Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Friend and author, Sophie Claire...

Photo courtesy of Jodie Thackray
... visits my blog today.  Hi, Sophie and thanks for being here.  So tell me, what is your current release...

SC It’s called Summer at the French Olive Grove and it’s about adventurous filmmaker, Lily Martin, who breaks her arm and must return home to France while she recuperates.  She hasn’t seen her childhood crush, Olivier Lacoste, since the devastating fire that changed her life and they have unfinished business.
AW   What first got you into writing and why?
SC  I first began writing twenty years ago when my son was a baby.  I had an outbreak of very painful eczema and writing was a form of pain relief that took me away for a couple of hours while my son napped.  Then I saw a leaflet in my local library for a women’s writing group and went along feeling very nervous and convinced they’d turn me away.  In fact, they were wonderfully encouraging and I learned so much there.  I’ll always be grateful to that group for setting me off on this journey.
AW  You write Romance.  Is it all imagination or do you also undertake research?
  I think it’s imperative to research because I know it’s off-putting as a reader when an author gets something wrong (having said that we can all make mistakes despite our best efforts).  So I do a lot of reading around a subject if it’s unfamiliar (eg burns survivors for Summer at the French Olive Grove) and I interview knowledgeable people where I can. A lot of research can be done on the internet too, of course.  If anyone saw my Google searches it might make them chuckle because they can seem quite random.  In the same day, I might look up the symbolism of olive groves, how long a broken arm takes to heal, and how to make choux pastry.  Writing leads me to learn all sorts of quirky facts.
AW  And what about other types of writing?  I know you write short stories for the Miss Moonshine anthologies, but have you ever dabbled with other genres?
SC  My most recent ‘dabbling’ was a piece of flash fiction (250 words).  It was such fun to write and satisfyingly quick.  I try to keep an open mind about trying new projects and never say never.  It takes me a year minimum to write a novel, so shorter pieces are especially rewarding and keep the magic of writing alive.
AW  Famous authors, such as Roald Dahl and Dylan Thomas, had a special space for writing.  Do you have a writing ‘shed’ of your own?
SC  I wish!  A shed would have been perfect during lockdown or when we had workmen in.
But I can’t complain because I’m very fortunate to have an office of my own.  It overlooks the garden so there are no distractions except squirrels, cats and foxes trotting through.  My office is also very messy, so don’t be deceived by this picture.
AW  Finally, what would your eight-year-old self think of, and say about, you today?
SC   Great question!  My eight-year-old self adored making up stories and she used to fill exercise books.  She’d tell me I worry too much, and I should relax and have fun.  Children are so good at being spontaneously creative, and I strongly believe that we adults could learn a lot from them.  When I’m writing a scene and it’s going well, it does feel as if I’m plugging into my inner child.  Nothing beats that feeling.

about the book...
Filmmaker Lily's life is all about work and adventure.
  So when she suffers an accident on her travels and finds herself recuperating in the quiet French seaside village where she spent her childhood, she can't wait to escape.  Not least because Olivier - Lily's childhood friend and former crush, who she has spent the last thirteen years avoiding - is staying next door.
Strong-minded master baker Olivier is happily settled in St Pierre, preparing to marry and put down roots.  But Lily's return to the village risks turning his carefully-laid plans upside down, and as the pair rediscover their familiar rivalry and fun, sparks fly.
Is Lily really as fearless and independent as she seems on the surface - or is she just running from the past?  And what if Olivier is the only one who can teach her what it really means to be brave?

about the author… Sophie Claire writes uplifting emotional stories with their heart in Provence, where she spent her childhood summers.  She is half French, half Scottish, was born in Africa and growing up in England she felt she didn’t belong anywhere – except in the pages of a book.  Perhaps this is why she likes to help her characters find their home; a place in the world where they can be loved for themselves.
Previously, she worked in marketing and proofreading academic papers, but writing is what she always considered her ‘real job’ and now she’s delighted to spend her days dreaming up heartwarming contemporary romance stories set in beautiful places.

You can follow Sophie on her Website on Facebook Twitter Instagram and on Pinterest

You can find Sophie's books on Amazon 


  1. Nice to meet Sophie. I know what she means by our search history. What would a stranger think if they saw it? AS authors, we are totally harmless... or are we?

    1. Yes, I know what you mean too. My search history, and when I think about some of the conversations I've had other writer friends - raised eyebrows in response really doesn't cut it. But, there is one thing I know - I might write about and plot murder, but I'm way too much of a whimp to ever carry one out.

  2. Sophie, I love your 'about the author'! I love people who feel 'not to belong anywhere' because I feel like that as well. I am half French... half Italian... and I live in the United States. Writing is our way to escape from the reality. I wish you a beautiful success with your book.

    1. Thanks you Michel. They say that being an 'outsider' makes us better writers because we're observers of society. I don't know if it's true or not, but it does make life interesting to experience different cultures and I feel very lucky to be able to write about it too.