Sonia’s top tip for aspiring authors: Think about what excites you, what inspires you. Write about that. Even if it’s not in now, you never know what will become the next trend.
Sonia Bellhouse grew up in England, but she now makes Australia her home. Inspired by Enid Blyton’s comment, ‘One day you might write a book,’ writing is Sonia’s lifelong passion. She has published in magazines both in Australia and the UK and was awarded two major short fiction awards.
Sonia completed a university English degree as a mature student. She is a member of Romance Writers of Australia. Her journey to publication is included in the anthology Writing the Dream. She also contributed to the anthology Passages. A longtime member of Armadale Writers’ Group she is their speaker coordinator. Her book Fire & Ice combines her interests in ice dancing, Vikings, love that spans time and Bergen, Norway, a place that she loved when she visited. When not writing Sonia can be found ignoring the ironing in favour of playing with her cats. She reads six to eight books a month and reviews them on her blog https://soniabellhouse.blog.
Visit Sonia on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/soniabellhouse.author/
Why do you write? I’ve always scribbled since I was very young, writing and illustrating stories. It is something that won’t go away. I don’t want it to. Writing is a part of my identity. I write to clear my head, to clarify or explore my thoughts.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? A lot more reading!
What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Procrastination and self-doubt.
How involved have you been in the development of your book? Did you have input into the cover? Far more involved than most first time authors can expect to be. I have been exceptionally fortunate – a writer friend, who was procrastinating on her own writing , sent me six sample covers. They were all good, but one really spoke to me and I sent to the publishers as an example. After seeking the relevant permission they decided to use it.
The editor was one I had worked with before , so I felt very confident in taking her advice, which was comprehensive. There were 13 pages of notes, comments on the manuscript itself and graphs showing character arcs and plot tension points.
What’s the best aspect of your writing life? The ability to create what you want, limited only by your own imagination. A close second is no workday commute .
—the worst? The usual – the insecurity and self-doubt. The critical voice in your head. The feeling that you should write more, write faster, be more like another author.
What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Start earlier, be brave, send more work out, learn from rejections. Analyse what works, what doesn’t and remember you have a unique writing voice.
What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? That the work hasn’t ended when you have written ‘The End’. in fact, it’s just the beginning of a much larger process.
What’s the best advice you were ever given? Believe in your dreams – you were given them for a reason.
How important is social media to you as an author? I’ll let you know! I enjoy Facebook and ‘meeting’ authors that I admire. Now I have a Sonia Bellhouse Author page myself.
I also have a blog https://soniabellhouse.blog where I post about the 6-8 books I have read each month. It also includes aspects of writing and whatever else is on my mind And I dabble in Pinterest – I created a board for ‘The Book I Am Writing’
Do you experience ‘writer’s block’ and if so, how do you overcome it? Luckily, I usually have two or three projects on the go at the same time , so if one stalls, I simply switch to another project.
How do you deal with rejection? It hurts! I allow myself to experience it – to rage , and to feel they are unjustified. Then when I have calmed down, I assess whether they have a valid point. Did I submit something unsuitable, or to the wrong place? If that’s’ the case, lesson learnt; if not then maybe they had just commissioned something similar.
In three words, how would you describe your writing? From my heart.
If you had the chance to spend an hour with any writer of your choice, living or dead, who would it be and what would you most like them to tell you about living a writing life? I think this is the toughest question. There are so many wonderful authors I admire and for different reasons. While I have listened to writers at various events and conferences, a one-on-one would give personalised advice.
After much deliberation I choose Joanne Harris. I loved her series with Vianne Rocher. It started with Chocolat, continued in The Lollipop Shoes and Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure. The fourth in the series is due for release in April, that is seven years after the last book. What prompted her to revisit it? How difficult was it to return to those characters? I enjoy how the series combines a fey quality of magic with the practicalities of everyday life and well-drawn characters. Each book is different but continues the series.
I’d like to learn how extensively she planned it, how difficult it was to get back into the mindset of the characters and whether she would do anything differently. Additionally, she has written other genres, they have a different tone and I admire her versatility. There are even two cook books, some books spanning her French heritage Others on runes and fairy-tales. And we could always talk about our childhoods when we both lived behind a sweet shop.
Olympic ice dancer Blaise Daniels’ partner has just called it quits – leaving her with no chance of competing at the Winter Olympics. Determined not to give up on her dream, Blaise travels to Norway to meet legendary skater Kristoffer Erikson. After a bumpy start, they connect both on and off the ice. Their partnership seems assured, but why do they both start having dreams of a mysterious Viking past? Can an ancient love be rekindled or will an old tragedy complicate their present?