It’s another day, another interview here and today we have for you our chat with Sondi Warner, a self-published author of LGBT fiction. So check out this interview, and then check out her work!
You can also follow her on twitter.
Let’s start at the beginning. How did you first get into writing?
I wrote my first story at seven years old. It was about a magical clay pot, and it went on to win a regional short story contest. Actually, I won first place for the next four consecutive years, which was every year I entered. Of course, I never imagined doing this for a living because it’s a tough industry. Fast-forward to adulthood, and “gig economy” became the new buzzword. I started out freelancing as a side hustle. I did copywriting, tried my hand at indie publishing, and finally ended up ghostwriting full-time. One day, I looked up and realized, “I’m one of the lucky few who gets to have my dream job!” So, that’s something I appreciate deeply.
What are your favourite genres to read and write?
I’m a voracious reader. If you were to check my bookshelf right now, you would find everything from memoirs, to horror, to romance, to poetry. And, although I wish I could pen works like some of my favorite authors—Margaret Atwood, Chuck Palahniuk, David Sedaris—I stick to the genres I have the most experience writing. I craft stories featuring LGBTQ+ polyamorous triads, usually contemporary and paranormal romance. The quickest way to find my latest paranormal Overlay City series is to visit my personal website.
And are there any genres or tropes you wouldn’t write?
As much as I’m a creature of habit, I’m not averse to experimenting with different genres. The question is: Would it be any good? Debatable. Regarding tropes, I’ve never met a cliche that can’t be repackaged. All stories are tropes, aren’t they? Originality is at the intersection of Done Before and New Perspective That’s where I try to find my ideas.
How do you get inspiration for your books?
A variety of places. Real life experiences. Other books. Movies. TV etc. Just sort of living life aIn reality, I’m a bit of a recluse. Not literally. I just don’t have a wide and varied social life. Plus, my busy schedule doesn’t lend well to eventful holidays or vacations. So, I’m not an ‘observation’ writer. I get most of my inspiration from intimate things like the quirks of my own relationship, my experiences raising kids, or memories from the past. I know that makes it seem very closed door, but it’s not. Inquisitive readers can get a glimpse of my life by watching my IGTV show, “Behind the Scenes w/ LK1.” You can find and follow me on Instagram.
Do you have a writing playlist? And if you do, does it focus more on the lyrics or melodies, vibe of the songs?
I love attempting to write with a playlist in the background, but I get distracted every time. If there are lyrics, I start belting them out. People have suggested listening to instrumentals, but I still hum the melodies! I have writing playlists for listening between writing sessions. Lately, “Time in a Tree” by Raleigh Ritchie has been my go-to song.
What’s your writing process? At what point do you let other people read your drafts and who are they?
I’m a planner. Not only do I use extensive plots, but I organize the pacing with beat sheets, and I maintain character profiles to help keep each voice I’m writing distinct. My favorite platform for sharing my work is Wattpad. In the past, I was writing for clients, but writing for my own audience means sharing something much more personal with thousands of people. I let these strangers see the writing from draft to final edit. It’s a harrowing experience, but I wouldn’t trade it. The real-time feedback has been the best thing that’s ever happened to my writing.
Summarise your most recent/next book in up to 5 words and a meme.
Dead? Live your best Afterlife.
Which three authors would you say influenced your writing the most?
This is the hardest question to answer. I’ve probably read a few hundred thousand books in this lifetime, and I don’t know which authors have had the greatest impact on my writing style—maybe the three I mentioned in a question above. I try to surprise readers like Palahniuk, who wrote Fight Club with that lovely twist at the end. I like to deliver complex, escalating storylines like Atwood. I’m not the funniest writer, but I think some of the vulnerability and humor Sedaris uses creeps into my writing sometimes. I guess it would be up to readers to say who comes to mind when they read my work.
If (when!) your book(s) were to be made into movies, who would you like to direct them?
From the hardest question to the easiest—I would choose Ava DuVernay, hands down. I idolize her. I went through a hard time after losing a lucrative ghostwriting gig and being unemployed for an extended period of time. I started listening to Ava’s TED Talk on repeat. Honestly, she galvanized me to end the pity party and get back to writing. It’s because of her that my award-winning novel, Lead Me Astray, came to be.
And for something that is also very important to us & what we put a lot of emphasis on when blogging. What does ownvoices LGBT representation mean to you?
Marginalized writers have spent centuries trying to get a seat, trying to make a place for ourselves in an arena that defers to the default. #OwnVoices is a movement that brings its own chair to the table, and I am so here for it. It was phenomenal seeing the #DiverseLit taking the publishing world by storm, but I think we quickly realized we needed diverse stories written by authors who are of the communities they’re depicting. The authenticity is refreshing.
Rec us some great LGBT books you’ve read recently! One can never have enough recommendations!
I’m a Gay Wizard by V. S. Santoni. Crazy amazing non-binary Latinx author alert. If you haven’t checked out their book, you’re missing the best treat of 2019. It’s inclusive YA done right. Want more good reads? I give plenty of recommendations via Twitter.
What’s one piece of advice you would like to give your younger self?
Do I only get to give one piece of advice? Wear shorts, girl! I used to be very self-conscious, but now that I’m older, I realize how ridiculous it was to play modest in hot, humid Louisiana summers. Life is brief. Do all the things you dream of doing. You’ll only regret what you didn’t get to. (Okay, that’s two pieces of advice.)
If you could have dinner with one member of the LGBT community, dead or alive, who would it be?
Yay! I’d choose David Sedaris. I keep returning to this author, but I adore him. Can I recommend a second book, while I’m here breaking the rules? Grab his latest, Calypso. You won’t regret it. You can never have too many gay books!