Several years ago, local author Sonia Marsh uprooted her family and moved to Belize. She journaled about the experience and sent email updates to her friends. Eventually her chronicle of living in "paradise" became the book Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family's Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island. Sonia will be signing copies of her book at Apostrophe Books in Long Beach on April 7, 2013, from 2 to 4pm.
Originally from Denmark, Sonia has traveled the world to such places as Nigeria, Paris, England, Scotland, Belgium and Belize. She currently call Orange County her home. No stranger to Long Beach, however, she has taken the opportunity to speak at the California Writers Club of Long Beach.
Like many authors, Sonia believes in her message of gutsy living. "Life’s too short to play it safe,” she says. “Don’t postpone your passions and your dreams. You will always find an excuse at every stage of life to not pursue your dreams. So just go for it.” From experience, she's learned that there are always options in life.
Be sure to mark your calendar for Sonia's book signing and in the meantime, keep reading to get to know a little bit about her and her work.
Carma Spence: Tell us about the inspiration behind your book.
Sonia Marsh: People were intrigued when I told them we were uprooting our family to Belize, and though many thought we were crazy, they all suggested I keep a journal. “This will make a great book one day,” they all said. I started my journal a year before we left, and after we moved, my friends loved receiving my updates via e-mail. They encouraged me to continue writing and said, “Your life is so much more interesting than mine.” So I did.
CS: What are the three most important take-aways you learned from your island experience?
SM: 1. Paradise is not a physical location, but a state of mind.
2. If they don’t have what you want, want what they have.
3. There are always options in life.
CS: In general, what types of genres do you like to write?
SM: Memoirs and non-fiction articles.
CS: Where do you get your ideas?
SM: Travel and listening to people gives me so many ideas. I love to interview people and listen to ask them if they have a “Gutsy” story to share about something they’ve done or something that changed them.
CS: Did you always like writing?
SM: I didn’t start writing until my late forties. I did want to study journalism, and become an international journalist interviewing people from different parts of the world when I was living in Europe during my 20s.
CS: Do you have a set schedule to do your writing?
SM: I kept a daily journal during my year in Belize, as I had free time to write. Now I sit at my computer, seven days a week and I’m either writing blog posts, or answering e-mails.
When I wrote my memoir, I had a set schedule at the Newport Beach library. I would get dressed as though I was going to an office every day. That helped me finish writing and rewriting.
CS: How do you feel about the current state of writing? Is this a good time for writers?
SM: Yes, I think this is an excellent time for writers. Indie publishing is no longer frowned upon. However, I would like to stress that if you want to have a commercial book, get the editing and cover design and formatting done by a professional company. Treat your writing like a professional publishing company would. You’re a business owner who has to do it all, including the marketing and promotion of your book.
CS: What is the best advice you've ever received as a writer?
SM: Start with the action and hook your reader on page one. Don’t save all the best parts until later. Your reader will get bored.
CS: What is the best advice you can give as a writer?
SM: Start blogging one to three years before your book comes out. Read about marketing and promotion from the start. It’s crucial to understand social media, the importance of networking right from the start, as well as volunteering at writers groups, building your platform and constantly making connections, even with the media, before your book is published. All this helps you get the word out about your book. Please don’t wait until you publish if you want to be successful at promoting yourself.
CS: What's next for you and your writing?
SM: I am putting together an anthology of “My Gutsy Story®” submissions. I shall have it published with an event to celebrate this October. I also want to go on another trip to teach English abroad, or do Peace Corps work, and write about the adventures and misadventures.
CS: Where should people go to learn more about you and your work?
SM: To find out about my life in Africa, Europe and Belize, readers can go to my “About Me” page. My memoir is about uprooting our teenagers from Orange County, CA, to a hut in Belize, Central America. The synopsis is here. If you’re a writer and would like to submit your own “My Gutsy Story®,” the contest rules are here.
If you would like to learn more about Sonia and her work, visit her website SoniaMarsh.com.
Book signing with author Sonia Marsh
4712 E 2nd St
Long Beach, CA 90803
Sunday, April 7, 2013
2 to 4 pm
Past interviews include:
Would you like to shine the light on your writing brilliance? You can leverage your presence online to attract better clients, projects and opportunities. Carma Spence can help. Visit www.carmaspence.com for more information on how Carma can help you nurture an online footprint that supports your goals as a writer.
NOTE: Are you a writer, author or editor connected to Long Beach in some way? Please contact me ... and you can be a part of my series of profiles of local writers!