Our first book club pick was the incredibly heart warming and romantic, This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens. Sophie has kindly agreed to answer some questions for us!
“Be a good companion to yourself and you will never be lonely.”
What inspired you to write This Time Next Year? Is it based on any real life events or people?
I have always had a love/hate relationship with New Year’s Eve, and I think lots of people do, so I loved the idea of pitting two people against each other – one who loved NYE and the other who hated it! I also wanted to explore the ideas of fate – a couple’s lives crossing many times without them knowing about it, so the initial idea was a blend of various ideas and themes I was keen to explore.
Do you have a specific writing process? What is the first thing you do when you begin writing?
All I knew when I started this book was that I wanted it to span a year – New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Eve, and for it to be full of flashbacks to New Year’s Eves of the past, all of which would illuminate something new about Minnie or Quinn in the present. Beyond that, I had the characters, but I didn’t know what was going to happen to them over the course of this year. When I wrote the novel, I had a day job, so I had to write in the evenings, this meant I had to stick to a very strict writing schedule in order to hit my deadline. I knew I needed to write 5,000 words a week, which worked out as four evenings of writing, 1,300 words a session. It was good to have this discipline and the tight structure of the book, as I didn’t have too long to overthink or doubt myself. All writers will tell you the hardest part is getting a first draft finished -once you have that, you are halfway there.
Do you relate to any of the characters in This Time Next Year? One of our book club members says she believes Minnie to have elements of EVERY woman.
I definitely identify with a few characters in this book. Minnie’s sense of not having her life sorted, and looking around her and feeling like she’s the one left behind – I think we’ve all felt like that at some point. I also identify with Bev as I feel anxious I’m not doing enough to help the environment, or avert the apocalypse, and that’s a common worry we all have. Leila is very much the friend I aspire to be – the friend who builds you up and notices what you need; everyone needs a friend like Leila!
A lot of our members are screaming for the book to be made into a movie! Do you have a dream cast for the main characters?
Yes please! I hope this gets made into a movie – I would love that. So many brilliant actresses could play Minnie – but I could definitely see Emilia Clarke or Jessica Brown Findlay (who was in Downton Abbey) in the role. Quinn wise, maybe Sam Claflin, or otherwise hit me up with your ideas and I’ll make some notes – ha ha.
You are currently writing your second novel – HOW EXCITING – have you found the writing experience any different than when you wrote your first?
Yes! Very different – mainly because I have had lots of distractions in terms of publicising This Time Next Year. When you are stuck on a chapter, it’s very tempting to just go on Instagram and look up at nice posts about This Time Next Year, rather than doing the hard work of fixing the chapter in front of you – i am a terrible procrastinator! Just Haven’t Met You Yet is written in the first person rather than third person and that was a very different experience, and in some ways has been more fun to write, as I get to expand on all the weird and wonderful thoughts Laura has. This time around I was also a bit less pressured for time as this is now my day job. I feel so grateful I can now do what I love every day, rather than having to cram it into the evening around everything else.
BONUS QUESTION; Could you share your top 5 books?
So hard to have a definitive five, but five books I love are: