I thought people might be quite interested to hear how an author writes and where they get their ideas from, so I’ve asked Sophie Bowns, author of ‘the Defeatist’ to do a question and answer session with me! My last post was a review of ‘The Defeatist’, which can be viewed here! I gave the novel a 4/5 rating because I literally could not put it down, the plot was intriguing and kept my attention throughout, and the general narrative was so well thought out. Anyway, introducing….Sophie!
What made you set ‘The Defeatist’ in a limbo between life and death?
It’s something that has always fascinated me. I think ‘what happens to us after we die?’ is a question that everyone would like the answer to. I thought that setting ‘The Defeatist’ in limbo could be quite an interesting concept, as I enjoy reading novels and on-line articles about the afterlife and angels.
What gave you the idea for the whole novel in the first place?
I tend to get brainwaves at inappropriate times. I.e. at 3 am when I’m trying to sleep but can’t, because I have different thoughts flying around my brain. I think the majority of my inspiration comes to me in my dreams and I always have a notebook and pen nearby to scribble down my thoughts. I actually thought that ‘The Defeatist’ was going to be a short story or novella, but it ended up as a 98,000 word novel.
Do you get inspiration for your character’s looks and traits from elsewhere? If yes, where do you look for inspiration?
I always try to base aspects of my characters on people I know. I think I based “Jude Reed” (The protagonist of ‘The Defeatist’) loosely on myself. Like Jude, I am very self-critical and have a tendency to be my own worst enemy. I wanted Tiffany to be the complete opposite of Jude. She’s 21, and a high-spirited, dread-locked young woman who is seemingly care free. I loved creating her.
Do you make really detailed plans or do you write and hope the details work themselves out?
In terms of characters, I tend to write an initial characters list and loosely bullet point some of their main traits and characteristics, such their age, sexuality and a brief physical description. I plan the first few chapters of my novel in great detail, after a while I don’t need to do this, as my characters write their own stories.
– They’re very helpful!
How long did it take to write ‘The Defeatist’?
After completing it, there were aspects of the story that I didn’t like. For instance, the final few chapters felt very incomplete and empty. I ended up deleting them and re-writing them entirely. I started writing it in November 2014 and put it on kindle in April 2015, so all in all, it took about five months.
Have your family and friends read it? What did they think?
My Mum is reading it at the moment, actually. Hang on, I’ll just text her.
*20 minutes later after skype*
My Mum has actually finished reading it now. She was initially surprised by the subject matter and the fact that my main character was gay. She recognised aspects of the story that I’d based on my own life such as some of the products I had mentioned.
It evoked different emotions and she found herself laughing and crying. She loved Tiffany and saw part of herself in her. My Mum liked the repetitive pattern and thought that the novel had a natural flow. Ideally, she would have liked Grace Winter & Jude to end up being in a relationship together as she was fond of Grace.
On the other hand, my Dad started reading it and found it hard to connect with Jude as he thought that he was weak and self-obsessed. However, since my Mum has read and enjoyed my novel, he said that he will give it another go.
Have you always loved writing?
I’ve loved creative writing since I was about eight years old. It started when I was in year 4 at school and used to jot down all my stories in a red notebook that my Nanan gave me. Writing is like escapism. Sometimes, I feel like I need a break from reality, and before I know it, I’m lost in my own little world.
Is it easy to publish on Amazon?
It’s a very easy process, providing that everything is organised. I always like to make sure that I’m as happy as I can be with my word document before I even begin. I use KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and the whole process normally takes me about an hour and a half to two hours. Finding a cover image is the hardest part for me, as I’m always worried about copyright.
Do you ever write anything apart from fiction/novels?
I love writing poetry; it’s something I strive to improve at. I’m currently writing a poem which has ended up being 1,000 words long. Ideally, I’d quite like to go back to it soon (as I’ve had a break) and re-work it. I think it would work really well if my sister was to illustrate it. I like the idea of collaborating with someone.
I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing from Sophie rather than me for a change, and I’d like to thank her for taking the time to answer my questions! Her ebook ‘The Defeatist’ is available on Amazon for Kindle at only £1! Or it can be downloaded through the Amazon Kindle app onto smartphones and tablets.