I started writing stories and plays when I was a child, at first to entertain my little sister and later to tyrannise the neighbourhood. My family travelled a lot as both our parents were actors and my sister and I were often the only children together in a faraway land. I wrote adventure stories and we both made up plays that we mounted as full street productions on our return home.
There was little regular schooling, but I was an avid reader and books were always my companions. When I started working as a television actress aged ten, my books came with me. Reading Victorian novels between takes, I managed to avoid any significant connection with reality throughout my childhood. ‘Sophie tells me she has left her homework in the New World,’ read a rare teenage school report, ‘It appears she has left her mind there too.’ It was an accurate observation; when I managed to physically attend a class my imagination was often busy transporting me elsewhere.
Thirty years later, I am still working as an actress in film, television and the theatre and bringing my books to keep me company during the long spells in dressing rooms around the world. I finally went to school in my thirties and graduated with a degree in Literature and Philosophy. By this time, I had stopped writing for pleasure but going back to study increased my confidence enough to dip a tentative toe back in the creative water. I attended the National Academy of Writing and loved letting my imagination run riot again after years of essays. Now, with a handful of stories, articles and blogs underway, I have started my novel. Some days it goes well, some days it goes badly, I try to enjoy them all.
The story of ‘The Wasp’ is part of my ‘Fauna’ collection. There is a large wasp that spends some months visiting me and has recently returned to my bedroom. Every day I usher it out, the following morning it returns. I started to wonder the writer’s question, what if?
Copyright © 2010 Sophie Ward