One morning during a prayer meeting, my pastor received a word of knowledge and asked me did I write. I told him I was keeping a journal about past experiences when I saw God’s protection over my life. My pastor admonished me to have the stories published in book form.
Sonya Thomson – 12 August 2017
The Back Flap
Chicago: A Journey through Life is an entertaining collection of short stories based on true life events. Readers will be inspired and encouraged to exercise their faith in God, and will find various situations which have some relevance to their own personal lives as well. The story begins with a four-year-old little girl from a military family, and is centered around her experiences playing with her friends. Readers will travel with the main character through stages of life and experience the laughter, pain, and shocking situations of a teenager, young adult in college, a soldier in combat training, and professional in the educational and financial services arenas. Through it all, God’s grace is sufficient, and He continually proves Himself strong on her behalf. The book also includes a couple of thought-provoking stories about social issues such as the Vietnam War and segregation in the South in the 1960s. Though intense in some chapters, Chicago: A Journey through Life is a great book to sit down and relax with after a long day.
About the book
What is the book about?
Chicago: A Journey Through Life is an entertaining, inspirational collection of short stories about personal experiences in my life where I saw the hand of God protecting me, my family, and friends. The nature of the stories varies from chapter to chapter. Some stories are light-hearted and amusing, while others discuss more serious issues, such as death, war, and segregation.
When did you start writing the book?
I wrote a few stories in the fall of 2012, and began seriously writing during the summer of 2013.
How long did it take you to write it?
I teach school full-time, so most of my writing is done during summer break. I would say active writing took about 9 to 12 months. Editing prior to submitting the book to the publisher, took several weeks to a few months.
Where did you get the idea from?
I kept a journal of inspiring thoughts from past experiences over a period of two years. One morning during a prayer meeting, my pastor received a word of knowledge and asked me did I write. I told him I was keeping a journal about past experiences when I saw God’s protection over my life. My pastor admonished me to have the stories published in book form.
Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?
Yes. This was my first book. At times, I needed help from the editor to communicate my thoughts on paper in a fluid manner. If I encountered a mental block, I would put the writing aside and revisit it at a later time. I found the thoughts flowed more freely when I was relaxed and had the time to focus totally on the book.
What came easily?
I feel I am most creative when writing about my childhood. I really enjoy reading those stories.
Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?
All of the stories are true events and all of the characters are real people; family members, friends, co-workers, etc. The names of course have been changed.
We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?
I wouldn’t say anyone has influenced how I write. As a child, I enjoyed reading books by Edgar Allen Poe and Gertrude Chandler Warner. As an adult, one of my favorite readings is the Nora Lam story.
Do you have a target reader?
Women ages 30 or older would enjoy the book. Military personnel and educators would also relate to several of the stories.
Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?
Yes. Generally, when I receive an inspiring thought or memory about a past experience, I jot down my thoughts and form them into a story.
Do you outline? . If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?
No. I have only written short stories at this time. I generally write my thoughts as they come to mind and then organize them on paper
Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?
I may do a little editing while writing, and then edit more intensively after I am finished writing.
Did you hire a professional editor
Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?
No. I like it quiet when I write.
Did you submit your work to Agents?
No, I did not contact an Agent. I worked with a publisher to edit and publish the book.
What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?
The option was presented to me by my publisher. I felt a professional review would be a viable avenue to connect with the target audience that I am looking for, and establish credibility.
Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?
The cover design which also illustrates the first story in the book was my idea. All of the illustrations including the cover were drawn by an art teacher and former co-worker.
Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?
Yes, I have a market plan for my book. I have had three book events so far, and two future events planned.
Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?
Publishing a book requires hard work and dedication. Once you complete your writing, find resources to aid in sharing it with an audience that will appreciate your gift.
Where did you grow up?
My father was military. I was born in New York City. From there we travelled to Europe and various US states while I was growing up. I finished high school in Augusta GA.
Where do you live now?
What would you like readers to know about you?
I love working with children and particularly children with special needs. I also love music, theater, dance, and of course reading.
What are you working on now?
I am very excited about a children’s series that I am currently working on which is based on my childhood experiences.
End of Interview:
Get your copy of Chicago: A Journey Through Life from Amazon US or Amazon UK.