- About the Author
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Sophy Layzell is an author based in Somerset with a debut novel ‘Measure of Days’ released in August this year by the Book Guild. It makes the perfect Christmas stocking filler for teens! It’s topical, thought provoking and a good conversation starter for some pretty big subjects.
This book is the first in a trilogy set in an imagined future where a terrible flesh eating disease has changed how we live. For 80 years this disease has dominated the human race, reducing the population and forcing those remaining to rely on organ transplants and prosthetics to survive. The young people are beginning to ask questions. Why is there no vaccine? How can 80 years have passed without one being found? Deter Edison finds herself plunged into this terrifying world when it’s discovered that she has natural immunity. Does her DNA hold the key to a future vaccine? She might be safe from contracting the disease but her life is in danger, as she becomes the prime focus in the race for a vaccine.
So let’s find out a bit more about Sophy:
1) Have you always wanted to write?
As a schoolgirl writing was a secondary focus for me, art was far more important for many years. I studied fashion design and then following the birth of my daughter Jemima I worked part-time as a commercial artist and then almost by accident ended up setting up a performing arts youth group.
The drama element meant I was always working with stories, and then after Jemima died very unexpectedly, writing became a solace and way to express my grief.
2) How do you choose your books titles?
Measure of Days is the first in the ‘Complete’ trilogy and all three books have titles taken from biblical references. They all have a similar meaning, a sort of reap what you sow message. The next two are ‘Upon All Men’ and ‘Wages of Sin’. Christianity is very important to many of my characters. The world has become so dark and out of control that they have looked to God for guidance and inspiration. For them it justifies some of the extreme things they feel compelled to do.
3) Do you do research for your books, if so what kind?
I often find I have to research quite mundane things as my characters chose to do things I know nothing about, or they end up travelling to places I have never been to myself. For ‘Measure of Days’ I had to look up natural crop planting and rotation for Angus spends quite a bit of time on the roof top gardens and of course I’ve had to research vaccines. But I’ve tried to keep the science aspect vague and generic partly because if I became bogged down in technical detail it could be quite tedious for the reader and also because who knows what we will be capable of doing in the future?
4) How do you approach world building?
The ‘Measure of Days’ world grew when I started looking at climate forecasts for the future and taking our primary concerns for energy, farming and social structure and imagining how they might develop. It’s also fair to say that futuristic books and films influence me but I hope that my world is completely unique!
5) How do you handle criticism?
I’m getting used to criticism having had some appalling reviews! The best way to console myself though is to look on various sales platforms and read the very worst reviews for some of my favourite authors. It really does prove that everyone relates differently to a book and just because someone didn’t connect with it doesn’t mean it isn’t good.
6) Tell me about your main character?
Deter Edison is rich, spoilt and privileged and has to adjust fast to new challenging circumstances. She is resourceful, compassionate and makes the best out of the worst situation. As well as the bigger picture, (the race to find a vaccine), she also has to adjust to several big revelations that challenge everything she knows. Every time she thinks she’s safe, the ground shifts and new threats emerge. It’s exhausting and the only way she gets through it is by trusting her new friend Lincoln.
Measure of Days isn’t just told through Deter’s eyes there are other characters, more complex and just as important as Deter! It is just that she is the focus that everyone revolves around because of her rare genes. I can’t wait until all three books are released and people can see how the story develops!
‘Measure of Days’ is published by The Book Guild and available from Waterstones, Foyles and Amazon and selected independent retailers. If your independent bookshop doesn’t have it in stock, please ask as they can easily order it for you.
For links to various on-line retailers please visit Sophy’s website: www.sophylayzell.com
Bethany Askew is the author of eight novels:
The Time Before, The World Within, Out of Step, Counting the Days, Poppy’s Seed, Three Extraordinary Years,The Two Saras and I know you, Don’t I?
She has also written a short story, The Night of the Storm, and she writes poetry.
Two more women’s fiction books have been accepted for publication in 2020 and 2021 respectively and she is currently working on a new novel.
In her spare time she enjoys reading, music, theatre, walking, Pilates, dancing and voluntary work.
Bethany is married and lives in Somerset.