Last but not least, may I introduce my official #PitchWars First Pick, Sonia Hartl! Her NA Contemporary Suspense GASLIGHTS IN VAUDEVILLE had me from the title and I am completely and totally in love with this world Sonia is building! I've been having a blast helping my team get their manuscripts nice and shiny for the agent round next month. Here's a little about my first round draft pick and her gorgeous book baby!
Tell us a little about your writer's journey so far:
I started writing quirky little tales about penguins and monsters when I was young. The escapism of stories always appealed to me. While other kids were gluing together macaroni necklaces, I was creating worlds inside my head. As I aged, my writing turned to dark, angsty poetry about my adolescent experience. One of those poems won a contest. They sent me a plaque. I think my mom has it in a box somewhere.
I started out majoring in Creative Writing in college, but life took some interesting turns, and I ended up with a BS in Psychology after a few years of being a stay at home mom. I moved to a new city with my husband and our daughter where I had no phone during the day, no car, and no internet. I turned to writing as a way to fill the void, typing up chapters between late-night feedings and walking the floor with my newborn. My first manuscript was terrible, but I’m proud of it because it signified the start and completion of something new. It showed me that I was capable of writing a full-length novel. After I trunked my first effort, I took a few years to write flash fiction and short stories, to really learn the art of saying more by saying less.
Okay, let's hear your Twitter Pitch! (140 characters or less.)
19yo Tess wants out of her father’s skeezy vaudeville outfit, but a sexy escape artist & a vengeful stalker have other plans in mind.NASusp
What inspired you to write this book? How is it a book only you could write?
Growing up, both of my parents moved around a lot. It was rare for me to spend more than a year at the same school. I was always the new kid, and being painfully shy, it was difficult for me to make friends. I can relate to Tess’s need for stability and normalcy in a world that is always moving. That deep down in the gut desire to plant roots and be more than just a passing face in the crowd is what inspired me to write her story.
What's your favorite thing about writing?
Creating characters who start out as shimmery little tingles in the back of my brain and develop into vivid entities I can’t get out of my mind. I love bringing a character to life through action and dialogue until they’re breathing off the page.
What's your least favorite thing?
Those days where I think everything I write is crap. Self-doubt is strongest during the first drafting phase, where I’m usually pantsing everything and trying to figure out how to begin ironing out the kinks.
Now it's time to brag a little--What do you love most about your book?
I’m in love with the world I’ve created. It’s equal parts dark and whimsical, and so damn sexy.
Okay, now a little about you. (And yes, I stole these questions from In the Actor's Studio with James Lipton.)
What is your favorite word?
Clandestine. That word is not used often enough in this century for my liking.
What is your least favorite word?
Twerking. Seriously, WTF is that?
What turns you on?
Hot summer nights, drinking cold beer on my back porch with my man and contemplating the universe.
What turns you off?
Black socks with sandals. Any socks really, but black socks are particularly heinous.
What sound or noise do you love?
The words my two-year-old mispronounces. When I ask her what she wants for lunch she says a swamwich, and when I ask her where her sister is, she says he’s in his room.
What sound or noise do you hate?
Styrofoam rubbing together.
What profession, other than your own, would you most like to attempt?
I’d like to own a flower shop in a touristy beach town. I delivered flowers for a few months before I started college, and I still maintain that it was the best job I ever had.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear G-d say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Grab a beer and get comfortable, Jim Morrison is waiting to rub your back.
Finally, what's the one question you've always wanted to answer in an interview? (And of course, you have to answer it!)
If your life had a soundtrack, what would it be?
Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. Sums it all up perfectly.
About the Author:
Sonia Hartl lives in Michigan with her husband and two daughters. She’s a member of SCBWI and her work has appeared in several publications including The Writers Post Journal, Boston Literary Magazine, and the anthology Bearing North.
When she isn’t writing or snuggling with her family, she can be found trying out new restaurants or singing bad karaoke.