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Filter This By Sophie White

Filter This ‘Filter This’ is the debut novel by Sophie White and it’s a fun and insightful story about the pressures and drama of social media.

Ali Jones is hell-bent on achieving her #lifegoals: 10,000+ Instagram followers and a win at the upcoming Glossie Awards. So when she inadvertently leads people to believe she’s pregnant and immediately gains thousands of followers, she realises that riding the ‘Mummy Influencer’ wave could be her ticket to Insta-success. But then Tinder Sam, Ali’s one-night-stand, resurfaces, determined to take his new role as baby daddy seriously. Elsewhere on Insta, Ireland’s biggest influencer (and Ali’s idol) Shelly Devine has it all — at least on screen. But beneath the immaculately curated feed, Shelly harbours a secret from her followers — and her husband — but who will be the first to discover what she’s been hiding? As Ali’s lies spiral out of control, and Shelly starts to take a hard look at her life choices, what will it take for them to realise what’s truly important before they lose what matters most?

The story is seen through the narrative of two women Ali Jones, an upcoming and aspiring influencer and Shelly Divine, one of Ireland’s most influential social media icons. Both women are at polar ends of the spectrum, one just starting out and the other is at the peak of her game. But both lives change dramatically and both women find themselves harbouring a secret that is detrimental to their careers.

After becoming a Wildcard at the Glossies Social Media Awards, Ali accidentally leads people to believe that she is pregnant after a cryptic post. Suddenly she’s in big demand, with brands wanting her face all over their products and the life that Ali had always dreamed off has become a reality. Meanwhile, Shelly has led her fans to believe that she has the perfect family and marriage, but it’s all quietly crumbling down around her as her husband tires of her lifestyle and there’s now another baby in the mix.

I genuinely loved this story with its bright and inviting cover, I gobbled this book up in one sitting as I joined Ali and Shelly on their social media journey.

Wittily written, the story reflects on the reality of social media, the pressure and demands to promote brands as well as to create a fake and artificial life. I really enjoyed the characters, both women are strong and are determined to make successful lives for themselves, they are also icons to their fans proving that influencers can lead successfully financially lives. I also enjoyed the location of the story. Set in the bustling city of Dublin, locations and venues stood out and I was able to make connections with them.

A keenly observed and relatable story about the world of social media and the pressures to maintain a perfect life, ‘Filter This’ is a fun and modern story that proves with filters and gradients, nothing is ever as it seems.

You can buy ‘Filter This’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Choosing Locations By Susan Stairs

Susan StairsOn the book tour for Susan Stairs’ new book caleld ‘One Good Reason’, Susan talks about deciding locations for her novels.

Make your setting a character. We’ve heard that said time and again. Where the action takes place is as important as every other element in your novel. My first novel ‘The Story of Before’ is set in a housing estate just outside Dublin in the 1970s and is told from the point of view of eleven-year-old Ruth Lamb. Because Ruth is a child and the story is hers alone to tell, the setting needed to be a place she was able to navigate easily, a place where she had free reign, somewhere she could easily interact with all the other characters. Hillcourt Rise is that place. An estate of over one hundred houses set around a green space, it is Ruth’s world. It is a world she feels part of – but only to a degree. She is an observer, an outsider who feels she has more in common with her neighbour – widow Bridie Goggin – than with the other children who live there. Almost all the action takes place within the confines of Hillcourt Rise as I wanted the novel to have a tense, claustrophobic, insular feel. 

For One Good Reason

My second novel ‘The Boy Between’ is split between two settings and perspectives: 14 year-old Tim in 1980s rural Ireland; and 27 year old Laura in Dublin in 2011. Aside from deciding that this was the best way to tell the story, I also wanted very much to juxtapose the two different Irelands, so to speak, and show how much things changed in the years between them. Central to the plot is the contrast between how we communicate now and how we did back in the 1980s. The criss-crossing back and forth from the past to the present allows the reader to empathise with both Tim and Orla and understand how their stories interlink and collide. 

‘For One Good Reason’, I wanted a more exotic location, but one that would also have a link to Ireland. For the plot to work, Laura, the protagonist – a girl from Dublin – needs to become someone she’s not and that is a lot more difficult to achieve on home turf. So I set the major part of the novel in the South of France, in a villa owned by her godfather in the hills above Nice. I’ve visited Nice many times and felt I was familiar enough with the area to describe it accurately and allow it to feed into the action convincingly. 

For my next novel, I’m back in Ireland with the action set between a girls’ secondary school in the 1970s and, mainly, an old house that’s for sale in contemporary Dublin. I’m captivated by the past and by the ways that memory and mystery can work both with and against each other and how we can convince ourselves things happened as we remember them. But did they really?

You can buy One Good Reason from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Handwritten Girl Takes Part In Now That I’ve Found You Book Tour

I am excited to be part of the book tour for the release of Ciara Geraghty’s new book, ‘Now That I’ve Found You’. Check out Handwritten Girl on Monday 19th January to read an interview with the author

'Now That I've Found You Book Tour