Thursday 22 June 2017

The Truth about Gemma Grey 
Sophie Ranald

I love doing Q&As with authors and reading their answers before I publish them on the blog! I'm nosey like that! So today I have Q&As from Sophie Ranald. Thank you Sophie for taking part in my Q&As and I hope I didn't grill you too much!!

Author Q&A

Firstly, please could you tell readers a little about yourself?

This is always the toughest question! Writers can bang on for ages about their characters but hate talking about themselves. So... um... I was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in South Africa. I love cooking, running and drinking too much prosecco with my mates. This is beginning to sound like a bad online dating profile! Fortunately I don’t have to write those, because I’ve been with my wonderful partner for eleven years.

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve never not wanted to be a writer! My mother wrote short stories and plays and two of my sisters (I’m lucky enough to have four!) are published authors. But it wasn’t until 2011 that I made the leap into writing novels, and I’ve never looked back.

What did you do as a job before becoming a writer?
I was (and still am, part time) a journalist. I’ve written about all sorts, from babies to high finance, and it’s actually enormously helpful for me as a writer, because it exposes me to all sorts of people and worlds that I wouldn’t otherwise have experienced.

How do you carry out the research for your novels?
Thoroughly! Research is one of my favourite parts of writing. When I was researching The Truth About Gemma Grey I visited Google’s London HQ to find out about being a YouTube vlogger, and Buzzfeed to learn about new media. I also watched hours and hours of make-up tutorials. It’s much easier to write when you have an in-depth understanding of the world your characters inhabit.

Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?
I find writing dialogue really easy. It’s a great way to move the plot along too – having your characters do the work of telling the story for you. Plotting on the other hand I find quite difficult: I often get stuck trying to move a character from one situation to the next. I am also not a fan of writing sex scenes!

What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?
I write on a laptop at my dining room table, using Scrivener, which is a fantastic writing tool. I try to write 2,000 words a day, but I don’t always manage that. I don’t have a set routine or time of day when I write. Sometimes I’ve got my word count nailed before lunchtime, but on other days I’m still beavering away at midnight. One part of my routine that’s set in stone is an afternoon nap – Purrs, my cat, comes and shouts at me when it’s time to go upstairs to bed and then gets under the duvet for a cuddle.

When you're not writing, what do you like to read?
I’m a voracious reader when I’m not writing, although when I am working on a novel I hardly read at all, and distract myself with box set binges! I don’t have a particular genre I enjoy reading – in fact, I don’t read very much in my own genre at all. I read thrillers, literary fiction, cookbooks, classics – you name it! The most recent book I read and enjoyed was After the Fall, by Charity Norman. I devoured it in one go on a long-haul flight.

How important do you think social media is to authors in today's society?
It’s vital. I use Facebook a lot to interact with my readers and promote my books, and I know I need to start using Instagram more too.

Could you tell the readers a bit about your latest book?
The Truth About Gemma Grey is about an unsuccessful YouTube vlogger who suddenly finds her channel taking off in a way she didn’t expect. She’s also just started a new job and moved into a house-share with some rather weird people, and is having to face the truth about Jack, the boyfriend she thought was The One. It’s about her journey to self-discovery and true love.

Which of your characters would you most like to be and why?
I have a soft spot for Pippa, the heroine of A Groom With a View. She’s got a great job as a chef, a very cute cat and a seriously hot fianc√© – she’s very down to earth, confident and sorted.

Is there anything else you would have liked to be asked?
I could talk about Purrs for hours, but I’m not sure your readers would want to listen!

Thank you so much for your time in answering my questions.

Life isn’t working out quite as Gemma had planned. Her breakthrough job turns out to involve writing clickbait articles about cats. Her boyfriend Jack is off travelling the world with his glamorous BFF and her mum’s social life puts Gemma’s own to shame.
Then, after a late-night online rant, Gemma’s YouTube channel goes viral and everything changes.
Suddenly, she’s living the dream – only it’s not turning out entirely as she imagined.
Gemma realises she’ll have to choose between fame, real love and being true to herself – because she can’t have it all. Or can she?



Sophie Ranald is the youngest of five sisters. She was born in Zimbabwe and lived in South Africa until an acute case of itchy feet brought her to London in her mid-20s. As an editor for a customer publishing agency, Sophie developed her fiction-writing skills describing holidays to places she'd never visited. In 2011, she decided to disregard all the good advice given to aspiring novelists and attempt to write full-time. After one false start, It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister's Boyfriend (Wouldn't It?) seemed to write itself. Her second, third and fourth novels followed, and a fifth is due for release in Spring 2017. Sophie also writes for magazines and online about food, fashion and running. She lives in south-east London with her amazing partner Hopi and Purrs, their adorable little cat.


Twitter: @sophieranald

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