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Stranger Than Fiction, Larger Than Life.

Hi everyone! I’m so thrilled to share a guest post from the amazing Sophie Childs with you today. I love what she wrote about her mom. Her books are full of just as colorful, quirky characters. Pick up her new release, We Just Clicked today! Take it away, Sophie!

sophie

Have you ever had something happen to you that was so outrageous that nobody would believe it was true? They say that truth is stranger than fiction and, according to my editor, if I wanted people to feel that my novels were realistic, I had to tone down some of the anecdotes I used as inspiration. There was one story in particular that included the exact lines a guy had used when he met me in a bar and I was told that nobody would say that. To be fair, he had been rather rude, but it still happened!

They say that you should write what you know, so I weave a lot of real life touches into my stories, even if I do have to tone them down to make them plausible. It’s not for nothing that you’re warned to be careful around writers or you could find yourself in their next book. So when I was plotting out my latest novel, We Just Clicked, I decided that I wanted my protagonist, Erin, to be surrounded by supporting characters who would be just as interesting as she is and what better person to inspire one of those characters than my own mother?

In September this year, it will have been 20 years since my mum died. She had three types of cancer and lived for years after being given six months to live through sheer will power alone. That’s just the kind of person she was. On the last day I saw her, she gave me money to buy myself a birthday present and apologised for not having been able to get to the shops herself. She died three days before I turned 23 and if you’re reading this from wherever you are, Mum, it’s OK. It is absolutely fine that you didn’t trot down to the shops when your body wouldn’t let you.

But that was my mother. She was generous and caring and it mattered to her that birthdays were celebrated. It’s thanks to her that birthdays are such a big deal in our house now. I can’t let someone’s special day pass without making a fuss. I know that it would have devastated her not to have been able to hold on for any longer so that she could share some birthday cake with me.

That’s not all. My mother had a more… quirky side to her. She was born in German-occupied Poland and her family were refugees who fled the Nazis over the mountains to Austria where she grew up. Her accent was what can only be described as Cockney German and I wish that I could mimic it because it was like nothing else I’ve ever heard before or since.

After she died, I learned a lot about the side of her I never saw. Let’s just say that my mother was a little light fingered and that’s putting it politely. Since she didn’t do it when I was around, I have no idea why she did it, but some of the stories I heard at the wake were hilarious. Take the time my brother was getting married. She wanted to get him a wedding present, something nice but also practical, but she didn’t have much money. What could a 50-something kleptomaniac cancer sufferer do? The only thing she could think of under the circumstances. Go into a shop, grab a kingsize duvet, shove it up her jumper and walk out pretending she was pregnant! She got away with it, too.

She had that kind of confidence that meant that people didn’t question her. She was a nice lady. She couldn’t possibly be doing anything naughty! Combine that sweet side with a Germanic outspokenness and she could get away with just about anything. There’s certainly a lot of her in the character of Delia, Erin’s mother. However, I had to tone down the details of my mum’s real life antics before I could use them in any form in my book.

I wanted to keep things believable, after all!

Sophie Childs is a home educating mother of five and the author of We Just Clicked, recently released by So Vain Books. She likes to think that she’s not nearly as eccentric as her mother, but suspects that her husband would beg to differ… You can find out more details about her work and sign up to her mailing list at www.sophiechilds.com

 

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