Sonia Bellhouse is a contributor to Writing the Dream, an anthology for published writers produced by Serenity Press. She won two major awards in the inaugural Rockingham Short Fiction contest.
An avid reader and writer she facilitated a book club for eleven years. She reluctantly decided to give it up, to concentrate on her writing. Sonia is a long time member of Armadale Writers’ Group, regularly engaging authors to present workshops to the group.
Sonia enjoys catching up with friends, ignoring the ironing in favour of playing with her cat and learning new things.
Sonia’s new book, Fire and Ice, is released this weekend. Ice skating, vikings and romance? What could be more fun! For more information about the book and its launch, see the links at the bottom of this interview.
Tell us a bit about your latest book
Olympic ice dancer Blaise Daniels partner has just called it quits – leaving her with no chance of competing at the Winter Olympics. Determined not to give up on her dream, she travels to Norway to meet legendary skater Kristoffer Erikson. After a bumpy start, they connect both on and off the ice. Their partnership seems assured, but why do they both start having dreams of a mysterious Viking past? Can an ancient love be rekindled, or will an old tragedy complicate their present?
What was your inspiration for the story?
I’m not sure how I linked ice dancing ( which I had watched at the Pyeong Winter Olympics)with Vikings. It was probably when I decided to set the story in Bergen Norway. I found the dancer’s ability to convey a story without words fascinating and the idea of an ice dancer from Australia intriguing. As I was writing a parallel story line emerged of a Viking past life relationship.
Tell us about your main character.
Blaise Daniels has focused on her skating from childhood, it hasn’t left her much time for boyfriends or for fun. Travelling to Norway is an adventure, but with a lot riding on it. If she and Kristoffer don’t get on she could have no skating partner and no career. It’s a huge risk. Meeting the legendary skater, she is immediately drawn to him, but can she match his exacting standards? As they work together, they begin to have mysterious dreams of a Viking past. Kristoffer shares the dreams but grows more and ore concerned- is he putting Blaise in danger?
Why should we fall in love with them?
Blaise is pursuing her dreams travelling to Norway. We can’t all be Olympic champions, but we can fight for what we want and what we believe in.
Kristoffer is a skating legend, but legends can be lonely. Blaise sees beyond the legend to the man himself. As their dreams collide their future is on the line too.
Have you always written or is writing something you have come to in adulthood?
Almost as soon as I learnt to read, I started to write, stories and poems.Writing has always been a passion with me. Some of my stories and articles are published in magazines, nationally and internationally. I contributed to two recent anthologies. Writing the Dream has twenty-five published writers sharing how they got published. There are some big-name contributors, such as Natasha Lester, Anna Jacobs and Tess, as well as some less well-known ones. I also contributed to Passages a recent short story anthology with fifteen life adventure stories. Both anthologies are published by Serenity Press There is a one day only book launch special on Fire & Ice and either anthology at a super special price.
What was your favourite book as a child?
Anne of Green Gables always appealed to me, Anne was in trouble through her good heart and good intentions. She was so relatable, naughty and imaginative and she lived on an island.
Can you recommend another female author?
There are so many amazing women writers , and in fact most of the books that read tend to be by women.
I was impressed and enthralled by imaginative Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.
Local authors – again we have so many talented writers here. I am waiting impatiently for Natasha Lester’s next book, The French Photographer but thoroughly enjoyed her The Paris Seamstress. I thought it was an intriguing story and beautifully written. I was incredibly impressed by Tess Wood’s Beautiful Messy Love. I admired how Tess handled multiple viewpoints and kept the story flowing.
What was the last book you read and loved?
I generally read between six to eight books a month. One that stood out from my recent reading was Sarah Maine’s Women of The Dunes I chose it because it had a triple time line. It is set in the west of Scotland It features a Norse woman, a Victorian woman and a twenty first century female archaeologist. It might have been confusing, but it was well written and engaging.
Do you have a favourite quotation by a female author?
‘You imagine yourself into being a writer’ by Marsha Alderson, AKA The Plot Whisperer.
I have this as a framed quotation on my desk.
Tell us three fun facts about yourself that other people may not know.
I grew up living behind a sweet shop that my parents owned and one birthday I was given a 3 kilo box of jelly babies
I wrote a fan letter to Enid Blyton and got a postcard back saying, ‘one day you might write a book’.
When I worked as a croupier, we were allowed twenty- minute breaks each hour as the work was so demanding.
Do you have a favourite illustrator of children’s books?
Ernest. H. Shepherd.
He illustrated the original Winnie The Pooh, and The House at Pooh Corner. I just find the animals so endearing.
What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you have received?
In my opinion ‘write what you know,’ is bad advice, as people take it so literally-’ Oh I’ve never been a sea captain or a captive princess,’ Maybe not, but do you feel the pull of adventure or feel trapped in a job you hate? Use it and build on that. Did J.K. Rowling attend a magical boarding school? Probably not, but she could certainly imagine one.
The best advice in my opinion is to write what you want to know. Write about what intrigues you, what excites you. Write something you’d like to read.
When I began to write Fire & Ice, I knew nothing about ice dancing beyond what I had seen on television. I researched it, consulted experts asked questions. I read extensively about Vikings and made sure that what I wrote fitted the known facts. I also created a Pinterest board called somewhat unimaginatively The Book That I Am Writing. I placed pictures of clothing , hairstyles, skating costumes, Chris Hemsworth and Lagatha from the TV show Vikings.
What is your favourite song by a female singer, and why?
Brave by Sara Bareilles I think the words are highly appropriate for a writer – we need to be brave and let our words out into the world.
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
While I was writing I created a playlist for Fire &Ice
Somewhere in Time, by John Barry.
Whispers in a Dream, by Hayley Weitenrn
From My first Moment, by Charlotte Church
Lonely Swan, by Secret Garden
Fire & Ice, by Pat Benatar
Fire & Ice, by Within Temptation
Fire & Ice, by Andrew Swift
Find out more about Sonia at her website.
Find out more about Sonia’s upcoming book at Daisy Lane Publishing.
The book launch is on Saturday February 16th2-3pm at Armadale Library, Armadale WA.
It’s a free event with refreshments, and book sales and signings.