Sophie McKenzie is the award-winning author of a range of teen thrillers, as well as three adult crime novels Close My Eyes, Trust in Me and Here We Lie.

What’s currently on your bedside table?

After years of feeling daunted by the teetering pile of books by my bed and wondering how on earth I would ever get through them all, I now only keep one novel at a time on the bedside table!

I just finished reading Daphne du Maurier’s short story Don’t Look Now and am about to move onto Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. I’m looking forward to the Hawley book because of his work as creator and writer of the TV series Fargo.

 

Which book would you recommend to your closest friend right now, and why?

I have just come back from a big trip involving several long haul flights on which I listened to Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld’s brilliant modern day version of Pride and Prejudice. I would close my eyes, shut out the sounds of the plane with my noise-cancelling headphones and be transported to Sittenfeld’s wonderfully imagined world.

Eligible is a book I’d definitely recommend—and not just to my closest friend. As well as being a stylish and witty read in its own right, it’s also hugely enjoyable to analyse the way the author has adapted from Austen’s original.

 

Which book are you planning to take on your next journey, and why?

I’ll probably look for an audiobook of the latest Sarah Waters—another author, like Sittenfeld, whose writing is elegant, engrossing and accessible.

I know lots of people are sniffy about listening to books but when you’re travelling, especially on a plane or through the night, audiobooks are a fabulous way to shut out annoying sounds and get lost in a fictional world.

 

Tell us about your latest book?

The Black Sheep is about the unsolved murder of Fran’s husband—and her growing realisation that someone within her own family may have killed him.

The story is fundamentally a domestic drama, but it explores issues of trust and betrayal, rape and consent and the way many people feel themselves to be an outsider: the black sheep of their own family.

 

Do you discuss your own work-in-progress with anyone?

I don’t ever discuss the premise or plot lines—I did that once or twice in the past and it didn’t end well. It’s hard to explain stories when they’re not fully formed in your own head—and any criticism at that stage can feel excessive.

However, once I’ve started writing I often take chapters to the writing workshop I belong to. We meet every few weeks at each other’s houses. It’s great to get feedback from other authors.

 

Which book made you want to write?

All of them! Certainly all the books I enjoyed. I loved stories as a child although becoming a writer felt like an impossible dream at the time.

 

If you weren’t writing you’d be...?

I’ve worked as a journalist and a creative writing teacher in the past and I guess if I had to I could try and go back to either of those jobs—but I don’t want to. Writing stories is my ideal occupation and I don’t ever want to stop!

 

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