I’m very excited that today’s post is an interview with prolific award-winning author and publisher, Sophie Masson. I plan to do one interview a month with an author that I believe brings magic into the world with their writing. I can think of no better place to begin than with Sophie, who has a fascination with fairytales and myths and has written many truly magical books. Her stories have enchanted readers of all ages across a range of genres. She will be appearing at the Historical Novel Society of Australasia Conference this weekend, for which she is the conference patron. This will be an exciting weekend of workshops, talks and panels focused on historical fiction (I’ll do a wrap up of the conference next week.) Sophie’s generous endorsement of Harlequin’s Riddle has encouraged readers to pick up my book, for which I am enormously grateful.
Born in Indonesia to French parents and brought up in Australia and France, Sophie Masson is the award-winning, internationally-published author of over 60 books, for children, young adults and adults. Her latest books include the YA historical thriller, Jack of Spades, two picture books, Two Rainbows, illustrated by Michael McMahon, and Once Upon An ABC, illustrated by Christopher Nielsen, and the adult paranormal thriller duology, Trinity: The Koldun Code and Trinity: The False Prince, set in modern Russia.
Which writer or writers opened your eyes to the magic of storytelling and why?
Glad you asked for writers in the plural 😊 So many of these opened my eyes to storytelling magic when I was a child: the great tellers of fairy tales, for instance, Grimm, Perrault, Andersen, Madame Leprince de Beaumont(of Beauty and the Beast fame), the anonymous tellers of the Arabian nights…And then, writers ranging from CS Lewis to Tove Jannsson, Nicholas Stuart Gray to Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumas to the Countess de Segur, Herge(of Tintin fame!) and Goscinny and Uderzo(of Asterix fame!); Alan Garner, Paul Berna, Enid Blyton, Patricia Wrightson..and many many many more! On my blog I’ve written about five of my favourite childhood books—the list is huge but I just selected these five and wrote about why I loved them: in all of them, storytelling is a huge ingredient, as is magic and adventure.
Why do you think people need stories in their lives?
Because otherwise they wither inside…I think it’s an essential factor in making us human. Without stories, not only is it hard to make sense of the world, but also of ourselves. It really annoys me when people say things like, ‘Oh, that’s just a story!’ There is no just a story. Of course not all stories are equal and some can be used to bad ends as well—but they are powerful things, never to be underestimated.
What is your greatest magical power as a writer?
Being able somehow to make creatures of paper and ink feel like creatures of flesh and blood: to make strong, vivid characters in a believable world, even when it’s fantasy…I feel so absolutely lucky that I was given this gift…so grateful I can do what I was born to do and help to weave my little corner of the world’s stories.
Which mythic archetype or magical character most resonates with you and why?
I am fascinated by shapeshifters… I am also really interested in ‘halflings’—changelings, people in between worlds, who sometimes don’t fit in and sometimes do—This fascination could have something to do with the fact that as a child growing up in two worlds—a French speaking one at home and an English speaking one at school—I felt a bit like a changeling or a shapeshifter I guess 😊
What themes or ideas do you find keep arising in your writing?
Love, betrayal, courage, friendship, creativity…and dangerous choices. Always dangerous choices!