Monday, January 22, 2007

Make-Believe Monday with Sonya Kate

Make-Believe Mondays is a day late because I just got back from a week in the Caribbean and yesterday Blogger wouldn't let me in. It should have been a quick publish but sometimes the simple things aren't so simple.

So without further delay, here is Sonya Kate!

Sonya, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.

Sonya: I would love to share the new manuscript with all of you, but I’m very secretive about my writing. Not one person sees it until the novel is ready for editing. My husband isn’t even privy to my work, no matter how much he pesters me for a peek.
What I can tell you is that the next book is also a contemporary women’s fiction novel, set in the south. People in the industry have dubbed me the “Queen of Angst.” I can assure you the next book will be filled with more of the same.

Debra: Ah, a woman of mystery. There's nothing wrong with that. I've found the more I talk about a work in progress, the more it takes away from the momentum of actually writing it. There is much to be said for keeping the work behind a curtain until it is ready.

Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Sonya: My creative cup stays filled by watching every day events, people and circumstances. Traveling to different states, countries and environments also helps keep my reflection on reality genuine.

I believe this is why I connect so well with country music, its artists and fans. This entire genre of music was founded on the simplicities of life mostly derived from rural or small-town America – these are places I take comfort in most.

Probably the most important factor is that I’ve been diagnosed with Lupus, Anti-Phospholipid Disease, suffered a stroke and was told six years ago that seven to ten “good” years was about all I had left. I didn’t ask the doctors whether that terminology meant “here on this earth” or “quality of life.” Therefore, not one person, amount of time or situation in my existence is taken for granted. Each day is truly lived to its fullest and considered a gift.

When someone is diagnosed with something so horrible, they tend to notice the smaller or simpler things and be thankful for the little favors that God allows them to experience. Therefore, my cup is replenished daily.

Debra: Such a beautiful message and how often we rush past the little things on the way to something we think is important.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Sonya: While my characters are born in my dreams, they start to come to life as each new chapter unfolds. Then, during the editing process the characters really start to shine and gain emotional momentum.

I find it exciting to edit because characteristics, a sense of self fulfillment out of angst and tragedies can be layered and layered until the final version is reached. This is what I believe adds that extra flavor and really tugs at the heartstrings of my readers.
No matter how many times editing is done, there is always some element that can be added or improved upon to allow depth and growth to any of the characters. Therefore, can we say any manuscript is truly finished?

Debra: Stories are a bit like people who are works in progress and I've always believed the best works are those in which we can come back again and again learning something we hadn't before. Little nuances we didn't notice the first time.

For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

Sonya: Yes, all of my books come from dreams. When I fall asleep, it’s like turning on a television set to the Lifetime Network or illuminating a movie screen. What’s odd is that I can wake up, lay back down and pick up the dream where it was interrupted.

In the mornings, I always remember what I’ve dreamt and type it. If I’m unable to write for a few days often times I can remember the dream and write it at a later time.

“Tides of Time” came to me in a dream several years before I actually wrote it. I literally carried the story around in my head for years until it was finally time to put thoughts to paper.

For me, sleep allows time to turn off all logic and allow original fiction to come to light in an uninhibited way.

Debra: What a gift to be able to remember those dreams and how wonderful to be able to share that gift with your readers.

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Sonya: Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind.” I’ve read “Gone With the Wind” more times than I can count.

Debra: Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?

Sonya: It’s come to my attention recently that most readers secretly want to become writers/authors, but all too frequently find themselves too busy with life to do so.

If anyone can learn anything from me, it’s that no matter what obstacles stand in your way, if you have the urge to write – just do it. Can you imagine what it would be like if all the authors you love to read were too busy and never published their work – what wonderful stories we would’ve missed out on?

Having your work published is truly the most rewarding experience you can have as a person. When you see the delight on someone’s face that has enjoyed something you’ve written from a dream – it makes everything you’ve sacrificed to write that novel worth while.

I welcome friend requests and e-mails. Please feel free to write me with any questions or comments you may have.


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