20 November 2012 at 12:43
When we discovered via our local high street bookseller,The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, that a teacher at one of the schools closest to our office had just published her first book, we had to meet her!
And so it was that Sophie E Tallis, author of fantasy novel White Mountain, came to visit us during the half term break, fitting us in between a whirlwind tour of local bookshops, where she is in demand for book-signing events.
Sophie is delighted to be associated with Readathon, being an avid reader who has just installed the twelfth bookcase in her home! She is currently planning a Readathon sponsored read for the pre-prep division of Beaudesert Park.
Reading was one of Sophie's favourite childhood pastimes. She especially loved The Hobbit, Alice In Wonderland, Heidi, Robinson Crusoe and the complete works of Beatrix Potter. She enjoyed writing and drawing from the age of five and always wanted to become an author.
"When at secondary school I received a long, personal reply to a fan letter that I'd written to the author Lynda La Plante, I realised that authors were real people too," recalls Sophie. "So I knew that my dream of becoming a writer could come true!"
And now it has, with the publication of her debut novel White Mountain. Suitable for readers aged 9 to adult, this fantasy tale was inspired by Sophie's gap year travels in New Zealand and by myths and legends from around the world, especially those from Tibet and Sumeria. Her book also cleverly blends wizards, witches and dragons with the modern real world.
While the story is illustrated with Sophie's intricate drawings, the prose is also clearly the work of someone with an artist's eye, being characterised by vivid, almost three-dimensional descriptions of ithe story's spectacular settings.
Our office copy of White Mountain is now dog-eared from being passed around our team, and the book has also gone down well at Sophie's school, where the children have enjoyed finding out at first hand what it's like to be an author.
"There's no greater buzz than reading your own book to a child and seeing them immersed in the story," says Sophie, who worked at an inner-city school in a deprived area before joining Beaudesert Park, a coeducational prep school.