Q and A... Sophia Bennett

Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?

A: I wanted to be a writer. And a few other things, including an Olympic gymnast, a fashion designer and an air hostess (they wore great hats in those days). But I couldn’t do a handstand, could hardly draw, and I wasn’t tall enough to qualify as an air hostess, so writer it was.


Q: What are you afraid of?

A: Not much. Bats indoors. Very tall rollercoasters. That’s about it.


Q: What’s your favourite colour?

A: It varies. Right now, it’s sky blue.


Q: What is your favourite possession?

A: A little bronze sculpture my mother made of my eldest son as a toddler on the beach.


Q: How long have you been a writer?

A: It depends how you look at it. In my heart, I’ve been a writer since I was about seven and wrote my first book, Harry the Horse, but I didn’t write my first successful novel until 2008. Technically, I’ve been a writer since then, but to me, that’s just when the outside finally matched how I felt inside.


Q: Do you write by hand or on the computer?

A: I make notes by hand, in a little black Moleskin notebook, but I write on my MacBook Pro.


Q: Which of your characters do you most identify with?

A: I’m really a combination of Nonie and Edie in Threads. I have Nonie’s aspiration to be a fashion designer, and lack of ability to draw, and Edie’s crusading zeal, combined with accidental ability to insult people without meaning to.


Q: Where do you get your greatest ideas from?

A: Things that fascinated me when I was growing up: art, fashion, design, the people around me and the characters in the books I read. I’m still getting those out of my system in my books. Usually, the best plots and scenes come to me when I’m in the bath. I have to keep a notepad there to write them down.


Q: What sort of books do you write?

A: Contemporary YA fiction for young teens.


Q: Which writers/illustrators would you have on your dream team and why?

A: JK Rowling, for all the obvious reasons, Noel Streatfeild, because inspired me growing up, Julia Donaldson, because I love everything she does, and Lauren Child (ditto). I adore Lauren’s illustrations, too. And Quentin Blake’s, of course. But my dream illustrator would be Rene Gruau, a fashion illustrator from the 1950s, whose drawings are iconic.


Q: I loved writing this bit...

A: This little extract from the end of Threads was hard to do, but I loved getting there in the end:


‘What did Vivienne say?’ I ask her.

         ‘That the show was brilliant. But she also said it’s a tough business. Hard work. Lots of disappointments. She’s right. Are you sure you want it?’

         Crow shrugs her shrug. She knows that if she wasn’t a designer she’d go stark, staring bonkers. Thank goodness her dad understands.

         I just laugh.

         Me and Vivienne Westwood. Talking about the fashion  

business. La la la.



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