Today my author interview is with the brilliant Sonja Price!
Hi Sonja, welcome to the blog! Tell me a bit about you and your latest work.
My debut novel THE GIANTS LOOK DOWN takes place in Kashmir and was shortlisted for the Joan Hessayon Award. At the moment, I’m working on BLACK SNAKE, a political crime thriller about a widow’s quest to solve her husband’s murder out in the Canadian Wilds. I love to write about places I have never actually been to. It’s amazing how much you can find out on the Internet and book. Otherwise, I live in Somerset with my family and dog, Millie, but am always hopping on and off planes to teach Creative Writing at a German University.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Driven, funny (hopefully) and impatient.
What are your top 3 tips for aspiring writers?
- Grow a thick skin. Don’t be put off by rejections. Most bestselling authors have had their fair share of these. Think J.K. Rowling.
- Editing is as much a part of the process of getting your work out there as writing.
- Allocate yourself regular writing time and don’t wait for inspiration to strike, even if it’s only half an hour a day. It all adds up.
Are you a panster or plotter?
Oh, definitely a panster. I sit in front of the screen and wait for inspiration to strike me. Trouble is, it can only get you so far. If you are writing a political crime thriller as I am, you need to plot or else things can go terribly wrong.
What does success look like to you?
Getting recognition and beyond that to be able to live off writing. At the moment I still teach part-time at Jena University in Germany. I enjoy teaching and like working with students, but to dedicate myself to my writing would be my goal.
How do you choose your character names?
Well, I looked up a lot of the Indian names in my first novel THE GIANTS LOOK DOWN, which takes place in Kashmir. But that said, a name has to feel right and conjure up a picture of the person you have in mind. I sometimes choose a name and after a while found it just didn’t fit.
What do you do when you get stuck with your writing?
Plot see above.
How long does it take you to write a book?
I’m a slow writer. Each book can take me a couple of years. I admire fellow writers who can churn out two or three good books a year. On the other hand, some writers only ever write one book in their lifetime and I do wonder what else they did with their time.
What do you find hardest/easiest about writing?
I have to really think about dialogue and make sure it doesn’t sound like everyday banter.
Description of scenery is relatively easy for me
Describe your writing process in 3 words.
Slow, arduous, gratifying.
What’s been your biggest learning curve?
When I was longlisted for a First Novel Award, I immediately sent my virtually unedited draft out to agents. Needless to say, it took me quite a while to land one.
Do you prefer pen and paper, or is everything on the computer?
Mostly on my laptop because you can move things around so easily and it almost looks as if it’s printed but when I get stuck I sometimes go to a corner of the garden with pen and paper.
How do you relax?
I go for walks with my black lab Millie and like swimming. A lie in with a book is a real luxury though.
And now for some silly questions just for fun…
Tea or coffee?
Beer or wine?
Chips or curly fries?
Plain old chips. I lived abroad for many years and missed good old fish and chips
Puppies or kittens?
Sorry, I’m bi in that respect! I love the devotion of a dog but a sleepy cat on your lap when you’re writing is hard to beat.
THE GIANTS LOOK DOWN: At the age of 10, Jaya Vaidya decides to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a doctor, much to the chagrin of her mother and the patriarchal community of Kashmir in the 1960s. When disaster strikes, Jaya is faced with obstacles as insurmountable as the Himalayas. Just how far will she go to achieve her dream and will she have to walk away from love? Published by Robert Hale
Sonja’s short stories appeared in Stories For Homes, the Shelter Anthology of Short Stories and In these Tangles, Beauty Lies, an anthology in aid of the Beanstalk Trust for children with reading difficulties, before her first novel The Giants Look Down came out in 2016. Longlisted for the Mslexia First Novel Competition, it also made her a finalist for the Joan Hessayon Award. Born in Bristol, Sonja studied at the University of East Anglia. She teaches English at Jena University in Germany and is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
Facebook: Sonja Price Author
Thanks so much for joining me, Sonja! You can find THE GIANTS LOOK DOWN on Amazon and online book outlets!