Every week, host Adam Sockel interviews a popular member of the literary world about their passions beyond what they're known for. These longform, relaxed conversations show listeners a new side of some of their favorite content creators as well as provide insight into the things that inspire their work.
Surrounded by the Sea with Sophie Cousens
Bestselling rom-com writer Sophie Cousens lives on Jersey Island in the UK and it has changed the entire way she lives her life, in the best possible way. In this discussion, Adam and Sophie chat about what living on a small island is like, the stress she feels now that her books come with expectations, and her love of the romantic comedy genre.
Her latest book, Before I Do, is the perfect end of year book to enjoy cuddled up by a fire!
Books mentioned in this episode
Adam Sockel: You’re listening to Passions & Prologues, a literary podcast where each week I’ll interview an author about a thing they love and how it inspires their work. I’m your host, Adam Sockel, and if this is your first time checking in, thanks so much for joining. If you’ve been here for a while, welcome back. Glad to have you here. Today’s interview is one I did with Sophie Cousens, who you may know from her spectacular romcom books This Time Next Year, Just Haven’t Met You Yet, and the latest one Before I Do, which is what we talk about just a little bit at the end of this episode. Sophie writes perfect books for the end of the year when people are looking for cozy books to cuddle up on a couch with a fire and a mug of tea and to enjoy where you know want to have something that is going to take you on a journey and bring you back to a happy ending. So I have found myself recently, we talk about this in the show, I found myself recently loving cozy books. And so getting to talk to Sophie and then dive into Before I Do recently was really, really great for me. Especially this time of year. Before we get to that, I want to give you a book recommendation here. And so my book recommendation is one that I am about half way through right now. It is Darling Girl by Liz Michalski. This is a dark, modern reimagining of JM Barry’s classic Peter Pan. I don’t want to give too much away, but if you’re a fan of reimaginings where there is a lot of, I don’t want to say role swapping, but determining who the villain is and who the good people might be. And it’s a playful twist on that. But it’s just a really, really interesting take on Peter Pan. I really, really like it. I think you’ll love it too. Again, I don’t want to give too much away, but if you’re a fan of reimaginings. Darling Girl by Liz Michalski. I will let you go look up how much of it you want before you dive in. I literally saw that it was a reimagining of Peter Pan and dove right in and so far I’m loving it. It hasn’t let me down. Speaking of recommendations, in case you missed it over the weekend, I did a bonus episode with Amy Clark from the Book Gang podcast and MomAdvice where we went back and forth with book recommendations. We actually handed out over a dozen of them. So case you missed that, I released it as a bonus episode over the weekend. Go check that out wherever you listen to your podcast. It’s in the same feed as Passions & Prologues, but highly recommended. It was a lot of fun. I’ve gotten some really nice feedback from people about the different recommendations. I’m going to do that a couple times every couple of weeks basically… Every couple months, rather. Just to give some additional recommendations as a thank you for everyone for listening in. I mentioned today’s conversation with Sophie Cousens. What we talk about is her love of the sea. Sophie actually lives with her partner on an island in the middle of the UK. It’s called the Island of Jersey, and it’s a very small island, it’s in the middle of the sea, and we get into basically how her life has changed since living on this island and all the things that she loves about it. I really, really think you’re going to enjoy it. It was super, super fascinating to hear about. As always, if you’re looking for additional book recommendations, you can send me an email to [email protected] All I ask is that you leave me a five star review or a quick rating wherever you listen to the podcasts. And as I mentioned previously, I am going to start picking a winner every month or so to send a bookshop.org gift card. And all you have to do to be, quote, unquote, “entered” into that is just send me an email. I want to know about your passions. I really loved getting to know the different passions from all the authors that I’ve chatted with over the last few months. But I want to know your passions as well. So if you want a chance to win a free bookshop.org gift card from yours truly all you do is send me a quick email, let me know what your passions are. I’m very, very interested in it. Okay, that’s all the housekeeping, that’s all the fun stuff. It is chilly and cozy here in November in Cleveland, which makes this the perfect time to talk with Sophie Cousens. Again, I think you’re going to really, really love this discussion and you’ll love Before I Do even more. So all that is coming up next on Passions & Prologues. Okay, Sophie. So what is the thing you are super passionate about that we are going to be diving into today?
Sophie Cousens: Well, I think we’re literally going to be diving in because I’m going to say that my passion is the sea. Both living by, swimming in and walking by because I have only moved to Jersey, which is an island where I live, eight years ago. And living by the sea is definitely something… I mean, I like the sea. I went on seaside holidays, I liked swimming in the sea, but I didn’t connect with it maybe in the same way that now I live a 10 minute drive away it’s quite a big part of my life and quite a big reason why I love living where I live, for sure.
Adam Sockel: I love there’s so much space to play in and I have a million questions for you. So I tend to ask people where this passion came from early on in their lives. Do you have any first memories or any early memories of going to visit the sea? I feel like everyone has their own relationship with large bodies of water. So was there something early on that you remember?
Sophie Cousens: I come from a very big family. I’m one of five and my mom is one of five. And we have a tradition where every year all of our family go down to this beach called Polzeath in Cornwall, which is on the West Coast of the UK, because my mother went there when she was a child. So literally there’s been people from our family going there for a hundred years and we have a very British seaside holiday where we build sandcastles and we have sandy sandwiches and we all go body boarding in the sea. And so I really associate the beach, I think, with very wholesome activities but also a chance to meet up with family. And I’m really close with all my cousins, because we see each other every year, because we all go on holiday together and the group has grown to… There’s about 50 of us now. So I definitely have very happy memories of seaside holidays and we would go rain or shine. We have a very eccentric British seaside holiday where even if it’s raining we go, we sit under towels, we get in the sea. So yeah, that’s probably was my first memory or experience of seaside holidays.
Adam Sockel: Yeah, I feel like seaside holidays on the UK side versus in the U.S. side we have different experiences. So I grew up, like you were talking about where you live now, I grew up five minutes from Lake Erie, which is one of the Great Lakes. So not as nearly as fun as growing up by the sea. It’s a lake but it’s still very beautiful and the same thing; our family didn’t interact with it in the ways that we would go and celebrate holidays there. It’s not exactly the same. But when you think of U.S. beach holidays, I think people think of sandy beaches, and sunshine, and tanning on the beach and all these different things. And then when people think of, in their minds, incorrectly or correctly, they [inaudible 00:08:11] UK of gray and dreary and windy and craggy coast signs and things like that. So this is more so for my edification. Are those the types of beaches that you were visiting and are visiting or is it the sandy beaches you can frolic with a dog and all of that good stuff?
Sophie Cousens: Well the beach we go to, I mean, it’s beautiful. There’s lots of sand. But the thing about a British beach holiday is you can never guarantee sun. And if you want to go and sunbathe, don’t go on a British beach holiday. But when there is a sunny day, it’s almost so much better than if you’ve gone to a hot country, because it feels like a complete bonus. You’re like, “Oh wow, it’s actually sunny. I’m going to have to put sun cream on.” But I think that the British seaside holiday is much more about activities. So you might play a game of cricket on the beach or you put your wetsuit on and you get in the sea and it’s cold. It’s not about sunbathing and having cocktails by the pool. It’s very much just carry on whatever the weather and that’s kind of part of the fun. My in-laws are much more kind of hot weather beach people. And so when they came and visited this holiday with us and they all thought we were completely insane that we were sitting in the rain on this beach. Which, fair enough, we probably are.
Adam Sockel: So when you and your partner made the choice, you mention about eight years ago, to move to an island by the beach; was that something that it was brought about because of all the fond memories you had? Or what was it that drew you in your adult life to want to have, if not similar experiences… Because, like you said, you can’t bring the 50 cousins and everybody there on a daily basis. So what was it for you to want to be close to the sea on a daily basis?
Sophie Cousens: So we didn’t actually think about that. Weirdly, that wasn’t the reason we came. So my husband had a job opportunity here, I’d been to Jersey before, I had no experience of the Channel Islands. So for U.S. listeners, the Channel Islands are basically a small group of islands between the UK and France. They’re actually much closer to France. You can actually see France on a good day. And Jersey is the biggest Channel Island, but it’s still really small. It’s only nine by five miles. So it’s really small, and it’s known for farming, and there’s also financier and it’s famous for its milk and all that kind of thing. So we came just for work and we didn’t know we’d necessarily stay for very long. And then it’s interesting that the beach and the sea is what has really drawn me to stay. And I think part of it is if you live on an island, there’s an element of being a bit constrained because you can’t just get out and drive and go somewhere different and the landscape is pretty unchangeable internally. And so I think the appeal of the sea is it really stops you feeling claustrophobic because that’s a landscape that’s ever changing. It changes daily with the tides, it changes daily with the weather and the seasons. And so I wonder if all islanders feel this a little bit that, when you’re in a very small landmass, the sea becomes a really valuable way of not feeling constrained and just walking on a beach and looking out at that vast expanse of space and water, I find, essential. If you were told you could only live on a nine by five grid of land and you couldn’t look out or go out or do anything else, I think that would be quite hard if you didn’t have the sea. For me personally.
Adam Sockel: Yeah, I found myself always being struck. Both of my brothers-in-law have boats and used to joke, the best possible way to be interacting with a boat is to have a very close friend or family member who has a boat that you can go on whenever and I don’t have to take care of it.
Sophie Cousens: Exactly. Perfect.
Adam Sockel: It was the best.
Sophie Cousens: Yes.
Adam Sockel: And all this summer, one of my brothers-in-law, he and I went out and we found ourselves going out… Instead of going along the coastline one way or the other, we would go straight out into the lake 10 miles on his boat. And it’s a larger boat, we weren’t on a little tiny motor boat and we would watch the sunset. We would kill the engine and it was so quiet and peaceful and it was the most at calm I think I’ve ever felt. And a lot of it has to do with this… You were talking about this massive expanse of the sea; I have a deep respect of I love the water, I love being on the water, I love watching the sunset and things like that. But I have a massive respect of it’s a shallow lake but it’s still 70 feet deep below us. And just that feeling of how small we are when you’re surrounded by this mass of water. For me it does get almost… I guess it feels like claustrophobia, but it’s obviously the reverse because there’s so much expanse.
Sophie Cousens: Yes, yes, totally. And I know exactly that feeling you’re talking about. So in my second novel, Just Haven’t Met You Yet, which is all about a woman who comes to Jersey and she’s from London. Very urban lifestyle and she experiences the island and being by the sea and it’s kind of a love letter to where I live, that book. And one of my favorite lines in it that I remember thinking of when I was swimming in the sea is that, “When life is hard or you’re stressed, if you look out at that horizon of the sea, it’s like a spirit level for the soul.” And that’s very much, I think, how it feels in terms of seeing your place and how small you are and how insignificant, but in a nice calming way rather than in a scary, being out on Mars and looking out the universe way. The sea feels manageable but also it’s a reset. Completely a reset.
Adam Sockel: This sounds like just a person who isn’t familiar with living on a small island like you do; are there changes you’ve had to make in your lifestyle from availability of resources? I guess, when a place is that small, like you said, it’s known for… You mentioned there’s finance, but a lot of it being known for… When you mentioned Jersey, I feel like Jersey cows is something in my brain that I’ve heard of before.
Sophie Cousens: Jersey cows, famous cows.
Adam Sockel: Yes.
Sophie Cousens: Best milk in the world. Yeah.
Adam Sockel: So are there other aspects of your life that, because of the sea, are either changed or if are you getting, I don’t want to say deliveries, but packages and things and certain schedules? Is there a difference in your life since moving to a smaller island that you maybe weren’t expecting?
Sophie Cousens: Yeah, I think some of the things that I used to love about London, like having amazing theater on my doorstep, having talks and lectures and there’s culture-wise just so much available and also just diversity of choice and people. And there’s nothing like London. I love it in another way. And I think coming to a small island, it’s got a big-ish population for its size. There’s 100,000 people here but there’s not a huge choice of theater. Culturally there’s not so much going on. And so the things that me and my friends do, you’d more meet up for a sea swim in the evening rather than going to a talk or to the pub. But I don’t know how much of that is also to do with my age in terms of moving here in my late 30s, early 40s. Maybe that’s what I would be doing, more middle-aged activities. But I feel like, yeah, we spend social time going paddle boarding with friends or meeting up for a sea swim or getting a bottle of wine and meeting a friend and sitting on the beach and watching the sun go down, which is just playing to what the island has to offer rather than feeling sad that you can’t go to a musical.
Adam Sockel: I do think it’s a little bit of both though, because I know exactly what you mean. So I live in Cleveland, Ohio and we are blessed with, this is something not many people know, in the United States, outside of Broadway in New York City, Cleveland is the largest theater city in the country.
Sophie Cousens: Oh wow.
Adam Sockel: We have this beautiful district of our city called Playhouse District and it’s where we have multiple world class theaters. And so we do get first run musicals and theatrical productions that come in. And much like you, I have been to hundreds of… I’ve seen Hamilton, and Wicked and Les Mis 15 times because these things come through here all the time. But you’re talking about adjusting our life to our age. I still have access to those things, but you’re absolutely right. If one of my friends were to say, “Hey, do you want to go for a walk in the woods and have a cup of cider?” I’m like, “Oh, that sounds so much better than getting dressed up to go to the theater most nights.” So I do think it might be a little bit of column A, little bit of column B.
Sophie Cousens: Yes, exactly. So it’s hard to tell. And I have children now, so we do a lot of at the weekend just going to build sandcastles on the beach or going to look for sea glass. I don’t know if you know what sea glass is, but yeah, so that’s a real thing that we do here as well. Just going to collect sea glass, and I make little pictures out of sea glass and yeah, all these very middle-aged activities that 25 year old me would’ve been like, “What? What are you doing?”
Adam Sockel: Exactly. Oh, that’s so funny. We’ll be back with more Passions & Prologues after this break. And now back to Passions & Prologues. You mentioned your second book being a love letter to living on this island and this type of a lifestyle, but from a day to day… And before we started recording, you were mentioning how, especially right now, because you’re in the middle of a publicity blitz and you had a lot of life things going on, it’s hard for you to find time to write obviously, but would you say that your life interactions with the sea and just how you are connected to it on a day by day basis, has that soaked into your writing process and anything like that?
Sophie Cousens: I mean, I think definitely with my second book, Just Haven’t Met You Yet, just because it was so about the islands and I put in all these places that I love and I actually went to go to walk on the beaches that I was writing about to capture what was there and the flowers, and the fauna and the details. So I feel like the sense of place is really, really there in that book. So my current book, Before I Do, is not anything to do with the sea. It’s not set by the sea. And so maybe I went on a few less plot walks. Often I’d take myself to the beach and go on a plot walk and absorb nature as part of my story when I was trying to think of stuff. But yeah, when I’m stuck, I go outside, I go for a walk, I think through my plots and my stories. Actually part of Before I Do is set in Ibiza, which is another island which is close to my heart that I have some family has a holiday home there, so have been a few times. And, again, that’s a very different kind of island to Jersey. But yeah, maybe some of my visits there have soaked up the atmosphere, the appeal of the sea and it’s snuck in there somewhere.
Adam Sockel: It’s been a couple years at this point, but I interviewed an author, Emma Stonex, who I think is also from the UK, and they had a book called The Lamplighters and it is-
Sophie Cousens: Oh yeah.
Adam Sockel: … It’s all about this mysterious lighthouse where these people disappeared. And she told me that she spent a lot of time seaside when writing that book because she wanted the writing of her book to be like the water. Mysterious, and long and lapping up like that. She said it much more poetically than I could possibly, but I found it really interesting. And after having read the book I was like, “Oh, I see what she means.” Your books are romantic comedies, which I don’t know, this might be me being too esoteric, but do you find the aspects of living by the sea, do you focus on those romantic aspects where… Because it is, it’s very romantic to live by the water and to hear the lapping up of the waves on the beach and things like that. Do you find that stuff going into your work at all or is this just me absolutely projecting this onto you?
Sophie Cousens: No, I think so. I think definitely with in Just Haven’t Met You Yet, which was set here, there was an element of meeting someone on the beach, or going sea swimming or going on a date by the sea and having a hot chocolate. All the little things that I love about the island that I find romantic, I had definitely put in there. And, again, as you talk about the writing, there’s definitely the metaphors and analogies that I use, they just unconsciously became quite seascapey, I suppose. But on a slightly more tangential point, I’ve got quite into sea swimming since living here. I mean, I’m not as hardcore as some people who go all year round, they go in the sea on Christmas Day, but I always do try and go in and there’s an element… I know wild swimming and cold sea swimming is very the rage and popular at the moment, but there’s kind of a reason for it, because it really does reset you and it takes you back to something quite basic about our humanity. And a lot of my stories are all about somebody being on a personal journey and there is love and there is romance, but there’s also always a journey of self-discovery. And I think that often I put in something like sea swimming or some moment where the character really gets in touch with themselves again and who they are, because I always like to write about transformation of the character internally as well as any romantic storyline that’s going on on the outside. So that’s a really waffly answer.
Adam Sockel: Listen, it was a waffly question, so that’s perfectly okay. So what made you want to focus on romantic comedies? Because it’s a genre that I adore. I’m the type of person who, I feel like there’s so much darkness in the world, if you’re going to ask me to spend… Think about movies; if you’re going to ask me to spend 90 to 120 minutes watching a movie, I would love it to be a romantic comedy so that I know that I’m going to enjoy it, there’s going to be a happy ending. I think When Harry Met Sally is a perfect movie, just all these different things. What made you want to, and it might just be something as simple as it’s something you are passionate about and you really enjoy spending time with these types of stories, but what made you want to write romantic comedies?
Sophie Cousens: So we were talking about failure before we came onto the show and I didn’t start out writing romantic comedies. The first manuscript I completed and sent off was actually a young adult sci-fi novel. So I think my urge to write was just to write stories and I didn’t have a specific kind of desire to necessarily do romcoms. And that got roundly rejected and sent me into a hole of despair for several years. And actually then a friend of mine who worked in publishing said, “Oh, have you noticed there’s this competition?” And it was a competition to write the first three chapters of a romantic comedy. So I entered this competition and then the prize was to be published as an ebook. And so that was almost a happy coincidence that happened to be a competition that I entered. And then that led me to getting an agent. And then through my agent, I actually tried various different genres, but I think I was just very… I didn’t really know how books divided up into genres and categories and the difference between literary and commercial and women’s fiction and romcoms. And I think it was through trial and error and through talking to my agent who she said, “Look, Sophie, your voice would really suit a romantic comedy. You have a very colloquial, dialogue-heavy style. You like to write funny, silly things. Maybe you should focus on that.” And that was just some of the best advice I’ve ever been given because I think it does really suit my voice. And the more I write, the more I read in the genre. I’ve always been a massive fan of romcom films, but I didn’t read a huge amount of romcom books. And the more I read, the more I feel like, yeah, these are my people.
Adam Sockel: Yeah, I found myself for the past couple of months reading a lot of cozy mysteries and someone in my life who knows my reading style very, very well, I told them, I was like, “I think I’m a huge cozy mystery fan.” And they’re like, “Yeah, you idiot. That’s absolutely what you are.” Yeah, it makes perfect sense. It is when you have someone else tell you, a light bulb goes off. You’re absolutely right.
Sophie Cousens: Yes, completely.
Adam Sockel: Yeah. So speaking of your books, tell our listeners about Before I Do, your new book that is just coming out now.
Sophie Cousens: So in all my romcoms, I love to set up a central ‘what if’ or a big dilemma for my characters. So in Before I Do, Audrey, the heroine, is about to get married to her long-term boyfriend Josh, who is lovely. They have a really nice relationship. They’re about to have this huge wedding and the night before the wedding, at the rehearsal dinner, who should turn up but the one that got away, her ‘what if’ guy, Fred, who she had one amazing day with six years ago and was convinced that he is her soulmate. And she lost touch with him, unfortunately. And for him showing up at her wedding rehearsal, she kind of starts to wonder, “Is this the universe trying to tell me that I’m about to make a huge mistake?” And the whole wedding is peppered with various disasters, which her grandmother to-be tells her are terrible omens that she’s not supposed to be getting married. So it’s really about that central dilemma of how you commit to something as big as marriage when you’ve got this in the back of your mind. You’ve always been wondering about someone or something that didn’t quite come to pass, but it’s also about family and there’s a lot of drama, there’s a lot of friends that are way into this. So yeah, it’s a highly stressful event for Audrey.
Adam Sockel: We were just talking about how discovering that we both love certain genres and things like this. I will tell anyone who is listening to this who says they are not a romantic comedy person to read Before I Do. Because I think, first off, I love your writing, everything like that. But also I feel like this is a situation where anyone of a certain age who has gone through school and gone through college or university and has met multiple people, everyone has had that moment. Whether it’s after a glass of wine or you just can’t sleep and you’re thinking about… It could be that one date, it could be the person you met when you were in seventh grade. Everyone has had that moment where you’re like, “I wonder what they’re doing,” or, “What if that had gone differently?” This is such a universal thing and I think this is truly a gateway romantic comedy is what I’ve been telling people.
Sophie Cousens: Oh good. I like that; gateway romantic comedy. Yeah, that’s what it should be billed with. Get people into it.
Adam Sockel: You could use it, feel free. Yeah. But it is. I feel like in any relationship, even the most perfect relationship ever, no matter how much you are infatuated with your partner and how well you are together, there’s always going to be a niggle one time for one moment where you’re like, “I wonder how so and so’s doing?” And that is an impetus for a book right there. It’s perfect.
Sophie Cousens: And I think the danger nowadays with Facebook and Instagram and the internet, you can find out who those people are, and what they’re doing, and who they’re married to, and whether they’re married to someone hotter than you and all of that stuff. And I think that this universal sense of wondering is also tied into if you believe in soulmates and that you are going to find the one, and it’s all predestined and everything’s meant to be, maybe you wonder less about the paths untaken. Whereas if you feel like it’s entirely up to you, and maybe you could have been happy with 10 different people that you’ve met and fell in love with in your life, but for various reasons some didn’t stay the course, then I think maybe there’s even more internal wondering about what if and what might have happened. And I think for in this book, yeah, it’s about that eternal dilemma that all of us have had, but super size because it’s happening on the most important day of her life and she’s got no time to put off the decision.
Adam Sockel: Yeah. Actually we were talking about musicals before. There’s a musical called If/Then that literally explores this topic specifically where-
Sophie Cousens: Oh, that sounds good. I haven’t heard of it.
Adam Sockel: Yeah. So If/Then, and the way that it works is there’s this… I think the opening scene is taking place in a park somewhere and there’s a meet cute moment, and then from there, what ends up happening is the story is split. The stage gets split into two different…
Sophie Cousens: Ooh.
Adam Sockel: … Areas, and you basically see the same actors embracing these… It’s basically what happens when you make a decision and then it shows you both of the choices. And then the play, or rather the musical, carries on as almost two musicals and you watch them both happen back and forth. And the way that these simple decisions can affect things, I feel like it’s a perfect story because it does exactly what you were saying. And for Before I Do, the main character can’t say, “Oh, let me look at what would’ve happened if I made this decision.” This is exactly what that musical does. It shows you both of those things, which is a thing that is obviously impossible for any of us to do, which is why the book is so fun and so interesting. And so it asks real questions in a way that people are like, “Oh my God.” I promise people, you won’t have a existential crisis while reading Sophie’s book, but it’s so great.
Sophie Cousens: You might have an existential crisis when you read it, especially if you’re about to get married.
Adam Sockel: So you were mentioning before we started recording how all the different things you have to do. How do you find time? Because we were talking about how I’m clearing a novel and when you write your first novel, before you have a literary agent or anything, you write when you need to write, when you can write, when the news inspires you, whatever it is. But then for someone like you, you have multiple books out now, you have deadlines and different things. So how do you write? Where do you fit it into your schedule? How does your writing process work?
Sophie Cousens: So it’s interesting because my first book, This Time Next Year, I actually wrote in the evenings when I had a full-time job, and I had two little children and I just slotted it in in the evenings. So I finished my job, I’d put my children to bed, and I would write five nights a week between 8:00 and 10:30 and I set myself a very clear goal that I was going to write 5,000 words a week. And I had a little calendar and I wrote down exactly how many words, and then I knew eventually by the end of it I would get to 90,000 words and then I’d have a first draft. And I think that book, strangely, looking back, maybe I’m misremembering it, but I found it quite easy to do. Because, again, this was actually during a period of my life when I had young children. I wasn’t going out alone. I wasn’t having to turn down loads of fun theater invitations because there’s no theater here. So I think I just committed and did it. Whereas subsequently, I’ve been very lucky in that I can now afford to be a full-time writer, which is great. But now I have more hours where I’m sitting at my desk and it’s my day job. But the temptation to procrastinate, and also the other demands on my time in terms of I could spend forever just looking at my book being tagged on Instagram, which I always like, or chatting to book groups or doing a short story to market… All this little stuff that really adds up that I really enjoy, I love that side of it, but definitely takes up head space. And I think there was something very charming in a way of writing that book and thinking probably no one was going to read it versus now the pressure of feeling like you know some people are going to read it. And that puts a certain… Yeah, it does make it harder. But in a good way.
Adam Sockel: Yeah. Sophie’s being very modest. A lot of people are going to read these books. But I do know what you mean. I was the opposite when I wrote my manuscripts to mine. I am a morning person, so I wrote from 6:00 AM to 8:00 AM before I would start work. And same thing, when people ask, “How did you write up on that one?” I didn’t write a whole novel. I wrote 1200 words a day, or 800 words a day or 2000 words if it was insanely fast. You don’t think about it-
Sophie Cousens: Just do it bit by bit. Break it down. Exactly.
Adam Sockel: Exactly, yeah [inaudible 00:34:15].
Sophie Cousens: What genre is your book?
Adam Sockel: So I like magical realism, fabulism. I have an author friend who has actually been on the show and two years ago we were talking and I had just finished reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and I was like, “There should be more mysterious-”
Sophie Cousens: Oh, I love that book.
Adam Sockel: Yeah, I was like, “There should be more books about mysterious circuses.” Anytime someone tells me there’s a mysterious circus in this novel, I don’t need you to tell me anymore. I want to read it. She’s like, “So write one,” she’s like, “You’ve been in the literary world for a decade, go write a book.” And so I did. So it’s a kind of dark, mysterious traveling circus type of a [inaudible 00:34:53].
Sophie Cousens: Ooh, love it. Love it. That sounds great.
Adam Sockel: Yeah. So I always end our conversations by having the author give a recommendation of anything you want to be. It could be a book, it could be somebody… A recent author just said, “Go for a walk.” It could be a TV show, a recipe that you think more people should know about. Just some recommendation that you want to give to my listeners.
Sophie Cousens: So my recommendation is going to be go and jump in some cold water. Whatever is your closest cold water, be it a lake or a sea or a river. I mean, don’t do this if you can’t swim. That’s my caveat. Or take a life preserver. But yeah, go and get really cold. Go and watch Wim Hof, who’s the expert on cold water swimming and test yourself physically and… Or have a cold shower. If you are literally nowhere else, go and have a cold bath or a cold shower and just see how it changes your mindset for the day. And yeah, that’s going to be my big top tip.
Adam Sockel: Listen-
Sophie Cousens: Cold water.
Adam Sockel: Sophie, there’s scientific truth behind that. Getting into cold water does something into your brain. It’s good for you. I totally agree. That’s a perfect recommendation. Before I Do, like I said, it is, to me, it’s like a gateway romantic comedy. It’s a perfect book for people who have read romantic comedies for years and years and someone who has never picked one up before. I adored it and I loved this conversation. Sophie, thank you for joining me today.
Sophie Cousens: Ah, thank you so much. No, it’s been really fun to chat.
Adam Sockel: Passions & Prologues is proud to be an Evergreen podcast that was created by Adam Sockel. It was produced by Adam Sockel and Sean Rule-Hoffman. And if you are interested in this podcast and any other Evergreen podcast, you can go to evergreenpodcast.com to discover all the different stories we have to tell.
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