Welcome to the Book Marks Questionnaire, where we ask authors questions about the books that have shaped them.
This week, we spoke to the author of In the Garden of Spite, Camilla Bruce.
Book Marks: First book you remember loving?
Camilla Bruce: I was deeply in love with Grimms’ fairy tales as a child and had a beautiful set that I did not only love, but did my very best to enhance with my own scribblings and drawings.
BM: Favorite re-read?
CB: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. It’s amazing to me how many times I can read that book and still somehow expect the characters to make better—healthier—choices.
BM: What book do you think your book is most in conversation with?
CB: The first book that springs to mind is See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt, a fictionalized account of the Lizzie Borden story.
BM: A book that blew your mind?
CB: The first time I read The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, I felt weird and off-kilter for three days after.
BM: Last book you read?
CB: The Visitors by Catherine Burns; a gloriously dark novel about arrested development, otherness and sinister secrets in a dank basement.
BM: A book that made you cry?
CB: I cannot say for sure if I cried or not, but I found Burial Rites by Hannah Kent immensely heartbreaking.
BM: What book from the past year would you like to give a shout-out to?
CB: Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline, an evocative and modern take on the rougarou myth.
BM: A book that actually made you laugh out loud?
CB: The delightful Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton.
BM: What’s one book you wish you had read during your teenage years?
CB: Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves, which I loved as an adult and would have worshipped as a teen.
BM: Favorite book to give as a gift?
CB: That changes with the tide. This year it has been Ask Baba Yaga by Taisia Kitaiskaia.
BM: Classic book you hate?
CB: The Norwegian classic Sult (Hunger) by Knut Hamsun.
BM: Classic book on your To Be Read pile?
CB: I have no idea why I haven’t read The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman yet, but I have three different editions on my Kindle, so have obviously planned on reading it several times.
BM: What’s a book with a really great sex scene?
CB: Erotic Folktales from Norway, translated by Simon Roy Hughes.
BM: Favorite book no one has heard of?
CB: I, for one, had never heard of Honor Thy Father by Leslie Glaister before I stumbled upon it by chance. It was a lucky break, though, as I have loved it ever since.
BM: Favorite book of the 21st century?
CB: I think that would be Graeme Macrae Burnet’s His Bloody Project. It is clever and dark and held me spellbound throughout.
BM: Favorite book you were assigned in high school?
CB: The Saga of Gisli, a thirteenth century Icelandic saga that opened my eyes to the joys of medieval fiction.
BM: Book(s) you’re reading right now?
CB: I just started We Hear Voices by Evie Green.
BM: Favorite children’s book?
CB: Ever since I was a child myself, I have had a soft spot for Madicken (Mischievous Meg), a lesser-known book by Pippi Longstocking author Astrid Lindgren.
BM: Book you wish would be adapted for a film/tv show?
CB: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell.
Camilla Bruce is a Norwegian writer of dark speculative and historical fiction. She co-founded the micro-press Belladonna Publishing, where she served as editor on two anthologies. Learn more at www.camillabruce.com.
Camilla Bruce’s In the Garden of Spite is out now from Berkley