Breathing Under Water | Guest Post with Sophiie Hardcastle #breathingunderwater


Today I have the privilege of welcoming local YA Author Sophie Hardcastle to the blog  who is celebrating her release week  for  her debut fiction novel  Breathing Under Water.  Sophie has kindly written a fantastic guest post about inspiration

When I wrote Running Like China, I don’t think I necessarily needed to be inspired for ideas, but rather possessed a feeling of urgency to tell a story I hoped would inspire others. It was something that had actually happened to me and all I needed to do was get it out.

Fiction is different. For me, Breathing Under Water seemed to write itself. Even though I was technically writing it, the plot twists were just as new and exciting for me as they were for anyone else reading it. I felt like I stepped into Grace’s shoes and had the privilege of telling her story as it unfolded. However, even though I felt like the story wrote itself, whether I was conscious of it or not, there were no doubt things in the real world that inspired my ideas. Below, I’m going to try and unpack those inspirations…

I am inspired by nature. Grace and Ben are surfers, something that is undoubtedly inspired by the connection I have with the ocean. I surf because it helps me breathe. When I’m in the ocean, everything is washed clean and I’m connected to a body far greater than myself. In Breathing Under Water, the ocean becomes Grace’s lifeblood and surfing is how she breathes when her world unravels.

I am inspired by pain. As John Green says, ‘pain demands to be felt.’ I don’t wish pain and suffering upon myself, but for the times my heart has ached, I have used those experiences to make my stories real. I write brutally honest stories because pain is brutal. Someone said to me the other night, ‘pain is pain’ and it doesn’t matter what it is, if you feel it, you feel it. I want to write stories that validate people’s suffering, that make real their pain so they know they’re not alone.

Finally, people inspire me. I love seeing how greatly people’s perspectives differ. I believe there are no absolute truths, because everyone has their own reality and their own truth that they believe in. I open conversations because I want to hear the language people use to describe universal concepts. I travel because I want to know how people build their houses, drink tea, show compassion, and speak to their friends… I people watch because I want to know how people engage physically with others, and how their bodies move when they hug a friend. I think my interest in my fellow human beings helps to inspire authentic, multidimensional characters.

About the Book



Nineteen minutes and eleven seconds separated us at birth. On the official documentation, he is older . . . Although it really has nothing to do with age. What it really means is that I am, and have always been, second.

Ben and Grace Walker are twins. Growing up in a sleepy coastal town it was inevitable they’d surf. Always close, they hung out more than most brothers and sisters, surfing together for hours as the sun melted into the sea. At seventeen, Ben is a rising surf star, the golden son and the boy all the girls fall in love with. Beside him, Grace feels like she is a mere reflection of his light. In their last year of school, the world beckons, full of possibility. For Grace, finishing exams and kissing Harley Matthews is just the beginning.

Then, one day, the unthinkable. The sun sets at noon and suddenly everything that was safe and predictable is lost. And everything unravels.

BREATHING UNDER WATER is a lyrical and emotionally powerful novel about life, death and learning to breathe in between.


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