The Who, What, When, Where and Why with Sally Hepworth

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By Jade Craddock

Best-selling author Sally Hepworth has become a favourite with readers world-wide. Following the success of her previous novels, The Secrets of Midwives, The Things We Keep and The Mother’s Promise, Sally’s latest novel, The Family Next Door, is set to be another triumph, and she’s kindly dropped by to answer our who, what, when, where and why. ♥

1. Who has been the most important person in your writing journey?

At the risk of sounding sentimental, it’s my mum. Mum instilled a deep love of reading in me from an early age. When I was a child, she took me to the library every week, where we spent time talking to the librarian about books that might be a good fit for me. There was never a time when I finished a book and didn’t have another waiting for me. Several times, I’d finish a book before school and by the time I got home that afternoon, the next book in the series was waiting for me. Hands down, my love of reading has been what has made me into the writer that I am today.

2. What motivates you to write?

In a word, storytelling. For as long as I can remember I’ve loved telling stories — verbally, as well as in written form. The idea that I can take someone on a journey and keep them entertained has just always excited me no end. Now, when I find myself slogging through draft after draft of my manuscripts, the motivation to continue is the same – the idea of someone reading my story and being entertained.

3. When did you first start writing?

I wrote my first book when I was seven years old, a book of short stories that I called Mustard and Ink. My Mum put it in a manila folder, bound it with staples and announced it “published.” It wasn’t until I was twenty-seven, however, that I realised that my Mum had duped me and I was going to have to look for an actual publisher (I also had to write another book!)

4. Where do you write?

Usually I write from the library, but really I can write anywhere. From home, from a cafe, in the car while I’m waiting for my daughter to finish gymnastics. One of my favourite places to write is in bed on a weekend with a cup of coffee (when I can get the kids to leave me alone for a minute or two. Needless to say this is a rarity!).

5. Why did you write this book?

Good question. Usually when I write a book there is a very clear spark — a real life event I heard about, a news segment I watched, a personal experience I’ve had. But with The Family Next Door, there wasn’t any news story or life event that sparked the book. Instead, The Family Next Door was the culmination of a thousand of thoughts, fears and neuroses that just came together in a book. Being a naturally nosy person (and the resident Mrs Mangel of my street) I’ve always spent a good amount of time wondering what the neighbours were up to, and that was where it all kicked off. It grew from there.


Sally Hepworth is the bestselling author of The Secrets of Midwives (2015), The Things We Keep (2016) and The Mother’s Promise (2017), and The Family Next Door (2018). She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and three children.

sallyhepworthauthor.com

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