Christine Wells’ new novel is The Wife’s Tale. Photo: SuppliedBrisbane author Christine Wells was a corporate lawyer with a love of British history before turning to fiction. Her new novel, The Wife’s Tale (Penguin), contrasts the story of two women, one in the 18th century and the other in the present, as they deal with marriage, divorce and property rights.

The OdysseyHomer

When I was 11, my speech and drama teacher required me to read The Odyssey to better understand that other ancient classic, Toad of Toad Hall. Contrary to expectations, I loved the rhythm and roll of the language and the adventures of Odysseus and his men enthralled me. After that, I became braver in my reading choices and developed a lifelong love of ancient Greek history and literature. I re-read The Odyssey every few years.

The Kite RunnerKhaled Hosseini

This novel had a profound effect on me. I listened to the audiobook, narrated by the author. That seemed an intimate experience, as if the protagonist was in the room with me, telling his story. I felt deeply for someone who lived and struggled and made mistakes in horrible circumstances utterly different from my own. It taught me the amazing power fiction has to engage a reader’s empathy.

The Distant HoursKate Morton

Reading Kate Morton’s work is like stepping into another world, all gothic and strange, yet oddly comforting in its nostalgia. It has that same allure of the fairytale, where we move through an enchanted place with something very, very wrong at its core. Morton’s phenomenal popularity has proven that people still love good, old-fashioned storytelling with a strong narrative. That has been an inspiration to me as a writer of historical fiction.

Creativity for LifeEric Maisel

A psychologist who works with artists, Maisel understands the sources of anxiety that sometimes stop writers achieving the magical state of flow for which we all strive. In a style that is droll and clear-sighted yet sympathetic, he explains how creativity works and methods and practices artists can use to tap into the creative well. Maisel’s teaching has become a touchstone for me when I’m laying down the first draft.

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