Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Author interview with Sophia Bennett!

How did you come up with the characters for your book 'Threads'? Were they based on anyone you know?
Most of the characters have bits of me in them, but they just developed as the story unfolded. Nonie arrived in my head as a chatty, funny girl with a quirky sense of style and a sense of humour, but she also got some characteristics from my stepdaughters, such as her confidence, her kindness and her interest in finding out what's happening in the world. The story became much easier to write once I found her. Edie has lots of me in her, including her tendency to lecture people on how to be good and her ability to say the wrong thing without meaning to. Crow was herself from the moment the story came to me. She wasn't originally from Uganda, or a Night Walker, but she was shy, imaginative and hard to get to know. And Jenny was just Jenny. She started off as quite a small character, and then she just grew and took lots of the story with her! I use real celebrities sometimes, who I mention by name, but my made-up characters are truly made up and not based on real people. I enjoy conjuring them up out of nowhere! 

Have you always wanted to write as a profession?
Yup, pretty much. I wrote stories and poetry when I was seven and carried on from there. Writing is the one thing I can do when usually I know if it's any good or not. I love playing with words and as I'm always, always telling myself little stories, it's great to get some of them down on paper - or onto a computer screen. Even if I was a deep-sea diver or something (never gonna happen), I'd still be telling myself stories. I wish I could illustrate them too. That would be wonderful. But, like Nonie, I truly can't draw. 

If you could be a character from one of your books, who would you be and why?
What a lovely question! I haven't been asked that before. I think it would be great to be Nonie's older brother, Harry, because he's cool and funny, he's doing a job he loves (DJing) and people just naturally like him. It would also be fun to be Granny because she says and does whatever she likes, she has an amazing wardrobe and lots of incredible memories. More fun to be her than to be with her, though. Also, I really admire Edie for not only caring about other people, but actually doing something about it whenever she can. 

What is it like being an author?
Truly, fantastically wonderful. Thank you for asking. I just hope it lasts! I like the lifestyle - lots of time in cafes and libraries, writing, but also time with my children (unlike when I was a consultant and often had to work very late). I love travelling and talking to schoolchildren about my books and what it's like to be a writer. And getting the chance to hear some of the amazing stories that they write. But the best bit is when I'm in the middle of a chapter and I'm not sure how to finish it and one of my characters (often Crow) just does something unexpected and I sit back in astonishment for a bit and then write as fast as I can to keep up with her. It's quite a risky lifestyle - you're busy creating this thing in a room all by yourself and you have no idea if other people are going to like it, but I enjoy that risky side of it (I'm odd that way), and then if they do like it, it's wonderful. I certainly wouldn't do it for the money, though. Not everybody is JK Rowling! Honestly! 

What is your favourite kind of music?

There's quite a lot of music in Threads, which I enjoyed putting in, and all of it is stuff I listen to, from Girls Aloud to Chopin. It depends what kind of mood I'm in. I love jazz, funk and blues, but also classical piano music and pop tunes you can really dance to. I love the Police (from when I was a teenager), and Prince and an LA band called Steely Dan. I think I know every word of their strange lyrics. Talking of lyrics, my favourite singer is the late Ian Dury. His songs are very funny and his band, the Blockheads, are absolutely brilliant. When I'm writing, I have a whole playlist of songs I enjoy having in the background. Zero 7 are absolutely the best to write to, followed by David Bowie, Girls Aloud, the Ting Tings, Dizzee Rascal and Michael Jackson. But if I'm not writing, I love Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone. Phew! I hope that's enough ... (Oh, also Bach ...) 

Are you currently writing a new book, and if so can you tell us about it?
I'm writing the third book in the Threads series, which focuses quite a lot on Jenny's career and also has Nonie wondering what will happen when she and Crow do their exams and leave school. Will Crow still need her? And Edie makes some major discoveries about herself and other people, which makes one particular person look at her in a totally new way ... There's a lot happening and although I know exactly what happens in the end, at the moment I'm trying to work out how to get the beginning to work. Always the hardest part. Luckily, book 2 is mostly done and I'm really REALLY looking forward to seeing it on bookshelves in May. The cover is amazing! 

Thank you very much Sophia!
Thanks Amber!


  1. Wonderful interview - thanks, both of you

    I'll be linking to this on Chicklish very soon with the extra question Sophia Bennett kindly answered for us, more thanks to Amber!

  2. Interesting interview - Thank you Amber and Sophia!


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