I’m delighted to say that I am sitting here today with Sophie Penhalligan and Dan Hunter and they have agreed to give me an exclusive interview. Just in case you hadn’t heard (where have you been?), Dan’s band TUSCQ is currently in the throes of a grand revival tour with sold-out gigs all over Europe, and Sophie is providing on-going and exclusive coverage of the tour for Read London. Hiya! is very lucky to have ‘caught’ Sophie and Dan in between gigs.
Thank you both for meeting me. I want to get to know you guys a little better if that’s ok?
Dan: Hey, you! Sure that’s ok, we are delighted to be here. Thanks for having us. (Grins at Sophie)
Sophie: Yes, thanks Lou. It’s wonderful to meet you. Although I have to confess that it feels odd, to me, to be the interviewee… I’m used to asking the questions, not answering them… I’ll do my best not to inter
Great! Let’s start with Dan… You are a member of the band TUSCQ, can you tell us a bit more about your band, when it started and who are the members in it?
Dan: We are the UK’s hottest rockers! What… what is it? (Turns to Sophie, who is suppressing giggles.)
Sophie: Nothing, you are absolutely right. It’s just so odd to hear you say that… with so much conviction. No, no, really, it’s cool. Please, continue! (Still giggling)
Dan: Right, as I said, we are the UK’s hottest rockers. And we’ve been rocking for a long, long time. I would say… ooh… Fifteen odd years or so? Maybe a bit more. It’s hard to pin down a date because, well, the guys and I, we’ve known each other so long and played together forever… Anyway, let me introduce the band… even though they can’t all be here today. There’s me, obviously. Then there’s Darren Wilde, our aptly named guitarist. Joe Eaden is our fabulous drummer. And last but not least, we’ve got Mick, or Michael, Stewart on bass. We met at school and things took off from there. Not straightaway, as I said, it was long hard work. We brought out our first album when this here lassie (her prods Sophie playfully on the shoulder) was only ten!
Sophie: That makes it eighteen years, then, that you’ve been rocking out.
Dan: Stop teasing me! I can do my maths, I was just…
Sophie: … trying to hide your age?
Dan: No! I was just being non-specific. Now let me talk, woman! … Where was I? Oh yes, our first album was called “Long Way To Go”. It was well received but it didn’t exactly go platinum like some of our later stuff. We didn’t mean it to be prophetic but it turned out that way, because we did have a long way to go. Including a break up and then our reunion. But we had a lot of fun along the way…
Sophie, let’s talk about you for a second. You are a journalist living in London, is that the career you always wanted as a child?
Sophie: I wanted to be a vet when I was a child. Or a member of a lifeboat crew. And an author. I was always writing stories and books… Which was fortunate, because I’m not very good with blood at all so I wouldn’t have made a good vet. And I’m not the world’s best swimmer so I’d be useless on a lifeboat. But writing, that’s something that comes naturally to me. So in a roundabout kind of way, being a journalist is my dream career, even if I’d not envisaged it as such when I was little.
And it was your job, Sophie, that brought you to meet Tuscq for the first time, is that correct?
Dan: No! Oh no, I knew Sophie before she was a journalist. Didn’t I, Soph? I met her a long, long time ago… We had a very memorable night on the tour bus together…
A very memorable night… that sounds exciting?
Sophie: (blushes) Well… It wasn’t quite what it sounds like. No, really, actually! It was totally innocent! (Playfully punches Dan, who is making little aside innuendos). I was a huge Tuscq fan when I was a teenager. And I had a big, massive, huge, enormous crush on Dan here. Ok, ok, I admit it. And so… well, I was fortunate enough to bump into them after a gig one time, a gig that hadn’t gone very well…
Dan: (interjects jokingly): I have no idea what you’re talking about. All our gigs go well. We were great!
Sophie: I didn’t mean that… I meant, it hadn’t been very well promoted and there weren’t many people there. So I got a chance to meet the band, and of course, I put my foot right in it by commenting on the few people there. But they took it in their stride and invited me to come and see them in Edinburgh, a sell-out gig, or so they’d said. Anyway, I was nineteen, I was unattached, I’d just been invited to go and see my favourite band by my favourite band… Of course I went. I was awestruck! This really was something else… And somehow I got there, and I got in and…
Dan: …threw yourself at the gorgeous lead singer…
Sophie: Ha ha, yes, gorgeous and very modest. I tripped over a security fence and Dan here kindly caught me. I should add that he had been looking for me…
Whoa, whoa, whoa… I’m getting some vibes here! Are you two dating each other?
Sophie: No. No, absolutely not. That was then. This is totally professional.
Dan: (somewhat more reluctant, it appears): No. Of course not. That would be unprofessional. Or something.
Speaking of professional… What made you take this assignment Sophie, was it your idea?
Dan: It was my idea, actually. I set it up. I contacted the editor of Read London… well, I had our manager do that, but basically we offered them exclusive coverage with syndication rights as long as Sophie was the reporter.
Sophie: Yeah, that’s the long and short of it, to be honest. One day I get this email from my editor, like: COME AND SEE ME NOW… and it’s all a done deal. It was take this assignment, or… well, OR.
Dan: That makes it sound really awful. (Turns to Sophie, looks at her with big innocent eyes) You did want to do this assignment, didn’t you?
Sophie: (clears her throat, blushes some more) Of course. I mean, who wouldn’t. It just… It’s just… I was worried…
Dan: What, that it would be a little awkward because we’d been on a couple of dates?
(jumps in immediately) Dates?!?
Sophie: (at the same time): Shshshshshsh! I was worried that it would be out of my comfort zone…
Dan: (fakes concern, takes her hand): Oh honey, I’m sorry. I wouldn’t do anything to make you uncomfortable!
Sophie: No, you $*!!?*” (makes undefinable noise). I was worried that it would be out of my comfort zone by way of writing. I wasn’t then a features writer, I didn’t even work in the entertainment section. I was a news reporter, that’s quite different. I wanted to do you justice, that’s all.
How does it feel travelling around with the most popular band of the current time? I bet you are the envy of all your friends, particularly Rachel and all females out there!
Sophie: Oh God, it’s amazing! I am just totally over the moon. This is the chance of a life-time. All these shows, and all the travelling, and seeing all the backstage preparations, the rehearsals… Seeing it all, really. It’s just… I haven’t got enough words. I feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven. And also it’s made me realise just how much hard work it all is. You kind of think, yeah, a rock band, they’ve got it easy. Not so, uh uh! It’s physically and mentally completely exhausting. It’s not just playing… and there’s no ‘just’ about that but… what people don’t realise is the amount of stuff going on between gigs. Interviews with magazines, the press, local radio… lunches with various bigwigs (or smallwigs, as it may be) in the recording industry… rehearsals… writing the next album… it’s a mad manic whirl. I’m just in awe.
Dan: Now, now, take it easy! That makes it sound like hard work… But seriously, Sophie has been wonderful. It’s been a novel experience to have a tour ‘chronicler’, as it were, and we all felt just a teensy bit self-conscious to start with. But while she’s obviously a huge fan, she’s also very unobtrusive. Always has been! (He winks at Sophie). She blends in, she doesn’t ask annoying questions at the wrong time, she doesn’t disturb… she just kind of observes, and enjoys herself. And then she comes out with these most amazing write-ups… Have you seen the Tuscq Chronicles?
Of course I have, I wait for every instalment! Right, moving swiftly on… I know this is a question that the readers of Hiya! want to know … Dan, would you ever consider dating a fan!
Dan: (shoots Sophie a surreptitious look) Err… Um… Well… Define ‘dating’?
Sophie: (bursts out laughing): Just say yes!
Dan: (looking hurt): I’ve got my professional standards, too, you know…(awkward pause with lots of meaningful looks exchanged until Lou changes the subject)
So what is next for you both?
Dan: (deadpan) Marriage.
Erm… I meant, professionally!
Sophie: (Jumps in before Dan can make any more off-the-wall comments) Well… I’ll see this tour through to the end and then I guess I’ll return to the news desk at Read London. It’s been so busy, I haven’t really had a chance to think about the future.
Dan: After the tour, we will release a live album so be sure to look out for that in the shops… It’ll be ready for Christmas, and it’ll be amazing. We’ve been in negotiations with a promoter in the States, so we might well go out there for another tour eventually. And we’ve been writing songs for the next album…
I see you have a book in your handbag Sophie, may we ask what you are reading?
Sophie: Oh, this… (grins widely) This is my favourite book of all times. It’s called Sophie’s Turn by Nicky Wells. It’s the absolutely perfect modern day fairy tale about this girl who gets to date her favourite rock star. The only problem is, she’s already engaged to this other bloke when the rock star finally proposes to her. It’s just fantastic, it’s been making me laugh out loud, the things that this Sophie person gets up to. I really recommend it!
Wow, guys, it’s been absolutely great but I can see your manager, Jack, making hurry-up gestures outside… I guess that’s all we have time for, and you’re off to the airport. Thanks so much for stopping by here at Hiya, we are honoured.
Sophie’s Turn by Nicky Wells
Slapper. Slut. Adulteress. These are hardly words that Sophie Penhalligan would normally use to describe herself. Yet this is exactly how she is behaving, all things considered, even if she isn’t quite married to Tim yet. And it’s all happening because her past is coming to tempt her! Nine years ago, she met her teenage idol and rock star extraordinaire, Dan, up close and personal. Well, almost. Now Dan has crash-landed back in her life. How could Tim ever stand a chance against the charming, handsome singer? How could she?
Sophie, now twenty-eight and a budding newspaper journalist, is happily embroiled in a relationship with Tim, her boyfriend of two years. Until recently, she was confident that Tim would eventually propose—probably as soon as he could get his act together. But just as Tim’s persistent inaction is beginning to cast a cloud over their relationship, Dan’s sudden reappearance turns Sophie’s world upside down. Thus unfolds a roller-coaster of events including an ill-fated trip to Paris with Tim, a night of unfulfilled romance with Dan, Sophie and Tim’s engagement party gate-crashed by Dan, and Sophie’s professional secondment to accompany Dan’s band on their revival tour—at Dan’s special request and very much against her will.
And then, one fine day in Paris, Sophie suddenly finds herself engaged to Dan while her erstwhile fiancé Tim is… well, doing whatever it is Tim does back in London. What is she to do now? Who wouldn’t give anything to meet their favorite star, let alone marry him?
Find out how Sophie gets into this impossible situation, and how she turns it around, in Sophie’s Turn, the honest, funny and sometimes bittersweet story of one woman’s entanglement with a rock star.
This is a great book and very easy to read. You start the story half way through and then return back to the past and retrace Sophie’s steps when she met the Band and then her relationship with Tim. There are lots of very funny elements to this book and some great characters. A wonderful friendship between Sophie and her best friend Rachel. Packed full of heated highs but also some very sad lows that might have you reaching for a tissue. (Loved the ending) Nicky has written a perfect ChickLit book that easily stands up against the others available today in the shops.
Order your copy via Amazon uk Sophie’s Turn
About Nicky Wells
Rock On! Nicky Wells writes fun and glamorous contemporary romance featuring a rock star and the girl next door. She recently signed her work with U.S. publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing. Nicky loves rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, Nicky is a wife, mother, and occasional teaching assistant.
Originally born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993, and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. In a previous professional life, Nicky worked as a researcher and project manager for an international Human Resources research firm based in London and Washington, D.C.
Visit Nicky on her blog where you can find articles, interviews, radio interviews and, of course, an ongoing update on her work in progress, the second and third parts of the Rock Star Romance Trilogy. You can also follow Nicky on Twitter and find her on Facebook. Nicky is a featured author on the innovative reader/author project, loveahappyending.com and has joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Nicky also has author pages at Sapphire Star Publishing and, of course, Goodreads