Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sophie King is cool bean(o)s!

Sophie King recently made Chick Lit Central headlines, when her previous novel, The School Run, was chosen as one of our favorite books of 2012! In fact, our reviewer, Jami liked it so much that she immediately replied when an opportunity to review Sophie's latest novel, Divorce for Beginners, was presented. (And you can check out her review here.)

Sophie King (who also writes as Janey Fraser) is a journalist and novelist. She has had seven novels published, including The School Run, which was a best-seller, and The Wedding Party, which was short listed for the RNA Love Story of The Year (in 2010). Her first short story collection, Tales from the Heart, also received accolades from Jami this past year.

Sophie has also written numerous non-fiction books including Family Memories (a series of children's books); How To Write Your First Novel; How To Write Your Life Story; along with a few books about parenting and children.

In between novels, Sophie writes short stories and has had hundreds published in magazines such as Woman's Weekly and My Weekly. She also gives regular talks/workshops at bookshops and literary festivals including Winchester and Guildford. Before moving to Devon, she tutored at Oxford University and West Herts College. She also worked at a high security men's prison (!!!) as a writer in residence.

Sophie is here today to talk about her latest novel, writing, and her dog (since she's here during animal month).

You can find her online at her website, Facebook and Twitter.

To celebrate the launch of Divorce for Beginners, she has a FREE short story available on her website.

You also go by the name Janey Fraser. How does your writing style differ between your two pen names?
To be honest, it’s quite similar. However, I have fewer main characters with my Janey Fraser books; usually two women and one man. I try to tell a good tale which is funny but which also deals with the darker sides of life that we all have to go through.

How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
I generally have the germ of an idea and then think of the right kind of characters that would ‘people’ it. Then I allow myself some time to let the story start to ferment in my head while I do other things. I write down lots of notes and leave myself messages on the answer phone if I’m out and can’t find something to write on. I also collect magazine pictures of characters who look similar to the ones in my head. I try to think of a problem that the main character might have to deal with and then I go from there. As I write, I constantly get more ideas for the plot and write them down in my notepad. It’s a bit like driving a car with a rough idea of where you’re going but with enough time, hope and faith to admire the view on the way.

Do you base any of your characters on yourself?
There are usually bits of any author in a character. But if I did myself all the time, it would get very repetitive!

What was your inspiration for writing Divorce for Beginners?
When I got divorced myself, I discovered a whole new world out there of friendship and support. It taught me a lot of lessons. Even though I’m married again, I’m very aware of those lessons.

What is the funniest thing your dog did recently?
He’s started to steal socks. Anyone’s. None of us have a complete pair between us. I’m thinking about sock therapy. For all of us.

What is your dog's name and what is the story behind that name?
I’ll tell you about my old dog because there’s a story to do with his name. He was called Beano; so-called, because my children used to get The Beano [a children's comic book in the UK] . We lived in the country and he would run alongside our bikes to collect The Beano from the post box at the end of the lane. Then he would sit on the carpet and apparently read it. Honestly.

What do you enjoy most about having a dog?
The company. He’s also a great guard dog. And he likes listening to me when I play the piano which is brave of him as I am only a beginner.

Who is your favorite animal from a movie?
Bambi. It was the first film I was taken to. Apparently I had to be taken out of the cinema in Harrow, in floods of tears, when Bambi’s mother died.

Thanks to Sophie for chatting with us and to Great Stories with Heart for facilitating this interview.

1 comment:

Nova said...

Nice interview : really enjoyed it!