Where Writers And Authors Meet Interviews:
Sophia DeLuna was our Featured Spotlight author last week and visitors were encouraged to ask Sophia some of their own questions! Here is a link to that Spotlight! Feel free to ask more questions, and we might just be able to get Sophia back for a follow up interview!
Questions from ReadingAlcove:
1. Does your photography inspire your writing, or do you go looking for art that expresses the story?
Usually, I write the story first and then go look through my photos to find something suitable for the cover, or I paint the cover, or I specifically take a photo as in ‘Fénya and Elynor’.
However, my short fairy tale ‘The Witch and the Fiddler’ was inspired by the photo which is included at the end of the story (and which I used as a reference for the cover painting). But I think that was the first time that a photo of mine inspired my writing.
2. I have one of your stories sitting in my Kindle for reading, what inspires your topics and what do you feel is the main theme of your work?
Thank you for being interested in my stories. I hope you’ll enjoy the story. 🙂
What inspires my topics … hm … there were many different experiences that have inspired my topics so far.
Many of my stories deal with people who are having problems with the system or with other people in one way or another. They are outsiders, outcasts, hermits, homeless or just loners.
The reason for this is that I disapprove of the current system, so this is a recurring theme in many of my stories. It is the main reason that caused me to start writing my first novel in English (Hidden Secrets). I wanted to create a world in which I would love to live … e.g. no currency (a money-free democratic system); a high technological world that is still completely different from what one usually sees in science fiction (far more natural and bright and beautiful); a world where people respect nature, the animals and each other; a healer/healing system in which caring is the most important thing coupled with spirituality; and since I don’t like cold climates, it’s also a warmer planet with only a small colder northern continent; well, and since I’m a Star Trek Voyager fan, it is also influenced by that.
My being autistic (Asperger’s) and dealing with clinical depression also influences some of my characters. The writing has actually helped me a lot in dealing with the depression.
However, several of the topics for my stories have nothing to do with any of the above but were simply triggered by my imagination.
The topics for my children stories are inspired by my friend’s two children – her daughter loves unicorns and fairies and her son loves dragons and dinosaurs, and I happen to love all those myself 🙂 However, I haven’t published all of the stories I wrote for them, yet, as I usually write them as birthday or Christmas presents. Maybe I’ll publish them all someday.
Well, and The Little Owl stories (1 story in 3 languages) was inspired by my learning Hungarian … After a day on which I had been studying Hungarian for many hours, I was lying in bed and suddenly the Hungarian title sprang to my mind out of nowhere … well, and since I’ve been having difficulty finding short and easy to read stories in Hungarian/German or Hungarian/English that I also like, I thought, “What the heck – I’ll write my own story!” and I ‘wrote’ the whole story in German in my head before I fell asleep 😀
Translating it into English was easy (though far more difficult than writing in English to begin with) but translating it into Hungarian was a bitch. My knowledge of Hungarian is still rather rudimentary, and it took me over 20 hours to ‘translate’ this ‘easy’ one-page story. And even though my editor (who is Australian-Hungarian) agreed to correct the story for publication, she said to me before she sent me the corrected version: “Promise me that you’ll never – never! – do this again!” LOL And in the end an awesome friend, who is a professional translator for Hungarian, was so kind to professionally edit the story so it was fit for publication. 🙂
So, considering how much work this idea of mine created for me and for others, I certainly won’t do this again till my Hungarian is a LOT better, that’s for sure! 😀
Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun as well, and with all the nice feedback I got for it, I might write more of such stories someday – perhaps only in German/English at first 😉
3. Since I am only fluent in one language, and have been briefly introduced to a few others, I often wonder how a multilingual person writes. Do you think about your book in your native tongue and then translate (you obviously have a well develop command of the English language) or do you develop a story in a different language for a different point of view or for the exercise?
The first novel I started to write in English was ‘Hidden Secrets’. Writing this novel was a very steep learning curve for me with regards to writing as well as language wise.
Since then I’ve only been thinking and writing my stories in English, except for the Little Owl, which I started in German and then translated into English and Hungarian.
Nevertheless, to me, translating from/into English is FAR more difficult than thinking/writing in English to begin with.
More about my experiences with the English language in the response to the Internet question further down.
Questions from Peter Filmer
What gives you satisfaction as a writer?
Writing stories in itself gives me satisfaction, especially when I get into a ‘flow’ and see a scene developing while I’m writing, without having specifically thought about it before.
Finishing and publishing a story gives me satisfaction of a different sort.
Knowing that people are reading my stories makes me feel great as well.
But getting positive feedback from readers is probably the sweetest form of satisfaction 🙂
Are you satisfied with your work so far?
Yes and no. 🙂
Seeing my free stories being downloaded by over a thousand people, and having received
positive feedback, even from people I didn’t know before, makes me think that I must be doing something right, so I suppose I can be satisfied with what I’ve written so far.
However, I am continuously learning, and I hope that this will show in later stories. 🙂
(And I’m definitely not satisfied with the number of sales yet.)
Has the Internet helped in the progress of your writing? If so, in what way?
The internet has been absolutely crucial to me! – From my first tentative research to the publishing.
The internet helped me to perfect my English and it was through the internet that I found a lot of wonderful friends who helped me on the way.
As to in what way the internet has helped me … perhaps as an example I can tell of the way I got to writing in English:
I love the English language; I had a passion for it since primary school. I had a great English teacher and I participated in her voluntary English theatre group as well. I also had quite a few pen friends from different countries with whom I wrote in English. However, it’s only been since about 2005 that I’ve started to seriously and continuously extend my vocabulary to a point that I could fluently read, write and talk in English. The motivation for this came from me discovering a Xena fanfiction series in German online. I loved the series, but not all episodes were yet translated into German, so once I had finished the last German episode, I took my fat dictionaries and started reading the English episodes. At first I had to look up words in almost every sentence … eventually it was only a word per paragraph and by the time I finally discovered online dictionaries, it was only a few words per story. Then I discovered Star Trek Voyager fanfiction, and it was back to looking up words in the dictionary in almost every paragraph … if you know a language, it’s not so obvious, but the vocabulary used in one series can be very different from that used in another series!
Through an author of Voyager fanfiction I got introduced to a Voyager fanfiction board. At first I was content being a lurker, just happily reading through all the posts (with the help of my online dictionaries). But eventually I dared to contribute the odd post here and there, and in turn I found friends. The next challenge was instant messaging … it’s one thing to be able to write a letter or a post on a forum where you have time and can easily use a dictionary, however if you have to understand and respond instantly, that’s quite another thing, and when we started chatting with cameras it was yet another challenge for me as speaking requires even quicker access of content stored in the grey matter. Luckily I had an awesome and very patient friend 🙂 I learned a lot from her, especially with regards to colloquial speech and how to properly curse in American English. 😛 😀 (And later, my dear friend and editor had a hard time getting all the slang out of my speech – or at least most of it – and toning it down in my writing. LOL I have since set my Word language to Australian English.)
Now, generally, throughout the day I use more English than German. I do almost everything in English, I even often dream in English.
Last year, for the first time of my life, I got the chance to visit an English speaking country when I visited my friend and editor in Australia. 🙂
What age did you decide you wanted to be an author?
I’ve always been an avid reader and I’ve been making up stories from childhood (just in my head, mainly).
The first time I thought about becoming an author was in the late 90s. I did a writing course (in German) back then … but then life got in the way.
The actual decision of wanting to be an author I only made a few years ago, so I was about 40 or 41, after several people had praised me for my writing and my editor encouraged me to try publishing my stories.
Who inspired you?
Do you mean authors who inspired me? Then I’d say Marion Zimmer-Bradley (the Darkover series) and Fletcher DeLancey (The Chronicles of Alsea) were the authors who inspired me the most with regards to starting to write my first novel (Hidden Secrets). And there are certainly many other authors who inspired me to some degree.
On a personal level there were countless people who inspired me in one way or another.
Questions by P. Crawford
If you had to choose one medium over the other, which would you prefer; your writing or your photography, and why?
The writing. Although, I do hope that I will never have to choose 😉
Having read several of your stories, I noticed that you don’t venture into sex scenes. Any particular reason?
Well, there are some ‘hotter’ scenes in Hidden Secrets … but if you mean graphic sex scenes, as in erotica, there are several reasons as to why I’m not venturing into that:
1. I’m not comfortable with writing graphic sex scenes.
2. I don’t like reading erotica (at least not anymore)
3. If I’d like reading erotica, and if I were comfortable writing graphic sex scenes, I would still feel awkward if I sent such a manuscript to an editor and in consequence having it dissected, and having to discuss it, and – omg – having to read it aloud – and thus I would refrain from writing such anyway.
4. I’m certainly not a prude, but it is one thing to have a satisfying sex life with a partner and talk about it with her – however, writing about it for the public and having it analysed and judged – no thank you!
One of my favorite genres is historical fiction. Is that something you see yourself ever venturing into?
Yes and no. I don’t think I’ll ever venture into serious historical fiction. However, I have
planned a mystery series and a ‘fantasy’ trilogy that might be considered historical fantasy or alternate historical fantasy (if there is such a thing). The series plays in medieval Germany; however, I’m not intending to portray everything exactly as is considered historical fact. And of the trilogy, the first one is set before the land-taking of the Magyars, the second around the time of St. Stephen, (the third, will probably be contemporary), but in neither one will I stay true to what is considered historical facts, and in all three there will be elements of fantasy.
You’ve written several genres. Which is your favourite and why?
Fantasy, because there’s more freedom in writing in this genre. I can allow my imagination to run rampant and I can make up things that don’t happen or don’t exist in this world; I can even create whole worlds that I would like to live in. It’s also a wonderful way to convey concepts which would be difficult to express in a realistic world.
I also like that I can write fantasy in the lesbian genre as well as in the children’s genre, which I both love to write as well.
I’m also an avid reader of fantasy fiction.
However, I do like reading a wide variety of literature, and I find that writing in different genres and for different age groups allows me to explore ideas more broadly and it gives me a wider scope as an author. I don’t think I will ever settle for just one genre.