Monday, 1 July 2013

Interview with Sophie Hart - Author of The Naughty Girls Book Club

I am delighted to welcome Sophie Hart to Today I'm Reading. The Naughty Girls Book Club is a fantastic novel that is one of my favourite books of the year so far.

Please tell us a little about The Naughty Girls Book Club
The Naughty Girls Book Club owes a lot to the recent erotica trend, but isn’t actually erotica – it’s best described as chick-lit with a saucy twist! It starts with Estelle, who owns a struggling cafe in the suburbs of Bristol. When she sees the local independent book shop close down, she doesn’t want the same fate for her cafe, so comes up with the idea of running a book club to bring in some extra custom.
A variety of people turn up to the first meeting – such as newlywed Rebecca, who’s looking to put the spark back into her flatlining marriage, and feisty feminist librarian Gracie, who loves everything 1950s. After Tess of the D’Ubervilles doesn’t exactly get their juices flowing, the group decide to read erotica instead, with titles ranging from Lady Chatterley’s Lover to Riders by Jilly Cooper. Over the course of the novel, the characters gain the confidence both to experiment in the bedroom, and to go for what they really want in life.

Did you have a favourite character in the book?
It’s very hard to pick one! I really enjoyed writing about Sue, even though she’s the oldest character and very different to me. She’s recently retired, and sees it as a chance to seize life; to do and see all the things she’s never had the opportunity to before.  Her husband, George, has the opposite view, and just wants to relax in his chair, watching the television. She’s very frustrated with him, and their marriage reaches a crisis point.
I also have a soft spot for Reggie, the only male in the group. He’s a PhD student at Bristol University, and only joins the group because he thinks it will be useful for his thesis. He’s initially quite dismissive of the group, and of the women who attend, but he’s gradually won over by them. Since The Naughty Girls Book Club has been released, there’s been a lot of love for Reggie from the reviewers and on Twitter!

What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a new book, but it’s in the very early stages. If anyone would like to read more from me though, I’ve written a short story for an ebook compilation, alongside wonderful authors such as Julia Williams, Stella Newman and Anna-Lou Weatherley. It’s called The Perfect Escape, and is completely free!

Do you have any advise for aspiring writers?
Just go for it! Don’t think it has to be perfect first time, because it doesn’t. Jot down the seeds of any idea you have, and then work on it, build around it and keep revising it until it’s the best you can possibly make it. It needs to be of a very high standard before you submit to agents or publishers, but it doesn’t need to start off that way, so take the pressure off yourself and allow yourself the freedom to write utter rubbish for that first draft!

What do you like to do outside of writing?
Like most writers, I love to read – especially in my own genre of chick-lit, and also more literary novels, like Kate Atkinson and Philippa Gregory. As it says in my biography, one of my hobbies is trying to keep fit – trying being the operative word, as it doesn’t come naturally to me! I really have to push myself to head out for a run, or go to a zumba class. I also spend more time than I should on social media – especially Twitter and Facebook. It’s a great way to chat with my readers, and I’ve met some great people through it, as well as running an online naughty book club! If you fancy joining in, or just saying hello, I’m @Cafe_Crumb.

Thanks Sophie!



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