Interview with author My Soul To Keep, Jackie Sonnenberg!

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Denise Alicea

This blog was created by Denise in September 2008 to blog about writing, book reviews, and technology. Slowly, but surely this blog expanded to what it has become now, a central for book reviews of all kinds interviews, contests, and of course promotional venue for authors, etc


Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself! 

I am from Chicago but currently live in Orlando, Florida! I work at an attraction started by my friends and I that combines laser tag with a haunted house. We have a background in the haunted house industry and are now working year-round and full-time! We started it up in the Wisconsin Dells and are now in Orlando. I am an actor in the attraction and write for the company website.

Because of the love of Halloween, I have a big love for costuming. I love to cosplay and make my own costumes for events and conventions. I plan on creating costumes of characters from my books that I hope to bring to life to conventions once they’re ready!

With my writing background, I started in journalism…as early as high school having a feature in the local paper. I published short stories online on a teen website and eventually moved on to writing for the major newspapers in Chicago. I published 3 reference books on requested topics like business and pet care before finally moving on to the fun stuff: Fiction!

FB_IMG_1468255908144Tell us about your book? How did it get started? 

MY SOUL TO KEEP was originally a standalone book; it went through its own drafts. It originally took place on a college campus and had a different feel. It was while I was doing brainstorming for my series, Yresrun Semyhr, that I could connect it and include it in the collection. I made the characters younger and incorporated the Nursery Rhyme with a subtle but workable tie-in that ultimately told the story I wanted to tell and made it the best version that it could be.

My series Yresrun Semyhr is taking all the classic Nursery Rhymes and giving them a horror retelling. MY SOUL TO KEEP is based on the Lord’s prayer: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the lord my soul to keep. And if I die before I wake, I pray the lord my soul to take.”

Currently working on two more books from two beloved rhymes that aren’t so beloved this time around, and have more plot summaries for the others!

What inspires and what got you started in writing? 

I think writing chose me. I was always an avid reader. I can say books were my number one love! I was reading before preschool and I remember one time I read a book and looked at the author’s name, and really tried to think about this person and who they were and why they wrote such a simple kids’ book that really didn’t have a story to it at all. It was just pictures with sentences describing the pictures. I remember thinking that the author was a grownup and grownups could do whatever they wanted, and this one chose to just write “Teddy Bear is at the park.” It seemed so simple and little arrogant me thought that I could do better than that!

Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?) 

Go-to place is usually the laptop at my desk! It’s where I keep most of my messed-up notes. When I’m on the go I have a tablet that I play with an just email to myself whatever I finish…if I get very far.

How do you get your ideas for writing? 

This is a funny question, because I honestly never know how to answer. It’s like what Neil Gaiman says in Trigger Warning that certain ideas, thoughts, experiences and exposures will trigger a thought and then your mind takes off from there. They always come out of nowhere as well. I sat at my computer staring at a blank document for a while, spacing out and not doing anything. I got up to go to the bathroom and the second I flicked on the light switch I got an idea that flew my butt back to my chair and I wrote 2 pages.

What do you like to read? 

I love horror and books that creep me out and mess with my mind. I love books that make you think and get under your skin…because they stay there and you never stop thinking about them. I am a fan of Neil Gaiman, Brom, Stephen King and Gillian Flynn among others for these reasons. I usually can figure out a book’s plot and resolution before I’m done with it, but if the book throws me a curveball that goes in a completely different direction I didn’t see coming and it all makes sense, then I am blown away. Good job author!!

What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing? 

A lot of authors say the same things: Keep writing, never give up, etc. A lot also say write what you know. I say write what you love. Write a book that you would have liked to read. If you find yourself browsing the bookshelves and you can’t put your finger on it, but you can’t quite find what you’re looking for because it isn’t there, then there’s your answer. Write that!

Anything else you’d like to share?

Here is my book and author info!

FB_IMG_1468255908144Title: MY SOUL TO KEEP

Genre: YA Horror ( as part of a collection/series)

Synopsis: When 13-year-old Sky  Monroe goes to a new boarding school for a fresh start, all she can still think about is the recent death in her family. All she obsesses over is the afterlife… and once she meets the campus spirituality group she thinks they have all the answers. She soon learns they have their own paranormal connections…and these spirits might not be so nice. Sky gets sucked into a cult before she knows it and must keep her head on straight to save her own life…and the lives of others. The afterlife might be closer to her than she thinks…

MY SOUL TO KEEP is part of the YRESRUN SEMYHR book collection giving Nursery Rhymes a Horror makeover. It is the first book in this collection, based on the Lord’s prayer.

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1 comment

MY SOUL TO KEEP – 08/14/2016 - 9:16 am

[…] a recent interview, author Jackie Sonnenberg lets us in on how she came up with this […]


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