Sophia tells us:
- Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?
I came up with the idea for Shea Lara in a DnD session. I’d never played before, I was there kind of by chance, and they handed me a character sheet and I just started writing about who I’d want to be in a fantasy world. I always loved pirates growing up, Pirates of the Caribbean was one of my favorites. The girl was a king, the guy was the damsel, and Jack was amazing. So I thought if I could be anyone I’d be a pirate. And Shea was born. I worked on the concept, evolved her into a story and Nereid was created soon after. I don’t know if my approach is unique, I tend to have a concept about a character and then I create a world around them.
- Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up?
I self-published. I’ve never worked with a publishing firm, I’ve never really wanted to. I knew that I wanted to get my story out there and I didn’t want to go the traditional route, waiting on someone else to do the work for me. I thought I’m capable, I’m passionate about this. I’m going to do this. So I did.
- Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?
Personally, I’ve never thought about it, if traditional publishing was to become an option for me in the future I don’t know if I would take it. I’ve done a lot as a self-publisher and it’s a lot of work but at the end of the day the reward is mine and the story is mine. I think if traditional publishing works for you, you should do it, but people should know it’s not the only route and it doesn’t validate your work. You validate your work by working hard and persevering.
- What do you read when you are ill in bed?
When I’m at home, sick, and I need something comforting I pull out my old Percy Jackson books. I loved the first series growing up and it’s just sentimental. The stories are familiar, the epics, the characters and I love anything to do with mythology.
- What is your favorite genre?
I’m a fantasy nerd. I write fantasy and I read it. I love historical fiction and high fantasy are my absolute favorites. I don’t tend to branch beyond that, I’ve tried but I’m not an everyday Brooklyn girl. I get too much reality in my own life. So any kind of book that features a mystical land or dystopian universe that expands imagination, it’s on my shelf.
- If you could recommend a living author – who would it be? A dead author?
The living author would have to be Aimee Carter. I’m such a fan of her Goddess Test series, she’s a fantastic writer. And dead, J.R.R. Tolkien. Huge fan of the hobbit growing up and I am a very detailed oriented writing so LOTR was a huge inspiration to me.
- In your opinion who is the funniest author now writing?
Rick Riordan cracks me up in any of his series, he has got humor down pact. And all of his characters are so wonderfully relatable and Percy’s inner dialogues are my own half the time.
- Have you ever tried to imitate another author’s style? And if so, why?
I took a lot of pointers from Tolkien, and other writers in the fantasy interwoven with mythologies. Tolkien’s descriptions were something I really loved and I wanted to create a cinematic feel to my story as if you could see it happening in your mind’s eye. Rick Riordan, Aimee Carter, L.J. Smith are all masters at creating a kind of mythology of their own incorporating the original aspects and making incredible folklore. I definitely drew inspiration from their models for the world of Nereid.
- What have you done with the things you wrote when in school?
I have all of them! I have all my childhood journals, my old fanfictions, my scripts for television shows, my “book” I wrote when I was 12 and they’re completely cringe-worthy but I love them and will keep them forever. I never know if maybe I’ll try and revive them again.
- Do you have any pets? I do!
- If so, what are they? Two Chihuahuas and a Cat.
- And what are they called? Ziggy, Zeppelin, and Bowie.
- Do they help you write? No, they’re complete distractions. But I usually make one of them sit on my lap at my desk anyway.
- What is the funniest thing they have done while you are writing? I remember one time Ziggy and Zeppelin my two Chihuahuas were begging for attention but I had to get this chapter done so I made them wait. But Bowie strolls into my office and sees his brothers trying to get my attention and how it’s not working and so he does what they cannot. He jumps onto my desk and lays himself across my keyboard much to his brother’s dissatisfaction. And I’m ashamed to say, he got the cuddles first.
- What, in your life, are you most proud of doing?
This book. It’s been a real reward. I worked so hard to get it out there. I am a college student, newly married, I don’t have the money to spend 2 grand on a professional editor and to keep sending out printed manuscripts to publishers. So I found an illustrator at my college for my book map and she did an amazing job, I had a good friend who’s an incredible English major and wants to be an editor, edit my book for free. And I do all the social media, marketing, I built my own website. I do it all. And occasionally there’s a review about a typo or spacing problem. And as soon as I get it, I fix it and republish. And I do this again and again because it’s worth it and because of my hard work I now can afford a professional editor who’s reviewing The Veiled Threat and my sequel right now. And those reviews about the stray typo are never about the story itself and that’s what matters. My story is out there, and being told, and loved and I am extremely proud.
- If you could be any fictional character, which would you be? And why?
Claire Fraser from the Outlander series. I am so sorry my dear husband, maybe I can take him with me. It would be really cool to travel through time, I’m a history major and Scotland in the eighteenth century is of particular interest to me. Plus Jamie Fraser, need I say more?
- If you could choose to live in another country/town – which would you choose? And why?
Edinburgh, Scotland. It’s my favorite place in the world, I’ve been four times and I’d love to live there permanently someday or even in the Scottish highlands. I think Scotland is the most beautiful place on earth. It’s rich with history and magic and lore. It’s an inspiration in itself.
- What would you take on a desert island to read if you could only take 3 books?
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien, and Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.
Sophia Menesini lives in Martinez, CA with her husband, and their two small Chihuahuas, Ziggy and Zeppelin. The Veiled Threat is her first novel and the first book in The Veiled Duchess Series. Sophia is an avid tea connoisseur and lover of Scotland with an unconventional memory for obscure Disney and Broadway song lyrics.
You can find my blog, updates, and other entertainment at my website: www.sophiamenesini.com. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19257386.Sophia_Menesini