Pauline Tait.
Pauline Tait.

The Good Books, Pauline Tait: ‘Nancy Drew got me hooked on mysteries and the love of them has stayed with me’

Author Pauline Tait on the influence of American writer Nora Roberts in helping her believe she could write in two very different genres.


The first book I remember reading:

As a young child, I remember reading The Princess and the Frog. It was often my bedtime read, and I still have my slightly tattered but much-loved copy. As I got older and was introduced to chapter books, I was given a copy of the first book in the Nancy Drew mystery series, The Secret of the Old Clock. A few pages in, and I was hooked, eventually working my way through the series. The love of a good mystery has stayed with me. I’m sure the series has influenced my reading choices as an adult and the genre I have chosen to write in.

A book I recommend to everyone:

I often recommend Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series. I love his fast-paced, no-nonsense style of writing. He leads his readers through his complicated plots with ease. And for those who, like me, love a memoir where the author has triumphed over adversity, Just a Little Run Around the World by Rosie Swale Pope, is an inspiring read.

The best three books I have read in the last year:

I recently discovered Linda Howard’s books and have been hooked. Like me, she writes romantic suspense, and I first discovered her when I read Open Season. Lis McDermott’s He is Not Worthy has stayed with me. Again, it’s a suspenseful romance and one I struggled to put down. So much so that I read it in two days. I have also recently finished reading Danielle Steel’s Without A Trace.

A book I didn’t finish:

I would never name an author or a title, but I guess if there was a genre that wasn’t for me, it would be horror or graphic crime. I’m also not too keen on historical romance, I know I might be in the minority there as it is such a big genre, but it’s not for me.

An author who has inspired me:

Nora Roberts. When my first two children’s books were published. I’d been travelling the country doing events with The Fairy in the Kettle, and all the while, the plot for my first romantic suspense was never far from my mind. I was worried that writing in two genres might be detrimental to the career I was striving to build. At the time, I was enjoying books by Nora and as I read my way through her back library, I realised she wrote successfully in several genres. I enjoyed her romance and modern thrillers, but given historical romance isn’t my thing, I avoided these titles. That’s when I decided I should take the leap and write my first romantic suspense novel, A Life of Their Own. And although many authors have inspired me in different ways over the years, Nora Roberts has directly impacted my career. Fortunately, I look back on that decision as one of the best I have ever made. I’ve found that writing both romantic suspense and children’s picture books has increased my audience as the two genres cross-sell.

My favourite place to read:

Without a doubt, our living room. We have a foot stool that I pull across to my favourite corner of a sofa. I have plants sitting just to the side, and the light streams in through the doors. I find I completely switch off there. Our two dogs are usually sleeping close by, too. Bliss.

Pauline Tait is an award-winning children’s author and romantic suspense novelist. She lives in Perthshire. Anna’s Promise (Fountainbridge Publishing) is the second book in The Maren Bay Series and can be bought here.

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