#TuesdayTalk with Sonya Spreen Bates. Sonya’s new Orca Sports novel, Off the Rim, launches this month.
Sonya, you’ve written quite a few books for Orca now, including early chapterbooks and sports novels. Where do you get your story ideas from?
Ideas come from everywhere and anywhere. Memories, dreams, travel, overheard conversations, everyday life, significant events, family. Anything can spark an idea, it’s a matter of seeing if the idea is worth developing and has the potential to become a really great story.
How did you know you wanted to become a writer?
I always had aspirations and dreams of writing, but it wasn’t until I had my first child and was on leave from my job that I decided to write seriously and try to get published.
What one place in the world would you love to visit?
Germany. It is my heritage. My Dad is German, and my Mom’s family background is mostly German, and yet I have never been there. I will go there someday, hopefully soon.
Do you have a writing ritual?
I write in a small study with unfortunate bold green walls that I haven’t got around to painting. I start writing as soon as my husband and kids head off to work and school, otherwise I find myself getting distracted by jobs around the house. My dinosaur of a computer takes about 10 minutes to warm up, so I make myself a coffee (latte, no sugar) while it thinks about starting the day, and then I’m off and running. Some days the writing comes easier than others, and if I find myself stuck for words, I take the dog for a walk with the story still in my head and the problems seem to work themselves out.
What makes you unable to put a book down?
Character mostly. I need to care about the main character and care about what happens to him/her. Then you can put them in any situation and I will find it fascinating.
Guilty pleasures: go!
Have you had an odd job in the past? What was it?
When I was at university I decorated donuts to pay the rent. Started at 5 am and finished around 1 pm smelling like sugar and icing. I’m not that fond of donuts anymore.
What’s your favourite board game?
Any advice for aspiring authors?
My advice? Write. You can take all the courses you want, read all the books on technique and plotting and character development, but it won’t do you a spot of good if you don’t write. So get out your notebook, your tablet, your pen and paper or whatever is your preferred writing device, and just write. Don’t wait for the perfect time or the perfect idea. Write and write and write some more. And enjoy it.
Sonya Spreen Bates is a Canadian writer living in Australia. As a child, when she wasn’t riding horses, she loved to read, daydream and scribble down short stories that she never dared to show anyone. She dreamed of traveling to Australia, but never imagined she’d be living there one day. Sonya obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Linguistics from the University of Victoria and a Master’s degree in Speech Pathology from Dalhousie University. She has spent many years working with children with communication disorders, both in Canada and Australia, and often writes her own stories to use in therapy. For more information, please visit http://sonyaspreenbates.wordpress.com.