‘Are you Sophie?’ Since launching Sophie’s Turn on to the world, that’s a question Nicky Wells has been asked often.…
Am I Sophie?
Since I launched Sophie’s Turn on to the world, that’s probably one of the questions I’ve been asked most. And it’s an obvious question. “Write what you know,” that’s what they say. So it’s a logical conclusion that … well, that some of the action in Sophie’s Turn should be based on my actual experience.
I wish! Where did Sophie’s Turn spring from, then, you want to know. Well, alright, here goes. Confessions of someone who will always remain a star-struck teenager at heart. Let me invite you into the secret (or not so secret anymore!) dream-world of a rock fanatic.
Ever since my older brother gave me a copy of Europe’s Final Countdown for my fourteenth birthday, I have had a mysterious, inexplicable, totally irrational and overwhelming ‘thing’ for rock singers. I’m not sure exactly what the attraction is, but there is something about the combination of deep, gravelly voices, long hair, powerful music and beautiful lyrics that just … gets me. Age 14, I was totally swept away by the voice and lyrics of one Joey Tempest, lead singer of Europe. I had the crush of all crushes, and after I’d seen the band live (I was in the front row, yeah, baby!) that was it, I was done for.
Do you recall being a teenager? I bet you do. Well, if you were anything like me, you’d have started spinning endless scenarios about how you would, one day, meet that favourite star of yours and make him … yours. Right?
See, that’s where Sophie’s Turn springs from. However! Hold fire, I didn’t write Sophie’s Turn as a confused and overwrought teenager. Goodness, no. No, I abandoned the fantasies, got myself a boyfriend, then another one, went to university, met more people, got a job, got a life, got a husband and kids. I grew up, mostly.
Yet when I was pregnant with my first child, it was my husband who brought back the memory of all those star-struck daydreams. Well, for one he sings and plays the guitar (although he’s a bit sparse in the hair department, bless him). For another, he’s always teasing me about my thing for rock singers, in a good-natured kind of way. One evening, when we were watching telly, some kind of long-haired celebrity made an appearance. I don’t remember now whether he was a movie star or a rock singer, but I made an appreciative comment. And my other half, he said something like, “good job you’re already married to me, else I wouldn’t stand a chance.” I laughed it off, but the seed was sown.
The very next day, I sat down and started plotting Sophie’s Turn. It wasn’t called Sophie’s Turn then and I had no intention of writing for publication. I just wanted to write my ultimate star-struck daydream, in a coherent, grown-up, plausible way. No more incredible scenarios. I wanted something realistic, something that might have really happened. I wanted rock star romance, by proxy. I wanted to live vicariously through my heroine.
Over the years, I had the good fortune of bumping into the odd band here or there, not for any length of time, you understand, and certainly not in the way Sophie does. But I got small glimpses, and they were enough for my mind to spin a story around them. About the girl next door who gets to meet her rock star. I had the best time writing this book; I was cheering her own, I was holding her back, I was cautioning her, I was telling her to throw caution to the wind. It was fabulous. But it’s all a figment of my imagination. It’s fiction. And even if it weren’t … I still couldn’t own up to it, right? So join me and Sophie on the ride of a lifetime and see what you think!
Sophie Penhalligan’s life and moral universe is turned upside down when rock star Dan proposes to her in full knowledge that she is already engaged. She has always loved Dan, in a remote-crush kind of way. She thinks she loves her fiance, Tim. What is she to do? It’s all happening because her past has come to tempt her. Nine years ago, she met her teenage idol and rock star extraordinaire, Dan Hunter, up close and personal. Well, almost! Now Dan has crash-landed back in her life just as Sophie is happily embroiled in a relationship with Tim, her boyfriend of two years. Until recently, she was confident Tim would eventually propose. But while his persistent inaction is beginning to cast a cloud over their relationship, Dan’s sudden reappearance poses a whole new dilemma. Having accompanied Dan’s band to Paris, Sophie suddenly finds herself engaged to Dan while her erstwhile fiance Tim is … well, doing whatever it is Tim does back in London. Torn between the dream-come-true and the sensible-thing-to-do, Sophie concludes her inadvertent journey of self-discovery with an ending that surprises herself, and everyone around her.
Nicky Wells is a writer, wife, mother and occasional teaching assistant. Raised in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993. She has worked as a researcher and project manager for an international human resources research firm based in London and Washington, D.C. Nicky left work in November 2004 to spend three months writing her debut novel, Sophie’s Turn, before the birth of her first baby in April 2005. Since then, Nicky has had another child, qualified as a teaching assistant, and resumed her writing endeavours. She is working on her third novel, the concluding part of the Rock Star Romance Trilogy. When she is not writing, she loves listening to rock music, reading books and eating lobsters or pizza.