Sonya Clark – Mojo Queen

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Mojo Queen is a sexy dark urban fantasy. Main character Roxie Mathis is a paranormal investigator and hoodoo root worker who can see auras and spectral energy. She uses her auric vision and skill with folk magic to help people with supernatural problems. She’s helped in her work by her best friend and vampire ancestor Daniel Rambin. Normally she deals with ghosts and the like but in Mojo Queen she’s hired to help a group of college students who got in over their heads playing with dark magic. Led by a sexy sorcerer named Blake Harvill, the group conducted a ritual to help a demon possess one of their number. Now the demon is killing the students one by one and Roxie is throwing everything she’s got into stopping it. Her biggest obstacle – her growing attraction to sexy dangerous Blake.

Tell us something about yourself.

I grew up an Army brat so you could say I’m either from everywhere or nowhere. Now I live in Tennessee with my husband and our Yorkie, Jack. I’ve been writing most of my life but its only been in the last four years that I’ve made a serious effort to learn to write novels and try to get published. Mojo Queen is my second published work.

What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to write an urban fantasy heroine that was just a little different. No leather pants, no tattoos, no guns. I wanted Roxie to be a strong woman but since there are so many “kick-a**” heroines out there, I wanted her kind of strength to be a little different. She’s much more likely to use magic against a bad guy than a roundhouse kick.

How did you choose the title?

Music is a big influence in my writing and for this book I wound up taking inspiration from a lot of blues and soul. Mojo Queen is the title of an old R&B number by Ike and Tina Turner and it really seemed to fit Roxie, so I thought it would make a great title.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

When I first started writing this book it was very different and it seemed too bland and ordinary. The writing was stalled for several months until my editor helped me figure out a new way to look at things. That’s when Roxie became a hoodoo root worker and folk magic practitioner. Changing how Roxie approached magic completely changed the tone of the book. It would not have been finished otherwise, and certainly not published, if I hadn’t done that.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I’ve always been a storyteller, even when I was a young child. I wrote short stories, even some poems, when I was in school. Until a few years ago I was very directionless about it though. When I decided to get serious about pursuing publication, I had to start learning how to actually structure a story and do all those things that make people want to read your work. I’m still learning – it’s a neverending process.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Not really but I do have a pencil that I pick up and play with when I’ve stopped to think and figure something out. I’ll twirl it around or tap it on my desk while I work out the details of a scene.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

I use a baby name site a lot for first names. I’ve also used a few family surnames, relatives from a hundred or more years ago that my mother learned about during her genealogy research. Sometimes I will look for a name with a certain meaning but mostly I want the feel of the name to suit the character.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

I learned that publishing is a slow process and you just have to relax and go with it. It was about a year from contract to publication, which felt like forever, but I know that’s really not that bad of a time lag.

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

I think the only thing I would consider doing differently is writing the book in third person instead of first. Sometimes I wish I had the freedom to write from another character’s point of view and you can’t do that with a first person book.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

My favorite books to read always have a mix of adventure/action/suspense with a healthy dollop of romance. Some of my favorite authors write exactly that – Richelle Mead, Nalini Singh, Jim Butcher, Moira Rogers.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

Right now I’m working on the follow-up to Mojo Queen, tentatively titled Red House. Or maybe High Water Everywhere – it’s too soon for me to be sure about a title.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

The best advice is a quote from Stephen King: “read a lot and write a lot.” There’s really no shortcut. If you’re not reading a lot you’re not going to develop a strong enough feel for language and narrative structure to be able to write something that will be publishable. And you have to write – a lot. You’re going to write a lot of bad stuff but you have to accept it as practice and keep on writing so you get better.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

I think anyone who enjoys paranormals with a strong female main character, a little bit of romance, a dash of Southern gothic, and a fair amount of humor would enjoy Mojo Queen.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

Readers can learn more about me and Mojo Queen at www.sonyaclark.net.

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