Sheila Quigley is a crime writer from the North East. She was born in 1947 and started work at the age of fifteen as a presser in Hepworths, a tailoring factory. She published her first novel in 2004. Sheila's books include Run for Home, The Road to Hell and Thorn in my Side. Below she remembers some favourite books.
Sheila Quigley on reading she has enjoyed and been frightened by
I was seven years old before I could understand the squiggles on a sheet of paper, way behind everyone in my class. Then one day, like a finger from above, the teacher pointed at me and told me to read out loud. I can still remember the horror I felt. That night I went home, picked up the local newspaper and pointed a word out to my mother. I learned five words that first night by staring at them and repeating them over and over, the next night I learned another five, and by the end of a fortnight I was top of the class for reading. I've never stopped since.
My first love was the Enid Blyton books, the Famous Five and the Secret Seven. By the age of eleven I was into fantasy. The problem was they were in the adult section of the library, so I used to borrow them under my jumper. Every one was returned, and on reflection I think the librarian must have known what I was up to. This was a small village where everyone knew everyone and everything, so who did I think I was fooling?
When I was sixteen I read Dracula in one sitting. I remember screaming at the doorway to upstairs at one o'clock in the morning for my dad to come and get me.
Then, somewhere in my twenties I found Stephen King and he has been my number one ever since. The man is a genius - his story-telling abilities are nothing short of fantastic. I have loved all his books but my favourite is The Stand.
There have been many books with this story line since, some of them really good, but nothing compares with Mr King. His people - and that's what they are - are all individuals. You feel everything they feel; when they are frightened you are terrified. To me he is the best.
Some time during my thirties I read the one where the clown is looking up from the water-grate. This time I was standing at the bottom of the stairs at one o'clock in the morning shouting for my husband to come and get me.
[All the pieces that have appeared in this series, with the links to them, are listed in the index here.]