Ask the Author… with Heather Cooper
Heather Cooper is the author of Stealing Roses, one of the most bought books at Medina. She grew up in the north of England and attended Durham University. She has worked for Faber & Faber, the National Trust, and the NHS. She now lives in Cowes, Isle of Wight with her partner and writes full-time.
What’s on your lockdown reading list?
I am currently reading Fiona MacCarthy’s biography of William Morris, A Life for our Times. William Morris is a hero of mine – an extraordinary man: designer, artist, writer, thinker, and this is a brilliant biography. It’s also a very long book so lockdown is an ideal chance to get to grips with it!
I’m also turning, for comfort reading, to old favourites – the Sherlock Holmes stories, for sheer enjoyment; PG Wodehouse and Georgette Heyer for delicious escapes to worlds of wit and romance where nothing bad ever happens.
The best spot for reading and/or writing in your house?
Ideally, if the sun is shining, I’d read sitting on the terrace among pots of flowers and herbs. If not, I have a particular corner of the sofa – ‘my spot’, as Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory would say.
The one book you couldn’t put down?
The last book I absolutely couldn’t put down was Madeline Miller’s Circe. It’s a beautiful re-telling of the Greek myth – a story full of magic and power, ancient but very fresh and contemporary too. I loved her The Song of Achilles too.
The one book you couldn’t finish?
I didn’t exactly not finish Moby Dick . . . but I did skip large sections in the middle. I don’t really feel I missed much.
Physical or Kindle?
Real books if at all possible, but I do admit that Kindles are very useful for travelling (if I should ever be doing such a thing again.)
The book or author which has most influenced your work?
I’d love to say I’ve been influenced most by Jane Austen but that sounds as though I am comparing myself to her, and she is incomparable. And George Eliot, Mrs Gaskell, Daphne du Maurier.
Aside from reading and writing, how are you keeping yourself busy during lockdown?
Concocting bizarre meals from unlikely ingredients. Also, all my cupboards are now unnaturally tidy.
The strangest thing you’ve found yourself doing as a result of lockdown?
Drawing elaborately coloured mind-maps of all the things I might theoretically achieve during lockdown and then feeling daunted by the result.
You can find out more about Heather and her writing at www.heathercooperauthor.co.uk She is also on Facebook and Instagram as @heathercooperauthor and Twitter @heathercoopera1