Monday’s Friend: Sonya Clark

Today I am interviewing once more the uber-talented Sonya Clark, following the release of her latest novel TRANCEHACK.  Welcome, Sonya!

SJT:  TRANCEHACK is a bit more sci-fi and romance than your previous works have been.  What was the inspiration behind it?

SC:  For starters, I wanted to do something different. I’ve always been as big a fan of sci-fi as I am of paranormal, but I’d never gotten close to writing it before. I had the idea to blend cyberpunk and magic, which is there the book’s title comes from. Trancehacking refers to the particular magical skill in the book of using astral projection to enter cyberspace. I drew inspiration from Neuromancer by William Gibson, and also the classic sci-fi noir film Blade Runner. I wanted to blend magic and technology in a futuristic noirish dystopia.

I also wanted the Magic Born trilogy to be more romance-oriented than the urban fantasy I’d written before. I love reading romance, and loved writing the romantic elements in my urban fantasy. It wasn’t a stretch to put the romance on an equal footing with the rest of the plot.

SJT:  Do you have any little rituals that are part of your writing routine?

SC:  The closest thing I have to a writing ritual is putting together a playlist for the world and characters. Music is my way into a story. Once I know what a story “sounds” like, I can start writing. Figuring out what a story set in the future sounded like was a bit daunting at first, but I found music that worked for me. I listened to a lot of Depeche Mode and a lot of house music while writing this.

SJT:  If you were going away for a year and could only take one book, what would it be?

SC:  This question makes me all panicky. Can I take my Kindle instead? 🙂 I have no idea. Some of my favourite books are part of a series, so if I could only take one series, I might choose The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. I’d due for a re-read of that one, anyway.

SJT:  All your books feature magic in some form.  What do you think attracts you to writing about magic?

SC:  I find it inspiring. There’s a possibility for endless creativity there, and so much to explore. As much as I know, I could not name *all* of the magical systems practiced in the world. In writing about magic, you’re never going to run out of things to learn and explore.

SJT:  When you set up the magical rules of your world, do you draw from the magic of myths and legend, or do you set up your own system, with your own rules?

SC:  Usually I start with established rules, then make my own to suit the story and my own curiosity. That’s where the combination of magic and technology in the Magic Born series came from. I wanted to explore these ideas and possibilities. For this I didn’t really do any research. I just sat down and made a list of things in city life that might correspond with the traditional magical elements. For example: Fire = neon and streetlight. Earth = concrete and steel. Air = cyberspace and computers. Water = music and crowds. Then I just went from there and figured out how to develop spells and things as needed.

SJT:  Because I know you’re as big a Buffy fan as I am, and that you are re-watching the series, I have to ask this question.  How would you explain Buffy to those people who have never seen it and say, “isn’t it like Twilight?  Girl in love with vampire?” (let’s assume we can’t hit them over the head…)

SC:  Are you sure we can’t hit them over the head?

SJT:  Let’s pretend we can’t!

SC:  Ha ha. I would start by saying, Buffy is actually more like “vampire in love with a girl.” This is very much her story, she is the central character and the character with the most strength. She is the one pursued by her vampire lovers Angel and Spike. She is the one in both of those relationships with the power. I know it doesn’t always seem that way, but I’ve thought this for a while and now that I’m rewatching the series from the beginning, I still think this.

There are lots of other differences, too. Buffy never lets her romantic life rule her like Bella did. She still has her friends and family. Of course the biggest difference is that Buffy has purpose to her life. I could understand how the first couple of Twilight books could be found compelling, but the fact that Bella didn’t seem to want anything out of life, that she seemed directionless and purposeless without a boyfriend – at first blush I found that weird, and then the more I thought about it, I found it disturbing. Buffy always struggles for normalcy in her life, but she never shies away from her calling as a slayer, either. She knows that this is the greatest purpose in her life, for better or worse.

SJT:  It’s been a rather busy year for you.  What’s next for you, writing-wise?

SC:  The second Magic Born book is in edits right now and scheduled for release next summer, and I’ll soon be starting the last book in the trilogy. I’ve got some other irons in the fire, as well. Mostly my goal is to just keep telling stories. 🙂

TRANCEHACK BLURB

trancehackIt’s 2065. Those born with magic abilities live in government-run zones, without rights or freedoms. Fear of magic created this segregated world and fear keeps it intact.

A high-profile murder brings Detective Nathan Perez to Magic Born Zone 13. He’s had little experience with the Magic Born and isn’t sure what to expect during his first encounter with a witch, but he never thought he’d be so drawn to her.

Trancehacker Calla Vesper uses magic to break into computers and aid the Magic Born underground. She has no interest in helping a cop, even if he is smoking-hot, but money’s tight and Nate offers a tidy amount for help navigating the Zone. Calla’s determined to keep it all business, but sparks start flying before the investigation even gets started.

When Calla’s trancehacking and Nathan’s investigation uncover a conspiracy, Calla becomes a target. Nate can protect her by keeping her role a secret—but then who will protect Nate?

Available in digital format from Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online book retailers.

About Sonya Clark:

Sonya Clark grew up a military brat and now lives in Tennessee with her husband and daughter. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance with a heavy helping of magic and lots of music for inspiration. Learn more at http://www.sonyaclark.net. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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