This week in the Books Spark Joy series we’re joined by Susanne Bellamy. Born and raised in Toowoomba, Susanne is an Australian author of contemporary and suspense romances set in exciting and often exotic locations, and rural romance set in Australia. She adores travel with her husband, both at home and overseas, and weaves stories around the settings and people she encounters. Susanne loves connecting with readers and fellow writers and you’ll find her social media links at the end of the post.
Over to you, Susanne …
Books have been important to me since I was little. My parents were great believers in the empowerment of knowledge and the inspiration of story. Two of my older sisters gave me books for Christmases and birthdays – Girls Annual, and Enid Blyton. My parents weren’t wealthy, but they valued books and reading and gave me the gift of Reader’s Digest for Children, bi-monthly anthologies of four great stories. Although shortened versions, these, along with the books from my sisters, set me on the path of a lifelong love affair with books.
When I was three, my mother ran a small coffee shop for those attending the Maternal and Child Welfare Clinic, which was next to our town library. Apparently, I read the books I borrowed quickly (and frequently borrowed them again). Mum would watch me walk the few metres to the door of the library, and her friend in the library would help me ‘change’ my books for the next set, and then see me back to Mum, a trip I am told I did several times a day!
I grew up in a home where books were valued, and when I married, my wonderful husband had a floor to ceiling bookcase built into my study. Some shelves are still stacked three-deep, but I know where to go to put my hands on almost everything. Family photo albums from my scrapbooking phase and framed photos abound. From my university days in English Honours, I still have: collected works of various poets, C19th classics, C20th ‘third world fiction’ (as it was called back when). They bring back memories of discussions and friends and wonderful professors guiding my literary explorations.
I have a collection of Georgette Heyer’s work, inherited from my oldest sister. When I take one of these books down to re-read, it brings my sister back to me for a little while. And I have my father’s massive World Atlas. While places remain the same, geo-politics have redrawn many borders since he bought that tome.
Some of my other collections:
Anne McCaffrey, whose wonderful Dragons of Pern a uni friend introduced me to; Douglas Adams; Margaret Atwood (perhaps my favourite author; it’s a close run thing); well-thumbed duplicate copies of several books such as To Kill a Mockingbird and The God of Small Things from my teaching years; plays that cover periods from Shakespeare, to Sheridan’s comedies of manners, to Twelve Angry Men.
I have books by author friends, signed and treasured for both the great stories and our personal connection.
But the book I’m most proud of is Heart of the Town, my first print book with my publisher, Mira. Holding that book baby was very special. It sits beside print copies of my self published series, Hearts of the Outback, and Home to Lark Creek.
I have two boxes of books collected from conferences and waiting for me to get to. Much of my reading these days is late at night and I read on my iPad. It’s easier on the eyes than a printed page and I don’t need the light on! But it does mean my TBR pile of print books has grown rather than reduced!
Culling? I occasionally manage to take half a dozen books at a time to our local community library, a lovely little reading space where I can deposit books for others to share (and try to avoid picking up too many more TBR!)
My library is an eclectic mix, but it represents stages of my life and my reading passions within its shelves. It holds memories of my family and friends, and is my escape room and source of inspiration. I know Marie Kwando sets a very low limit of books one might keep, but for me, they are my pleasure and my treasure.
You can connect with Susanne here: