If I said the name Becky Bloomwood to you, what would that mean?
To me Becky Bloomwood is so much of my late teens and early twenties. She was the person who made me feel not-so crap about the fact I was terrible with money, she was someone who made me laugh, made me cry, she taught me so much about life, love and who I wanted to be.
Becky Bloomwood is not a real person. She is the creation of Sophie Kinsella, former financial journalist and one of my all-time favourite authors. Along with the Shopaholic series (which was turned into a movie starring Isla Fisher and Hugh Dancy), Sophie has also penned adult fiction chartbusters like The Undomestic Goddess, Can You Keep a Secret? and Twenties Girl. As someone who grew up wanting to be an author, Sophie has always been a real icon to me
Having totally conquered the world of humorous female fiction Sophie recently moved into the realm of children’s books with the launch of her gorgeous series Mummy Fairy and Me. The third book in the series, Unicorn Wishes, is on-sale today, and we were lucky enough to get our hands on an advanced copy a couple of weeks ago.
Elfie’s verdict on the series: “I really love the funny names and spells, and I think the stories are really imaginative. They come out of no-where! I wish my mummy was a fairy, too”.
I was absolutely delighted to ask Sophie some questions about her career recently: read on to find out about how she goes about penning her blockbusters and how she came up with the idea for her Mummy Fairy series…
Hi Sophie, thank you so much for answering a couple of questions for me.
I devoured the Shopaholic series many times when I was younger (Becky Bloomwood’s financial failings made me feel much better about my own) and I’m delighted to be able to now share some of your literary magic with my own daughter, Elfie. Was it your own children who inspired these stories?
My Mummy Fairy and Me series came out of stories I invented for my younger children and they’ve been very excited to see their bedtime stories make it into print.
I’ve tried to give Ella, Mummy Fairy and their family and friends the same kind of characteristics and comedy as, for example, Becky Bloomwood or Emma Corrigan, and they’re great fun to write.
I once read that you have a very structured and considered approach to your storytelling involving many notecards and spreadsheets. Have you found your process when writing children’s books different?
You’re right! I have a noticeboard in my study covered with index cards with plot points written on. And I take photos of it just in case the board falls down! With Mummy Fairy and Me the stories are shorter so I tend to think of each story as a whole, but I still plan carefully before I start.
“My advice if you want to write a book is to visualize the kind of book you would absolutely love to read yourself – and write that”
So many women feel they have a book – whether for children, YA or adults – itching to get out of them. What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring author?
My advice if you want to write a book is to visualize the kind of book you would absolutely love to read yourself – and write that. Maybe it’s a thriller or a history of fashion or poetry. Maybe it’s romantic or very dark. Whatever it is, you need an idea that really excites you and then the chances are it will excite other people, too. (Also: finish!)
I love the fact you’ve written this series of books about a mum who’s also a fairy: I’m sure all children feel their own mummies are a little bit magic. What’s the reaction from children, your own included, been from these stories?
I agree, I think all mummies are a bit magic! My own children and those I’ve met at events have loved the funny scrapes that Mummy Fairy got into, and also the way that Ella is so smart and often saves the day. I hope that other kids (and mummies and daddies!) will enjoy the Mummy Fairy world as much as we have.
In the three age groups you’ve written for, adults, young adults and children, which is your favourite to connect with through your stories?
I would have to say that my adult books are my main focus. I love writing Mummy Fairy, and I really enjoyed Finding Audrey, which was something quite different for me, but I love most the plotting and humour that I can get into a full length novel. It’s my Shopaholic novels and my standalone adult books which really get me to the desk in the morning!
Mummy Fairy and Me: Unicorn Wishes by Sophie Kinsella is out now (Puffin / £5.99)