Member Interview with Sonny
Sonny joined TheNextBigWriter on October 20, 2005. Since then, he has posted 4 novels, 7 poems, and 15 short stories. His terrorism inspired, action adventure novel Project 235 is currently the #2 novel according to the TheNextBigWriter All-Time rankings. Sonny also has the distinction of being ranked the #1 reviewer on the site.
Sonny is both a medical doctor (psychiatrist) and a translator and uses his expertise in language to craft his own writing as well as help others with their work. He resides for much of the year in beautiful Switzerland.
What motivated you to start writing?
Just before I turned four, my family moved from the Deep South to a suburb of Washington, D.C. My playmates and neighbors made good-natured fun of my accent. Wondering why they 'talked so funny' and yet smiled at my speech – obviously, the only correct way to talk -- started a lifelong fascination with variations in language.
By the time I was a teenager, I had a burning desire to learn every language in the world and had begun working on a couple.
In medical school, I earned my living as a translator.
One day, while I surveyed a mountain of case histories and expertises I had written as a practicing psychiatrist, it dawned on me that I had composed the equivalent of a dozen or so novels and that writing fiction might be as enjoyable as marshalling facts.
How has your background as a translator impacted your writing?
It made me aware that there are infinite ways to say the same thing; reading good literature made me aware that good writers have a knack for choosing the best one.
Where do your story and novel ideas come from?
Some of what I write is 'creative nonfiction' based on personal experiences, but everything I write owes much to favorite authors.
What book are you reading now?
Ravel by Jean Echenoz. I read or reread something by P. G. Wodehouse nearly every day. Currently, I'm also perusing An Outline of the Bible, Book by Book by Benson Y. Landis. Did you know Barak was a general who defeated the Canaanites?
What's the status of your novels? Are you seeking publication and if so how has that been going?
One novel is complete but not yet ready for prime time. Good advice will help me beat it into shape and submit it for publication. Two others are 'works in progress'. Query letters have drawn no nibbles.
As the #1 reviewer on the site, how do you decide what you read and review on TheNextBigWriter?
I review because I think I can make useful suggestions; because I enjoy reading what the author has posted or simply because I like the author personally. I do not review on the basis of reciprocity even though I think reciprocity is a sound reason for reviewing.
There are lots of outstanding reviewers on this site and each has something special to offer. Rating top reviewers may have as much to do with quantity as with quality.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Yes. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment to think how much I've learned on this site both from reviewing the work of others and from fellow writers' suggestions for improving my writing. Even more gratifying is the knowledge that the more I learn, the more remains to be learned.
Writers who haven't benefited from this site are ones who haven't yet discovered it.
To learn more about Sonny and his writing, visit his profile on TheNextBigWriter.