Intimate Conversation with Sonja Lewis
Author of The Barrenness, Sonja Lewis has appeared on CNN and The Tom Joyner Morning Show. She has also been featured in Black Enterprise, and in the media in Canada and the United Kingdom. A former reporter for The Albany Herald (Georgia), Sonja has also written for British newspaper The Guardian. Currently, she writes a blog for the Huffington Post, UK. A member of the Society of Authors, Sonja lives in London with her husband, Paul.
BPM: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Yes, when I was a girl I loved nothing more than to make up stories for my youngest sister, though I didn’t write them down. I named the characters, described them and acted them out. When I think back, I absolutely loved the free thinking, no rules just creativity. My first real writing assignment came with a state-wide contest when I was a tween. What a tree means to me? I won and have been hooked since.
BPM: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of your family.
My church, the Spring Creek Missionary Baptist Church, a small church in Leary, GA. There I gained confidence by writing the church history, speeches, the weekly announcements and very theatrically delivering these pieces. And wonderfully, the people embraced me, encouraged me, said I had something special even when I read in Sunday School.
BPM: What does growth mean to you?
I feel I’ve grown when I learn from a mistake or a challenge and move on, when I am able to take from the past, let it go; and abide in the present and imagine the future positively. That to me is exponential growth.
BPM: Introduce us to your book, The Blindsided Prophet, and the main characters. What makes each one special? Do you have any favorites?
The Blindsided Prophet is the story of a modern day prophet who is caught unawares by a tragic event when he is a teenager. This alters his life forever. Fifteen years later, at God’s bidding Isaiah Brown returns to Coffee, GA, to unravel the tragedy, make reparation and prevent an even worse tragedy.
The main character, Isaiah Brown, is probably my favorite because he is original. I don’t know anyone like him. Naturally, he had to come from somewhere so I must have drawn on characteristics of some of the world’s great people, some perhaps renown. In any case, he is unique. He is a modern-day prophet.
Also, I favor Mae Cook as she is so very much like many people I know—well meaning, good to the core, but gets it wrong a lot of times. At middle age, she learns valuable life lessons. Through Mae, we see that it is never too late to grow-up.
BPM: What drew you to tackle the questions or topics in The Blindsided Prophet?
My faith, I suppose is the short answer. I remember being called arrogant once by a young preacher when I talked of my own personal relationship with God. I wanted to show that faith is not just about religion, it is about dwelling/residing within yourself if you will. Deep within you meet God as and when you please. You just have to focus. There, you find the answers.
BPM: Does your faith or education inspire your writing?
Yes, my faith does. I think Christianity is misunderstood often but not just in non-Christian countries but right here at home. People are turned off by these people who profess to know this Christ but He doesn’t always show up in our attitudes, in the way we live etc…
With my first book a Christian radio announcer cancelled the interview at the last minute because she found profanity in the book. Sorry but there is profanity in life and I try to create a real picture, if you will. I totally respect that it was not the book for her and her audience, but I didn’t have a lot of time for her assumption that she had inside information with God that I didn’t have, and that she was living more purely than I, if you will. I somehow doubt it. But if she is, good for her but don’t judge.
BPM: Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
A spell bounding read that stays with them for a very long time.
BPM: How do you feel about e-books vs print books?
I prefer print books to touch them, to smell them, to read them and I always will but e-book readers, particularly the Kindle, have a place in our world. I love being able to access endless books and take countless reads on holiday, the train, etc… But if I had to choose, I’d choose print books every time. Now my business sense says that might be the wrong choice, but it is what I think.
BPM: Do you think book sales are the only indicator of your success as a writer?
No, I don’t. I do think sales are a huge indicator, but for example, with my first novel, The Barrenness, I had a campaign that took the lid off a very important social issue—a woman being fulfilled without becoming a mother. One of my goals was to start a worldwide conversation about the topic. I’d like to think that I played a role in all the attention that subsequently came to the subject.
BPM: My writing offers the following legacy to future readers....
The legacy of taking responsibility for one’s own thoughts and learning how to find peace within through changes one’s thinking.