Author Interview: Sophie Childs

Today I am very happy to welcome Sophie Childs to my blog. Sophie is going to publish her debut novel, Behind the Scenes, with So Vain Books this Thursday. Today she is going to answer some bookish questions for us.

Hi Sophie and welcome! Tell us a bit about yourself: 
I’m a home educating mother of five children aged from 11 down to 4. My younger three were born in New Zealand, where I lived for five years, but I’m now based in South Wales and I absolutely love it here. The scenery is stunning and the people amazing – what more could you want? Most of my time is taken up with the children, but I also enjoy belly dancing and recently performed a solo with two swords, which was on my bucket list, so I’m proud of myself for achieving that. 

You spent 5 years working in an office before quitting to follow a more creative path, what made you decide to take the risk?
I was miserable. I was going through a divorce, was in massive amounts of debt and had no idea where I was going to be living when the dust had settled. Clearly that was the best time to launch a world conquering music career! I guess I just made the decision that I wanted to be happy, which meant getting rid of everything that wasn’t right for me. As it turned out, that was pretty much all of my life, but although it was scary throwing myself into the arms of the universe and hoping it all turned out OK, it really did. Although I’m now a writer instead of a musician, so it obviously didn’t all go quite to plan, within 18 months of quitting that job, I was living in a little house I adored, I’d met the man of my dreams and I was well on my way to supporting myself solely through a creative career. 

Did your family and friends support your decision?
It was interesting because the most supportive people were my former colleagues! I had so many people tell me that they wished that they had the courage to leave office life and they were all very supportive of my decision to follow my dream. At the time, I wasn’t in touch with my family. My mother died a few years before, so I was effectively on my own, which made it even more frightening to put myself out there without a safety net, but it all worked out.

Tell us a bit about your debut novel Behind the Scenes:
It tells the story of Bethan Brooks, who works in an office for a demanding boss while she’s supporting her boyfriend’s rock star aspirations. She loves going to the movies, so when she meets her favourite actor on the Tube, she’s over the moon. Little does she know that that chance encounter would set in motion a chain of events that turns her world upside down. 

Where did you find the inspiration to write this novel? Have you ever encountered a famous actor on the Tube yourself?
I’d recently read a story about how Keanu Reeves regularly travels on the subway in New York, so that was the initial inspiration. I have met a lot of famous people from my time living in London. I used to work in a shop in Covent Garden, where I was also a licensed busker, and we had all sorts of people from Zoe Ball to Jill Dando come in to buy things, but the other main inspiration was from my time organising and hosting an open mic night at the 12 Bar in London. I booked an act who I didn’t realise was one of the leads in Guys and Dolls (Doug Hodge, a really lovely guy) and he managed to bring along the entire cast and crew, which included people like Ewan McGregor and Jane Krakowski. However, I was most excited when I spotted Darren Boyd in the audience. I’d loved him as Hugo in a Channel 4 series Hippies, so I got talking to him. He was just the sweetest person and I still treasure my photo of me with him – I’m beaming my head off! I still get a thrill when I see him in films and TV series. He won’t remember our chat, but in my head, he’s still my friend. A lot of the initial conversation between Bethan and Vincent is based on that encounter. 

Which 3 words would you choose to describe your book?
Funny, intriguing and quirky. 

Are you working on a new book? What can we expect?
I am! I just signed a second contract with So Vain Books. My next novel is about Erin, who signs up to an internet dating site after her fiancĂ© jilts her and ends up dating a famous photographer. However, things are complicated by her interfering mother and the challenges of dating someone high profile add extra stress. As far as the plot is concerned, it’s very different to Behind the Scenes, but I’m planning on including a lot of humour to give it the same light hearted feel and I’m very excited about how it’s shaping up. 

You are a home-educating mother of five, where do you find the time to write? Do you have your own writing space or you write whenever and wherever you can?
I have a desk in the front room so the children can come and talk to me whenever they need and I’m right in the heart of things to keep an eye on them. I write fast, which really helps because sometimes I can’t start writing until quite late in the day. I pretty much grab whatever time I can. I’m a freelance writer on top of my own projects, so I usually have deadlines for clients to meet, but I’ve become adept at knowing just how much I can get done in a day and somehow it all works out. Sunday tends to be my most productive day. My husband’s around, so I can shut myself away in my bedroom and work on my laptop without being disturbed. Well, without being disturbed too much! 

Any tips for aspiring authors?
Write, write and then write some more! It really is that simple. It’s one of the things I love about being a freelance writer. I get to do my favourite thing, hone my craft and get paid for it at the same time. 
I would also say that you need to learn how to distance yourself from your work. Writing is such a personal thing and you invest so much of yourself in every piece that it can be really hard when not everyone loves it as much as you do. You have to accept that not everyone will like what you do and that’s OK. It’s nothing personal; you just didn’t write what they were looking for. 
As a freelance writer, rejection is an everyday occurrence. I don’t get every job that I apply for and that doesn’t mean that I’m a bad writer, just not the right writer for their project. It also means that when I work with an editor, I can listen to their critique and take it for what it is – a way of improving my work, not an attack on me as a person. Every writer can be better if they have a good editor behind them and I’ve been really privileged to have worked with some fantastic editors in my time, especially Sophia at So Vain Books. 

And finally, what is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you?
I was offered an indecent proposal once. When I left my office job, I was massively in debt and I was on an internet dating site, where I met some really interesting people (although no one that I was interested in actually dating). There was one guy who I thought was just a friend when out of the blue he turned around and offered to pay off my debt, which was some £30,000, in return for a night of passion. He said that for him it would be making love and hoped that I’d feel the same way. 
Needless to say, I turned down his kind offer and never heard from him again.

Thanks Sophie for stopping by and answering all my bookish questions. 

Behind the Scenes, Sophie's debut, is out this Thursday and sounds fabulous: 

Things are never quite as they appear.

Bethan Brooks works in London for the ultimate boss from Hell, trying to support her wannabe rockstar boyfriend. But are The Vampire Squirrels really ever going to make it big or is she doomed to be a secretary forever? Luckily, Bethan finds the perfect escape when going to the cinema. There she loses herself in another world and forgets all about the dreaded filing and monotonous office work. Imagine her surprise when one day she encounters her favourite actor on the Tube. Suddenly, she finds herself part of the glamorous movie world she only ever dreamed about. With more at stake than she could ever realise, does she really want to know what goes on behind the scenes?

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