Sophie Jenkins - Writer's Routine #31

WE'RE AN AWARD WINNING PODCAST! On Saturday, in a ceremony alongside BBC Radio 2, Radio 4, Radio X and countless other titans of broadcasting, we managed to bag SILVER in 'Best Culture' at the British Podcast Awards. Thank you. Thank every single one of you. Even if you were going to download this but have been put off by this sycophantic blurb - THANK YOU.

Sophie Jenkins is our guest this week, sharing the Writer's Routine which helped get her debut novel published! It's a romantic comedy, 'The Forgotten Guide to Happiness', which stars Lara and the unusual living situation which a lonely 80 year old writer who helps find her love.

It's not the sole work of a debutant though, Sophie has been around words most of her life: working as a journalist, as a writer-in-residence, and even studying it as a Masters - so she knows how to tell a good story. Although, it was almost a completely different story. Sophie wrote a whole other draft, handed it to her agent and was told, 'to get it sold, you're going to need to make changes'... those changes ended up being about 90% of the book. Sophie was fine with that though, and you can hear why in the show.

Also, you can find out how she gets to know her characters, whether they could exist independently of the story or indeed, each other. And we talk about why comedian and worrier Jon Richardson helped her imagine the perfect hero for the story.

We get a top writing tip that may change the way you work forever from a thriller author who wants to COMPLETELY DISAGREE with every romantic notion of novel writing EVER.


For information regarding your data privacy, visit

More from Writer's Routine

  1. 49:18Harriet Evans, author of 'The Garden of Lost and Found' - The luxury of two places to write, why editing is the most important part of the process, and how to be flexible when the story takes over.Nov 15, 2019
  2. 46:15James Wallman, author of 'Time and How to Spend It - Journalist talks making non-fiction read like the classics, the experience economy, and why you need to get outside and be offline.Nov 01, 2019
  3. 45:08Ruth Hogan, author of 'The Keeper of Lost Things' - How to plan your writing year, what to do with the first sentence, and how do you get new ideas?Oct 17, 2019
  4. 43:33Owen Nicholls, author of 'Love, Unscripted' - Debut novelist talks pop culture, movie journalism and writing romance.Sep 26, 2019
  5. 47:06Tom MacRae, co-writer of 'Everybody's Talking About Jamie' - On hit West End musicals, writing for stage, and discipline.Sep 13, 2019
  6. 49:44Tim Smedley, author of 'Clearing the Air' - Sustainability writer on making non-fiction accessible, plotting travels and the perfect first chapter.Sep 06, 2019
  7. 43:43Sheila O'Flanagan, author of 'Her Husband's Mistake' - Prolific award-winner talks first sentences, becoming characters and finding new ideas.Aug 31, 2019
  8. 47:18Rob Hart, author of 'The Warehouse' - Critically acclaimed author talks dystopian fiction, standalone novels and editing backwards.Aug 19, 2019
  9. 41:52Shari Lapena, author of 'Someone We Know' - Thriller writer talks the absurdity of planning, rewriting and discovering the killer.Aug 09, 2019
  10. 46:35Laura Jane Williams, author of 'Our Stop' - Journalist and memoir writer talks debut novels, rom-com characters and dirty drafts.Aug 02, 2019