Exclusive: 17 year-old author Sophia Whittemore talks her book, writing, and advice for young authors
All of your favorite books feature teens as characters—but how many of them are actually written by teens? Sophia Whittemore, author of the recently published book The Funnyman, used to ask herself this question. We talked to the 17-year-old author about her book, how she juggles her busy lifestyle and what advice she has for aspiring young authors! Check it out!
GL: Tell us a little bit about your book!
Sophia: I like to describe it as Prince Charming meets a serial killer, a battle of the gods, kidnapping and escape. The story starts when Diana, a girl who struggles with finding out her identity in an already confusing human world, is quickly flung into a land of the Impetus when an attack of shadows chases her from Earth. For her own safety, she hides out as an illegal human refugee in the palace of a tyrannical, godly queen. There, she discovers that princes aren’t always charming underneath their broken surfaces, queens can order executions with the wave of a hand and even evil isn’t so easy to comprehend anymore in a world covered in mist.
GL: Sounds intriguing. When did you start writing?
Sophia: I started writing when I was little. I always had stories in my head. There were tales of magical djinns, gods waged war and magic abounded in a world that looked so ordinary. I’ve been writing little stories ever since I was in the first grade. The real writing began when I was in eighth grade. I started The Funnyman when I was only a sophomore in high school.
GL: Wow, so The Funnyman has been in works for a few years! How do you balance school, a social life and writing?
Sophia: The hardest part of writing this book was finding balance in my life in order to write it. Being a high school student, I had to juggle all those tests, quizzes and outside activities like cultural events or tennis to make room for writing. Occasionally, an idea or a writing moment would be so perfect that I’d spend hours on it, leaving the rest of my homework to be done in the late hours of the night.
GL: We bet you were pretty tired.
Sophia: I sure was. Sometimes, I’d only get two or three hours of sleep a night! Needless to say, coffee and tea became a potent wake-up mixture for me during those three-hour days. Socially, I know I have amazing friends who will support me no matter what. We always find time to dance or sing in the car with the windows down.
GL: It’s great that you have such a tight group of BFFs. What are some of your hobbies other than writing?
Sophia: I love learning languages. I know how to read Hebrew and speak Indonesian, and I’ve studied a bit of Spanish and French. I also play tennis, dance and sing. I love daydreaming and dreaming in general, and believe that a cup of amazing coffee or milk tea can solve any problem. Someday, I hope to learn how to code.
GL: As if you need to add to your already impressive resume! Tell us—what are your plans for the future?
Sophia: I will be going to college next year as well as finishing the trilogy for The Funnyman. I will, of course, write as often as I can—whether that’s scriptwriting, poetry, short stories or traditional novels. I want to perfect my language skills and get an amazing education to learn as much as I can. As one teacher put it, I want to learn so much about life and how to live it that I even find poetry in calculus. If not writing books, my ideal career would be somewhere in the Hollywood entertainment industry. I love the magic in stories and cinema. If I was not able to weave magic behind books, I’d just have to work behind the camera instead. I just want to be able to tell stories.
GL: We love how passionate you are. What advice do you have to give to aspiring authors just starting out like yourself?
Sophia: There will always be people telling you to not even bother with writing until you’re older. The trick is not to let others discourage you. If you want to write a book and get it published, I say do it! Stay determined and start your journey to publication.
What do you think of Sophia’s advice? Have you ever thought about writing your own story?
Photo credit: Sophia Whittemore