Sonya Clark is an upcoming urban fantasy/paranormal romance writer whose previous works include MOJO QUEEEN and RED HOUSE. Her short fiction, one featuring an Elvis-impersonator vampire-killer have provided a taste of what this talented writer is capable of.
I was glad to catch her amidst edits to ask her a few questions regarding her new novel, TRANCEHACK. Happy book birthday! - CC
Tell us where you came up with the idea for TRANCEHACK.
The idea for Trancehack came from a confluence of things. One was urban magic and what you could do with that. I don't mean herb pots on a windowsill, either. For research I bought a non-fiction book that was supposedly about city magic but it wasn't about that at all, it was about transplanting traditional nature magic into the city. That's not what I wanted to explore. Things like trance and astral projection are tools for a mystic to use to send their consciousness into other realms. The most prevalent “other realm” of our time is cyberspace. What if a witch could use astral projection to enter cyberspace? What if that ability had to be hidden, not only from Normals but other Magic Born as well? There were other things, too, like calling on neon and creating app spells. Plus things that aren’t in this first book of the series.
The other idea was a more sociological one - what happens when bigotry is codified into law? What does it to do people - on a micro level as individuals and on a macro level as a society - when fear and cowardice have led to an entire demographic being consigned to second-class status? Not just through attitudes and behavior, but actual law? I mean, it has happened and in some ways still is here in the US. We see things changing for the better in some ways. At this point it is probably inevitable that marriage equality will become the law of the land, and that’s something to look forward to and be proud of. But there’s still no shortage of politicians who support laws and policies that essentially punish children for being born in poor/low income families. It’s getting harder for politicians to point to skin color, sexual orientation, and other traditional excuses for bigotry, so poverty has become a hugely popular bogeyman. Punishing those living in poverty, making them out to be the “scary other” that people should be afraid of, is an easy way to get elected in some places.
When citizens fall for that kind of fear-mongering, what kind of society do they create for themselves?
In the Magic Born series, it’s a society that consigns children born with magic in their DNA to what are basically urban reservations. Witches - a handy stand-in for any “other” you can think of - have no rights and have essentially been dehumanized. But these laws have also dehumanized the Normals who are forced to give up their Magic Born children. So it’s really striking at the heart of families, the right to be with the person you love, build a family together. That’s why it had to be a love story, too. I couldn’t imagine telling a story about this world without having a Normal and a Magic Born fall in love.
If you could be anyone in your book for a day, who would you choose, and why?
That's a hard question for me because I wouldn't want to live in this kind of quasi-dystopian world. But I guess I'd choose Calla so that I could experience trancehacking and some of the other magic she practices.
What were some of the songs that you listened to while writing TRANCEHACK? If the book had a soundtrack, what would be top picks?
This book had a totally different kind of sound than others I've written. Depeche Mode provided the bulk of the musical inspiration, along with Portishead, Faithless, and some Nine Inch Nails. Also the soundtrack to Blade Runner. Cosmic Love by Florence + The Machine became an important song to the love story between Nate and Calla. "Then I heard your heart beating / you were in the darkness too / so I stayed in the darkness with you" - those lyrics are perfect for Nate and Calla.
What are your plans for the future?
Trancehack is the first of a trilogy. I don't have final titles or release dates for the rest of the Magic Born books, but there won't be too much time between them. My old paranormal blog serial The Bradbury Institute is becoming a series of novellas for Entranced Publishing, with the first one scheduled to be released in April of next year. Beyond that, well, I'll figure it out. :)
Favorite book of the moment: I've been reading the Tales of the Underlight series by Jax Garren. It's some really unique and imaginative world-building with great characters, and it gets into Norse mythology which was a nice change of pace from the usual.
Favorite band of the moment: I have played the hell out of the new Depeche Mode album while writing the second Magic Born book. :)
Favorite TV show: Supernatural. Team Dean all the way!
Favorite comfort: Coffee. I could not function without it.
Anything else you'd like to add?
The only thing I'd like to add is a big thank you to both Synde and you!
Visit Sonya's site at http://www.sonyaclark.net/