A Quickie with Sophie Ranald

Tell me about your latest book and why we should read it?

The Truth About Gemma Grey is a romantic comedy about a YouTuber who overshares on her channel, and of course the video goes viral – with far-reaching consequences. At its heart it’s a romantic comedy, and while I think it is romantic and I hope it’s funny, it goes into some more serious issues as well.

If someone was to write your life story what would the title be?

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Then Started Worrying Again, About Something Else

What’s the strangest fan question or request you’ve received?

Not exactly a request, but I’ll never forget the first one-star review I received from a reader on Goodreads for my first novel, It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister’s Boyfriend (Wouldn’t It?). It went something like this: “This books starts off light and funny and then the rest is just stones and rocks and gravel.” I do wish I knew what was going through her head. My writing has never been compared to aggregate, before or since.

If you could co-write with anyone in the world (alive or dead) who would it be?

The amazing Dorothy Whipple, who wrote about ordinary women’s lives in the first half of the 20th century. Her books were popular at the time, but then went out of print and faded into obscurity before being republished by Persephone Books.

Tell me something nobody else knows about you (yet!).

My partner does because he was there, but as I write this I have literally just finished eating the first full-on Sunday lunch we’ve ever had together. It wasn’t a roast; it was rib-eye steak, chips and salad, but still – all that food, and red wine, on a Sunday before five o’clock! It’s a revelation. I grew up in South Africa and Sunday roasts aren’t a thing there, so I guess I am a bit late to the party. Also, I need a nap now.

Finally please recommend 3 books that you have recently read and tell me why you’ve chosen these.

I’ve recently finished work on a new novel, and while I’m writing I find it very hard to read. So, embarrassingly, I’ve only read a handful of books in the past year. But there are a few that stand out.

After the Fall by Charity Norman: I devoured this domestic thriller about a fresh start that goes badly wrong in one go on a long-haul flight recently. It’s a perfect page-turner, relatable and beautifully written.

Lady Fanshawe’s Receipt Book – The life and Times of a Civil War Heroine by Lucy Moore: I’ve only just started reading this and I am already absolutely gripped. It’s an  account of a period in English history about which I know very little, told through the lens of one woman’s collection of recipes and remedies. Fascinating and feminist.

Bad Seeds by Jassy Mackenzie: This is cheating a bit because Jassy is my incredibly talented and wonderful sister (I have three others, all equally brilliant). Bad Seeds is her fifth novel featuring the super-cool PI Jade de Jong and sadly her last, because she has moved on to focus on other ventures. But the series is a must for lovers of the thriller genre.

Who is Sophie Ranald?  Sophie Ranald is the youngest of five sisters. She was born in Zimbabwe and lived in South Africa until an acute case of itchy feet brought her to London in her mid-20s. As an editor for a customer publishing agency, Sophie developed her fiction-writing skills describing holidays to places she’d never visited. In 2011, she decided to disregard all the good advice given to aspiring novelists and attempt to write full-time. After one false start, It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister’s Boyfriend (Wouldn’t It?) seemed to write itself. Her second, third and fourth novels followed, and The Truth About Gemma Grey was released in summer 2017. Sophie also writes for magazines and online about food, fashion, finance and running. She lives in south-east London with her amazing partner Hopi and Purrs, their adorable little cat.

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