Check out this author spotlight for Sonia Marta!
You can find all her links furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out her books!
1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!
Hi there! My name is Sonia and I am one of the youngest authors in Romania, with three books published at just 13 years old. My first book was published 3 years ago, back when I was 10 – on the 1st of June 2018 (for children’s day). A book which I started writing a decade ago if you can believe it when I was 3 (along with my mother), ended up being the key to unlocking the achievement of inspiring more than 1,500 aspiring authors in kindergartens, schools, and, more recently in universities.
My first book in English, The Rapping Astronaut, was published last year, during the pandemic to be honest! So I am very grateful to my publishing house for supporting me as I embarked on this journey! And, my latest release: Bucharest City Tour, a Trip with Sonia is a story about my hometown.
2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 (or more!) of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!
Winter, spring, summer or autumn?
Oh, definitely winter, because I love cold weather and snow, plus it’s the season with the Christmas spirit… plus it’s my birthday too!
Cats or dogs?
Dogs. I don’t really have a reason as to why, I just always was a dog person.
Tea or coffee?
Tea, but to be honest I am somewhere in between because sometimes you just need coffee as a booster in one of those days. I love tea because it comes in all types of flavors and you can drink it at any time of the day, whether it’s iced or not.
Morning or evening?
I can’t decide because I love both for their own reasons. I would say morning, though I do feel like I am more of a night-walker, haha. I simply love the morning because you wake up knowing you have a fresh day, and you’re prepared to take on the day feeling good. But then I love the sunset and I am more inspired towards the second half of the day.
Library or museums?
Library. Every time I go on a trip with my family, I absolutely detest museums. At least some, not all, but I love being surrounded by the latest titles and authors I haven’t heard of before.
Hunter or gatherer?
Hunter! I absolutely love new opportunities, new locations, and meeting new people. I enjoy getting to know other techniques from other points of view.
Mountains or beaches?
This is another tough one because it all depends on the season and weather. If it were to choose one if it were to live there, it would be mountains, as there’s nothing compared to the fresh air and amazing nature. As a holiday, however, I would definitely pick beaches as the sound of waves and sunbathing is very unique; the amazing time when you’re skating on the seafront, with the smell of sand and salty water.
Pen and paper or computer/phone?
I’d definitely go with the electronics, since (well for starters) they don’t kill your arms! And there’s nothing like losing your work, or your dog eating it, haha! Plus, I feel like I can get much more work done when I type rather than when I write.
Standalone or series?
Standalones overall usually have a much stronger plot, whilst trilogies are less intense than the thriller you would read if it was a lone wolf.
Book or ebook?
There is nothing compared to the smell of the ink on the pages of a book, or nothing more annoying than creasing the spine, haha! So I would pick book over the electronic version.
Hero or anti-hero?
Heroes, as everyone loves a good ‘almost died’ scene, especially watching your main character go through all the adventures.
3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?
Thriller books will always catch my attention. Action/adventure books will always hook me into wanting to read the blurb, finding out more about it. I love books that whenever you turn the page another branch of the adventure unveils, making it unputdownable.
Sometimes I like to just wander in a bookshop and discover which book will pick me. I like to spend even 2 hours looking at various book covers from time to time, reading the blurbs, without being specific about what book I want to buy.
And on the other side, I have some authors I love, and I succeeded in having their full collection like David Walliams, Roal Dahl, Lucia Muntean
4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!
Alright! At the moment, I am working on several projects which we hope to publish in the next few years. I am very glad that my latest book was self published as this gives me more freedom, meaning that I can donate books. This means that I can still continue my partnership with WorldVision Romania, where l can do so (donating books) every month to a school in the country along with an author session with the children. For a lot of them, this is their first book in English, and for some it might even be their first author session! I think this is very rewarding, and I hope to inspire them to fulfill their dreams, as a saying of mine is that age is not important, your voice can still be heard whether you are 10 years old or 100 years old.
I also write for our school’s magazine, The International Voice, working as well on 3 other editorial projects. For one of the projects, I am planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign soon, something which is entirely new to me and my team, but we still want to do everything professionally to impress this community of great people supporting creative projects. You can say that this is my top priority at the moment.
And of course I work a little bit to create content for my social media accounts every afternoon when I come home from school, which is very important for me and the community I gather around me and around my stories. I cherish every review, every comment, every message! My readers are the world to me, and literally they come from every corner of the world, from the USA to Australia and from China to Trinidad and Tobago, from Ireland to Tokyo.
5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!
My latest release is actually Bucharest City Tour, a Trip with Sonia, but I’ll have to mention the one before, as they were almost printed in the same month! Read on!
The Rapping Astronaut is a story filled with entertainment, action and friendship. Follow Austro throughout his journey, from being kicked off his own planet to a place where he sings, has many friends and where he falls in love with the opportunity to make a change. This is a book for children aged 5-11 years and it was launched in April 2020.
Bucharest City Tour, a Trip with Sonia, is where you can follow the journey of three friends going on a school trip with a Bucharest City Tour Bus, discovering many monuments along the way, learning facts and figures about some of the wonderful landmarks Bucharest has to offer. This is a book for 5-11 year olds as well, and jf was launched in June 2020, right on the very first day.
Both books are available in Romania as the physical copy and on Emag.ro, the largest online retailer from our country. I am happy that Bucharest City Tour, a Trip is also available in one of the most beautiful bookshops in Romania, Carturesti Carusel. This place is also featured in my book being one of the landmarks in the city loved by families and book lovers.
And now for the international readers, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! The Rapping Astronaut is available on Amazon as an ebook, free with the Kindle Unlimited Subscription and the Audiobook is available on Audible, narrated by Shane G Casey.
Bucharest City Tour a Trip with Sonia is available as an ebook on Google Play Books.
6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!
My first book was inspired by everyday activities like playing the piano, reading, painting, going to kindergarten, by animals I like such as squirrels, bears, horses, or by the beauty of every season, and of course by the Romanian poets like George Topîrceanu or Lucia Munteanu. My mother used to read to me every night and I memorized many of their poems; they actually played a big part in why I loved poetry, so I came up with the idea to write about these activities, which after 3 years became a sort of my journal through rhymes with more than 300 poems.
My second book, “The Rapping Astronaut” was inspired by a movie followed by a dream.
My third book, “Bucharest City Tour, a Trip with Sonia” was inspired rather by a disappointment. I wanted to offer someone a children book about Bucharest, and as I found none on this topic, I decided to write it. I had books in my library about cities like London, New York, Madrid, Rome, Moscow, Paris, but none were about Bucharest. You could have found only books with photos, nothing for children. Also, being in an international school I got many questions regarding which places to visit in Bucharest, from new families in town. I thought that it is a great initiative, I proposed it when candidating for Student Council in Year 5 and a couple years later it is on bookshops shelves 😊
But in general, I get inspired by the environment around me, and the more new places I go to, the more inspiration I have – I absolutely adore taking my laptop to restaurants and taking a sip of water, writing a paragraph, then a bite of food, and back to writing, and repeating that.
INSPIRATION IS EVERYWHERE AROUND US
“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.” – Dennis P. Kimbro
7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!
I typically write in the afternoon , usually just before the sunset in winter, which is around about five pm, and that’s because I feel like when it’s night time my imagination is stronger, and I feel more productive; that may also be because I am not much of a morning person.
I feel like at night every sound is emphasized, like a crow cawing, for example, and this is inspirational for me. The house is silent, the street, but my thoughts are rushing through my brain and my veins to be spitted out on the paper. It’s kind of magic when this happens.
When I am writing during the holiday, my preferred time of the year, my work schedule is basically to wake up, get dressed, go to my mother’s office and start writing the whole day from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. I love it because I can immerse myself in the story and work all day in an environment where everybody else work.
8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to becoming an author, what would it be?
Well, if I would have known how hard it was to publish a book from the beginning, I suppose I wouldn’t have stressed so much (and by that I mean 4 years – the amount it took us to figure out what steps we had to ‘tick off the list’ in order to publish my book) about getting rejected from publishing and printing houses when they said they couldn’t print our book, or it wasn’t fitting in their line of published titles. So if it’s anything that I have learned, it’s that the first book will always be the hardest if you’ve got no clue about this field, and for absolutely every book you want to get into the hands of somebody else, out of all those query emails you send, 90% or more will reject it. But that isn’t always because it’s not fantastic – some publishing houses reject it because it doesn’t fit in with their category of topics. So never, ever, ever give up! It’s a rocky start, but once you get to know it better, you’ll see how easy and smooth it turns out to be!
9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!
(Amazon author page, Goodreads page, Bookbub, Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, website, mailing list sign-up, etc)
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/SoniaMartaAuthor
Facebook book page: https://www.facebook.com/TheRappingAstronaut
Instagram author page: https://www.instagram.com/sonia_marta_author/
Instagram book page: https://www.instagram.com/the_rapping_astronaut/
Spotify Storywise Podcast: https://open.spotify.com/show/6ZbofTpujdJO2wDT1VJ0UL?si=5nd4mL7QRrakYNpd791Kfw