This month’s guest describes herself as a novelist, mentor and teacher; and having seen her in all three roles, I can attest to how good she is in each of them. She is also a member of Exeter Writers; part of the highly-energetic Creative Writing Matters which runs the Exeter Novel Prize; and a former winner of both the Luke Bitmead Bursary and the Yeovil Literary prize. I’m delighted to be chatting with Sophie Duffy.
Hello Sophie and welcome. What is your earliest memory — and how old were you at the time?
I was sitting in a patch of sunlight on the stairs in our house in Teignmouth. I was wearing my red shoes and trying to buckle one of them. It was hard work.
What was your favourite subject at school — and which was the lesson you always wanted to avoid?
I liked most subjects at primary school, especially English when we wrote stories. I missed this at secondary school but still enjoyed English and went on to do it as my first degree. I also liked PE and did a lot of cross-country and athletics. But I was hopeless at maths and science. I was scared of the Bunsen burners and numbers wouldn’t stay still on the page. I still don’t understand why we had to do algebra or why I needed to know the circumference of a cricket pitch. And I still have a scar from the wretched Bunsen burner.
If you had to escape from a fire, what three things would you take with you?
Aside from my family, I’d take my two Tibetan terriers, my Macbook Air and baby photos of my children.
Talking about yourself, how would you finish the sentence “not a lot of people know…”?
…that I was vice-captain of Lancaster University’s women’s rugby club back in the day. [Now, that’s a photo I would loved to have seen!]
If you could change one law, what would it be?
I’d change the tax laws and crack down on multi-nationals who avoid paying tax in the UK.
If you could change one thing about yourself or your life so far, what would it be?
I’d keep my dad who I lost when I was 10. He has missed so much. I hope he’d be proud of me.
What would be in your ‘Room 101’?
What would you have printed on the front of your T-shirt?
NO MORE PAGE 3. It’s 2015 for goodness sake. Boobs aren’t news.
If you could meet one person from history, who would it be — and why?
My great grandmother Mabel Gibson Gillespy. I have a collection of her letters and it would be lovely to sit down and talk to her about her life in the 1900s. I’ve transcribed some of these letter onto my blog.
If you could take part in one television programme, which one would it be?
I’d go back to the 1970s and be a contestant on The Generation Game and pray that I’d make it to the conveyor belt.
What’s your family motto?
‘You snooze, you lose.’ This usually applies to food in our house. But it also applies to life. You have to seize the day.
Sophie, thank you for taking the time to chat to me. It was nice to see you, to see you…
Sophie’s two novels are available on Amazon: This Holey Life and The Generation Game. Her third, Bright Stars, will be published by Legend Press on 1st October.
Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.
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