Sophie Kinsella, the queen of romantic comedy, tells Good Reading about her new novel, The Burnout, and how morning with coffee and playing loud music is essential to her writing
ABOUT THE BOOK
Armed with good intentions to drink kale smoothies, try yoga and find solitude, she heads to the Devon resort she loved as a child. But it’s off-season, the hotel is falling apart and now she has to share the beach with someone else- a grumpy, stressed-out guy called Finn. How can she commune with nature when he’s sitting on a rock, watching her? Especially when they don’t agree on burnout cures. (Sasha- manifesting, wild swimming, secret Mars bars; Finn- drinking whisky.)
But when curious messages start appearing on the beach, Sasha and Finn are forced to begin talking – about everything. What’s the mystery? Why are they both burned out? What exactly is ‘manifesting’, anyway?
They might discover that they have more in common than they think.
Q&A WITH SOPHIE KINSELLA
What inspired The Burnout?
I wanted to write a big beach romance, and I always like to write on topical themes, too. I have experienced burnout myself and I had seen it discussed a lot among friends and in the media, so I decided to focus on a pair of strangers, both experiencing burnout, who come to a beach resort to recuperate.
What was involved in your writing preparation for this novel?
I researched burnout and burnout cures as much as I could and I also visited Devon beach resorts. This was nostalgic for me too, as I went on holiday to Devon as a child.
Who is your favourite character from the book, and what do you love about them?
Oh, how can I choose?! Apart from Sasha and Finn, I would probably say Cassidy, the bubbly receptionist, because she’s so positive and bright, whatever is going on.
Your novel is set at a Devon holiday resort. What’s the importance of setting in this novel? And was this based on a trip you took?
I think there is something very characterful about a beach resort off-season, and in my time I have been to plenty of British beaches in the rain! I wanted this novel to feel as real and funny as possible, so I based the rundown hotel on some of the most quirky hotels I have stayed at.
What do you do for R&R?
I love to visit the beach, but if that’s not possible, I’ll take a long hot bath. I think water is restorative, in whatever form it comes.
What’s your favourite romance trope?
I love writing strangers who spark off each other, so I guess I would have to say enemies-to-lovers!
What does a day of writing look like for you?
I usually write in the morning with coffee and loud music playing. (Essential!) Then I’ll break in the afternoon and go for a walk, but usually return to work in the evening and edit what I did that day.
What’s next for you after this book? Can we expect more romantic comedies in your future?
I can’t share anything specific but I always have new ideas buzzing about and I think romantic comedies are in my blood by now!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sophie first hit the UK bestseller lists in September 2000 with her first novel in the ‘Shopaholic’ series – The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic (also published as Confessions of a Shopaholic). The book’s heroine, Becky Bloomwood – a fun and feisty financial journalist who loves shopping but is hopeless with money – captured the hearts of readers worldwide. Becky has since featured in eight further bestselling books, Shopaholic Abroad (also published as Shopaholic Takes Manhattan), Shopaholic Ties the Knot, Shopaholic & Sister, Shopaholic & Baby, Mini Shopaholic, Shopaholic to the Stars, Shopaholic to the Rescue and Christmas Shopaholic. Becky Bloomwood came to the big screen in 2009 with the hit Disney movie ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’, starring Isla Fisher and Hugh Dancy.
Sophie has also written 11 standalone novels which have all been bestsellers in the UK, USA and other countries around the world: Can You Keep A Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me?, Twenties Girl, I’ve Got Your Number, Wedding Night, My Not So Perfect Life, which was a Goodreads Choice Awards finalist for Best Fiction in 2017, Surprise Me, I Owe You One, Love Your Life and The Party Crasher.
In 2014 she published a Young Adult novel, Finding Audrey, about a teenage girl with social anxiety and her madcap family, and in January 2018, Sophie published the first illustrated book for young readers in her Mummy Fairy and Me series, about the charming adventures of a mother-daughter fairy duo (also published as Fairy Mom and Me).
Sophie was born in London. She studied music at New College, Oxford, but after a year switched to Politics, Philosophy and Economics. She lives in the UK with her husband and family.