Sophie McKenzie is the author of books such as 'Girl, Missing', 'The Medusa Project' series and the 'Blood Ties' series. She is a UK author so her books qualify for the British Book Challenge 2011. I met her when I was about 13 at my school and she was so lovely. I emailed her about doing an interview in December and I was so scared. It was the first email I had sent to an author before but she sent me this friendly response and was eager to do an interview.
Your first series All About Eve was based on a teen romance. Do you now prefer writing books that are faster paced with more action? What caused the shift from romance to thrillers?
I like writing them both! I haven’t stopped writing teen romances… in fact I have a new series starting next year, about a girl who falls for the guy playing Romeo in a school play. The first book is called Falling Fast and I should be putting more info about it on my website (www.sophiemckenziebooks.com) later in the year.
You have written three series. Do you prefer writing a series than a standalone novel? If so, why is this?
I like writing series because you don’t have to say goodbye to the characters and can carry on developing them. I particularly enjoyed working on the Medusa series because those books gave me the opportunity to write from each of the four main characters points of view in turn.
What was your inspiration for Blood Ties and the second instalment Blood Ransom?
There was no single inspiration for these books, just a general and long-standing fascination with human cloning. There were certain things I wanted to put into the books – like how it would feel to discover you were a clone, but most of the story developed as I wrote.
Do you base your characters upon people that you know or are they something you develop using purely your imagination?
Almost always, I write people purely from imagination. The characters of Luke and Chloe, in the All About Eve series, are however based on me and my brother when we were teenagers!
What made you want to write books targeted towards young adults?
I don’t really think of it that way. I write books for myself… they just happen to have teenage characters and appeal to the young adult market. I have no idea why!
What is your favourite part of the writing process?
There are three stages, all of which I enjoy.
Planning – when I daydream about the story and the characters and work out the main twists of the plot until I have a workable outline.
Writing – when I get lost in the world of the characters and carried along with the story’s momentum.
Editing – when I go over what I’ve written and make changes to try and improve the first draft.
All of these are fun to do and satisfying in different ways, but my favourite part is the actual writing.
How long does it usually take to write a book and how long does the whole process take, from the writing to the release date?
It takes me on average about four months to write a book. The length of time from writing to release date is down to the publisher and varies quite a lot. There’s usually about a year between the two dates – but Sister, Missing (the sequel to Girl, Missing) will be faster. I’ve just started writing it, and it will be published this Autumn.
Is there a special place you go to write that inspires you?
No. I can write anywhere and take my laptop wherever I go – but I like best to be sitting at home at my computer.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Read a lot. And keep writing. It takes a lot of work to get published, but if its what you really want to do then don’t give up!!!
Is there anything else you would like to say to those who read your novels?
I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has read my books and written to me (through my website or on my Facebook fan page) telling me how much they’ve enjoyed them. Writing is a very solitary thing to do, and it’s very encouraging to get feedback from readers who like the stories. Other than that, I’d just like to wish all my readers a Happy New Year. I hope you find some great books to read in 2011!!!