Sonya Loveday Interview Published on: 01, Jun 2018

What was your childhood and growing up like? Has it in any way inspired why and what you write?

Looking back, my childhood was filled with lots of happy memories. I was born in Northern Maine in the small city of Presque Isle, and spent a lot of time in the countryside of Mapleton. I've rode my bike down gravel driveways, built snowmen and watched TV with a moose. Yes, a real moose. I've helped clear snow off the pond in my backyard to ice skate and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows over a fire my dad built in negative degree weather. I've judged dairy cattle, showed a steer for FFA, and picked wild strawberries along side the railroad tracks. I've sat in silence listening to the chilling sound of loons cry while the moon reflected off Quimby Lake. I carried speakers, cables, and guitars like a roadie when my father played music. I've been uprooted and moved to a new city. Made new friends and then moved again. All of that... every single moment of my life, good and bad, has shaped who I am. And, in turn, has given me a well to draw from. I know sadness, happiness, and grief. I know what it's like when the temperature dips so low that your breathe freezes, or when it's so hot you feel like the air is trying to drown you. I know what it feels like to be accepted, but I also know what it's like to be an outcast. Without my childhood, and all the stages of life thereafter, I would never have been able to connect enough to situations in order to make them real in my writing. It's safe to say that my writing has been inspired by all that life has shown me.

You write specifically on the romance genre. Any particular reasons for the same?

It's said that authors should write what they know. It just so happens that what I write falls into the romance category. My biggest focus when I'm writing is relationships. Not just romantic relationships, but something deeper... something more. Friendship, angst, loneliness, sadness, grief; we cannot have just love, or life would never be rounded. I've tried my hand at paranormal romance. It was fun, but it's also a genre where you have to dig a whole lot deeper to make things that aren't real - seem real. Some authors can dive in and build the world around them and then pull the reader in for the ride. Hats off to them for being able to do that.

Does your marriage inspire your inclination towards writing romance?

This is a really good question! I've never really thought about how my marriage would incline my writing to lean toward the romance genre. You'd think it would considering we just celebrated our 20th anniversary. Maybe somewhere in the back of my mind I take the steadfastness of what my husband and I have and implement it into the characters. The loyalty and companionship we've shared through the years is nothing short of amazing, and thinking about it now, I'd have to say that the leading male characters I've written do reflect a lot of who he is at the core. But it's not only him. There's a bit of my father in them as well. He and my mother have shown me, without trying, what growing old together means. I lean toward that way of thinking and so it reflects in my writing.

You have written three series of books. Do you plan to write a series from the beginning itself or it just turns out to be one?

The hard and fast answer to this question is, yes, I know if I'm going to be writing a series. It seems like readers enjoy series. Don't get me wrong, they like standalone's as well, but invested readers seem to form attachments to secondary characters and want to know more of their stories. More often then not, secondary characters knock at the back of my head wanting to tell their own stories. I knew when I started The Six Series that each of the Six would have their own book. I also knew I was taking a chance at jumping from one characters story to another. The readers might get a bit testy that the series, after the first book, would move forward, but not with Riley and Ace, the characters they'd come to love. But then I also knew that all of the characters would be in each book. The readers didn't know that. It's always a risk when you write the story as you see it and not how the reader tells you it should be. With a little luck the readers hang on until the end of the series because they've become just as invested in the story as the author has been. My standalone, What It Takes, has had readers asking for another book. I hadn't planned on more, but I can understand where they're coming from. Lex's character is just begging to have his own story. And in time he might just get it. The Casted Series, being paranormal, was a long book. There was no way I could tell the entire story in only one book. I knew going in that there would be two books. Readers have also asked for more on that series, but for me, it's done.

You have most written books based on love and romance. How are they still distinct from each other?

To me, love and romance are two separate things entirely. What I mean is: love is all. It's the bond between people, places, and things. It's not tethered to one emotion, but many. When I think of love, it is vast and endless in its meaning. Sure, love goes with romance, but romance doesn't always go with love. Where there is romance there is some form of love. But, when there is love it doesn't always mean romance. People love many things: their parents, their children, friends, animals, vacations, colors... the list is endless. The love felt in romance is centered on the romance itself. It's my job to show both, make the reader feel both, and still be able to tell where love and romance either blend together, or don't.

Paranormal romance is an interesting genre to write. How do you come up with such plots? Have you ever experienced something paranormal?

Paranormal Romance is an underrated genre, in my opinion. Ask any author that has written in both paranormal and contemporary romance and they'll probably tell you that it takes a lot more work to bring new readers into the paranormal side. It's a shame really, because there are some amazing books out there just waiting for new readers. Maybe it's because when people see paranormal they're confusing it with science fiction? Or maybe its that they make up their mind that the story will be too different from what they normally read? To those readers I say, take a chance. You never know what sort of adventure the author will take you on and leave you wanting to read more. Coming up with paranormal plots takes a lot more work. The writer isn't just coming up with a plot line, they're building a world. And not only are they building a world, the author has to make sure it's unique, interesting and incomparable to other works. Have I experience something paranormal? I have, the first time I was very young when it happened. Might it have been the play of moonlight through the trees, casting a shadow that looked like my grandfather? His passing had been very hard for me. I'd only wanted to see him one last time. I repeated it over and over again for days, and then one night after I'd gone to bed, something woke me up. It wasn't a noise, or a touch, I just opened my eyes and found myself looking down the hallway and there he was, sitting in the corner chair of my childhood living room. It scared me because he didn't move, didn't look my way. He just sat there quiet, peaceful. I shut my eyes, pulled the covers over my head wanting him to go. When I dared to look again, he was gone. Did I see him, or was it just a trick of light? I'll never know and I'm okay with that. After I graduated high school, I went home again for my cousins wedding. Her reception was being held just down the hill from the cemetery my grandfather is buried at. So once the decorating was almost finished, I told my cousin that I was walking up to the cemetery. It was something I'd needed to do for a long time. It was a short walk. And I could remember the whereabouts of his grave. The problem was, it had been a long time since the last time I'd been there. I followed the paved road up to the tree I remembered standing close to the day he was buried, and began scanning the headstones. The further up the hill I walked, the more I realized I was going too far, so I walked back down the hill again and started over. When I made it too far up again a sort of overwhelment took hold of me. My chest tightened and I fought to keep myself from falling apart. I couldn't find him. How could I not find him? The tears stung my eyes and I squeezed them shut, trying my best not to have a complete breakdown in the middle of the cemetery. I'd failed in finding him and I didn't want to look like a crazy person darting between headstones in my own panic to find him. I felt like I had a million eyes on me. And the last thing I wanted was for some stranger to approach me and ask if I needed help. I don't know why I did it, or what made me do it, but with my eyes clamped shut, I let my feet carry me back down the hill as I whispered, "Where are you. I can't find you. Help me find you." And then, I just stopped walking and turned. When I opened my eyes the first thing I saw was my grandfather's grave. Coincidence? Maybe. But I'd like to think that he was there with me when I needed him most. Guiding me to him because I was lost in a sea of headstones. It's weird the things you forget about until someone asks you.

You co-authored three books with Candace Knoebel. What is it like working with someone else on a story? How did you handle any differences in opinions?

The Game of Hearts Novels, to date, have to be one of my most favorite series to write. And I was extremely lucky to have my best friend to write them with. Candace Knoebel, not only is a master of words in her own right, but she is the easiest co-author in the world to write with. Of course that could be because of our friendship too. We've always had a clear understanding of each other and what we expect out of our writing. Candace and I had talked for years about writing a book together, and then one day we took the plunge. Love Always, started out as an idea Candace came up with, or more so a character. Maggie, the girl with orange hair and a passion for life. I'm pretty sure the scene came to her while she was dreaming and typed it into her phone the next morning. It sat there for months before Candace talked about it. When she finally mentioned it to me, I told her that it sounded really good and that she should try to write a contemporary book based around that scene. Candace shied away from the idea because she was known for writing in the paranormal genre and didn't know how the readers would react to her writing contemporary. So, I overstepped my bounds and wrote the first chapter to Love Always and sent it to Candace. The rest was history and the series was born. It was a dream-team partnership for all three books. We talked each story through so there would be a 'plot', but left room for changes. I started the first book with Phillip and sent it to Candace and she breathed life into Maggie. The chapters went back and forth between us, and the story came to life. Like I said, it was so easy to write with Candace that we never had struggles with where we each wanted the plots to go. We'd always talk about what was coming next in the story, and if it didn't seem to work, we thought of other ideas until it did.

How supportive are your children when it comes to your writing? Do they give any inputs when you are writing your story?

My kids have been very supportive. I don't really talk about my books, or a story line with them, but they give me enough teenage banter, drama and attitude to work with when it's needed. They've shown this only child how it is to have a sibling. They joke, laugh, fight, and rage, so I get equal insight to teenage girls and teenage boys. They're amazing kids and aren't too hard on me when I just can't pull myself away from the computer to cook. Besides, they know how much I absolutely detest cooking. It's a good thing they like burgers, pizza and Chinese food. And my daughter is really lucky that her brother at least learned his way around the kitchen so that if they don't want take out he can cook a meal without burning the house down. My daughter can make a mean bowel of cereal and some pretty epic cookies though. He's the cook, she's the baker and I'm the proud Momma who appreciates all that they do for me.

You mentioned that you are a sucker for a good book. Which genre do you like reading the most? Which is your favorite book of all time?

Simply put... I love to read. And I don't have a set genre that I read in. One of my favorite book series is Outlander. But, I'm also a Ravenclaw... errr, I mean Potter Head. My first favorites are stories by Nora Roberts. That woman has a way to paint you the picture and then yank you into the pages. I have too many favorites to pick just one. I'm complicated like that with books, music and colors. There's just too many options to choose just one.

What do you enjoy doing apart from writing and reading?

I love spending time with my family and friends. I'm pretty low-key and enjoy the quieter things in life. I'd much rather a bonfire than an amusement park. Give me a cup of coffee and the most important people in my life and I'm a happy girl.

You are a full-time writer. Was that your career plan from the beginning? What inspired you to write?

If someone would have told me eight-ish years ago that this would be my life, I would have laughed at them while sitting in my uncomfortable chair in the bowels of corporate hell. Candace isn't just a co-writer with me, she is a co-liberator. The plot was hatched in an elevator and we went on to buying laptops and writing during lunch. We got a lot of weird looks. A lot of them. We'd smirk at each other and keep on writing. But it really didn't start then. It started years earlier when I was sitting in my car at a red light at the intersection of Orange Blossom Trail and Sand Lake Road during morning rush hour. Kelly Clarkson's new song Breakaway came on and it hit me with such a profoundness that it was shocking. What the hell was I doing with my life? There HAD to be more than some 9 - 5 job that I dreaded. I spent years after that searching for my more... and in 2013 when I published my first book, I found it. So, no, I didn't know what my career would be when I first started out in life, but then again... who does?

What was your first piece of writing? When did you write it?

My first piece of writing is still sitting in a file on my computer. It's a full novel and it will probably never see the light of day. That story was the one I sat at the picnic tables writing during lunch while people walked by and tried to peer over my shoulder to see what I was doing. That was around 2009/10 and it kicked the door wide open to my imagination and brought me to where I am now.

As an avid reader yourself, what do you think about the changing trend from paperback books to electronic books?

I love my ebooks for several reasons. They don't take up any space inside my house. I don't have to dust them, and I can take all of them with me no matter where I go. I tend to lean more toward digital than paper for all of those reasons, but I do have the books I really love in paperback because nothing beats the feel of pages turning under your fingers. Digital books being promoted and sold on digital platforms makes things a whole lot easier for us authors. There are still readers that want their paperbacks, but the norm now is for readers to purchase the ebook. What's really nice is being able to give away ebooks to readers. And being able to give them ecopies doesn't cost a thing. The same can't be said for paperbacks, especially paperbacks won, or given away to a reader outside of the United States.

How important do you think reading is, to be able to write well?

I think it is extremely important for writers to be readers. How else do we learn and grow? It's sort of like studying, only it's a whole lot more fun.

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