Claire Stevens is the author of Zero, the first book in The Protectorate Series. She lives in rural Essex with her family and cat.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first book I can remember taking out of the library was The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. I can remember being very impressed at the amount the caterpillar ate! When I was a little older my favourite books were the My Best Fiend series by Sheila Lavelle. They are hilarious and were instrumental in turning me on to reading as a hobby.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
In no particular order....
Maus by Art Spiegelman. Just an incredible book charting a family's experience of the holocaust. I love the artwork and the conversations with his father flow so naturally. It has a brutal honesty to it too - Spiegelman doesn't try to sugar-coat the frustrating relationship he has with this father or make him out to be some kind of folk hero.
Can I have the whole Twilight saga as one choice? These books knocked my socks off when I read them for the first time and I can still happily read them over and over again.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It was set two hundred years ago but when you read it you realise how little human relationships have changed in that time.
The Shining by Stephen King. Joey from Friends had it absolutely right when he said, 'The question should be Rach, what is NOT so great about The Shining. Okay? And the answer would be: nothing.' Enticingly but not off-puttingly scary, and written by King at the very top of his game, The Shining is a masterpiece.
The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Clare and Henry's quiet, undramatic love spans decades and an unfortunate genetic disorder. Beautifully written and completely captivating.