Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Author Spotlight: SonnyGoten

This month, I'd like to introduce a mysterious writer who has produced a number of books ranging in genre--from horror/thriller to fantasy to poetry.  Whether working on her own or in collaboration with other writers, SonnyGoten is enthusiastic about her work.  Read on!

Hi, Sonny!  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?  Where were you born and raised?   

Ah, that’s the first question always being asked. Unfortunately, I’m writing under a pseudonym for a reason, so I apologize but I won’t reveal too much about my identity. Besides that, there is also the question of what is there that I can say that could be of interest.

I’m in my early twenties and at the moment I’m studying Social Sciences. Also, I was raised bilingual, but English was not one of the languages I grew up with, even though my books are all written in this language. No, my journey towards acquiring English was most perilous. I was, of course, taught English at school, but I mainly learned from the TV by watching lots and lots of English dubbed anime (mainly Dragonball Z) with subtitles as a child. So, you see, my first English words were not “How are you?” or “My name is so-and-so.” No, the first things I learned were more akin to “You‘re dead, Kakarot!” and “His power levels are over nine-thousand!” I can almost imagine what my teacher at school must have thought, haha!
As you can see, my life cannot be called in any way extraordinary. In fact, its mundane course might probably have been one of the main reasons why I started writing in the first place.

How did you get involved in writing?  Has it been a life-long passion or is it a more recently developed talent?

I started to write when I learned of fan fiction actually. I came across Fanfiction.net about ten years ago, read some fics, decided that I liked them and started writing my own. Since then, I have mostly pulled away from writing fan fiction, because I wished to broaden my horizon and create my own characters. My old fics can still be found on the internet somewhere, but I’d rather you didn’t look for them, because I wrote them a long time ago when I was young and my command over the English language was… well, quite frankly, atrocious does not begin to describe it.

What genre and audience do you typically write for?  Or does that vary by project?

I must confess, I do not write for an audience, I write mainly for my own pleasure. Of course, any writer who decides to publish his or her work , whether for sale or for free, seeks acknowledgement of some sort, and I am really no different in this respect. But I don’t adapt my style to suit a certain type of reader’s taste. Nor do I confine myself to a single genre. So, yes, I suppose my writings do vary by project, but it depends on my mood as well.

There is one thing that each of the books I published on Amazon and Smashwords (the two places where I put my works up for sale) have in common, however. None of them have a clearly defined HEA. The stories are ambiguous and end either tragically or ‘happy from a certain point of view’ depending on characters‘ perspective and/or reader’s interpretation.

Could you give us a list of your books and a short description of each?

A Game of Keys: This novella is a horror/thriller with certain sci-fi overtones and my very first published project. Similar to the movie ‘Saw’ my main character Connor has been locked up in a room (which is where almost the entire story takes place) and needs to find a way out. In my story, the kidnapper threatens to rape Connor if he can’t find a way out after a certain amount of time. Connor, however, does not give up easily and tries to figure out his kidnapper’s identity, but things get strange quickly from there…

Letters to an Imaginary Friend: This novella is a collection of poetry. The epistolary poems together form a dark story of three friends sliding off into the wrong direction when love and jealousy comes into the picture. The story begins when things have already gone wrong and M., one of the friends, denounces God as an imaginary friend in the first poem, hence the title of the novella.

Cross: This is actually a collection of three very short horror stories that are also included in the updated paperback edition (January 7, 2013) of ‘Letters to an Imaginary Friend’. The main point of Cross is actually to simply convey a certain type of mood. The first story, also titled ‘Cross’, is about a girl taking revenge on her sworn enemy, who is very close to her. The second story ‘Brother Joshua’ is about a monk finding love in a most disturbing way. The third story ’Key’ is about a woman finding another world.

The Fire of Mars: This novel is a collaboration between myself and several other writers. The story actually started off as a round-robin RPG of a sorts on Fanfiction.net which I revised and edited into a novel. The novel is set in 29 AD in Jerusalem but takes great liberty with the historical facts and is peppered with fantasy elements in order to suit the supernatural side that is at play in the story. The story is about the entwined fates of an orphan girl named Hexia, a priest’s daughter called Rachel, a terrorist who calls himself Wrath, and a sex slave who’s named Mau-Iwiw when they struggle for  the power of the Fire Staff.

Where can these titles be found for purchase?

As I said before, I publish my e-books via Amazon and through Smashwords. Smashwords also distributes to other major e-book sellers, such as Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, Apple iBookstore, etc. (Well, just take a look at their website to see for yourself!)

‘The Fire of Mars’ is not available at Smashwords yet, I’m still busy editing that edition in order for it to pass through the meat grinder and it will take a while.

Also, all the paperbacks are available at CreateSpace where I publish them. CreateSpace is a daughter company of Amazon, so all the paperbacks are of course also available at Amazon.

Whats been the most rewarding occurrence since youve put your work out there for others to read and enjoy?

Hmm… it’s the feedback from readers, really. It allows me to know whether people liked it or not, and what could perhaps have improved where. Feedback is so important to a writer, I think, because it’s the only way we can know if we did it right or not. Without feedback how can a writer learn? How can (s)he and grow? So, I enjoy the reviews and the emails I’ve gotten from my readers. Even if it’s just a one-word-comment, it’s still a form of interaction, which makes every one of them precious and worth the effort!

Who would you cite as an influence on your writing style?  Any favorite authors?  Do you have a most-loved novel?

There are many great authors and great novels out there, so it’s hard to pick The One. However, lately I’ve been really getting into a fellow self-publisher. Her penname is S. U. Pacat and she’s published two volumes from her ‘Captive Prince’ trilogy through Amazon not so long ago, her second volume ending with a major cliff hanger, so I’ve been getting really hyped up over this story again, because I’m so curious about how it will continue and how it will end!

I stumbled upon ‘Captive Prince’ when it was still a free online fic, and I really loved it. I especially loved how Pacat wrote her character called Laurent, the way the political machinations are woven into this world, and how the characters lie and speak with double meanings so easily and convincingly. Reading all the carefully crafted motives behind every character’s action  really did influence me and made me look at my own writings in a different light.

 What projects do you have planned for the near future?  Anything you can share to perk our interest?

There are plans on the table for a sequel to ‘The Fire of Mars‘ which will take place around 50 years later. Our RPG team has written out a lot of material that can be used, and I’m really enthusiastic about this story, but I‘m not in the habit of making promises, so nothing is definite until the book is published.

I have to throw in my own curious questions; Do you have a favorite quote?  Color?  Character from any book? 

Character from any book? Do you really want me to rant more about Laurent?
Color? Blue, I guess? All my jeans are blue. And Laurent’s eyes too…
Let’s not do the quotes, before my current obsession becomes too apparent here. Hahaha!

Thanks so much for your time, Sonny, and best of luck with your writing endeavours.  Is there a way for any interested parties to keep informed about your accomplishments as an author?  Do you maintain a website or blog?

 You can find me here:
https://twitter.com/sonnygoten (I use my twitter to rant, so not everything I post there will be about my books, nor will it all be in English.)

 Is there anything else you would like to share?

I must confess I used to be a major slash/yaoi fan, so even though it’s not something that I focus on, you may see streaks of that back into my work. Also, I’m an anime fan (the whole part in this interview dedicated to Dragonball Z might have given that one away…).

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