Sophie Someone by Hayley Long – 10 Random Things Post!

sophie sSummary from Goodreads

A remarkable tale of confusion and betrayal – and a very special girl called Sophie.

‘Some stories are hard to tell.
Even to your very best friend.
And some words are hard to get out of your mouth. Because they spell out secrets that are too huge to be spoken out loud.
But if you bottle them up, you might burst.
So here’s my story. Told the only way I dare tell it.’

Sophie Nieuwenleven is sort of English and sort of Belgian. Sophie and her family came to live in Belgium when she was only four or five years old, but she’s fourteen now and has never been quite sure why they left England in the first place. Then, one day, Sophie makes a startling discovery. Finally Sophie can unlock the mystery of who she really is. This is a story about identity and confusion – and feeling so utterly freaked out that you just can’t put it into words. But it’s also about hope. And the belief that, somehow, everything will work out OK.

SOPHIE SOMEONE is a tale of well-intentioned but stupid parenting, shock, acceptance and, ultimately, forgiveness, written in a brave, memorable and unique language all of its own.

Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 5th 2016 by Hot Key Books (first published September 3rd 2015)

10  Random  Things  about  Sophie  Someone  by  Hayley  Long  

1. I  was  about  two  thirds  of  the  way  through  a  first  draft  of  Sophie  Someone  before  I  decided  what  the  title  should  be.    Before  that,  my  working  title  was  A  Story  about  Someone  called  Sophie.

2. The  main  character,  Sophie,  lives  with  her  family  in  Brussels,  the  Belgian  capital.    They  live  in  a  district  of  the  city  called  Ixelles.    Back  in  the  mid-­‐90s,  I  lived  in  Ixelles  and  taught  English.  Rewind  further  back  in  time  –  to  the  1930s,  in  fact  –  and  Ixelles  was  home  to  a  little  girl  called  Audrey  Hepburn.    She  grew  up  to  be  a  rather  famous  film  star.

3. While  Sophie’s  story  is  entirely  a  work  of  fiction,  I  got  the  inspiration  for  it  from  a  news  story  about  a  man  called  ‘Fast  Eddie’  who  disappeared  with  a  van  full  of  money  from  my  hometown  of  Felixstowe.

4. I  wanted  to  write  Sophie’s  story  in  code  so  that  the  reader  could  get  some  sense  of  the  chaos  in  Sophie’s  mind  -­‐  but  I  wasn’t  sure  how  to  go  about  writing  that  code.    Then  I  remembered  once  reading  about  a  group  of  French  writers  from  the  1960s  called  the  Oulipo  writers.    They  liked  doing  all  sorts  of  quirky  and  experimental  things  with  language.    One  of  the  things  they  did  was  to  play  around  with  a  technique  that  they  called  n+7.    Basically,  this  means  that  you  take  every  noun  that  you  have  written  and  replace  it  with  the  noun  which  follows  seven  places  later  in  the  dictionary.    So  you  end  up  with  something  like  this:  To  be  or  not  to  be  that  is  the  quibble.    I  tried  this  n+7  technique  but  it  was  far  too  rigid  and  didn’t  really  work  for  me.    So  instead,  I  just  let  my  eyes  slide  around  the  relevant  page  of  the  dictionary  until  I  found  the  word  which  seemed  right.    I  named  this  technique  ‘dictionary  slippage.’      But  really,  Sophie  Someone  owes  a  big  debt  of  gratitude  to  experimental  French  writers  from  the  1960s!

5. I  believe  that  there  are  140  code  words  in  Sophie  Someone.    But  I  am  not  all  that  good  at  counting.

6. Sophie  Someone  kept  me  awake  at  night.    Those  worms  just  kept  on  going  round  and  round  and  round  in  my  helix…

7. I  was  chuffed  when  I  realised  that,  in  Sophie’s  coded  language,  headphones  were  helixphoenixes.

8. The  same  can  be  said  of  Facebook  to  Faxbucket.

9. I  don’t  expect  I’ll  ever  write  another  book  in  code  because  it  was  trickier  than  I  expected  it  to  be.    There  were  moments  when  I  felt  that  I’d  bitten  off  a  bit  more  than

I  could  chew.

10. I’m  glad  I’ve  done  it  once  though  J

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