A Cuppa with Sarah Turner, Author of our April Book Club Pick

Image credit: @tillylovesbooks

This April, we’re reading STEPPING UP by Sarah Turner and we’re delighted to start this month’s book club by sitting down with the author herself to ask her a few questions about her book. Sarah is the bestselling author of The Unmumsy Mum series and STEPPING UP is her first fiction novel. Moving, funny and heart-breaking all in one, we can’t wait for you to discover it!⁠ 

Thank you very much for joining us Sarah, we absolutely loved STEPPING UP! What was it like to writing it? Which character did you come up with first and do you have a favourite?

When I first started jotting down ideas for the book, Beth was the only character I had in mind. The other characters (and their roles in the story) shifted quite a lot from the first draft to the finished book but my idea of Beth, and who she was, remained pretty constant throughout. She still has a special place in my heart but I think of all the characters, my favourite has to be Albert. I missed him when I’d written the end of the book, as though he had become a friend to me, too!

Beth isn’t a mum but steps into a mother figure role. Is motherhood and its different forms something you wanted to explore in the book?

Yes – I find the idea of guardianship fascinating. I kept thinking about what would happen – and how it would feel – to effectively inherit a loved one’s children, should the unthinkable happen. Motherhood takes many different shapes but usually there is some time to prepare and get your head around the idea, so I was keen to explore what might happen if someone had no such time and instead found themselves very suddenly thrown in at the deep end.

What was it like writing your first fiction novel?

Hard but rewarding, in equal measure. I knew it would be a different beast to writing non-fiction but I underestimated the size of that difference. It was a complete rollercoaster and there were times when I did wonder if I would ever finish it… but I’m so glad I did.

STEPPING UP balances joy and grief in a really emotional way. How did you find writing about loss? Did you ever get swept up in your characters’ lives?

I found it quite intense, writing about the characters’ grief, at times. I wanted to do their feelings of loss justice but I also wanted to make sure the book was uplifting, and not just relentlessly sad. I do think my personal experience of grief (my mum died when I was a teenager) meant I felt at least partly equipped to write about death and what happens next, when we lose someone we love.

What do you hope the reader takes away from STEPPING UP?

More than anything, I hope my readers feel something for the characters. With any luck, they might feel joy at the journey Beth goes on from the first to the final page.

Lastly, a little bit nosy of us, but do you have any plans for more fiction?

I do! I have just started writing my second novel. I can’t say too much about it but it will have another family drama of some kind at its core…

Thank you so much, Sarah, for answering all our questions. We are so excited to have STEPPING UP as our book club pick!

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