I am delighted to have Sophie Draper, author and storyteller, on my blog today. Sophie is the author of Cuckoo and Magpie – the Magpie eBook is on special offer at the moment see below – and is currently writing her third novel whilst in ‘lockdown’ with her family.
Storytelling and writing – Sophie Draper
I discovered storytelling after hosting a storyteller for our village about 15 years ago. She told a story in a way I’d never seen before – a simple “telling” with no script, no books, entrancing both children and adults with tales that filled your head. It’s been done for thousands of yearsand this is where we get our fairy tales and legends. What you remember is what happens not the words or a script. You see the story as a shape, a sweep of emotions, almost like a piece of music and I was hooked.
She pointed me in the direction of a club in Nottingham and from there I progressed to training with other storytellers. It’s exhilarating. I liken it to stand-up comedy rather than Jackanory, as you are always “in the moment”. It rapidly became my job. As a professional storyteller I now perform stories for all ages, working in schools, festivals, museums, historic houses and community groups.
I suppose it was inevitable this would lead me to writing. In 2017 I wrote Cuckoo, inspired by a dark folktale that I tell. It won the Bath Novel Award and my first publishing deal. Cuckoo was published by Avon in 2018, followed by Magpie in 2019. Both were published in North America as The Stranger in our Home and The House of Secrets, with the latter due out in Canada on April 28th.
So now I both write and perform, although currently with the Covid19 lockdown my storytelling is temporarily on hold. That’s a strain on our finances but at least it allows me to concentrate on my third book (working title Cat and Mouse).
I write in a small garden shed, which allows me to escape the internet (and currently, given lockdown, also three teenage sons, rock guitar and a constant flow of domestic requests…). For me it’s very much a job, but one that I love and I am currently at that critical post first draft stage of honing the story, delving into characters, motivation, and the book’s critical twist – how to make that all work. I liken it to a Rubik’s cube, puzzling it out until finally the different colours fall into place. Unfortunately, I was never much good at Rubik’s cubes! But I try to get close.
In some respects, lockdown isn’t so bad for me, I’m used to being in my own world and working from home, but I really miss the storytelling, visiting groups, sharing stories, that interaction with people. It makes my day when someone contacts me to say they enjoyed one of the books, just as I get a buzz out of interacting with a live audience.
For me a story – any story – is creating a small bubble that blooms into something greater, a shared moment of empathy, curiosity and intrigue. And maybe a satisfying shiver down your back. Like a good piece of music.
Facebook: Sophie Draper Writer & Storyteller
Wow! Thank you, Sophie, that was wonderful.
I love the Storytelling part I suppose because it evoked memories of going to my local library as a child in the summer holiday to listen to stories being read. Reading to an audience is an art most certainly, but storytelling seems so much more – the bringing to life of the story! I’d love to see Sophie in action – what about you?
Special Offer: Magpie (eBook) – it won’t last forever!
Whether it’s an April birthday, an Easter gift or simply a lockdown treat you’ve got it sorted because during most of April you can buy Magpie on AmazonSmileUK | KOBO | Apple Books at the bargain price of 99p. It won’t be there forever!
Author and Storyteller: Sophie Draper/Sophie Snell
Sophie Draper was brought up in Leicester and Scotland. Following an MA in Medieval History at St Andrews University she qualified as a Chartered Accountant and with that had a busy career in London and the East Midlands working in international finance. During that time she met her husband and settled in Derby. She then took a career break to have a family. Three ‘gorgeous boys’ followed and Sophie went back to work part-time whilst caring for their children and developing her interest in writing and storytelling.
Sophie now lives in rural Derbyshire with her husband and growing teenage boys. The house is filled with books, music, steaming piles of sports kit and a menagerie of various animals. She enjoys gardening, painting and making jam! She’s part of a writer’s group called #Doomsbury who enjoy meeting up for food and chat.
Cuckoo is a gothic psychological thriller. It won the Bath Novel Award 2017 and also the York Festival of Writing Friday Night Live Award 2017. Cuckoo was published by Avon at Harper Collins on 29th November 2018. It was selected as a Fern Britton Pick in conjunction with Tesco’s, and reached the no1 spot on the Bookseller’s Heatseekers List. Cuckoo is currently available in all the usual high street bookstores, as well as online.
Magpie, Sophie’s second book, is another psychological thriller set in Derbyshire. It was released on 28th November 2019. I read and reviewed Magpie
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