Welcome to Sonja Price, another of our 2016 Joan Hessayon Award contenders. Thank you for answering our questions, Sonja.
For my day job at university I published a book on English literature but only started to write fiction five years ago. Although aspiring to be a novelist, I initially succeeded in having short stories published in, for example, Stories for Homes, an anthology of short stories in aid of the homeless and another in aid of the Beanstalk Charity for children with reading problems. I loved the fact that my writing took me to places I had never been before from the comfort of my desk – these two short stories were set in Australia and the States but I embarked on my most imaginative journey for my novel. The Giants Look Down is set in the Vale of Kashmir and the first draft was long listed for the Mslexia first novel prize. Unable to find an agent or a publisher, I joined the RNA, as Cornerstones Literary Consultancy told me how supportive the Association is of new writers. Well, they were right because the NWS made all the difference for me!
How many years were you a member of the NWS and did you submit a manuscript each year?
I have been a member of the NWS for two years and submitted two manuscripts. When I got the first manuscript back, I followed most of the suggestions and found my agent almost immediately!
What came first, agent or publisher?
Agent and then publisher (both after my first MS had passed through the NWS- thank you!)
If you do have an agent who is it that represents you?
I was extremely lucky to catch the attention of Jane Conway-Gordon. Although British, she grew up in India and could vouch for the authenticity of the setting, having actually been to some of the places I described. She loved my novel and immediately signed me.
How did you find your publisher?
My agent found them
For one book with an option on the second
When was your book published?
Tell us something about your book
At ten, Jaya decides to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a doctor like her father much to the chagrin of her mother and the patriarchal community she lives in. It is the 1960s and the family enjoys a rather idyllic life in the Vale of Kashmir, despite the area being riddled with conflict and poverty. Jaya battles against the odds, which include an earthquake and the prospect of an arranged marriage, to pursue her dream in Scotland, where she not only has to navigate a foreign culture but the torrents of love.
What are you currently working on?
A widow’s quest to solve the mystery surrounding her husband’s death in the wilds of Alaska
What piece of advice would you give current members of the NWS?
Never give up. If you have talent, keep going and you will get published!
Thank you, Sonja, we hope you have a fabulous evening at the RNA Summer Party and good luck with your writing career.
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