I’m honoured to be one of the blog stops for author Nicky Well’s relaunch of Sophie’s Turn.
Photo courtesy of author
About Nicky Wells: Romance that Rocks Your World!
Rock On! Nicky Wells writes fun and glamorous contemporary romance featuring a rock star and the girl next door. She recently signed her work with U.S. publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing. Nicky loves rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, Nicky is a wife, mother, and occasional teaching assistant.
Originally born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993, and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. In a previous professional life, Nicky worked as a researcher and project manager for an international Human Resources research firm based in London and Washington, D.C.
Hi Nicky, welcome back to Jera’s Jamboree. It’s good to have you here!
Tell us about your publishing journey since the last time you visited
Aw, Shaz, first of all: thank you for having me back and supporting me all over again. Did you know you were the first blog reviewer ever to feature Sophie’s Turn? It’s an honour to be back here today, on my formal launch day…
But to answer your question. Well, what a ride it’s been. As you know, I initially published Sophie’s Turn independently through Kindle. I gradually built a blog tour, garnered reviews and got fabulous recognition and feedback from readers. Late in October 2011, I joined the amazing project, Loveahappyending.com where I met a group of fabulous, inspiring and very supportive authors. I learned an amazing amount about writing and promotion then and gained a lot of confidence. In January 2012, I submitted my masterpiece to a small US publishing house that had just opened its doors.
I have to confess, this was a submission quite unlike any I had done before. I had a few months of independent promotion behind me, the power of multiple four and five star reviews, a growing platform… Suffice it to say, I think I really ‘went for it’ in my submission letter. When I got an email requesting the entire document, I tried to stay calm: been there, done that. However, when, on a Friday night at 9:20pm (I’ll never forget!) I received an email from Sapphire Star Publishing containing the magic words, “we’d like to offer you a publishing contract”, I completely bounced off the walls. I believe I was seen singing and dancing and not making much sense for a while. The publication date for Sophie’s Turn was set then (and I can’t believe it’s finally here!) and we’ve been working busily since on preparing the manuscript for publication in ebook and paperback formats. Hooray!
Where did the inspiration come from for the character of Dan, the sexy rock star?
Dan isn’t based on a single person, but inspired by the best (and alleged worst) traits of quite a few people, not all of them rock stars! I hasten to add that Dan isn’t a real person and that any resemblance to any real person, living or dead, is entirely coincidental, of course! :)
A lot of Dan’s rock star persona arises from considering lead singers in several famous rock bands. There is so much information out there about these folks—their own websites and DVDs, music videos, the press, the internet, radio… it’s not hard to build a character profile from there. Obviously, he had to be highly talented and quite charismatic; he is the frontman after all! My biggest problem was that I wanted Dan to be a genuinely nice person; kind, caring, funny and largely sensible. Someone, in other words, whom Sophie could love ‘in real life’ and even settle with. At the same time, I wanted him to have a few ‘star issues’, something that would make him into a recognizable and credible rock star figure. So he had to be a bit of a serial monogamist. He just had to love women! This conflict is central to the story of Sophie’s Turn, and gave me many a sleepless night!
The rock band Tuscq on tour is a key part to the plot in Sophie’s Turn. Did you listen to any playlists while you were writing those scenes?
Actually—no. While I do listen to music more or less constantly, I found it was hard to write this novel to the background of a specific type of music. Largely, the house was quiet (so I could hear myself talk to myself!) and on a few occasions, I had the radio going. But in between writing sessions, and certainly after, I’d usually turn the stereo to full blast for a few minutes. My favourite music? I like rock music, as you might guess. Favourite bands include Bon Jovi, Europe, FM, and Queen. I also like pop, Abba and Eighties music being firm favourites.
Sophie visits Paris and Manhattan in the story. I could believe I was there with her. Did you visit these places to research?
I have been to Paris (although only once) and a lot of the impressions Sophie conveys draw on my trip there. I should add, though, that I am not in the habit of staying in four and five star hotels, so the descriptions here are based on internet research and the occasional glimpse into the real thing….
Sadly, I have not been to New York yet but I have spent quite a lot of time in Washington, DC. So some of Sophie’s stateside adventures were inspired by my experiences there. For New York geography and impressions I used internet research to support a first attempt at creating some local colour. I then ‘interviewed’ friends and work colleagues who have lived there (for example, what would be the best way to get from JFK into Manhattan, what would you see, where do folks shop… that kind of thing). I also looked at maps and lots of pictures to get a ‘feel’ for the places I made Sophie visit.
Sophie reasons with herself a lot before she makes choices. I loved her character. Which character is your favourite and why?
I have to say, while Sophie is my heroine and I enjoyed ‘being’ her while I was writing her, my other favourite character is Rachel. I hadn’t intended her to play such a comparatively large part and to be so outspoken. Initially, she was just a sort of sounding board—someone I could use to externalise some of Sophie’s inner monologue through conversation. Imagine my surprise when Rachel started to talk back! And then, quite quickly, she assumed a role that… I don’t know, it was almost like the Greek Gods in classic literature. She’d always offer critical points of view, or anticipate some kind of disaster, or speak wise thoughts. And I loved her. Particularly in the office when she gives Sophie the thumbs up, or in the hotel when she rings her to tell her to go ahead with it all, for God’s sake. I didn’t know she would do that! Rachel really helped make the book for me in the end.
And I think I can tell you now that Rachel is playing a much, much bigger and somewhat surprising role in the next book in the Rock Star Romance Trilogy, Sophie’s Run You’ll just have to wait and see….
Sophie’s Turn is a modern day romantic fairy tale. Is your current work in progress the same genre?
Yes! Obviously there’s a massive open ending… so my current work picks up Sophie’s story from there. Dan continues to feature quite prominently, and I’ve already mentioned that Rachel will have a huge part to play. The sequel is called Sophie’s Run and is due for release on 7 February 2013! I’ve also completely planned the final book in the trilogy… and I’m stunned at how it’s all playing out. It’ll be so exciting to have the three books side-by-side and the story complete. I’d love to tell you more right now but maybe I can come back another day?? I think we’ll run out of time and space otherwise….
Which authors have inspired you on your writing journey?
I love, love, love chick lit! The first chick lit novel I ever read was Catherine Alliott’s The Old-Girl Network and I resolved then to attempt to write a novel of that genre. It took me over a decade but… here I am! Other authors that offer a role model are Jill Mansell, Jane Green, Helen Fielding and Sophie Kinsella to name but a few. I love their work and their feisty, occasionally clumsy, and always funny heroines.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Plan, plan, plan! My first ever novel… well, let’s call it ‘extended piece of writing’, was compiled in between degree courses in a ten day manic haze. In some ways, it was a rough first draft or precursor to Sophie’s Turn. I had an idea of what I wanted to happen and I just started writing furiously. The result? Something that I cringe to read now and would never want to see the light of day. There were huge holes in the plot, inconsistencies in the characters and just enormously long rambling sections that didn’t move the story forward.
When I sat down to write Sophie’s Turn, I drew on that experience and decided to work completely differently. I spent almost two weeks planning the plot and picking it apart again, compiling character profiles, doing research on locations, jotting down outlines for key scenes… in fact, designating ‘key scenes’ to ensure that the plot would always move forward. I stuck the whole outline up on the wall so I could visualise it, and refer to it at all times. And when I got to writing, it was just fun! Needless to say, I had to make changes—some of them significant—after the first draft, but even they were easier to envisage with my plan at hand and an ability to visually move things around. I’m a great believer in planning!
Good luck for the re-launch of Sophie’s Turn. I’m intrigued to find out where your Rock Star Romance Trilogy will take us! I’m sure all my readers will join in wishing you good luck Nicky.
Sophie’s Turn is available to purchase from the following author links:
Barnes & Noble
Visit Nicky on her blog where you can find articles, interviews, radio interviews and, of course, an ongoing update on her work in progress, the second and third parts of the Rock Star Romance Trilogy. You can also follow Nicky on Twitter and find her on Facebook. Nicky is a featured author on the innovative reader/author project, loveahappyending.com and has joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Nicky also has author pages at Sapphire Star Publishing and, of course, Goodreads.
Here’s my review of Sophie’s Turn:
Slapper. Slut. Adulteress. These are hardly words that Sophie Penhalligan would normally use to describe herself. Yet this is exactly how she is behaving, all things considered, even if she isn’t quite married to Tim yet. And it’s all happening because her past is coming to tempt her! Nine years ago, she met her teenage idol and rock star extraordinaire, Dan, up close and personal. Well, almost. Now Dan has crash-landed back in her life. How could Tim ever stand a chance against the charming, handsome singer? How could she?
Sophie, now twenty-eight and a budding newspaper journalist, is happily embroiled in a relationship with Tim, her boyfriend of two years. Until recently, she was confident that Tim would eventually propose—probably as soon as he could get his act together. But just as Tim’s persistent inaction is beginning to cast a cloud over their relationship, Dan’s sudden reappearance turns Sophie’s world upside down. Thus unfolds a roller-coaster of events including an ill-fated trip to Paris with Tim, a night of unfulfilled romance with Dan, Sophie and Tim’s engagement party gate-crashed by Dan, and Sophie’s professional secondment to accompany Dan’s band on their revival tour—at Dan’s special request and very much against her will.
And then, one fine day in Paris, Sophie suddenly finds herself engaged to Dan while her erstwhile fiancé Tim is… well, doing whatever it is Tim does back in London. What is she to do now? Who wouldn’t give anything to meet their favorite star, let alone marry him?
Find out how Sophie gets into this impossible situation, and how she turns it around, in Sophie’s Turn, the honest, funny and sometimes bittersweet story of one woman’s entanglement with a rock star.
The prologue had me hooked instantly! Sophie and Dan are in Paris while the band ‘Tuscq’ are on tour and Sophie accepts Dan’s proposal. There’s only one problem with that …………what about her fiancée Tim back in London? I wanted to go back to the beginning to find out more about her relationship with Tim and what life was like for her. What had led her to this point?
In Part One we get to experience Sophie’s relationship with Tim. Tim is a very solid, dependable man who likes things to be exact and precise. I think the one thing that explained beautifully about his character (by inference) was in the restaurant when Sophie and Tim were celebrating their two year anniversary – the way he unwrapped his gift in the restaurant – it told me exactly what type of person he was! We also learn more about the closeness Sophie has with best friend Rachel. Their friendship is quite central to the story and I loved the way they supported each other and were open and honest.
Also in Part One we flashback to an earlier time in Sophie’s life – this is when she followed the rock band ‘Tuscq’ to Edinburgh for their final gig and her relationship with Dan began. This worked really well as the author used a trigger to flashback so past and present fitted seamlessly together.
A key point in the story is at the airport – Sophie is flying to Manhattan to attend a conference. She notices Darren (from ‘Tuscq’) and finds out the band are re-forming. When she’s back home in London, she finds out where they are next doing a gig and invites Tim and Rachel to go with her……………… and so she meets Dan again.
The attraction between Sophie and Dan is sizzling. There are some heart-thumping scenes between them – you can feel the heat coming off the pages! There are also some heart-wrenching scenes that may have you crying …………………
I found myself laughing out loud quite often, specifically I would like to mention the hotel room in Paris with Tim when room service arrives and a separate incident at home in London when Tim is gardening in the rain during the night and the police arrive. I have a smile on my face even now!
Sophie’s Turn is written in such a way that you feel included in her journey. It is easy to read and will keep your interest. A modern romantic fairytale ……………. but is the ending what you think it is going to be? I think you will be surprised – I was!
I would like to thank the author for sending me a copy to review.
And now for the giveaway …
Thanks to publishers Sapphire Star Publishing, one of Jera’s Jamboree readers has the chance to win an e-copy. To enter, leave me a comment below on who your favourite musical artist is and why. The winner will be picked at random. Open Internationally, the closing date for entries is midnight 13th September.