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One of my favourite books in the whole wide world (yes I love it that much) just happens to be Things in Jars by Jess Kidd. Published in paperback on 2 January 2020 it is worth noting that it's part of our Star Books competition! Quirky, addictive, and absolutely marvellous, Things in Jars is a Victorian detective story with a difference and I can highly recommend it. Jess has very kindly agreed to be our author in the picture for April. I always look at the photos in detail before reading the captions, and immediately ahhh’d at who is sitting in the chair and checked out the books on the book shelves. What a fabulous picture of Dame Barbara Cartland, that would certainly make me smile!
Jess Kidd was brought up in London as part of a large family from County Mayo. Her first novel, Himself, was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards in 2016 and she was the winner of the Costa Short Story Award in the same year. In 2017, Himself was shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and longlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger. Her second novel, The Hoarder, was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award and longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award. Both books were BBC Radio 2 Book Club picks.
Favourite book cover to date.
I love this 2019 cover for Alan Trotter's remarkable book Muscle which is described at 'a mind-bending pulp fiction of crooks, grifts and rackets.' A strikingly bold cover for a strikingly bold debut and a perfect fit for the genre.
Favourite reading or writing spot.
My favourite writing spot is my desk. Wilkie the dog's bed and toys live under the desk so he tends to sprawl there, licking my ankle occasionally to make me jump. I love plants but sometimes I have to clear a space to work!
The bookshelf you return to again and again.
I like this bookshelf, complete with my childhood 'coffin bank' and picture of Dame Barbara Cartland given to me by my schoolfriend Melanie Tucker years ago.
A location that has inspired you.
I walk in Richmond Park as often as I can, when I'm writing a first draft I try to go every day. Wilkie likes leaping about and eating rabbit poo and I sometimes get ideas. Many of the trees are like old friends now.
Your most beloved and well-read book.
This is one of my most beloved and well-read books. It was my daughter's book and you'll see some of her artwork here. She's now 22 but I've revisited it more recently as the subject of a podcast. My first children's book, Everyday Magic is out in June this year and Roald Dahl remains a huge inspiration.
Your favourite reading or writing snacks and beverages.
This is one of my healthier (!) options, a big coffee and a banana for the 3pm slump. I will mindlessly eat anything at the desk. Writing seems to require a lot of biscuits.
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