Your book is called Reader, I Married Me (I love this title.) Can you tell me a little about it and what inspired it?
I wrote this book after going through a bad break up – being cheated on, lied to and rejected by the person I trusted the most. But, you know what, looking back I realise it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Romantic love is wonderful and all, but realising that I didn’t need ‘another half’ to make me happy or ‘complete’ me was an awesome revelation to have. So much so that I decided to take vows of self-commitment and marry myself in Brighton! I know it sounds bonkers but the idea was to start conversations and ask the question ‘why shouldn’t self-love be AS important as romantic love?!’ After all, your relationship with yourself deserves as much attention as any other – and the more you deal with your own crap the less other people have to, right?
So, my new novel is loosely based on my own experience of sologamy because it turns out that loving yourself so publicly is not easy – in fact, it got me a lot of haters. Which kind of highlights the complex attitude our culture has to self-love in the first place! The title slightly adulterates the words of literary heroine Jane Eyre 🙂
What’s your favourite word and why?
Discombobulate. I love this word because it sounds amazing in your mouth and describes the rather marvellous state of being tumbled from your comfort zone. It kind of reminds me of how Winnie the Pooh thinks.
What’s your writing process like from idea to final draft?
Well, I’m still figuring that out actually. Writing the novel was such a great learning curve and I think the next book I write should be a lot more streamlined. Because there is a certain formula to plot and character development and I think if you can pin that down first then your writing becomes a lot less chaotic!
Where do you normally write and do you need coffee, silence, noise?
I’ve realised that my best hours are in the morning, when my imagination is fresh from dreaming, so I often write in bed or on my window seat, I like silence aside from the sound of seagulls outside my window! And, yes, several large mugs of steaming tea accompany the process.
What would be on a playlist for this novel?
Ah good question! There are quite a few references to songs in this book because music is such a big part of my life, including Purple Rain by Prince, Lose Yourself by Eminem, True Colours by Cyndi Lauper, I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor and I Wanna Be Adored by The Stone Roses. Unfortunately you can’t directly quote lyrics in a book so I had to play around with them a bit. In fact I have started the playlist that I think would work well in a film adaptation just for my own pleasure 🙂
Do you have any advice for new writers?
I would say pin down your plot first. There is structure to a story, a narrative curve, which is essentially this: a protagonist is thrown off course by a particular obstacle/antagonist and becomes lost. In order to overcome this, they have to embrace change/fear and acknowledge a truth that helps them return home/be found. I think this can be really helpful when you look at your characters development.
Once you have a rough idea on this then just sit down and start writing as much as you can whenever you can, nothing is set in stone and you can always delete stuff so, simply, begin! Good luck 🙂
More about Sophie:
I live in Kemptown Village, Brighton, with my bumptious Labrador, Ella. It is a mere romp from the beach and suits us very well. I am eternally curious about human behaviour and have a strong interest in literature, music and theatre.
I have always been an avid reader; I absolutely love to curl up with a book. I am so delighted to see my first novel Reader, I Married Me published by Trapeze. It is a cheeky, light-heartedly subversive tale about a girl who decides to marry herself. I strongly believe that all good relationships begin with the self and that self love should be celebrated. And, reader, I did actually marry myself – in a cultural ceremony in Brighton in 2015!
About Reader, I Married Me:
Chloe Usher has had enough of men. After breaking up with the love of her life, Chloe’s friends tell her she needs to get back out there, and find another man before it’s too late.
But after a particularly disastrous date and one too many gins, Chloe has a revelation – she doesn’t need a man to make her happy.
It’s up to her to do it herself. Never one to do things by halves, Chloe decides to make the ultimate commitment to self-love – she’ll marry herself!
But planning a solo wedding isn’t easy, and soon Chloe finds herself on a bumpy journey of self-discovery. Will she finally get her happy ever after?
Reader, I Married Me was released by Trapeze on 16th may 2019. Click to view on www.amazon.co.uk