Friday, 8 November 2013

Sophie shares: My inspiration

Today we have Sophie Ranald sharing what inspires her. You can connect with Sophie at or tweet her @SophieRanald


It’s famously the question writers dread most: “Where do you get your ideas?” I think it’s so hard to answer because ideas are everywhere, floating around the ether like yeast spores. Sometimes you barely notice their presence; sometimes they find something to fuel their growth and you end up with a book. Or a yummy iced bun, to continue the metaphor.

‘It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister’s Boyfriend (Wouldn’t It?)’ was inspired by the royal wedding in 2011. At the time, there was a huge amount of fuss in the media about Kate and Pippa Middleton (and Pippa’s bum, of course) and the whole idea of social climbing. I wondered what would happen if one of the two sisters was into social climbing and wanted to marry a prince, but the other couldn’t give a toss, and there was the idea for my book.
Before I started writing ‘It Would Be Wrong…’ I was working on another novel (I hope to finish and publish it one day), which originated with a chance conversation with a friend – also at a wedding. He began telling a story but didn’t get to the end, and I was so fascinated to know what would happen in the end that I decided to write it myself.

My new novel, which I plan to publish in spring 2014, is also about a wedding, and the idea for that came from another friend’s lovely, quirky, funny proposal story. So I am hoping that I continue to be invited to a nice lot of weddings – not only are they such happy occasions, they also provide a rich supply of ideas.

If only inspiration were all there is to writing! Apparently Thomas Edison said that success is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration, and although it’s possible that he said nothing of the kind – like all those random quotes attributed to Oscar Wilde and Ghandi – that wouldn’t make the saying itself any less true.

The spark of inspiration might begin a novel, but it needs solid fuel to keep it going. Every day, a writer needs to feed that flame with hard work, writing the words that keep the idea alive. Without that daily grind – and sometimes it is frightening, difficult, even boring – the idea would be lost. So, really, the question for a writer is not, “What inspires you?” but, “What sustains you?”

I’m very lucky to have so many sources of support. One is running – it soothes me, helps clear my head after a long session at the keyboard, and burns off some of the cheese I trough while writing. Another is my wonderful partner Hopi, who has been incredibly supportive of my hare-brained writing scheme from the beginning, helps with ideas and advice, and talks me down when I’m being daft (often). And then there’s Purrs, my gorgeous little cat, who is the noisiest, cuddliest, pounciest companion a writer could wish to have.

A big thank you to Sophie for sharing what inspired It Would be Wrong To Steal My Sister's Boyfriend, (Wouldn't It?)

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