Sunshine Somerville lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She graduated from Cornerstone University with a degree in English Literature and was awarded the 2004 English Award for Excellence, also self-publishing her first book that year. She has worked on “The Kota Series” since she was nine, basing the story on what she, her brother, and their two best friends played as children. Besides writing, her creative outlets include painting and making feature-length, spoof movies such as “Love Not Really” and “I Knew What You Did Last Summer, Then I Forgot, But Now I Remember Again.” She also enjoys spending time outdoors on her family’s hunting preserve and is a huge Arrested Development and Lost fan. She would like to point out that, yes, this is her real name.
What inspires you to write?
I’ve always loved stories. I love any story that is new and creative, anything that twists the Usual around and makes it interesting in some fresh way. So, other people’s good stories inspire me and push me to be as creative as possible.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m definitely not a “write X amount of lines every day” kind of writer. I write in spurts of creativity, and it usually lasts for a pretty intense week or so where I don’t sleep until like 3:00 a.m. That’s just how my creative juices, flow, I guess. I keep a notebook with me at all times to scribble down ideas. I don’t really outline, but I always have to know how I want a story to end before I can start writing. Then fleshing it out is the fun part.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
The main characters of my series are based on myself, my brother, and two of our best friends from when we were kids, so I’ve had these characters in my head for a long time. It’s very easy to find their voices and realize, “No, okay, you’d say THAT in THIS way.”
What advice would you give other writers?
There’s a lot of advice floating around out there from other writers who think they know what they’re doing. That doesn’t mean it will work for you; it doesn’t mean it HAS to work for you. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to write in my own way. Find your own writing bio-rhythms (not necessarily like mine at 3:00 a.m., if you’re lucky), and use whatever weird little systems and methods work for you. It’s a lot more freeing once you realize you don’t have to create like anyone else. If you DO like more solid advice, may sure that you at least like the writing of the person giving advice.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I originally wrote “The Kota Series” a decade ago, and I did go through a self-publishing company. This last year as I’ve started rewriting and updating my series, I at first went with them again because I found eBook formatting intimidating and didn’t want to deal with it. After the first eBook released, though, I realized that I COULD do it myself. I would suggest, if you’re computer savvy, to hold onto as much control of your work as possible.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think it’s going to be interesting to see how traditional publishers change in light of how quickly and efficiently self-publishing is developing. I have a friend who works at a traditional publishing house, so it’s interesting to talk about the things she’s seen change.
Authors having direct and total control is leading to a lot of interesting, new styles and voices and stories. I think authors still think, “How can I appeal to the widest audience possible?” but they aren’t held back by being forced to conform to a safe, marketable standard.
What genres do you write?
Science Fiction, Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Paranormal
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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