About Sophie

Sophie is a Sunday Times, New York Times and Amazon UK no. 1 bestselling writer, published in 51 countries, whose books have sold millions of copies all over the world. In 2023 she won the Crime Writers Association Dagger in the Library Award for her crime fiction. Sophie is the founder, CEO and coach at Dream Author Coaching, and also created the ‘How To Hold A Grudge’ podcast, which she co-hosts with poet Nic Aubury. She is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College in Cambridge, where she lives with her family, including her beloved Welsh Terrier, Chunk (scroll down to the bottom of the page to see a picture!).

Let me tell you about who I am now and who I used to be.

Now, I’m lucky enough to be published in 49 languages, and to have sold millions of copies of my books across the world. I’ve taught Creative Writing for more than twenty-five years — to students at Trinity College, Cambridge, where I was Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts between 1997 and 1999, and at hundreds of schools, colleges, universities, libraries, literary festivals and residential writing centres (like the wonderful Arvon Foundation centres) all over the UK and also abroad. I’ve helped many writers to develop their ideas and find agents and publishers for their books.

I feel very lucky to have had more than twenty-five years’ experience (including many joyful moments and many painful ones) in the book-industry trenches, as a published author in many different genres — poetry for adults and children, general fiction for adults and children, crime fiction, self-help. I’ve also written two musicals, in collaboration with my genius composer friend Annette Armitage, one of which I helped to turn into a movie. I’ve learned so much since 1992, when I published Carrot the Goldfish, my first picture book for children, and I’ve put everything I’ve learned into the Dream Author programme so that you can learn from it too.

I wasn’t always as lucky as I am now, however. I used to think about my writing in a way that could make me seriously unhappy. In 2004, before I heard that Hodder & Stoughton wanted to publish my first crime novel, Little Face, I feared that no one would ever publish or read this novel that I loved so much and that I’d poured my heart and soul into. That state of fear was horrible — I still vividly remember how disempowered and confused I felt, how full of self-doubt. If I’d only known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have worried for a second; I’d have known that, as a writer yet to launch herself upon the crime fiction scene, I was in a position of great power and potential. If all my publishers dumped me tomorrow, I’d be sad that those relationships were over, of course, but I would not feel confused or disempowered. I would set a new goal, make a new plan and take steps to put that plan into action — and, crucially, I would believe that I could succeed. I would fully understand, after more than twenty-five years as an extensively published writer, that it’s what’s happens in my mind that matters most, not what happens to my books in the outside world.

I’ve created the Dream Author programme so that you can all have the opportunity to put yourselves in that same strong position: knowing you can cope brilliantly with temporary setbacks and even massive failures (I’ve had *so* many of these, and they’ve all, ultimately, been good for me) and still take steps towards achieving your writing dreams no matter what life throws at you. And if you don’t currently believe that’s possible, all I can say is that by the end of my fourteen month Dream Author programme, I bet you will believe it as strongly as I do. I’ll have fourteen months to prove it to you, won’t I? And let no one say that I don’t love a challenge!

You can find and follow me all over the internet:

Why and how I chose the name Dream Author

I didn’t. It chose me. Nor do I remember a precise moment when I decided to do this. What happened instead was that, gradually, awareness started to dawn. It was obviously and brilliantly going to happen: I was really going to do this thing — start a coaching programme for writers — and it was going to be called Dream Author. I loved the name as soon as it appeared in my mind. It’s a phrase that’s often used by publishers, and one I’d heard so many times. I wanted to reclaim it for and on behalf of writers.

When publishers talk about a ‘dream author’, they mean an author who is a dream to work with. If you’re described as a ‘dream author’ by any book industry professional, it means that you hand in your books on time, thank your editor for helpful feedback instead of snarling, ‘How dare you try to sabotage my precious masterpiece?’, and you don’t demand the instant firing of the entire publicity department if your novel doesn’t enter the charts at number 1.

From a writer’s point of view, though, the term ‘Dream Author’ can and should mean something different, something that’s more about how effectively you define and pursue your dreams, and the extent to which you are able to make precisely the creative contribution that you want to make according to your own talents, needs and ideals. In order to be your own Dream Author — an author with the right set of dreams and the ability to take action to help realise them — you must master all the skills you will need in order to thrive in a world that won’t shift to accommodate your dreams unless you give it no choice but to do so. This means adopting a whole new approach to the imaginative, business, psychological and emotional aspects of being a writer.

Is Dream Author just Sophie Hannah? Is there anyone else involved?

I (Sophie) do all the coaching and content creation, but there are other people involved too. Kate Jones (my sister-in-law), who has worked for the London School of Economics’ summer school, manages the administrative side of things and helps me with all Dream Author editorial work. And my website designer and marketing dynamo Faith Tilleray takes care of everything relating to the Dream Author website and mailings, helped by her assistant Naomi Adams. My grown-up children, Phoebe Jones and Guy Jones, do some of the day-to-day admin and help with work on marketing and special projects. And my Welsh Terrier, Chunk, doesn’t actually do any work but occasionally pops up in Dream Author videos!

Kate Jones

Faith Tilleray

Phoebe Jones

Guy Jones

Chunk

If you still have questions, check out the FAQs and answers on the Enrol Now page or email sophie@dreamauthorcoaching.com.

I can’t wait to take this next step with you all!

Join Dream Author

Click the button below to sign up and get the Dream Author goodies immediately.

“It is 100% possible that you will achieve your Dream-Goal. Yet, it feels absolutely impossible, because you’re trying to assess what you can achieve in the future based on what’s happened in the past. This makes no sense! Past You obviously couldn’t have achieved what Future You will be able to achieve.”