With the impending move to a new home after 12 years in one place, it's only now I realise the impact being an author and book lover has had on our home. Books feature in most rooms, and I've just counted the bookcases.

We have 14. I'm supposed to be getting rid of some books before we move, but do you think I can do it? They are my guilty pleasures, and I suspect I won't be letting any of them go.

I have a vast collection of signed books that are special to me because, in many cases, I have become friends with the authors.

So the books by local writers Ann Glamuzina, Karen Breen, Hannah Tunnicliffe, Karyn Hay and Lindsey Dawson - to name just a handful of women - are now treasured, not just as excellent novels, but also for my personal connections to these lovely writers.


I have also toured with some distinguished international authors, so there is no way I'm parting with these signed copies. Kate Mosse, the author of Labyrinth, stands out as a personal favourite for her sense of humour and the adventures we had on tour.

Mark Gimenez, a tall, dark and handsome thriller writer from Texas, is another favourite. I loved his enthusiasm for visiting our shores. That leads nicely on to our growing collection of Lonely Planet Travel Guides that are so much more than just books, with their highlighted sections and scribbled notes after each trip away.

There is also the collection of non-fiction books I have accumulated while doing research for my historical novels, The Paris of the East and The Paris of the West. I'm sure these books will be useful for future stories, so I'm keeping them.

And there is a growing number of excellent novels I couldn't part with because they have moved, inspired or informed me.

Then there are books I want to keep because they are beautiful. I have a set of Virago hardback classics with gorgeous covers that look like retro wallpaper.

I don't usually keep proof copies, but I have a stunning hardback proof copy of The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, which has charming black-and-white photographic postcards to use as bookmarks.

It's infinitely better than the 'real' book and is probably now a collector's item. There are also the leather-bound books from the mid to late 1800s that are most certainly collector's items, and a newer collection of classic books from Pan Macmillan that are small and perfectly formed.

We have many cookbooks that my husband enthusiastically uses, while I'm drawn to the photography and beautiful design. Food Worth Making by Sam Mannering is one of our most-used.

So there you have my reasons for not wanting to cull my books. They're practical. They're inspirational. Often they're beautiful. Brushstrokes of Memory, by Karen McMillan (McKenzie Publishing, $35) is available now.

Brushstrokes of Memory, by Karen McMillan (McKenzie Publishing, $35) is available now.