I am delighted to be able to introduce you to the very talented author, Sophie Cousens.
A few weeks back, I attended the launch night of Sophie’s book, How To Get Ahead in Television. I first met Sophie a couple of months ago, after she got in touch to discuss her new book and we decided to meet, so that I could get to know more about it and share this with you.
Sophie moved to Jersey quite recently and has juggled this big life change and writing her new book, a very inspirational lady! She has a very interesting background, which I’m sure you will enjoy learning about just as much as I did.
Here’s my interview with Sophie, so you can have a little glimpse into her inspiration and what that new book is all about.
When did you first get in to writing?
I think I have always written, even when I was very young. When I was nine I used to write bizarre stories for my family about Prime Minister John Major coming on our family holidays. I think my parents found them very amusing, though I don’t think I had meant for the stories to be funny!
What is your inspiration for writing?
Anything and everything can spark an idea for a story – perhaps a funny experience that happens to me, or someone interesting I meet. My big problem is probably having too many ideas, and not enough time to develop or write them all properly. I think in general I just love the craft of story telling, and in comedic writing, of making people laugh.
What did you do before you went in to writing?
I was a television producer in London for twelve years, working on shows such as Graham Norton, Big Brother and Russell Howard’s Good News. I loved working in TV, every day was different and there were plenty of eccentric characters both on and off the screen.
Tell us a bit about your new book and what it is about?
My book is called How To Get Ahead In Television and it’s a romantic comedy set in the world of television production. The main character, Poppy Penfold, desperately wants to work in TV, but when she finally gets her big break, it doesn’t quite turn out as she planned. There’s a lot of behind the scenes drama with Poppy working on shows such as Strictly Come Prancing and Changing Grooms. If you’ve ever been the new girl at work, or you’re interested in how TV really works, then I think you would enjoy this book.
Have you written any other books?
I have written the first draft of a Young Adult Fiction Science Fiction novel. It could not be more different from How To Get Ahead In Television, and is yet to be published (currently sitting in a drawer somewhere). I think I might be sticking to Rom Coms from now on, as they are a bit easier to sell!
Do you have a routine that you stick to when you’re writing?
Not at all, and I think not having a routine has always been a bit of a problem for me – it leads to a lot of procrastination! I won a competition called Love At First Write to get this book published (a competition run by Corvus Books and Lovereading.co.uk to find new writing talent) and it was the best thing that could have happened to me, primarily because as soon as I won I was given all these deadlines I needed to hit, and that’s exactly what someone like me needs – deadlines. Without them I’ll just procrastinate, writing one short paragraph and then stopping to check Facebook or to have a tea and biscuit break. If I’d carried on like that, my book would probably not have been finished until 2020 and I would be twenty stone!
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to become a writer?
Keep writing. It’s unlikely you will get the first thing you write published, but you might get the third or fourth. It’s only by continuing to write that you will improve. I would also recommend looking out for competitions – they can be a great launch pad to get your work read, and there are lots of good ones out there.
What do you love most about being a writer?
The fact that a story is mine and mine alone. In TV production there are always a hundred other people inputting their thoughts, or diluting your brilliant ideas with practical considerations like ‘no, we can’t afford to shoot Graham Norton out of a cannon’. However, paradoxically, this is also the worst thing about being a writer – if you run out of ideas or lose faith in a story, there’s no one around to help you, whereas in TV there’s always a big team to help brainstorm a solution together.
What has been the biggest challenge for you in your career?
Moving to Jersey and giving up my TV career! I loved working in comedy entertainment, and spent over a decade building up my reputation in the industry. However, when my husband got a job in Jersey, we had to move, and I needed to come up with a new career trajectory (there not being many huge budget entertainment shows filmed on the island…) If this book goes well, hopefully my new career will be writing, and at least that’s something I can do from anywhere.
Who is your favourite author?
I love Sophie Kinsella and Caitlin Moran, basically funny women. It’s so hard to write good comedy that also has a heart, and these two do it so well!
What are your plans for the future?
I’m about to have a baby, so writing book two is on pause for a few months. After
I’ve got to grips with having a mini me around, hopefully I will find time to write the sequel to this book – How To Get Further Ahead In Television. Oh and I’m yet to experience the joys of a Jersey winter so I’m looking forward to that…
Big thanks to Sophie for taking the time to meet with me and share her story with us. I can’t wait to have a read of the book for myself, I’m sure plenty of you will enjoy it too!
If you would like to get your hands on a copy, you can order the book here. Happy reading, feel free to share your thoughts once you’ve had a read, I’m sure Sophie would be pleased to hear from her readers! You can find out more about what Sophie is up to, through her website also.