|Photo courtesy of Jodie Thackray|
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. 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.
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.
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?
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 find Sophie's books on Amazon
You can find Sophie's books on Amazon