I’m very pleased to welcome Sonja Price today as she answers my Author in the Spotlight questions. Sonja’s latest novel is The Giants Look Down – more about that below. It sounds a really great read and if you like the sound of it, you can order a copy from Amazon by clicking here.
Thanks for taking part Sonja. First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?
After a long stay in Germany, I now live in Somerset with my family and love going for walks with Millie our black lab, when I often get my best ideas for writing. However, I’m always hopping on and off planes as I’m also a lecturer for English at Jena University in Germany. I enjoy teaching greatly and find that my writing courses complement the solitary life of thinking up stories at my desk.
What inspired you to start writing?
After my PhD in English literature, I decided that I was going to write whatever I wanted to. My debut novel was conceived when listening to a broadcast about the Great Earthquake in Kashmir in 2005. Although tragic, the description of the region was beautiful- the highest mountains on this planet surrounding a luscious valley containing a string of lakes- and it captured my imagination immediately. The complex political situation-it is part of India although it is predominantly Muslim and wars have been fought over it between India and Pakistan- gave me much food for thought. I decided it was the perfect setting for the story and it just took off from there.
Tell me about your journey to publication
My debut novel was longlisted for the Mslexia First Novel Competition and gave me just the lift I needed at the time. I went on to join the New Writers’ scheme of the Romantic Novelists ‘Association, which reviews aspiring writers’ work. My returned draft secured me an agent in London, who got me published with Robert Hale. I was thrilled when it was shortlisted for the Joan Hessayon Award.
In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?
It’s about a young girl’s struggle to become a doctor in the patriarchal, conflict-ridden Kashmir of the 1906s.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
The title THE GIANTS LOOK DOWN reflects the spectacular setting of the Vale of Kashmir, where life plays out under the gaze of the snow-capped Himalayas.
How did you celebrate publication day?
I celebrated with a reading (and lots of wine!) in the garden of the historic Herder Church in Weimar, Germany. It was a gorgeous venue on a warm barmy evening. All my friends from the area came and we had a great time!
For my next one I intend to have a party in an art gallery in Wells.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
Yes: story of a widow’s quest to solve the mystery surrounding her husband’s death in the Canadian wilds against the backdrop of the Native Americans’ struggle to block a pipeline crossing their sacred burial grounds. The subject is very topical at the moment with the Standing Rock protests south of the border in North Dakota. Permission for the construction of a similar pipeline was halted by Obama, only to be given the go-ahead by Trump.
What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!
Due to the release of the film of the book I recently reread THE SENSE OF AN ENDING by Julian Barnes. It’s one of those books you either love or hate. I love it; it is brilliantly constructed with different interpretations of what really happened. For me, Barnes is a true master of plot.
What are you reading just now?
I’m in a group of authors called Stellar Scribes who hold readings and writing workshops, so we’ve enjoying each others books at the moment. I’ve got two of their books on the go at the moment: Anne Randell’s crime thriller TORN and Jan Ellis’s Romcom THE BOOK SHOP DETECTIVE. Both so different!
If you were on Desert Island Discs, what one book would you take with you?
Anything by Margaret Atwood, preferably her collected works if there is such a thing. Her books are both visionary and astonishing.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?
FaceBook Sonja Price Author
And finally, if you could be a character in any book you have read, who would it be and why?
Sorry about the cliché but I guess it would have to be Scarlett O’Hara. She is is totally irresistible: feisty, intelligent beautiful and resourceful. And most of the time Rhett adores her. Who wouldn’t want to be her?