Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Sonya: Hi Fiona! Thank you for the interview. My name is Sonya Ray and I’m fifty something 🙂
Fiona: Where are you from?
Sonya: I am from Southeast Missouri, home of the throwed rolls and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
Sonya: I’m from a small town in Missouri where sweet tea is an essential part of our daily life, and driving to work consists of passing field after field of corn, beans and watermelons. In the fall the fields turn pinks and yellows, then eventually white from cotton. I work full time as an administrative assistant at a steel service center—which I love!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Sonya: This year I completed my seven-novel, paranormal romance series—The Three Crowns, in addition to a novella to the series. I have been on tour with my books through Riverside Regional library with locations in Benton, Scott City, Oran, Jackson, Perryville, and Altenburg, Misouri. My next project I will be jumping genres and working on a contemporary romance.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Sonya: I have always liked to write, even when I was in school, but I never thought about anyone else reading my work. I wrote because I enjoyed writing. I had actually stopped writing for a bit due to raising my kids, then in 2009, my daughter asked me to write her a story. This story ended up being seven books. In 2012, I was introduced to Twitter, and that is where I met John Cameron McClain. He was my first editor and was great on advising me as I started my writing.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Sonya: When my first book, Sweet Tea, was published. That was a surreal moment.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Sonya: Life inspires me to write. Before my first published book, I had written several stories. My first published book was by the request of my daughter wanting me to write a story about a girl and her friends on a farm with horses. Little did she know that her mom would make it paranormal!
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Sonya: The book is set in Southeast Missouri. A staple of ours is sweet tea. Blood is a staple for a vampire. Since the series is about vampires, I thought it would be fitting for the title to be Sweet Tea.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Sonya: I enjoy writing in first person, so you can feel everyone’s emotions and views on matters. I think readers like that and helps them to really get into each character.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Sonya: As I said, the book is based out of Southeast Missouri. It’s actually based out of my hometown. So I have pulled from the area in which readers can relate to if they live locally. There are some realistic experiences, but mostly it is fiction.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Sonya: No, I do A LOT of research. In the series you travel to Ireland, Bahamas, New York, England, North Dakota, and Australia. I’m hoping someday I get to visit some of these places. I have visited North Dakota and it sure made it easier to write about. It was a great place and I hope to go back there someday too.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Sonya: I have had the opportunity to work with several artistic people. I would have an idea of what I wanted and relay that to them, then they would work their magic. Artists include John Cameron McClain, M. Sembera and for Broken Boundaries, Brendon Cunningham from Australia.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Sonya: There is always a message, and in this series there are several, but depending on the reader, will depend on what they take from it.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Sonya: I’m a big fan of M. Sembera. She writes Contemporary Romance. I love her writing style and how she is so good at individualizing her characters. She writes about the Caffreys who I love! Her work is family based and very relateable. Another favourite of mine is Brandy Nacole. She writes Paranormal/Fantasy. She is a fantastic action writer. My favourite series of hers is her current stories from the Chindi Novel series. The story line is actually based on tales from her area. Also, I recently visited Florida, and fell in love with this state, I might add, and was introduced to a new author who writes suspense, Dawn Lee McKenna. I picked up her first two books in The Forgotten Coast Florida Suspense Series, and since then, I have read all nine books. Great series!
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Sonya: I would have to say my long time friend, Tammy. She has been with me from the very start and encouraged me the whole way. Even when those ‘author’ feelings come up wondering if we should be writing at all. Yes, we all do that. She’s a great friend and very involved with my writing.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Sonya: I would love to write full time. That is the goal. But right now, every morning I go to my 8-5 job and very thankful that I have such a good job!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Sonya: I don’t think I would change a thing. I’ve learned a lot through this process through several people and their knowledge and their help has been invaluable. Since The Three Crowns was my first work published, I wouldn’t want to change anything, but learn from it going forward.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Sonya: I can’t even list all the things I have learned through writing this series! But I know I still have much to learn and I’m very willing to learn whatever I need to be a better writer.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Sonya: The lead character is Elizabeth Lancaster and if the film was made today, I would like to see Nina Dobrev play her roll. Nina played in Vampire Diaries, and I just wasn’t finished seeing her as Elena!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Sonya: Remember that this is your dream. This is your story. Stay true to yourself, but soak up all the information you can from others who are willing to give it to you and APPRECIATE IT! But don’t get lost in what everyone is doing. And remember all the help you received and be sure to offer it back when the time comes. Remember there will always be nay sayers, but #writeon! Even when your confidence is wavering, keep believing in yourself and be the writer you were called to be!
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Sonya: I LOVE YOU GUYS! Thank you so much for taking this journey with me and Lizzie, and I hope that I can keep writing something that makes you keep turning the pages!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Sonya: The Forgotten Coast Florida Suspsense Series by Dawn Lee McKenna. Love it and waiting patiently for book 10!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Sonya: I’ve read many books. I can’t remember the actual first book that I ever read. But I remember the first book that I read that really affected me and that was Wuthering Heights.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Sonya: Since I’m such a serious person, I love being around people who have a great sense of humor. I love to laugh! My granddaughter can make me laugh too. She is a mess! The things that make me cry is a seriously, touching movie, my kids hurting, people just being mean to one another—I just don’t get that at all.
I love when a book can make me laugh and cry. I call that good writing.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Sonya: I’m a ‘fate’ person. I’m sure I’ll meet everyone that I’m supposed to in my lifetime.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Sonya: Besides reading and writing, I love to sing. I use to be a big garden person, but my allergies will hardly allow me do that anymore.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Sonya: I love movies and shows, but I’ll just give you few of my faves.
Movies: Gone With the Wind, Tombstone, Christmas Vacation,
Shows: The Walking Dead, Animal Kingdom, Criminal Minds
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Sonya: Foods: Pizza, Steak and Potato, and chips are my weakness
Color: I love black and white, but probably pink is my favorite color
Music: I love music, period. I love the stuff from the ‘70s and today’s music. I listen to all types of music—new and old.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Sonya: I can’t imagine not writing. Even if I’m not publishing, I will still write.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Sonya: I would hope to spend it with friends and family.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Sonya: Be good to one another, love covers all.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Sonya: I do not have a blog or website, but I do have other media that readers can follow to keep up with my books. I mainly do a newsletter each month and do giveaways and offer specials to those who subscribe. You can sign up on my newsletter from my author page on Facebook: