Award-winning novelist, Sophie Kinsella, made Molly’s day by joining her on the bed to talk about her inspirations, bedtime rituals and, of course, discuss her latest book, ‘The Burnout’.
A signed copy of ‘The Burnout’ is just one of several fabulous prizes up for grabs in our Best Bedtime Competition. Head over here to enter and be in with a chance of winning the ultimate relax and recharge pampering package.
Now, back to Sophie…
What was the driving force or inspiration behind your book, ‘The Burnout’?
I kept reading articles and hearing about burnout – it’s a real issue at the moment. At the same time, I wanted to write a romance set on the beach, and so the two ideas came together. Where better to recover from burnout than on a Devon beach?!
Can you share with us if any of the characters in ‘The Burnout’ are based on people you know personally?
I think I put myself into all my heroines because I write from the first person. They have quite a lot in common, even if they’re different, they have different flaws, they have different issues, but I think there’s a commonality to them and I think a lot of that comes from me. My life does spill into the books and the books spill into my life, but I try not to write my friends and family into stories, if I can help it!
It's not uncommon for creative individuals to experience burnout. Have you ever encountered this, and how did you bounce back?
I have experienced burnout myself in the past and I see it around me everywhere, so I was keen to write about it. It’s a serious subject, it’s not something you can just bounce back from, and I hope I’ve done it justice, but – me being me – I have to see the funny and ridiculous side of any situation. So ‘The Burnout’ is very much a comedy – a romantic comedy.
As an author, maintaining mental well-being is crucial. Do you have any tips for our readers on balancing creativity and self-care?
As a writer, I have to treat creativity as a priority. I don’t wait for the muse to strike. I do need to get my own head space, so I often leave the house. I like going to coffee shops, for the note taking, which is such a big part of the process. I really am a planner, and I like to think the book through first, really feel like I know the characters, gauge when they’re ready to speak, they’re popping out, they want to tell their story. Then I have the energy to sit down and really go for it.
Describe what you do for a job in 3 words
Write, sleep, repeat!
What’s the best thing about your job?
I’m lucky enough to have met a lot of readers over the years and their lovely enthusiasm always boosts me.
What's the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I did an event with another author, who was much older and wise and experienced. He said: “Whatever you say aloud your brain believes, even if you know it’s not true. Some part of your brain listens and digests it.” So, what I always say is: “I never get writer’s block, I never get stuck, this never happens.” I know it’s a self-fulfilling thing to say out loud. And if there is a sort of pause, I go for a walk. I think walking just clears the brain. And if it gets really bad, my husband and I go out and drink lots of cocktails and talk about it, until inspiration strikes. And I find the cocktails very helpful.
Tell us a secret...
I get asked this a lot, especially since I wrote a book called ‘Can You Keep a Secret?’ But of course, I can’t tell you, because then it wouldn’t be a secret, would it?
What’s your favourite colour (this week)?
My team have used a bright yellow on my posters for ‘The Burnout’ and I love them, so at the moment that’s the colour that’s bringing me the most joy.
Where is your favourite corner in your house?
My bed – always. I’m a bit like Sasha that way. Most things can be solved with a good night’s sleep. When you can’t go on a retreat to a Devonshire beach, at least…
Are you all about long lie-ins or up with the lark?
Long lie-ins, definitely (if I can), especially if I have a cup of tea and a good book to ease me into the day.
On my bedside table I have…
‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen – it’s a perennial favourite of mine. And an advance proof copy of ‘Tackle!’ by Jilly Cooper.
Vermeer, because I find the skill and artistry of his still lifes not short of miraculous.
Tea or Coffee first thing?
Tea, in a favourite mug that always makes me smile!
Do you have a bedtime ritual?
I like to exercise, play tennis, play the piano and dance. If I’ve done one of those activities during the day, I find it much easier to switch off at night.
Instagram or TikTok?
Who (4 guests) would you invite to a dream midnight feast? Dead/alive/animal?
I would invite my favourite authors. Jane Austen, George Eliot, Georgette Heyer and my great friend Jojo Moyes.