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Today I have invited author Sophie Duffy to have a mince pie and a cup of tea with me. Hope you are ready for Christmas Sophie!

Please tell me about yourself Sophie.

I am a Devon girl returned to her home town after twenty years away, dragging my husband and three kids with me. The kids are now teenagers and we also have a Tibetan Terrier.

I had many jobs, including working in Greenwich dole office and pounding the streets of Worthing as an Avon lady, before becoming a teacher. I specialised in early years in south east London and then in Worthing.

I got a bit bored in Sussex and took a creative writing evening class which led to an MA which I did at Lancaster University by distance learning from 2002-2004. I got the writing bug and fell in love with the novel.

My first breakthrough was in 2006 when The Generation Game won the Yeovil Literary Prize as a work-in-progress. My second novel This Holey Life was runner-up of The Harry Bowling Prize in 2008. Finally, The Generation Game won the Luke Bitmead Award in 2010 and was published by Legend Press in August 2011. This Holey Life was also published by Legend in 2012.

I am now part of CreativeWritingMatters, a writing school based in Exeter, run by the wonderful Cathie Hartigan.

Are there any other authors in your family?

One or two going back along. My great great uncle wrote a book called 'So Near Yet So Far: the Memoirs of a Rolling Stone'. Which is two cliches in one title – no mean feat. And a cousin of my Welsh grandfather who was the first ever secretary of state for Wales wrote his autobiography, 'James Griffiths: Pages From Memory'. There was also a Welsh poet, Lewis Morris, who is alleged to be one of ours. My brother is a Baptist minister in Atlanta, Georgia and so he writes sermons and blogs etc. I think I'm the only one who makes up stuff.

What are you working on right now?

I have just finished the next novel and it's with my agent...

The Generation Game

How do you relax?

Dog walking on the beach at Teignmouth always clears my head. I read a lot of novels. And I watch more than my fair share of telly – still love quiz shows and anything that makes me laugh.

When dining, do you prefer sweet or savoury dishes?

Pudding is always the best bit of a meal. Mum always made pudding when we were growing up – all the usuals like apple pie and crumble, but also apple snow, queen of puddings, summer pudding and, my favourite, bananas-and-swiss-roll-in-custard.

Who would play the lead role if "This Holey Life"was turned into a film?

Good question. Maybe Claire Skinner from the BBC sitcom 'Outnumbered'. She is good at portraying the harassed wife and mother.

What was the last book you bought?

'Bridget Jones: Mad about the Boy' on Kindle. And in book form, Maggie O'Farrell's 'Instructions for a Heatwave'.

Do you have any New Years resolutions?

To keep on top of the piles of paper that lurk on every surface of our house.

Are you an animal lover?

Yes. We've always had cats though Buzz recently died aged 14. He was wild and vicious but I still feel disappointed when I hear the cat flap knock and it's just the wind. But we have two very naughty Tibetan Terriers. Millie had six puppies last year. We kept one of them. She's called Susan.

Thank you Sophie for answering some questions for us. I do hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!

Find out more from Sophie at her website www.sophieduffy.com

Meet The Author...
Oapschat
Who Am I?

Hi, my name is Janice and I am the founder of www.OAPSchat.co.uk.This stands for Optimistic and ProActive Seniors Chat. OAPSchat was born in April 2013 as a Facebook page. To date there are over 1427 FB likes. It was in November 2013 that I decided I had enough material and confidence to launch the website.

Since that day, I have been writing articles on all kinds of topics. ranging from hobbies, holidays, food and drink, memories, families, finance and much much more. I now have over one hundred and twenty two wonderful contributors to date and articles on all different subjects are posted on a daily basis. Over 1330 articles can be read now! Members can comment via disqus, FB and Twitter.

Raffles are held monthly, sometimes more often. A newsletter goes out once a month with my plans for the coming weeks. I am an Independent Happy List Winner 2014 for founding the website.

Loneliness is a big scourge on our society worldwide and the website helps combat this awful isolation by coming together and sharing our thoughts and ideas. OAPSchat is well and truly born now and I hope it will continue to thrive. With your support, I'm confident it will!

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