10 or More Things about Sophia Soames - An Author Interview

I love the M/M author and reader community.  I was chatting with Alex J. Adams the other day about their upcoming release and other bloggy stuff and she asked me if I was part of the M/M Euro Book Banter Group.  Being a Canuck, I immediately said... no, I'm not European... and then she said that it promotes European authors, but all readers are welcome.  So I joined and met some amazing new-to-me authors and found several that I know too...  One of my new acquaintances is Sophia Soames who is both an author and and also one of the admins and driving forces of the Euro Book Banter group!  I hope you enjoin getting to know her as much as I have...

Let's jump into the interview - and you'll notice that we just didn't stop talking so you get way more than 10 questions today...

Indie or Traditionally published? - Tell us how this works for you…
I started my writing journey in the murky waters of Ao3 writing fanfiction for the SKAM fandom as well as dipping my toes in the One Direction one. Fanfiction is a massive learning curve, where you are gaining feedback from your readers with every chapter published. It teaches you to take onboard what people are saying, both the good and the bad, and lets you steer your stories, sometimes in directions you never thought you would go. My writing style has changed massively from my fanfiction days, and I am learning all the time. But at the same time, I am staying true to what I love. You won’t find me writing to market or sticking a naked torso on a cover, instead I will continue giving you quirky contemporary fairy tales and I hope to work with more independent artists for my covers.

Plot or Pants? Do you pre-plot your books, use an outline, fly by the seat of your pants or some combination of things? How do you keep track of characters in a series? Do you keep a journal of your characters statistics, such as hair and eye color, relatives, hometown, etc.
My characters turn up, always totally uninvited and start causing chaos in my neatly planned out stories. I have never started a story knowing what the end will be, they just evolve as I write them. The last chapter is always the hardest, because I know full well their story is never finished there. I am that person….So most of my books have several epilogues, since the boys just can’t stay put in their HEA.

Tell us about your first… published gay fiction/romance
My very first book was Little Harbour, again a story that started as a piece of Fanfiction. All my fanfics were Alternative universes that had very little to do with the original storyline of the TV show, so they have been easy to translate into original pieces of fiction. Little Harbour tells us the story of the older couple, who had a connection in school, but never followed it through. What happens 20 years later when they meet again, and there are feelings still there? What happens when you have a family and more baggage than you know how to handle? And how do you as an outsider, come into a family, a family that is broken by grief, without breaking every little piece left? Axel, Jens and their children are very very special to me and although the story and the writing is very different from what I write now, I would never go back and re edit it. It was written exactly like that and I think it needs to be just what it is. A story of love and life and death and new beginnings.

and then your most recent one..
My new release TASTE will be out on November 1st! This is a story that has been with me for years and needed time to take shape. TASTE was originally a very short piece of fanfiction that was created for a Big Bang challenge. It tanked, so I picked it back up and I rewrote it for a different fandom challenge, and then re-wrote it again. It still didn’t sit right with me, and the people who read it didn’t quite take to it. Stubbornly I couldn’t let go of these two, and Mark and Finn kept shouting at me to sort them out. Finally this year, I did, taking that short and finally I took it apart, scrapped the bits that weren’t working and restarted it from chapter one. The only thing remaining is the Prologue and one scene in the middle, the rest is all new and fresh and the story is now something I am rather proud of.

This book is not easy reading, it’s a rollercoaster of madness, following a group of colleagues working in an inner city busy business hotel. You have probably all stayed in one, those slick places with clean sheets and snazzy breakfast buffets and oh, did you mention a rooftop bar? But do you know what goes on behind the scenes? Do you know who is staying in that room next to yours? And what does go on in the kitchen after hours? Find out...if you dare. Mybook.to/TASTELondon

Do you write full time or part-time?
I have a full time real job and several part time businesses so I keep myself pretty busy. There is no money in indie publishing for small-time authors like myself, but we don’t do this for the pennies. We do this for the love of our stories and speaking to readers, hearing them talk about your characters, and telling you how their lives were touched by the stories in my head? That is worth more than money. Of course I would love to make an income from this, but the reality is that there are only a handful of M/M writers who can afford to write for a living.

If you could invite 4 people (real or fictional, living or dead) to a dinner party, who would you invite and what would you serve?
I am a keen baker, so I would invite a bunch of the Authors who I adore, and serve up a traditional Swedish Fika. Fika is a Scandinavian concept of taking time out in your day, twice at least, to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee and a pastry. Often a roll with a savoury filling is part of this experience too, but it is the sweet treats that make up a good FIKA. Fika break is a staple of every working day, taking the time away from your desk to talk about something else, have a laugh and enjoy living with good food and good company.
Something people would be surprised to know about you
I can play the Violin but I am a terrible knitter, I cook badly but bake well, and speak several languages. I also have 3 wonderful children.

Which character still pops into your mind to visit from time to time?
ALL OF THEM. But Axel and Jens come knocking at regular intervals, just reminding me that they are still around. The fun things is that I wrote Little Harbour at my kitchen table, and the kids in the book? They were all there throwing nutella sandwiches and cheese doodles at me, so everything in the book? It happened. Because those kids are my kids and they are now a little older, but not much wiser….

Where do you write? Do you have a routine?
I write at the kitchen table on my days off, often with the kids blowing up a storm around me. If it’s a school day, I do the school run, walk the dogs and then sit down with a cup of tea and see who is willing to come talk to me in my head. Sometimes it’s all quiet and empty, other days I am working on several pieces at the same time.

What are your writing goals for the next year? The future?
The last of the London Love books, SLEEP is taking shape as I type, and after that I don’t know what the future brings. It's a costly business to produce a book, paying for covers, edits, and all the other costs involved makes it something you need to budget for and unfortunately my books don’t pay for themselves yet. So I will give it a few months and hope to have it out by spring!

What’s the hardest part about writing M/M romance or erotica?
The intimate scenes. Those chapters can drain you to the core, and then you have to go back over them, again and again trying to ensure that you have got the mood and the actions right. Also that your descriptions work and that the reader can see what you see in your head. Of course you also have to make sure that you don’t give your boys additional limbs or change their clothing mid scene...classic mistakes.

What else do you want us to know about you?
I’m Scandinavian, but I have spent the last 30 years off and on in the UK. I suppose many of my traits are distinctly Scandinavian, but I have become British enough that I feel like an alien when I go back home. It’s a strange place to be, too Scandi to feel British, but too British to feel Scandi. It’s a common thing for us foreigners too feel, that we have somehow lost our footing in life and don’t belong anywhere. At the same time I am trying to teach my children that the world is their oyster. There is no need for them to stay in the same place for the rest of their lives, when there is a whole planet out there for them to explore.

Who’s your biggest supporter/cheerleader?
My husband and Kids! The kids are forever trying to get me to come into their school to talk about writing. I have to keep reminding them that it’s not that...kind of writing.

What made you decide gay romance was the genre you wanted to write?
I started reading Fanfiction and found a whole new world of romance that suddenly inspired me.

Where do you find inspiration?
I work in a very LBGQT+ heavy industry and meet the most amazing people, every day. Many of my characters draw inspiration from small traits of people I meet.

What do you do if you hit a wall while writing? How do you combat writer’s block?
I take a break, sometimes for weeks. If my boys aren’t talking, then I ain’t writing.

What do your friends and family think of what you write; do they know?
They all know. Some friends have started reading one of my books and then never speak to me again. Others have been very supportive.

What is your favorite thing about writing gay romance?
The community is awesome, the friends I have made have made every drop of blood sweat and tears worth it.

How can we connect with you?

@sophiasoames on all platforms

You can also check out my work. All my books are contemporary M/M novels. Please read the trigger warnings in the summaries for each book.

The London Love series

Mybook.to/BREATHELondon Available now. Standalone Hurt/Comfort

Mybook.to/EXHALELondon A novella that is best enjoyed after Breathe. Out 25/OCT

Mybook.to/TASTELondon Standalone. Release 1/NOV/2021 Enemy to Lovers