Today on Inheritance Books, we have Sophie Ranald. Hi Sophie, make yourself comfortable on the Inheritance Books sofa. Why don’t tell us a bit about yourself, while I go make us a cuppa.
I’m the youngest of five sisters. I was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in South Africa before moving to London in my late 20s, ostensibly just to live and work in the city for a while – but I ended up falling in love with it (and with my wonderful partner!) and deciding to stay.
I’ve always loved books, reading and writing, but it wasn’t until 2011 that I made the leap and decided to try writing fiction as a career. My first novel, It Would Be Wrong to Steal my Sister’s Boyfriend (Wouldn’t it?) came out in August 2013 and made it into Amazon’s top 10 bestsellers in October. Since then, I’ve written four more novels and I’m working on a sixth.
Although my books are romantic comedies, I see the romance element as – not exactly secondary, but additional to all the other aspects of my heroines’ lives: their relationships with friends and family, their careers, their role in the wider world, and so on. I think women’s fiction deserves to be taken more seriously than it is – there are so many wonderful writers in our genre, and we write about things other than shoes, cocktails and sex (although those things are obviously vitally important too!).
I couldn’t agree more about women’s fiction. Most people who are dismissive of the genre haven’t actually read any of it (or read an old school Mills and Boon from the 60s and drew conclusions from that).
Which book have you inherited from the generation above? Why is it special?
I am passionate about food and cooking, and one of my favourite books ever is my mother’s battered old copy of The Constance Spry Cookery book. It’s a classic, first published in 1956, and rather delightfully the first chapter focuses on canapés to serve at cocktail parties. Clearly Constance was a woman after my own heart!
Mum received the book for Christmas from my father the first year they were married, and apparently she was none too pleased with the gift, seeing it as one of those presents that benefit the giver more than the receiver! But she went on to treasure the book and use it extensively – the Coronation Chicken recipe was her go-to for parties.
When I was a teenager, I spent many happy hours lying on my bed reading the book from cover to cover. I loved the world it invokes and the knowledge it contains – although I have no aspirations to be a 1950s housewife!
Which book would you like to leave to future generations? Why?
It would have to be my collection of Persephone books. Persephone republishes out-of-print books, almost all by women and mostly from the early 20th century. They are wonderful books and cast such a fascinating light on women’s lives at the time. They are also beautiful, with gorgeous dove-grey jackets and endpapers printed with fabric and wallpaper designs from the period in which they were written.
Unfortunately they, and almost all my other books, are currently in boxes in a storage unit, because we’re having building work done on our house. The only bookshelf we have at the moment is in my partner’s study, and showcases his rather eclectic tastes!
Thank you for sharing your Inheritance Books with us, Sophie. All the best with your new book!
Sophie’s latest book The Truth About Gemma Grey is available to buy now. You can find out more about Sophie on her website, or catch up with her on Facebook or Twitter (@sophieranald).
Would you like to tell us about your Inheritance Books? Email my on rhodabaxter(at)gmail(dot)come and I’ll send you the guidelines.