Wednesday, 24 May 2017

My Life In Books ~ talking to author Barbara Copperthwaite @BCopperthwait @Bookoutre #MyLifeInBooks

My Life in Books is an occasional feature on Random Things Through My Letterbox
I've asked authors and people in publishing to share with us a list of the books that are important to them and have made a lasting impression on their life

I'm so pleased to welcome author Barbara Copperthwaite to Random Things today. I recently read and reviewed her latest novel, The Darkest Lies, here's a snippet from my review:

"One of the first things that attracted me to this story was the setting. The wild and sometimes quite desolate Lincolnshire Fens. I live in Lincolnshire and I like nothing better to be able to really see a setting when I read a book. Barbara Copperthwaite has based the village of Fenmere on Friskney, and her great knowledge of the place adds so much to the telling of the story. That damp, silent, mysterious fenland takes centre stage in this book, beautifully and authentically described."

 Barbara is the author of psychological thrillers INVISIBLE and FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD. Both have been Amazon best sellers. Her latest book, THE DARKEST LIES, is out on 12 May.

Much of her success is thanks to her twenty-odd years' experience as a national newspaper and magazine journalist. She's interviewed the real victims of crime - and also those who have carried those crimes out. Thanks to people sharing their stories with her, she knows a lot about the emotional impact of violence and wrong-doing. That's why her novels are dark, realistic and tackle not just the crime but its repercussions.

When not writing feverishly, she is often found hiding behind a camera, taking wildlife photographs. 
To find out more about Barbara's novels, go or follow @BCopperthwait on Twitter. To find out more about Barbara go to 

My Life in Books ~ Barbara Copperthwaite

This is the book that made me enjoy reading. I’ve no idea how old I was when I read this, but I do know that prior to this I wasn’t fussed. The children’s adventures ignited not just a lifelong love of reading, but also of nature.

The first moment I really realised I had fallen in love with words, as well as reading. I read out the description of Wiggins to my mum and we laughed at it. I had to share it with someone because it was so wonderfully descriptive of not just his appearance but also his personality. Wonderful!

My first ‘proper’ book, marking the change from children’s books to something heavier and more adult. It’s iconic, unique, and a rite of passage in the world of reading.

When I was 12 I was bought my first Terry Pratchett Discworld novel. I became officially hooked. He looked at the world sideways on, and cleverly manipulated everything, truly holding a mirror up to the world so that the reflection was back to front. It made me see things differently, too; as well as making me laugh out loud.

I was supposed to study this for my GCSE English Literature exam, but spent two years avoiding it because it ‘sounded dull’. I’m really not sure how I managed to pass the exam, but by a miracle I did – and with a good grade! I took English Lit at A-level, and was gutted to discover that, by a strange quirk of exam board curriculum, I was going to spend ANOTHER two years avoiding Great Expectations. I caved, and read it. Suddenly I understood what all the fuss was about. The immense character arc of Pip is stunning; from childhood to snobbish adulthood, to finally coming to his senses through the most tragic of circumstances. It’s a book I often re-read. Which is ironic, really, given how much I avoided it…

I didn’t used to read detective novels until I came across Detective Sergeant Logan McRae, Stuart MacBride’s creation. The crimes he investigates are gritty and gory, but the banter between him and his colleagues is so deliciously dark and realistic that it always makes me laugh. Thanks to him, I started to read other detective series and crime authors, then psychological thrillers…and look at me now, writing my own! So DS Logan McRae will always have a special place in my heart.

I’d had the idea for my first novel, Invisible, for a long time, but after reading Engelby something seemed to click, and suddenly I knew I was going to try to write it. It inspired me because it was a first person story that was so utterly different from anything else I’d read. The character Sebastian Faulks creates is totally absorbing, and never once did I think ‘he wouldn’t do that.’ I lost myself in Engleby’s weird world.

Some writing is so beautiful that I am gripped with an urge to read sections out loud, just so that I can hear the jewel-like words as well as see them, somehow maximizing the pleasure and sharing the joy with others. This is one such book. Vividly described, and wonderfully written, Meadowland gives a unique and intimate account of an English meadow’s life from January to December. This is a book to fall in love with and read again and again and again.

An urbane sociopath who ‘only’ kills when he has to. Patricia Highsmith was an author way ahead of her time, and this was never more obvious than when she created Tom Ripley. Patricia Highsmith managed to create a killer who somehow became a sort of anti-hero that readers loved so much that she wrote five books featuring him. She was an author way ahead of her time.

The story itself is simple that, if it were told in a straightforward manner, this book may not have been the huge hit that it was. But it’s not only beautifully-written, but cunningly structured, with bits of the tale told as if they are random memories drifting through the unconscious mind of the main character, Alice, who is in a coma. Piecing the narrative together is addictive. This novel is stunning, and a total heartbreaker.

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson
Twisted, brilliantly-plotted, and a must-read; this book is one I still recommend to anyone who’ll listen, two years after reading it.

Barbara Copperthwaite ~ May 2017 


  1. It was so lovely to take part in My Life In Books - thank you for inviting me x

  2. Loved The Children of Cherry Tree Farm when I was wee. Also a big Discworld fan - some of the only fantasy I read.