On Meet the Author this week I've been joined by romance author Sophie Pembroke. Her latest book, Heiress on the Run, has just been released, so, to find out a little more about that, and about Sophie herself, read on!
As a child and teenager I read very widely, with no real appreciation for the difference between genres. It wasn’t until I was perhaps twenty or so and studying English Literature at university that I read my first romance and realised that this was a genre all of its own. Suddenly it became abundantly clear that the reason my favourite books were my favourites was because of the romantic subplots! From then on, I read a huge amount of romantic fiction in many guises, and when I came to writing my own books it was just a given that they had to have a love story in them somewhere.
I always knew I’d work best with an agent and/or publisher. Self publishing is a hell of a lot of work, especially if you want to do it well, and I am full of admiration for those who manage it. But for me, I just want to write my stories. I enjoy looking after my website, chatting and doing promo on social media and such, and I’m perfectly capable of keeping my accounts up to date… but the business side of self publishing doesn’t excite me. As a result, the learning curve (or expense) required to put out a professional level book just doesn’t seem like the best use of my time right now.
Heiress on the Run starts when Faith, the heroine, discovers that the tour company she works for has gone bust and there’s no plane waiting to take her, and her clients, home to London. The idea for it came to me a couple of years ago, around the time a lot of travel firms were folding suddenly. I remember reading an article about passengers on a plane who had been asked to contribute cash to pay for fuel to fly home. I started thinking what might happen if my heroine didn’t have any cash, or a place to stay, and how she might find another way to land on her feet… and Faith was born!
I do! When we moved house, just over a year ago, one of the main considerations was finding somewhere with a room we could use as a study. When I saw the floorplan for our current home, with its converted garage room slightly separate from the rest of the house, I knew it would be perfect for us. I write full time at home, and my husband is studying part time for a PhD after work, so we share the space. Originally I tried to find a way to fit two desks in the very small room, but soon realised it wasn’t necessary – we can’t ever work in the same room at the same time anyway, as he talks to himself when he’s working! Drives me batty. Anyway, we settled on one long desk against the far wall, and lots of shelves for books. We also splurged on a beautiful patchwork armchair that is perfect for curling up and reading in.
Absolutely! Every single time. As an author, you want everyone to ‘get’ the story you were trying to tell, to love and understand the characters as you do. But the hard truth is that not everyone will. Different people look for different things in stories and characters and, try as you might, you can’t satisfy everybody. So I’m trying to settle for giving as much pleasure to as many people as possible through my books.
I didn’t really think so but, according to my friends and family, yes! One friend complained that my heroines always drink white wine (my favourite) so I purposefully wrote one that only drank red. I think every character has their own little quirks and, perhaps inevitably, often they stem from me or people that I know. But characters are always a composite of many different things – backstory, beliefs, desires… and no one character could ever be based on one real person.
This mostly depends on how disciplined I’m being! I know that my best writing days are the ones where I get up early and get 500 words down before the rest of my day starts. Just having that little head start makes it easier to write all through the morning, and gives me a higher word count for the day as a whole. If I wait until after the school run to start writing, I find it harder to get going. And I always start to flag after lunch, so the more I get done before then the better.
Do you plan your stories before you start writing them, or do you just “wing” it?
A bit of both, really. I usually have a vague idea of what I’m doing, but I need to write the first chapter or two to get a real feel for the story and the characters. After that, I can sit down and write a proper outline to follow – although some of my best scenes never appeared in an outline, but rather came to me during the writing. But if I don’t have a plan at all I tend to flounder for a while then go and make another cup of tea.
Heiress on the Run (Harlequin Romance)
Once a Lady…always a Lady?