Sondrae Bennett to talk about her new book Worth Fighting For, part of her ALPINE WOOD SHIFTERS series.
Hi Sondrae, welcome to the blog.
Thank you for having me!
By the photos I've seen of you on your website, you look to barely be out of your teens! Congratulations on achieving such early success with your books. What made you start writing? And why paranormal romance?
Lol, I assure you I’m not as young as I look. I’m probably going to get carded for drinks well into my fifties, but it’s been quite a while since I was in my teens, although I thank you for the compliment. As for writing, I started during a bout of unemployment to keep myself sane. Anyone who’s been unemployed in this economy knows how crazy filling out application after application can be. So I started writing to break up my days, and I never stopped. As for why paranormal romance, I’ve always loved romance. I’ve been reading it for over a decade (almost 16 years now). There’s something truly magical about a love story and it’s always drawn me in. And just as I’ve always loved the magic of romance, I’ve always loved the magic of…well of magic. I used to read Nora Roberts stories with witches and mystical plots and my love for the genre grew from there.
What inspires you? What romance authors have inspired you? And what gave you the idea of hybrids that are found in Worth Fighting For?
Everything inspires me. Sometimes really odd things, too. Like the act of crossing the street one day gave me an idea for a scene in one of the books I’m plotting for the future. And so many authors inspire me. Probably my biggest influence has been Nora Roberts since I grew up reading her and since she started my love affair with romance novels, but my favorites also include Shelly Laurenston, Cherise Sinclair, Maya Banks, and so many many others. The hybrids in Worth Fighting For, as well as Julie’s human status in the series, was really inspired by genetics and how certain traits are passed down in families.
I know that getting your first novel published takes a lot of time, what was your experience in that regard? What advice can you give to a writer looking to get published?
My advice to writers is to write what you love. If the story doesn’t come from the heart and if you aren’t enjoying it while you’re writing it, your readers will pick up on that. Don’t worry about what others think, because if you love it, others will as well. If I didn’t love to read paranormal romance, I wouldn’t be writing it, no matter how popular or “in” the genre might be.
That and to keep trying. Writing is not an easy path, but I think it’s worthwhile in the end.
Of the 5 books you've written, three are already published and two are coming shortly. Whose story and which characters are the ones you are most attached to and why?
Ooo, this is a hard one. I love all the characters and all the stories for different reasons. Whatever I’m writing at the moment is almost always my favorite. But I think Misty in Worth Fighting For, remains my favorite character to write. She’s just so goofy and fun that I couldn’t help but smile at some of her antics.
Tell us about your writing style. Do you have a dedicated work space you write in? Do you write on a computer or longhand? Do you dedicate whole swaths of time to your story or write as your muse tickles you? Does working with a publisher put you on a deadline that dictates the energy you pursue with your writing?
Panera Bread has become one of my favorite places to write. Something about it has the perfect amount of background noise, good food and coffee, and comfort. And although my publisher doesn’t keep me on a timeline, I do. I set goals for myself, usually ones that are way too ambitious that I end up having to adjust, but I also go where my muse tells me to and sometimes that puts me behind. I always let her get away with putting me behind if I’m happy with where she’s leading me. It’s always a balancing act between how much I want to write and how much quality I’ll get out of the session.
Do you sketch out your story and characters before you start writing a new story or do you let them tell their own story as you go along?
A little of both truthfully. And sometimes they don’t agree with what I’ve sketched out for them and end up pulling a fast one on me. In the end, they’re the bosses. So if they tell me I’m wrong, I listen.
What was like to be part of collaborative storyline for the Gatekeepers? Were you tied to a fixed storyline or part of an evolving creative process between each author? Who started the proverbial ball rolling there?
Renee Rocco got us all together. She had an idea for world with four Gatekeepers and wondered if we all wanted to take on one of their stories. None of us were tied to a fixed story line. Basically we set up the world and were each able to write our own stories within it. We have a forum set up where we discuss issues that arise, and talk about ways to incorporate different pieces of plot into each other’s books, but the plot, characters, etc. were all created individually. I’m really excited to see the end products. I still don’t know exactly what everyone came up with.
As the stories won't be released till next year, is there anything you can tell us now about what this series is about? The covers look intriguing.
Sure! Basically, there are four gateways into another world filled with all sorts of supernaturals, and the gatekeepers keep the monsters out of this world, and the humans out of that one. Unfortunately I can’t tell you too much as the whole series is still a work in progress, but the series should be a lot of fun. And I love the covers as well. Renee, who designed and created them, always does an amazing job!
I am so glad you could come by and share a little of your experience and self with our readers. I wish you continued success in your series and look forward to watching your expansion into other realms.
Thank you again for having me!