"Confront Your Writing": An Interview with Sondi Warner.
Today I'm delighted to share an interview I did with the lovely Sondi Warner. Sondi reached out to me and I'm so grateful she did, as she had a lot of great things to say about inspiration, sexuality, and confronting your own writing. I hope you enjoy this talk with Sondi and glean something from her witty and thoughtful responses!
L: First things first, tell us a little bit about yourself!
S: I wish I had a clever bio, but I’m too old for that. I did all the fun stuff in my twenties—heavy metal concerts, vampire balls, kissing random girls on the dance floor. These days, I’m a full-time mom, indie author, and aspiring influencer. I have a YouTube channel where I read some of my juicy queer romance stories and an IGTV show where I talk shop and give you a behind the scenes look at my life. Oh, and I’m a Wattpad Star. My book LEAD ME ASTRAY won a Watty last year. So, there’s that.
L: Congrats on becoming a Wattpad Star and winning such a big award! How long have you been writing for?
S: Since I could hold a pencil! Just kidding. I wrote my first story when I was around six or seven years old and it went on to win a regional writing competition. Over the next five consecutive years, my stories scored first place in that competition. Of course, that cemented it for me. I knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I have been writing professionally for nearly fifteen years, in some capacity. I have been a ghostwriter, freelance copywriter, screenwriter, script doctor, and blogger. I love my job.
L: It's amazing that you get to do what you love. What are you currently working on?
S: I am currently working on an LGBTQ+ polyamorous tale called INTO THE WILD DARK, which is the follow-up to my Watty award-winning LEAD ME ASTRAY. My WIP is my darling right now. I’m in love with Jakub Slobodnik, the wrongfully convicted man, who finds himself caught between the man heaven-sent to protect him (Sunny Johnson) and the woman hell-bent on destroying him (Malice Ashivant.) Readers can actually check it out free on Wattpad. INTO THE WILD DARK by Lesserknown1. L: How would you describe your writing style?
S: That’s a tough question. Recently, a reviewer compared a scene I wrote to something from Quentin Tarantino. I screamed! It’s always great to have our egos stroked. I like to think I have the gritty realism of a Chuck Palahniuk novel combined with the imaginative world-building of Neil Gaiman. I’m not funny like David Sedaris, but I do try to examine the little things the way the essayist does. I can only hope to live up to the reading experience my favorite writers deliver.
L: I would scream too if someone compared my work to Tarantino, what a compliment!
Aside from other authors, what are you and your style most inspired by?
S: I am most inspired by real life. I like to examine reality through a lens of fiction because we live in a society that still feels like some topics are too taboo to discuss in real terms. I get it. I know for some people are more comfortable thinking of their sexuality from a distance or fantasizing about a threesome in hypothetical terms. I try to use my books to give people a safe space to explore that without judgement.
L: Well said. What do you believe is the most original aspect of your writing?
S: I want to lay claim to originality in *every* aspect of my writing but c’mon. Originality might be extinct. There’s nothing new under the sun and all that, right?
I will say that one of my favorite bands is Kings of Leon. (This isn’t a tangent.) The lead singer once explained in an interview that he and several of his bandmates grew up on the road a lot with their evangelizing grandfather. They weren’t allowed to listen to secular music. So, when they formed this band, not having a lot of exposure to popular songs allowed them to be more original.
Me, I don’t read a lot of pop fiction. I devoured classic lit as a kid. These days, I like obscure authors. I tend to stay away from what’s trendy. As a result, I think my writing finds its originality in not being mainstream.
L: How interesting! I can imagine that certainly would influence your writing and help you bring something new to the page. What are some things you think are important to include in writing?
S: If you’re not plugging that thing with your blood, sweat, and tears, you might as well stop writing. But, seriously, good writing (to me) requires a degree of vulnerability. Examine your fears, your character flaws, your wrongness, your ugly. Confront that stuff in your writing. No one has to know which part of your story is you. However, if you’re not already doing that, people will notice. It’s the difference between authentic and passing. L: What is on your TBR list?
S: My reading list is a chaotic mess, but right now I’m excited to check out the Watty award-winning Pocket Full of Posies by Dear_Rhian on Wattpad. I have gotten into the habit of doing a weekly review of the books I read. So, you can find out what I have to say about this one on my Wattpad page, as well as on Twitter and Instagram.
L: That's on my list too! If you could have written any book or series, what would you take credit for?
S: Honestly, this writing stuff is such hard work that I wouldn’t want to take credit for anyone else’s baby. But, in the spirit of the question, let’s just say I admire Zadie Smith’s amazing talent, and I wish I could write like her.
L: Any words of advice for other writers?
S: We’ve heard it said time and again: Keep at it. It may be old advice, but it’s the best advice there is. I talk about this in one of my Behind the Scenes w/ LK1 videos on IGTV. While you’re in the trenches, cranking out content, every you do feels trivial. It seems like you can’t reach success fast enough. However, if you keep at it, you’ll look back and realize you’ve done great things and gained great experiences along the way. That’s the key to success. It’s cumulative, meaning it doesn’t happen at once. Just keep at it.
Lastly, where can people find you on social media?
A tremendous thank you to Sondi for taking the time to be interviewed. I sincerely hope you will check out the things she's working on!
Until next time,