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Author Interview: Catherine Doyle chats to Sophie Gracewell, leading lady of the ‘Blood For Blood’ series


infernoCatherine Doyle, author of the red-hot ‘Blood For Blood’ series, chats to her protagonist, Sophie Gracewell about Greek mythology, murder and hot boys – like “Johnny-Depp-hot”. 

Hello, Sophie. It’s lovely to meet you at last. Come in. Please, take a seat, make yourself comfortable.

[Sophie sits down and waves awkwardly]: Hello …

[Cat gapes at Sophie] Wow, what are the odds. We’re wearing the EXACT same outfit.

[Sophie laughs nervously]: Yeah, it’s kind of awkward now …

Are you comfortable?

Yes …

You seem suspicious …

Yeah, I am a bit suspicious. I think I’m always a bit suspicious.

Yeesh, someone’s cranky.

Sorry, I just hate mornings.

On that note, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself, Sophie…

[Sophie shifts awkwardly]: Um, OK, well, I’m sixteen. I’m an only child, and I live in Chicago. My full name is Persephone Elizabeth Gracewell.

What a hideous first name.

That’s incredibly rude, you know.

Do you disagree?

No, but, like, where is your social etiquette?

[Cat shrugs]

Anyway, it’s just a symbol of my mother’s fleeting obsession with Greek mythology. No one calls me Persephone. Or Percy, thank god. It’s just Sophie. Plain, simple, and pronounceable.

Bit boring though.

What?

I said, does being an only child bother you?

I don’t know, really. Sometimes I get lonely when I’m at home by myself. My mother’s a dressmaker so she’s always off meeting clients in the city, and I’m left at home watching Disney movies and eating Ben and Jerry’s. I always thought it would be nice to have a sibling or two. Maybe a brother.

[Cat shakes head grimly] They’re more trouble than they’re worth, trust me.

Well, I have a best friend called Millie and she’s basically the best sister I could ever want, so I don’t feel like I’m lacking too badly in that department. I feel very fortunate, actually.

Do you get on well with your parents?

I’m pretty close with my mom. It’s just the two of us at home. She’s sort of scatter-brained, but we make it work between us. Our dinners are pretty atrocious though. Last week, I was halfway through eating one of her pork chops before I realised it was actually a piece of cardboard. And I’ve burnt more pots than I’d care to admit. [Blushes] We eat a lot of take-out.

What about your dad?

He’s in prison.

[Cat leans forward and widens eyes] Oh, really?

[Sophie narrows eyes] Yeah, really.

That’s pretty scandalous.

That’s what they say at school too. Scandalous Sophie. I’m notorious because of it. Most people barely even look at me now.

How come he’s in prison?

He killed someone. It was an accident. It was dark and raining, and he couldn’t see properly, and a man came bursting out of the shadows … He didn’t know.

Who did he kill?

Can we change the subject, please?

Sure. Why don’t you tell me a little bit about your life right now. So, it’s summer, and it’s crazy hot.

Well, that’s Chicago for you. You have to learn how to rock the frizz. Humidity is always crazy in the summer.

[Cat grimaces] It’s way too high, if you ask me.

Then why didn’t you set the book somewhere else?

Anyway, what are you doing with yourself these days?

[Sophie leans back and sighs] Well, I’m working in the family diner at the moment, trying to earn some extra pocket money so I can buy a car. Our diner is the biggest one in Cedar Hill. It’s called Gracewell’s.

Cool name.

Hey, isn’t your mother called Grace?

You couldn’t possibly know that.

Anyway, I work in the local diner and to tell you the truth, it’s incredibly soul-destroying. Millie works with me, so at least there’s that. When it’s quiet, we play games in the back kitchen, like charades or The Floor is Lava. It’s very tricky. And there is a lot of spillage.

The Floor is Lava? Really, Sophie? Really?

Oh, I’m sorry, do you not like to enjoy yourself from time to time? I didn’t realise I was doing an interview with Monsieur Buzz Killington.

Sounds riveting.

Can you not be so sarcastic?

But then YOU wouldn’t be so sarcastic. Do you see?

Stop trying to break the fourth wall. OK. Where was I? Oh, yeah. My life: it sucks. My uncle is my boss and he’s moody, plus he rarely shows up for work. It’s a pretty monotonous summer so far, to tell you the truth. You could have found someone more interesting to interview.

Don’t sell yourself short, Sophie.

[Sophie sits forward, eyes lighting up] Actually, there is something interesting that happened to me …

Go on …

Well, the summer was going normally – you know, a little boring, way too hot – right up until last week, when the weirdest thing happened. There’s this old haunted house in my neighbourhood, and it’s been empty for, like, years. Anyway, this new family have just moved into it.

Ah, I see where we are in the story now …

What?

Nothing. Please continue.

The house is full of boys. Hot boys.

Hot boys, you say?

[Sophie nods vigorously] Whatever you’re thinking in your head in terms of hotness –  triple that.

So, on a scale from Danny DeVito to Ryan Gosling …?

I am talking Johnny-Depp-from-when-he-dated-Kate-Moss hot.

Holy crap.

[Sophie’s eyes widen] Yeah. Yeah.

Who did you meet? What were they like?

So, first I met Nic. Or Nicoli, I suppose.

Weird name. I mean, it sounds Italian …

But it’s not actually a real name in Italian, is that what you were about to say?

[Cat nods] Sounds like someone was doing an essay on the Italian book collector Niccolo di Niccoli and just liked the sound of his surname.

It really rolls off the tongue though. Plus, Nic’s really attractive. Huge, molten eyes. Dark, wavy hair …

How did you meet?

[Sophie bites lip] Well, there was a bit of an incident with him … A scary one, but let’s keep it vague so people don’t find out too much, too soon? So, after the scary incident, I was on edge, but when I ran into him again a few days later, he was … well, perfectly glorious.

Tell me about the other brother …

[Sophie scowls] Well, Luca’s just a total asshole. There’s no other way to put it.

So, so far, you hate Luca and like Nic?

Yeah. But … This is going to sound weird, but there’s something about them. They kind of give me this feeling …

Oh, trust me, that’s perfectly normal.

Not that kind of feeling! Get your mind out of the gutter, Doyle. They make me uneasy. There’s something about them, you know? I feel like… like they might be trouble. Why are you smirking?

Do you think maybe they might think you’re trouble too?

Why would they think that?

No reason.

Well, I don’t know. I just have a pretty big feeling that everything’s going to change.

It is.

What?

Do you think that somehow you’ll get caught up in it?

I don’t know, maybe.

Do you think you’d point yourself towards a dangerous situation even if your mind and maybe the minds of a few hundred readers were yelling NO SOPHIE NO DON’T DO IT WALK AWAY NOW SOPHIE BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE

What an oddly specific question. Yeah, I think I would rather be in the action than be outside of it, not knowing what’s going on.

And why is that?

Well, firstly, for plot contrivance? Because if I’m the narrator, I’d kind of have to be there to witness everything wouldn’t I?

[Cat winks] And why else?

Because I’m a doer, not a watcher, and if I care about someone, I’ll do everything in my power to keep them safe. Even if the odds are against me.

That’s very admirable. I’m a total coward. I’d be like ‘See ya never, losers!’ and there’d be a cloud of dust where I was standing.

[Sophie shrugs] Well, I know I just couldn’t stand by and lose the people I love. Besides, I don’t have very many important people left in my life.

Something tells me that’s about to change …

Are things going to get crazy from here on out?

[Cat stands up]: Are you sitting comfortably?

Yes. I already told you that.

Good. Enjoy it while it lasts.

What’s that supposed to mean?

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Written by Laura Fulton

Book Channel Editor at MaxPop! Have a thing for the sea and pretty paperbacks. Saved by amazing grace.

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