Rebecca was the book that made me want to write. Since first reading it, aged thirteen, Daphne du Maurier has been part of my life. She shapes me as a writer. Daphne’s Cornish novels inspired the location for my first novel, ‘The Changeling’; The House on the Strand piqued a life-long interest in time travel, as exemplified in my novel, ‘The Travelling Philanthropist’; Don’t Look Now and The Scapegoat fed my fascination with the uncanny, siblings and doubles, which led to my novels, ‘Three Faced Doll’ and ‘Prescient Spirit’.
I feel my life sometimes mirrors Daphne’s. Like me, she was a ‘daddy’s girl’ and found social roles hard to play, selfishly pursued her own interests whilst relishing moments to be alone. When Daphne read Wuthering Heights aged twelve, she became as obsessed with the Brontes as I’ve become with her. We’re both intrigued by things strange, unexplained, and macabre, and we both play at imagining.
Daphne du Maurier’s work can be revisited time and time again. Like Rebecca, she haunts my life. Can I know the real Daphne from her writing? The biographer Claire Tomalin says you become obsessed with your subject, their life so bound up with your own, that you’ve gone in too deep to cast them aside. I walk in Daphne’s footsteps, reading everything I can find about her – novels, short stories, autobiographical works, and biographies.
Read the full article on the Daphne du Maurier website.