Interview with Anna North: Author of The Life and Death of Sophie Stark

04 Jun 2015

When we first heard about The Life and Death of Sophie Stark, we got so excited to feature it that we accidentally selected it twice. In two different genres (Literary Fiction and Mystery). Any book that uses the word ‘iconoclastic’ in the first sentence of the description sounds like a book that we want on our shelves at NewInBooks HQ. We’re therefore thrilled to have the opportunity to chat with Anna North, author of The Life and Death of Sophie Stark, to learn about what inspires her.


Tell us a little bit about your new release, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark.

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark is the story of a brilliant but troubled filmmaker, told by the people who loved her most in her life. Sophie uses the stories of people close to her to make her movies, and this ends up, not oddly, causing problems for her relationships. When I set out to write the book, I wanted to write about a great female artist and the legacy she leaves behind, and it ended up being a book about that, but also about all the other people who make up that legacy.

Who or what inspired you to become an author?

I’ve wanted to write ever since I was really little — before I could actually write myself, I dictated stories to my parents and tried to get them to write them down. The best one was probably one about a giant eyeball who solves crimes. It’s hard to say what exactly inspired me since I can’t remember a time before I wanted to write, but I think I’ve just always had a lot of stories in my head, and I’ve always had the urge to get them out.

Where is your happy place?

I like sitting by the window in my apartment, in my green armchair, ideally with the cat and a cup of tea. This is also where I get most of my writing done.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a writer, but I also wanted to be an ornithologist. I loved bird-watching as a kid, and I thought maybe I could make it into a career. I didn’t, but I still go birding a fair amount — my most recent sighting was actually a kestrel making a nest above a bagel store in Cobble Hill.

What’s your favorite thing about Brooklyn?

I like that I can get pretty much everything I need, including human interaction, without driving anywhere.

If you had an extra hour each day, how would you spend it?

Probably either writing or sleeping. Maybe half and half? I get up early in the mornings to write before work, so I’m always a little sleep-deprived.

Do you listen to anything while you write? If so, what’s your audio of choice?

I can’t listen to music while I write — it’s too distracting. But music often inspires me to write. In the years I spent working on The Life and Death of Sophie Stark, I was listening to a lot of The Rosebuds and Sarah Dougher (just not while I was actually writing) — I wrote about some of the music that inspired the book at Largehearted Boy.


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Taylor loves books with a heavy dose of absurdity, hilarity, and beautiful prose. She is a marketer, adventurer, nature-lover, Hufflepuff, wannabe world traveler, and advocate of laughter.