The heroines of Brit chick-lit goddess Sophie Kinsella overbuy at Barneys, suffer from spates of amnesia and are forever messing up at work. Yet this doesn’t keep them from finding romance — or Kinsella, creator of the “Confessions of a Shopaholic” series, from selling books. Her latest novel, “I’ve Got Your Number” ($25, Dial Press), centers on a lost engagement ring and a misplaced cell phone.
Your heroines have flaws, but people love them. Why?
Personally, when I read books about women who fly around the world, have amazing sex and buy up companies, I never relate. I try to write heroines that we relate to. You empathize with people when you feel sorry for them or feel like you’ve been in their place.
In “I’ve Got Your Number,” the heroine picks up a stranger’s phone, and it changes her life. What made you choose this plot?
I wrote it because I find technology fascinating. We invest such emotional life in it now. My starting point was that you store everything in this tiny device; it becomes like the key to your life.
What’s your own relationship with tech like?
It’s love-hate. I’d love it if we all wrote to each other with quill pens, yet I find myself addicted to IM and email.
And the book also talks about — gasp — a lost engagement ring?
I did that because I wanted Poppy, the main character, to be in an absolute frenzy at the beginning of the book. I was also thinking about when Prince William and Kate Middleton got engaged. I thought, “Golly, how can you walk around with this ring that’s worth a packet and has so much history?”
The book also features a lot of wedding planning. Why do women like to read about that?
I think for a lot of girls, the buildup to the wedding is almost more joyful than the wedding itself. People love to wallow in the details.
Your most famous character, Becky Bloomwood Brandon, is a shopaholic. Is she based on you?
Bits of me are Becky, but she does things that no one ever would do in real life.
So where do you shop in real life?
I’m very fond of Selfridges and Liberty. Liberty has a great fashion and history. In the States, I love Anthropologie. Everything smells great and looks beautiful there.
Even though your heroines mess up, they usually get a happy ending. Why?
I think readers want a satisfying ending, but not necessarily one with all the knots tied up. I like to leave heroines in a position where the future isn’t all wrapped up.
Which authors inspire you?
Jane Austen is my inspiration. She’s such a wit, so funny and romantic. She loves a flawed heroine as much as I do.