Good Morning everyone and welcome to Coffee Time Romance. My name is Cherokee, and today we have the opportunity to share some conversation with Sonya Kate Childers, and I couldn’t be happier to spend time with her this morning and learn more about her latest book, Tides of Time, as well as her latest developments. So let us begin our chat with Sonya Kate Childers.
First Sonya, let me say that I find you a remarkable woman, not only dedicated but loaded with tremendous strength. I read that you have struggled with Lupus. I am sure that has changed your life in many aspects, just as any condition that often strikes a person, for those that might be struggling with any illness, what motivation would you lend to others to keep them vibrant in life?
I’ve always felt very strongly that if you give up and sit in a corner – you’ll never better your life. When something negative happens like a stroke – it takes awhile to overcome it, to get well. What keeps me going is that I remain focused and work through the pain as if the Lupus and Anti-Phospholipid Disorders are not present.
My motto is, “Every time you let your abusers or negative circumstances in life win – you become a victim time and time again.” Well, today…I’m nobody’s victim. If there’s a negative issue in my life whether it be a particularly bad pain day, negative financial situation or someone tailgating my car…I stop, meditate and regroup – figure out a better way to handle the problem with as little pain or stress as possible.
The best advice I can give your readers is that no matter how tough things get whether it be an illness or personal problem…NEVER give up. Always stay focused and positive on your goals and ambitions. Whether it’s a parent, abusive spouse or boyfriend, lack of education or experience, don’t let anything stand in your way of being all you can be. Don’t waste time, believe in yourself and make those dreams happen. There are so many doors open for women today -- all they need to do is walk through one of them.
Finally, don’t keep constant company with people that bring you down emotionally. If you surround yourself with happy, successful people – that atmosphere will create enough positive energy and courage to help you follow your dreams. Chronically unhappy individuals tend to drag other people down with them. You can be a good friend and humanitarian to most and an enabler to others.
I noticed that you are involved with many charities; do you feel that this gives you a better insight to the needs of people all over?
Absolutely. As I mentioned before, there are so many worthy people that need help and organizations that can aid you in helping them.
SOS America: September 11th, the invasion of Afghanistan and the Iraqi War all have had a profound impact on me, as with millions of other Americans. The images of our soldiers and families left behind are heart-wrenching.
Weeks after the war started, our family adopted a soldier. We wrote to him, mailed care packages and organized a letter drive from school children for nearly a year. I can honestly say this was one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives, resulting in a life-long friendship with his family. Our soldier made it home safely, but for countless others the outcome is not as positive. These folks desperately need our help.
You can pick up any newspaper or turn to various news channels and see the plight of our soldiers and their families. As I’ve stated many times in speeches and interviews…it does not matter what your opinion of the war is – we, as Americans should do our part of help our service personnel and their families because they are a part of us – no matter what our political views may be. Our soldiers don’t want to be away from their loved ones any more than we want them to be away.
When I was in college my roommate and I went to visit a wheel-chair bound, Vietnam Vet. She was writing a paper on the War and he’d agreed to be interviewed. I listened to him talk for hours about the war and seeing his buddies injured. Not once did he shed a tear while talking about his experiences until he got to the part where he came home. When he spoke of the treatment from his fellow Americans as he got off the plane, how he was spit on and called names…he cried. I’ve never forgotten this soldier.
Last Christmas my husband and I were having dinner out. It was a particular hard time financially for our family. We were conversing on our plight when we looked over and saw a soldier home on leave. It was then that we focused not on us, but the soldier and what, if any time he had left to spend with his family. On our way out we stopped, shook his hand and bought his dinner. Seeing this soldier’s smile was far better than the tears from the Vietnam Vet I had witnessed almost twenty years earlier.
Therefore, when Kathryn Falk, Founder of Romantic Times Magazine approached me with her idea for Support Our Soldiers America, Inc., I jumped at the chance to volunteer. Our family has donated bullet proof vests and sent books and supplies overseas. We have taken part in Kathryn’s many benefits including the soldier retreat house and spa in Alvin, Texas.
If your readers would like to help a service person like the ones I’ve mentioned here today…the easiest way would be to hook up with groups such as Support Our Soldiers America, Inc. You can visit RomanticTimes.com for more information. Even something as simple as letters from school children puts a smile on some very worthy faces that miss home terribly.
St. Jude Children’s Hospital: St. Jude Children’s Hospital was an easy choice for our family because of my personal struggles with Lupus, Anti-Phospholipid Disease, Raynaud’s, Fibromyalgia and strokes.
I’m now 40, but having had these illnesses since early childhood, I’ve really only been plagued with the harshest stages since age 30. When I look into the eyes of sick children at St. Jude…I can’t imagine being their age having to endure the pain I go through on a daily basis.
I’ve experienced a great deal of what life has to offer like my first date, going to prom, getting married, having children, traveling, writing books and meeting wonderful fans…but really how much of that can you do when you are a sick child? Sick children miss out on so many pleasures we as adults take for granted.
Finally, while St. Jude does wonderful work at an operation cost of $1 million per day, with children plagued with cancer…I was surprised to learn they also conduct research on auto-immune diseases. It would be my dream to raise enough awareness and money to aid additional support to this area of the facility.
I pray that someday my story will be told to Montel Williams. His show garners enormous media attention, especially with his personal story of living with MS and the prescription drug crisis in America. If everything works out the way I hope, maybe in the future, Lupus, MS, Anti-Phospholipid Disease and other illnesses will become a thing of the past.
Now let’s discuss Tides of Time which is an extraordinary novel that really touched my heart. You made everything so visual, so real and the characters practically leap from the pages. It is so poignant and engages the reader! I just cannot say enough about this book, you took the reader right along with the inspirational journey around Rebecca and Jason. Would you care to discuss it now with our readers?
Every girl fantasized about the latest music star; bedroom walls are lined with bedroom eyes. Little did Rebecca Lynn Roberts know, at the tender age of 14, that the lyrics she had inspired then for her guitar-playing boyfriend, Jason Engles, would today become his hit song on the country music charts. When these high school sweethearts are separated by their parents, seven years go by without a word, yet he is never far from Rebecca’s heart and mind. Stuck at home with a tedious job, a disabled uncle and alcoholic mother to care for, she can only imagine how different her life might have been if she and her young love had stayed together. Surely Jason, caught in the powerful whirlwind of fate, must have forgotten her. With his rugged good looks, dynamic personality and hypnotic singing voice, he could have his pick of girls.
When the rising star returns home to the Texas Panhandle to give a benefit concert, Rebecca and her friends get front row seats. Would he see her? Would he even remember the small town life he shared with the poetic girl who knew him best…can’t tell ya. I’ll leave that for your reading pleasure.
But what I can share with all of you is that when I go to sleep…I have wonderful dreams. It’s almost like turning on LifeTime Television. The dreams are very vivid and in the mornings I can clearly remember them. Tides of Time is no exception and came to me in a dream. I carried the idea, characters and plot around in my head for years before writing it.
After my stroke, I watched one celebrity after another receive a major book deal. While I’m not a blonde, leggy heiress like Paris Hilton nor a bosomed, blonde actress like Pam Anderson or a well-established author with legions of fans…I figured out real quick I needed a niche. One day while CMT (Country Music Television) was on, the idea of merging my book with Country Music was born. I began writing Tides of Time that night and when it was all said and done I had completed a 500 page manuscript in thirty days. Not to mention, I’d developed a unique and very successful marketing plan.
As I read the book, I was spellbound by the storyline and the characters and I would think, oh, how did Sonya write this and not be affected. As you started the writing process, was it difficult for you?
Not at all…once the writing started…I couldn’t stop.
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
My creativity stays filled by watching every day events, people and circumstances. Traveling to different states, countries and environments also helps keep my reflection on reality genuine.
I believe this is why I connect so well with country music, its artists and fans. This entire genre of music was founded on the simplicities of life mostly derived from rural or small-town America – these are places I take comfort in most.
Probably the most important factor is the diagnoses of Lupus, Anti-Phospholipid Disease, suffered a stroke and was told six years ago that seven to ten “good” years was about all I had left. I didn’t ask the doctors whether that terminology meant “here on this earth” or “quality of life.” Therefore, not one person, amount of time or situation in my existence is taken for granted. Each day is truly lived to its fullest and considered a gift.
When someone is diagnosed with something so horrible, they tend to notice the smaller or simpler things and be thankful for the little favors that God allows them to experience. Therefore, my creative cup is replenished daily.
Do your fans' comments and letters influence you in any way?
I am very thankful for my readers as they inspire me each and every day…from the single mother of three in Tennessee to the lady in Florida suffering from heart failure. I’m a student of life and as other people draw from my trials and tribulations…I draw strength from theirs.
Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
I wrote the original “Tides of Time” manuscript in thirty days. However, the editing process is a tedious job and the “real” layering of the characters and storyline begins.
While my characters are born in my dreams, they start to come to life as each new chapter unfolds. Then, during the editing process the characters really start to shine and gain emotional momentum.
I find it exciting to edit because characteristics, a sense of self fulfillment out of angst and tragedies can be layered and layered until the final version is reached. This is what I believe adds that extra flavor and really tugs at the heartstrings of my readers.
No matter how many times editing is done, there is always some element that can be added or improved upon to allow depth and growth to any of the characters or events. Therefore, can we say any manuscript is truly finished?
Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
There is no set schedule for writing at my home. First, because of my health issues, that’s the first factor taken into consideration on whether or not I can write on any particular day.
Marketing for Tides of Time needs to be done daily. I’m a one woman show so all promotions, scheduling events and answering fan mail is done by me. Most mornings I’m working the sites on MySpace.com, Amazon and other reader groups and links around the web.
Writing is usually done in the afternoon and evenings, after the kids get home from school. I do my best work on my laptop surrounded by the noise of my two children fighting, television set blaring, dogs barking and general chatter in the room. If it’s too quiet…I can’t write.
Please tell us something else about yourself that you would like to share with others.
I wouldn’t be able to write if it wasn’t for my wonderful family. The four of us make up our own unique support group. With my husband’s parents deceased, we are all we have in this world. Therefore, not one of us takes a single day together for granted.
My husband, Bert and I have been married almost twenty years. If I could go back in time and marry him again, I would. A woman couldn’t ask for a more supportive and giving husband. When it comes to my illness he is always by my side trying to help me. For example, in November, while walking into a local hospital my legs wouldn’t work. I vocalized this to Bert. As he turned around, my body began to fall. The only things stopping me were the edge of the concrete sidewalk or a metal drain. Without so much as a second thought, he threw himself underneath me so that I wouldn’t be injured. I’m on a very powerful blood-thinner and had my head hit either one of those objects…it could’ve been fatal. That’s just the kind of caring person he is.
In 1996, we started a small construction based business, which we nurtured into a home-building company. In 2005, we discovered the superintendent we’d so carefully hired embezzled an astronomical sum of money from the business we began as mere kids. Our family lost everything. It took one man, eight months to ruin a life-long dream ten years in the making.
Did the embezzlement and a declining housing market get my husband down? Nope…he picked up the pieces, packed up the family and relocated us to another state where the home-building economy is strong. Together, we will rebuild another company. Bert leaves for work before dawn and comes home very late at night. Yet, no matter how tired he is, if I’m busy writing or marketing Tides of Time…he always finds the energy to make dinner or help with the kids in order to keep my dream of being an author alive.
My Children: I thank God every day for my children. I can honestly say my husband and I have raised two very happy, healthy kids and selfless individuals. The kids have bravely dealt with my illness, pitch in to help with housework or walk me into a store when it’s raining so I don’t fall. They are never too busy to be by my side or call me from school to make sure I’m feeling okay.
In 2000, shortly after returning home from a Florida booksigning, we were eating a late lunch at a popular restaurant. My daughter noticed that my eye was bleeding. At the urging of my family, I went to the restroom to take a look…figuring it was nothing more than a bad blood vessel break, I returned to the table.
I remember telling my husband “Bert…I don’t feel well.” It was then that I collapsed and could hear my children crying and screaming for me to wake up…yet it was if they were hundreds of miles away. I kept hearing myself saying, “It’s okay…Mommy is here kids. I’m here….I’m okay.” Yet no sound came from me. When I awoke, my right side wouldn’t work. I had suffered a stroke. My children carry those images of that day around with them. I believe the stroke made us all stronger as a family and showed my children just how precious time together really is.
Okay, let’s have some fun: I know everyone has a favorite movie and actor, I know I do. Why not share yours with us?
Favorite Actors: Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino & Morgan Freeman.
Favorite Actresses: Meryl Streep, Rachel McAdams & Reece Witherspoon
Favorite Movies: Gone With The Wind, Dangerous Beauty, Scarface, Goodfellas, Wedding Crashers, Meet The Fockers, Dumb & Dumber, Braveheart, Tombstone, Sweet Home Alabama and 13 Going on 30.
What would you say is your number one hobby?
Whew…it’s impossible for me to pick just one hobby, so I’ll list what I like to do in my spare time: I love to spend time with my family. It really doesn’t matter what we do as long as all of us are together and happy. The Childers’ family enjoys hanging out by the pool on a lazy summer afternoon for a BBQ, traveling in the United States, ocean fishing in the Gulf, counted cross-stitching, listening to Country Music, walking on the beach shelling and of course WRITING!
Why not share your website with us so others can learn more about Sonya.
www.amazon.com (New featured Author Connect Webpage)
I love hearing from readers. If anyone would like to drop me an e-mail to ask a question either about my life or novel…please write me.
Sonya, I admire all your attributes. You are an awesome woman. The love you have for your family and their love for you speaks in volumes. Thank you so very much for sharing some things about yourself with us today. I wish you the best with your writing career, along with your health and your awareness to help others.