By Stephanie Romero
Sophie Kinsella just released her first Young Adult novel this past summer called Finding Audrey. Sophie Kinsella is the bestselling author of the Shopaholic series as well as many standalone novels. A novel from the Shopaholic series was adapted into a movie in 2009. She started her writing career with novels written under her real name, Madeleine Wickham. In Finding Audrey, Audrey’s journey to recovery with the help of Dr. Sarah, her family, and Linus is just the type of story Sculpt is interested in exploring. It’s difficult to write about a mental illness authentically, but she did so in this novel. I am thrilled to feature this interview.
You’ve been really successful with the romantic comedy genre. What did you hope to achieve with your first Young Adult novel?
I want to entertain my readers and make them laugh, but there’s always an issue at the centre of my novels – adult and YA. I hope readers can take heart from Audrey and her family and learn that curveballs always come, all we can do is keep our chins up and stay looking forward.
Is there a sequel in the works?
Finding Audrey has been really enjoyable to write – so who knows! I’d love to write more.
Was the writing process different for this YA book as opposed to your other works?
There were definitely aspects of writing Finding Audrey that were different – the film scripts, the gaming – but overall I didn’t really approach it any differently. My writing always starts with a ‘what if?’ What if a financial journalist was a shopaholic? What if a mother was so stressed about her son’s gaming that she took extreme measures?
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a new standalone, and loving writing a new character!
Spoiler Alert! I think a lot of readers wonder why you chose to leave out details of the incident that ignited Audrey’s anxiety. Why did you make that choice?
I definitely considered revealing what happened – I even wrote a section in my first draft! But ultimately, I decided not to reveal what happened to Audrey so that teenagers who suffer from anxiety would be able to relate to Audrey and her experiences, to not feel ‘I didn’t have that event so I’m not like her.’ Audrey says in the book that some things should be kept private and I want readers to feel that they don’t have to share everything, too.
Audrey does her best to describe for Linus what her anxiety is like and he mentions the topic should be taught in schools. I agree with Linus! Are there any organizations out there that you think are doing a good job spreading mental health awareness?
Thankfully there are now many organisations working in this field. I know Mind have particularly been focusing on teen issues, and I think that the campaign which The Times has run in the UK has been very helpful in encouraging the country to recognize the big problems in mental health which teens face nowadays.
What advice do you have for teens who might be dealing with depression or other mental health issues?
The most important advice I can give is: get help. You can’t face depression on your own, it’s too strong an illness. Talk to someone about it, read about it online, and find someone to share with. So often, teens (and adults) don’t realize they have a problem until they are already suffering badly. There are so many people out there who are willing and available to help – and when you’re helped, you can get better. Though, as Audrey would tell you, the graph goes up but it’s a jagged one.
To find out more about Sophie Kinsella and her other works, click here.
Check out my book review of Finding Audrey here.