Let’s welcome Sonya Weiss to the blog!
I became a writer when I was very young. Even before I began school, I would tell stories to my dolls, to my sisters and to anyone who would listen. As soon as I learned how to write, I would scribble those stories on any scrap of paper.
There were two teachers that impacted my life as far as writing goes. Both of them were high school teachers. The first one was my writing teacher when I was in the 9th grade. She had the class do an exercise and we had to write a short story with an ironic twist. I did that and she praised it and told me I had writing talent.
The second teacher to tell me I could write was my high school drama teacher after my family moved and I transferred to another school. We were given an assignment to write about music. So I wrote a short story about some teenage girls coming of age at the height of Elvis Presley’s popularity. The teacher said she loved it and asked if it could be used as part of the senior play “From Ragtime to Rock ‘n’ Roll”.
When my children were young, I would write stories about magical dragons and princesses to keep them entertained. When they were older, one of my daughters kept telling me to send out one of the stories I’d written for them when they were little. I would brush off her suggestion, but she kept on asking me to send it out.
Finally, I did and didn’t really think I’d get a response. I received an email from the editor I’d sent it to telling me she wanted to buy the story. I was so shocked. I couldn’t believe that I could do what I loved doing and others would like the stories well enough to pay for them.
I thought it might be a fluke-sort of beginner’s luck- so I wrote an essay for a site looking for essays about motherhood and that sold. Then I entered a Harlequin contest and came in first place. The editor asked me if I had a manuscript she could look at and I told her no. I was too green back then to understand what an opportunity that was. But I didn’t know all the things about writing that helps to polish a story so looking back, I think it was a good thing that I said no because I had a lot of growing to do as a writer.
I branched out into non-fiction and found some success there, but my heart was always rooted in fiction so I kept writing story after story, but didn’t send things out.
I think it was back in May of 2012 when I saw a notice on Marisa Cleveland’s blog announcing a one page agent critique. I thought “Nah. I’d never get that” but something kept telling me to submit a page. So I took the first page from a contemporary romance that I’d written in 2008. This was the story that wouldn’t leave me alone so I thought I should enter the first page of that one. I did and when Marisa contacted me to tell me how much she enjoyed it, I was surprised.
She shared her love for that one page with Nicole Resciniti. Nicole then contacted me and wanted to see the rest of the manuscript. I took a couple of weeks, gave it another polish through and sent it off, expecting to hear a “Thanks, but stick to writing grocery lists” LOL.
I received an email from Nicole on August 15, 2012 offering me representation. I yelled, scaring my daughters, and then I cried.
Nicole worked tirelessly to help tighten up the manuscript, get blurbs polished and ready and then she went to bat for the manuscript. I didn’t really expect it to sell. So I put it on the back burner and moved on, working on other stories.
I received a phone call from Nicole telling me about some interest in the manuscript and I told her I was surprised, that I’d already given up on the book. She said, “Oh, no. We don’t give up.”
She sold the manuscript to Entangled Publishing and that book, “Stealing the Groom” will be released on March 10, 2014.
Looking back, I can see how the events all wove together on the path to publication to reach that point. I will forever be grateful to Marisa for her excitement over that one page and for believing in the story. I will always be grateful too for Nicole for her never-say-never attitude and for all that she’s taught me.
It has been an incredible journey.
From the time she was a child, Sonya knew she was destined to be a writer. If she didn’t like the ending of a book or movie, she would write her own ending. When her children were young, she often wrote stories to entertain them. At the urging of one of her daughters, she submitted a short story and to her surprise and delight, it sold.
Sonya loves writing all things romance whether it’s writing contemporary adult or teen fiction and still hasn’t lost the wonder that she gets to do what she loves.
She enjoys reading, movies, chocolate, and laughter and credits her daughters as being the sweetest blessings in her life.