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Behind the Scenes by Sophie Childs Publication Day

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They say that when it comes to writing fiction, you should write what you know, so when I started plotting out the outline for ‘Behind the Scenes’, I drew upon my real life experiences for inspiration to put together the story of Bethan Brooks.

I worked in offices for about five years and never fitted in. I remember that I went on a team-building weekend with one company and one of the exercises was that everyone had to give private feedback on everyone else in the team. You had to say at least one positive thing for every negative and my negatives were consistently the same: I was moody (unsurprising, since I hated the job!) and I was far too individual for my own good.

There aren’t many people who want to grow up to be an admin assistant and I was no different. As a child, I wanted to be a ballerina, actress, musician and writer – all at once! I’ve always been highly creative and it was obvious to anyone who knew me that I was much better suited to the creative industries than working for insurers or chartered surveyors.

One thing that I did have going for me was that I’m very good at dealing with difficult personalities and there are plenty of those in an office. The character of Pete, Bethan’s boss, is an amalgamation of a lot of people I worked for, one of whom was so obnoxious that one of his secretaries (not me!) spat in his coffee on a regular basis. It wasn’t difficult to come up with the character of Livvy, Bethan’s predecessor – she’s also a combination of former colleagues and I had a lot of fun thinking of ways in which she would annoy her co-workers, even if I’d never have done what she did.

Living and working in London, as I used to, I met a fair few famous people and, when I read an article about how Keanu Reeves travels on the subway in New York, that gave me the perfect starting point to bring Bethan together with the movie world she admired from afar for so long.

Her initial encounter with Vincent Constantine is very similar to when I met Darren Boyd. I was hosting an open mic night at the 12 Bar in London and he came to see one of my main acts. I recognised him from Hippies, a Channel 4 sitcom I loved, and when I asked him about it, we got talking. He was such a nice guy and more than happy to pose for a photo with me. Even now, I get a real kick out of seeing him on TV and calling him my ‘friend,’ even though he wouldn’t remember me!

Once I had those basic elements, the rest of the book flowed easily. Although I hated my time in offices, it has to be said that they’ve really helped my writing career. Those five years have provided me with a rich source of inspiration and the stories that have come out in ‘Behind the Scenes’ are just the tip of the iceberg.

Behind the scenes is now available in paperback and e-book So Vain Books, The Great British Bookshop, Books etc. and soon also on Amazon international!

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