Sophie Cleverly was born in Bath in 1989. She studied for a BA in Creative Writing and an MA in Writing For Young People. Her book series Scarlet and Ivy and The Violet Veil Mysteries are published by HarperCollins worldwide, as well as being translated into 6 different languages so far.
Aside from writing, she can often be found listening to symphonic metal, watching fantastical TV and struggling to find her way out of her ever-increasing pile of books.
Why did you want to become an author?
I always wanted to tell stories, ever since I could write. English was my favourite subject at school, and when I heard you could study Creative Writing at university, I decided to go for it.
Where do you get your ideas?
The way I see it is that my mind is like a well of ideas. The first thing I have to do is fill up the well – so that means not only reading as many different books as possible; but also listening to music, watching films, playing video games, looking at art, visiting interesting places… I keep doing that throughout my life, so that the well is always full. The next thing is to put a bucket down into the well and see what comes up. I do that in different ways. Sometimes, I use writing exercises (see below). Sometimes I just sit and daydream. Sometimes I look at pictures that inspire me to tell a story. Sometimes I read about a real thing that fascinates me, and I want to put it in a book. As long as you keep the well topped up, and you know how to send that bucket down, you will be overflowing with ideas.
How did you come up with Scarlet and Ivy?
I was in class one day at university, and we were given a writing exercise where we had to imagine a character returning to a room they hadn’t set foot in for a long time. I pictured a room with twin beds in it, but only saw one girl entering. Straight away I had the idea for a story about a missing twin, and a secret diary.
Who illustrates your books?
For Scarlet and Ivy, the UK covers are illustrated by Kate Forrester. The internal illustrations and the covers now used for Australia/NZ/Canada are by Manuel Šumberac. The US editions are illustrated by Francesca Resta. For Violet Veil, the illustrations are by Hannah Peck.
Who are your favourite authors?
My all-time favourites are Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I’ve been a huge fan of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld since I was 11 years old, and often attend events and conventions. Neil Gaiman I discovered later, but I am absolutely in love with his writing. My favourite of his books is The Graveyard Book.
Will you visit my school/city/country?
I would love to! Unfortunately there are only so many visits I can do in a year. This is partly because I am busy writing – it’s a lot of work to write a series of books. But also because I have a chronic illness/disability which means I find doing a lot of events very difficult. However, if you keep an eye on my News And Events page, you might find I am appearing somewhere near you soon. If you are a librarian/teacher/bookseller and would like to book me for an event, please get in touch and I will send you my info sheet.
Will there be a movie of Scarlet and Ivy?
This is probably my most asked question! I would LOVE for there to be a movie or TV show of the books, but unfortunately we have to wait for a film company to buy the rights. Fingers crossed!
Will you write more Scarlet and Ivy books?
…and this would be the second most asked question! I wrote The Last Secret to be the final book in the series, and to tie up all the loose ends. And as I’m currently working on Violet Veil, I don’t have any plans to do any sequels or spin-offs at the moment. But I would never say never – if I had a really amazing idea for something related to the twins or Rookwood, I would certainly write it.
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