Sara-Ella Ozbek hit the press with her debut novel, The High Moments (published Simon & Schuster in 2020) and soon followed with her second novel, Nothing I Wouldn’t Do in 2021. Noticed for her outstanding talent, she now is making waves in the entertainment industry. With two feature films in development, one television show and two musicals soon to be housed at the Young Vic and the Old Vic Theatre, her name is one we will be seeing much more of. In between Sara-Ella’s rehearsal for her new musical, we sat down with her to hear more about what she loves about Soho.
Though novel writing comes the most naturally to any writer, I think because we’ve all grown up on books, I’ve found that learning the method of screenwriting has been immeasurably helpful to all my writing. There are far more rules in screenwriting than there are in other forms of narrative, especially when it comes to structure and plot, and learning those helped me to approach storytelling in a more considered, and ultimately better, way.
Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews. Horrifying though it is, retrospectively, it was the book that made me decide at the age of twelve that I wanted to write.
The most important thing is to be prolific. A catchphrase I couldn’t agree with more: Don’t get it right, get it written. Get to the end of a story before you decide whether it is or isn’t any good. And do not be tempted to edit, as you go.
I can spend hours in Waterstones in Piccadilly, their curation is impeccable, and they have everything. For gifts, Hatchard’s, always. I’m also a huge fan of Maison Assouline – they make a great martini.
Honestly, there’s nothing like walking the streets of Soho to remind yourself why London is such an amazing city. I always enjoy a night at the Soho Theatre, which is such an epicentre of emerging and diverse talent. Cabaret shows at Brasserie Zedel are always fun. But my favourite night out in London is The Royal Opera House – I’m a huge fan of the ballet.
I just workshopped the first act of the Grayson Perry musical that I’m working on with Grayson himself, composer Richard Thomas and director Sean Foley. We’re about to have a debrief on how it went when we performed it to an audience and then I’ll get started on Act Two. I’m also just finishing the second draft of a feature biopic for Working Title Films.