed. Love the banter!

I wish I was allowed to cite more authors, (how could I have not mentioned C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, K.M. Peyton, L.M. Montgomery?) but then again, it’s probably just as well there was a limit.

I’ve really enjoyed reading the Friday Fifteens – I hope you enjoy mine. Thanks Iola for the opportunity to share.

Thank you for contributing, Andrea. I'm enjoying the series as well. It's a great way to remember old (book) friends, and discover new ones. 


  1. Thanks for having me Iola. Love this idea - I've been following it avidly.

  2. Hi Andrea. What a great list. I love how you managed to mention, without mentioning a few more. It is so hard to limit it to 15.

  3. Thanks Jeanette. I think we had some in common. And yes, my mentions were subtly done, weren't they?

  4. Hi Andrea, I love your list :) Enid Blyton, Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder were 3 of my favourite authors when I was growing up.

    1. I hadn't realised how much of an influence they'd had on me until I came to do this. Hope to see yours on here one day, Narelle :)

  5. Hi Andrea,
    There are many of my old favourites on your list. What a lot of great reading. And I also love the way you mentioned a few others without going over 15. Wish I'd thought of that.

  6. I enjoyed reading your list, Paula. And yes, I thought I was rather clever ;)