Sophie Hart captivated the hearts of readers with her debut novel The Naughty Girls Book Club. Just over a year later, she’s back with her new release The Beginner’s Guide To The Birds And The Bees. I sat down with Sophie to discuss her love of writing and her relationship with book bloggers…
Q. Since I reviewed your debut book, things have changed… You’re with a new publisher Bookouture. What made you decide to leave Avon?
A. It wasn’t really my decision! Avon did an absolutely brilliant job of launching Naughty Girls and there was talk of doing another book with them, but we couldn’t find a direction that we agreed on and eventually it seemed best to go elsewhere. Fortunately, Bookouture liked my ideas, and I’ve found a new home there.
Q. I’m pretty sure all my readers know what the birds and bees is in reference to. Why did you decide to name your new book The Beginner’s Guide To The Birds And The Bees?
A. Readers really seemed to respond to the title of my last novel – The Naughty Girls Book Club – so I wanted a similar cheeky sort of title, but nothing overly graphic. As the main character is a sex therapist, the couples who come to see her are effectively re-learning about their sex lives, and beginning all over again, so I thought The Beginner’s Guide to the Birds and the Bees was a good fit – even if it is one of the longest titles I’ve ever come across!
Q. Your new book is highly anticipated by your devoted readers. For those who haven’t Googled the blurb, what is it about?
A. As I mentioned, the lead character, Annie, is a sex therapist, but although she’s great at her job, she’s not so good when it comes to her own relationships… We also follow the stories of three different couples who come to see her – Zoe and Simon, who’ve taken a vow of celibacy in the run up to their wedding; Julia and Nick, who are trying for a baby and their sex life has become all about function not fun; and older couple Linda and Ray, whose love life has ground to a halt. It’s hopefully heartwarming and funny and a little bit naughty too!
Q. We must talk about your relationship with book bloggers. You came onto the author scene when the blogging community was hitting a high and the reaction for you was incredible. How does that make you feel?
A. It really was incredible, and I can’t overstate how much I appreciate the massive support I received from bloggers. I really do feel that it was because of the blogging community that Naughty Girls was so successful, as there was a real buzz around the book, and it seemed to be featured everywhere. It’s very hard to make your book stand out nowadays, and when you have support like that it makes such a difference, so I’m hugely grateful.
Q. I remember picking up your book in ASDA and thinking, “ohh, I like the sound of this.” I literally didn’t put the book down for the next two days. How do you react when a reader loves your books?
A. It’s genuinely amazing and such a wonderful feeling. I honestly don’t quite believe it – I feel as though someone’s playing a trick on me, and they’re actually just joking when they say they like my writing. It’s hard to believe that something I’ve created can have such an effect on people, but it’s a really lovely feeling.
Q. Your new book is romantic comedy. How do you find writing funny dialogue?
A. It’s not something I’m deliberately trying to do – I’d like my books to be entertaining, but I’m not trying to make them hilarious. I was very surprised when readers started saying how funny they were, so maybe I should focus more on that. I once read an interview with Sophie Kinsella (one of my favourite authors) and she said that she writes and re-writes a funny scene until it really makes her laugh, so perhaps I need to start doing that!
Q. The Beginner’s Guide To The Birds And The Bees is out there for anyone to download onto their Kindle or pick up from their local Waterstones. But I have to ask the question: what are you writing next?
A. I’m brainstorming ideas with my editor and working on the synopsis for the next book at the moment. But I do know that it will feature some of the same characters from Birds and the Bees, as well as some great new characters for you to get to know. It should be out next spring/summer, so not too long to wait.
Q. Finally, what is your favourite line from your new book?
A. Ooh, that’s a tough question! Each chapter starts with a great quote about sex, so rather than picking a line I’ve written, I’m going to go with this fantastic quote by the late, great Robin Williams: ‘The problem is that God gives men a brain and a penis, and only enough blood to run one at a time’. Genius.