What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
Hi - my name is Lynette Sofras, I was born in Yorkshire but lived most of my adult life in or around London, apart from approximately six years of living in Greece.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I think I wanted to be a writer from the time I was first able to read stories! I used to invent adventures for a captive audience of one (my younger sister) long before I had the proper skills to write them down. Then as a child my parents took me to Haworth Parsonage - the home of the Bronte sisters and I saw the tiny books they created which inspired me to create my first 'books'.
Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
In a way, yes - in that my first book was never actually published. I had an agent who believed in it and showed it to a lot of publishers but without success. Looking back, I feel nothing but relief about that! However, when it came to The Apple Tree, I initially self-published it but a few weeks later a publisher picked it up after it won first prize in a romantic story competition and offered me a publishing contract. It was surprisingly quick and easy.
Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
While living in Greece I managed to do some writing while also teaching, but when I returned to England that was impossible. Apart from having a child to bring up, the pressures of teaching and running a department left me no time to breathe, much less write.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My latest title is Killing Jenna Crane and I'd use the first line of my blurb: This is not a story about a murder, but a dark journey inside a writer's mind.
Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
I self-published this particular title because I'm a great believer and supporter of self-publishing. However, not all my titles are self-published.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
This is very variable - sometimes years, sometimes as little as a month. I managed to complete two titles in less than a month each last year. Killing Jenna Crane took a little bit longer, though not much. My forthcoming release (Unworkers) has taken several years of work, on and off.
Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
Wishful Thinking was probably my easiest. I just sat down and began to write it one day without a single idea in my head. It took shape on the computer without my ever knowing what was going to happen next!
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
My first three titles were contemporary romances, followed by a romantic suspense (In Loving Hate) but since then I've been drawn towards more speculative, experimental genres. I wrote a science fiction short (Surveillance) with my son (really!) followed by Killing Jenna Crane, which I call a psychological romance with plenty of suspense. Unworkers is women's fiction, but a ghost story, definitely not romance. These are the styles and genres I'm hoping to explore further in the future.
Do you have a favourite out of the books you have written? If so why is it your favourite?
I'm quite fond of Shopping for Love - possibly because it was the first title of mine that my son read and really enjoyed! He also helped me out with the computing and high finance aspects of the plot. The story flowed very easily and I enjoyed creating a grittier male lead in it.
Do you have a favourite character from your books? and why are they your favourite?
Nicholas in The Apple Tree, probably - he's gorgeous, wealthy, loyal but rather stubborn. One reader called him a modern Mr Darcy and another said "I want to find my own Nicholas. If I ever find anyone half as decent and loving as that man then I will be a happy woman."- isn't that wonderful?
Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them? ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
I've been known to inflict them on my poor son, who hates romances! He hasn't read all of them however. I have two great friends, who are both writers whose opinions I value dearly and two non-writer friends who are always willing to read and give me their brutally honest opinions - which I love because I learn far more from criticism than praise.
Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
I'd be very happy to gift review copies. If any readers are interested, they are more than welcome to contact me (which they can do via my website or blog - details below).
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
When I see them, certainly. I try to remember to check periodically. I love to know what readers think and respect their opinions. When I read nice reviews, I walk on air for the rest of the day!
Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
Absolutely not! The whole purpose of a review is for a reader to give his or her honest opinion.
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books?Who designed the Cover of your books?
Oh, you've found my Achilles heel! I agonise forever over titles and covers. I'm really bad at deciding on both. Fortunately I've had some very talented cover artists - especially on my last three or four titles.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Yes I do frequently embed messages, morals and also subtle clues in my stories and am delighted when readers pick these out and comment on them.
What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
I've read Jane Austen's books - especially Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice numerous times, so I suppose they have to rate amongst my favourites.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
Hardly ever, in my opinion. Movies tend to highlight the sensational aspects of a book, which really isn't true to the author's original intentions. Two examples come to mind: The Time Traveller's Wife and The Lovely Bones, which made very disappointing films. That said, I thought the BBC's adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (you know, the one with Colin Firth as Mr Darcy) was excellent, though the Keira Knightley film that followed didn't impress me much.
What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I have too many books on the go at the moment because, like you, I get asked to read and review so many. My Kindle is positively groaning with unread titles. However, I have a short story collection called Intricate Entanglement by Su Halfwerk, sitting on my desktop as a PDF at the moment which I'm enjoying dipping into whenever I can find a free moment.
Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
No, I think there's always going to be a demand for printed books but I wouldn't be surprised to see the demise of print for the vast majority of new novels.
Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing?
Ah this is my hobby horse! Being a former English teacher, this is a subject dear to my heart. No, on the whole, I don't think children are encouraged nearly enough to read - and that's why we have such severe literacy problems in our schools today. Children are unlikely to respond well to imaginative writing if they are not exposed to good literature.
Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
I've always been a voracious reader - and an avid story writer both in school and out.
Did you have a favourite author as a child?
Almost too many to mention. Noel Streatfeild was probably one of the earliest, and like all little girls, I loved Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden. Other favourites were L. M. Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott and George Eliot.
Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?
When I was about eight or nine, my teacher read The Mill on the Floss to the class and I was entranced. I know it wouldn't appeal to me now, which is why I've never revisited it - I just don't want to break that childhood enchantment.
Do you have a favourite genre of book?
Not especially. I can enjoy just about anything as long as it's well-written, though when I look for genres, I'm always drawn towards anything categorised as Women's Fiction first, because naturally women's issues interest me very much.
Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
I don't mind if I'm the only adult female not to have read Fifty Shades, nor the only person in the world not to have read (or watched the films of) Harry Potter.
Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them?
Jenny Twist is a writer whose books I've thoroughly enjoyed - she's a true story-weaver. Other UK writers who deserve more recognition are Paula Martin, Jan Ruth and Terry Tyler - they all write excellent stories with great characters.
Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
I allowed my publisher to 'translate' my first published novel The Apple Tree into American English - which I now regret. I'd like to re-write that giving Nicholas his own voice and also making the story longer. I'd never consider any story to be perfect - there's always room for improvement and with my self-published titles, I go back constantly and tweak them.
Where can readers follow you?
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UK buy links
Killing Jenna Crane: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00AVWGMM2