1. The First Man of Rome (and sequels) by Colleen McCullough
A gift from my Aunt and Uncle, a massive hardback that had some very adult scenes considering I was probably in my early teens. Inspired a lifelong obsession with Rome, the women in Roman history, and Julius Caesar. Certainly led to me choosing Ancient Civilisations at college, which led to my eventual PhD in Classics. All your fault, McCullough!
2. Shapechangers, by Jennifer Roberson
The first fantasy series I read because I was actively looking for fantasy fiction, rather than because I needed to read David Eddings so I could join in the conversation with my friends at school. I still remember being so inspired by this series that, after everyone had gone home after my fourteenth birthday party, I lay down on a pile of mattresses and started writing my own first real novel.
3. The Madigal, by Beverley McDonald
A paperback found in the book section of Myer, the first time I realised that Australians could write fantasy and get it published by an Australian publisher (I think Pan Macmillan)? Heady, brain-altering revelations, in a pre-Voyager world. I started thinking that my secret dream might be closer than I thought.
4. The Colour of Magic, by Terry Pratchett
Just as I was getting completely overwhelmed by a glut of fantasy reading, and starting to suspect that my favourite genre wasn’t quite as shiny as I thought, here came Mr Pratchett to blow my mind with the idea that you could write fantasy that was funny and subversive and commented on the genre itself. The next fantasy novel I would start writing was one which turned the cliches of my earlier manuscripts on their head, and also the one that would get me published for the first time…
5. Up the Duff, by Kaz Cooke
The older I get, the less likely I am to find books that have an enormous, life-changing effect on me, but this was the one that made me feel sane about being pregnant, and at the time that felt like a pretty major achievement.
Has one book (or many) ever changed your life significantly?