Author Interview: ‘The Crooked Little Pieces: Volume 1’ by Sophia Lambton

About the Book:

Lost are the creatures destined never to be understood.

1926. Professor Josef van der Holt obtains a post at an all women’s college overseas. Stuffy London suddenly becomes the site for the unseemly exploits of his half-Dutch and half-German daughters Anneliese and Isabel. When tragedy carves out a hollow in their lives, a severed soul sends the sororal twins along a jagged path: while Isabel takes flight in sensual hedonism Anneliese skirts danger in her role as sleuth. Elusive are the sentiments they seek: swift stopovers of fleeting feeling. Lopsided loves and passions scarcely probable veer each away from the predictable.

And when the obvious appears unstoppable the opposite may achingly be true.

Spanning the twentieth century’s five most volatile decades, The Crooked Little Pieces is a series about inextricable entanglements. Perverse relationships pervade a glossary of scenes. Plots criss-cross over a rich tapestry of twists and tension-fuelling characters: some relatable, others opaque and many “crooked”.

It is television drama. Novelised.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1. Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I don’t believe I’ve ever lived in the real world, so as a ten-year-old it was a question of becoming an actress vs. becoming a singer vs. becoming a writer. I eventually got really bored of reading other people’s lines aloud and couldn’t help create my own. Those became plays too long to qualify as plays – and so at seventeen I finished a “short story” that was some 110 pages! 

That was my first novel (awful, I might add). Since then I’ve been crafting and polishing and refining my art. The first novel I’m publishing (The Crooked Little Pieces: Volume 1), was actually the third work that I wrote. Creatively right now I’m on my thirteenth book.

2. Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I’m nocturnal, so I’ve never begun writing before 3pm and scribed some of my best scenes after midnight. 

I have a couch in my room where I usually write. I don’t believe I’ve used a desk since tenth grade.

3. Where do your ideas come from?

I’m the most obsessive person in the world (embarrassingly so). It’s usually a matter of my turning various obsessions into retold (and eventually completely different) stories.

But I’m simultaneously amazed how many details come from anecdotes recounted to me — or just decisions like the coat I wore four days before. It’s astonishing how many little moments are determined by a bunch of trivial decisions or encounters.

4. Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I have a scripted timeline that I call a “skeletal arrangement”. When I was writing The Crooked Little Pieces, I would also rely on a “vestmental timeline”: what my major characters were going to wear and when.

Now I’ve gone completely overboard. I have a historical details timeline, a musical timeline, an interior décor timeline, and even a gesticulational timeline… You’d think that this would leave me little room to improvise but there are always many facets that catch fire in the process of creation.

5. What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I write literary drama but more accurately thought-provoking soap opera. I try “thought-provoking” because the stories are extremely character-driven: not over-the-top nonsense. My books take readers on a journey with a clan of fictional companions over decades.

I’ve always been attached to tv drama series and I’ve wanted to create one of my own from a young age without having to work with other people. In my head I’m crafting scenes with actors I envision very clearly.

Yet I’m sure that if this were real life and I were forced to work with anyone at all I’d hate what they were doing and declare it totally at odds with my imaginings.

Hence why I never went into the world of film or television.

6. What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

I didn’t foresee this question when I typed up my previous answer.

That said, I happen to have several characters whose aesthetics are based on the miens of real actors.

But I like to keep their identities secret. Sorry!

7. Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I used to be a bookworm but advancing age made me extremely fussy. Subconsciously I started wanting only to read authors whose distinctive style would have a bearing on my work.

In that regard I’m very weird. I have a highly personal reaction to the text — just like I would a person. If someone’s voice is nauseating, I can’t listen to them speak (even if I agree with them, wholeheartedly, and find their thoughts intriguing). I’m much likelier to respond to an author whose voice I like, writing a confusing or occasionally non-existent plot, than I am to a narrator opening a world I’d find addictively alluring on tv in bland or unimaginative prose. 

In short, I can watch almost any drama on tv but in the realm of literary fiction I pick scribes experimental for the large part. 

Last year I read James Joyce’s Ulysses. Didn’t understand a thing, but it was an extraordinary masterpiece and highly entertaining.

8. What book/s are you reading at present?

I always have a non-fiction book on the go, and currently I’m on Helen Fisher’s The Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray

I’m between novels right now but my aim for this year is to start War and Peace at some point (finally).

9. What is your favourite book and why?

I don’t have one but several.  I would say that Guy de Maupassant’s Bel-Ami had a profound effect on me, and so did Ivan Turgenev’s The Torrents of Spring. I like Proust’s seven-volume A la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time), and Zweig’s 24 Hours in the Life of a Woman

Wuthering Heights is something I am bonded to forever.

10. What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

I would tell that person what a classmate told me in ninth grade: you either are one or you’re not. Regardless of what you are scribing (plays, stories, television scripts) if you’re a writer you’re already at it. 

Polishing your craft is a whole other matter. That takes patience and extremely testy periods of editing. But if you are a writer, there’s no choice about it. There is no “becoming”: there is only becoming a good writer (or a bad one, for that matter). But there’s no “becoming” a writer.

11. What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?

I am extremely anti-social media, and have been since the age of twelve. I’ve never been on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

You can find me on the platform where the main focus is books – Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/user/show/150476561-sophia-lambton

My literary imprint has a website with some info on me: www.thecrepuscularpress.com

And I write my own Substack: www.sophialambton.substack.com

About the Author:

Sophia Lambton became a professional classical music critic at the age of seventeen, when she began writing for Musical Opinion, Britain’s oldest music magazine. Since then she has contributed to The Guardian, Bachtrack, MusicOMH, BroadwayWorld, BBC Music Magazine and Operawire, and conducted operatic research round the world for a non-fiction work set to be published in 2023. 

Crepuscular Musings – her recently spawned cultural Substack – provides vivid explorations of tv and cinema together with reviews of operas, concerts and recitals at sophialambton.substack.com.

The Crooked Little Pieces: Volume 1 is the first tome of her first literary saga. Currently she’s working on her second.

You can sign up for news of her releases at www.thecrepuscularpress.com/release-alerts.

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