This week’s guest on Books Spark Joy is Lisa Ireland. Lisa is a full-time writer of contemporary women’s fiction, who loves to share her knowledge of writing craft with aspiring authors. In 2014 Lisa was a finalist in the Australian Romance Readers Awards in the category of Best New Author, and the following year went on to be one of the top ten debut fiction authors in Australia. Her rural romance, FEELS LIKE HOME, is an Australian bestseller. Lisa’s sixth book, THE SECRET LIFE OF SHIRLEY SULLIVAN will be published by Penguin Random House in May 2020. Lisa lives on Victoria’s beautiful Bellarine Peninsula with her family. She loves eating but not cooking, is an Olympic class procrastinator, and (most importantly) minion to a rather large dog.
Over to Lisa …
I am an unashamed book hoarder. The experience of purchasing a new book is one of life’s great joys; a pleasure I partake of as often as I possibly can.
Growing up, I was that stereotypical book nerd. I read as much and as often as possible. When the teacher announced it was time for ‘silent reading’ I would quietly rejoice while most of those around me groaned. I disobeyed my parents on a daily basis by reading under the covers by the light of pen torch, long after I’d been told to go to sleep.
I remember the thrill of secretly reading while the rest of the house slumbered. My reading adventures took me far away from my suburban Melbourne home: to English woods where magical trees housed fairies and other mythical creatures; to the prairies of Minnesota, where young Laura Ingalls and her family made a home; and to a frozen lake in Wisconsin, where a young Olympic hopeful practiced her skating. I made book friends including Pippi Longstocking, Anne of Green Gables, Elizabeth – The Naughtiest Girl in the School, Jo from Little Women, and my favourite ‘Little Australian’ (and lifelong heroine), Judy.
Books gave me real life friends too. In Grade Four I bonded with a classmate, Fiona, over a shared love of Anne of Green Gables. Fiona and I are friends to this day and we still love nothing better than to talk about what we’re reading. She’s one of the few people I will lend my books to – an indication of my complete trust!
It probably won’t surprise you to learn that my house is filled with books. I have multiple bookcases and reading nooks. Books adorn my coffee table, bedside table and are stacked beside desk and my couch.
I read digital books too. I find it comforting to know that no matter what, I will always have a book on hand. E-books are accessed via my phone, so I never have to worry that I’ll be caught without something to read. It’s not unusual for me to buy both the digital and paperback copy of a book I love!
My main bookcase is in my office. I write surrounded by books and will often pause to consult an admired novel when I’m in the middle of a draft. I find my favourite authors inspiring and I like to keep them close while I create.
As a child, I fantasised about being able to talk to the authors whose work I loved so much. One of the best things about being an author myself is that now I often can talk to the authors of my favourite books. One whole section of my office bookcase is filled with books written by my friends. Sometimes I still find it hard to believe that this is my life!
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