Sionna is from the Buffalo area of Western New York (USA). She grew up outside a small town, surrounded by cow farms, with a big family in a small house, she says “things got a bit crazy” but she assures me that they all “managed to survive and even get along well now.” Being familiar with Sionna’s work in the Stargazer Island Series, I can only wonder if this sense of family and community, influenced the tone of her books. (Making a mental note to ask this for next time).
One of her favourite things growing up was going on camping trips, visiting many destinations, taking in the American landscape, enjoying the mountains most of all. The travelling bug stayed with her through highschool and honeymoon, taking her across the pond to England, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland. She has a list longer than her arm, of all the places she still would love to visit and is hoping to start travelling again soon.
Sionna now lives with her husband and enjoys spending time with family “doting” on her nieces and nephews. She’s self described as corny and were she to have a movie based on her life, the tag line would read “Dignity and poise… until she walked into a wall.”
Sionna reads “just about anything” but romance and fantasy are her two favourites. “As for writing, that’s paranormal romance currently.” Sionna has “always enjoyed writing” and took to her creative assignments in school with enthusiasm. But leaving work due to a back injury saw Sionna taking a serious look at writing full time.
The inspiration for Sionna’s first book in the Stargazer Island Series – Witch’s Return, came to her a few years ago, most aptly, around Halloween and she was spurred to write her own tale from her desire to read a thrilling witchy book, but not being able to find one she liked. Is there any better reason?
Like all writers, Sionna faces challenges in her writing process and sometimes personal challenges too, but her determination and perseverance and knowing the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – she is an inspiration to all aspiring writers.
“The major challenge was hating what I wrote. My original story started becoming convoluted, taking weird turns. I couldn’t stand it and developed a pretty serious writer’s block. I didn’t pick my manuscript back up for a full year, to be honest. During that time, I learned that my body was not producing its own progesterone, which was leading to chemical imbalances and depression. I went on a treatment for it, and suddenly, all the blocks and dark hatred for my writing lifted. I don’t want to say things like that happen often, because usually they don’t. There is no quick fix or cure. But it certainly felt that way. That said, I do sometimes still struggle with creeping depression and apathy on occasion, both of which still cause writer’s block and second guessing myself and my storytelling abilities.”
I got to know Sionna a little better over the course of the interview when I asked a series of truly deep questions, which required some serious soul searching on Sionna’s part.
Q. I am leaving you a generous sum of money in my will, with the stipulation that it be used only to open your own small company and you must choose three more beneficiaries to help you in your endeavour. What is your business and who is running it with you? (real/fictional)
A. Silver Screen Bistro (from The Frozen Flame – I love the dinner & movie concept). And to help me run it… Barb and Sally Janson (the owners in the book), of course, and my sister, who has as an eclectic taste in movies as I do
Q. I’m putting together a team of explorers, we’re going to look for life on alien planets. We find it but the aliens have turned hostile and are going to kill one of the team and I have to choose which one. Convince me why it shouldn’t be you.
A. Said aliens have one weakness: soy is lethal to them. My lactose intolerance and subsequent soy-based diet would mean eating me would cause the aliens severe food poisoning, resulting in them finding you guilty of biological warfare, a crime punishable by torture and death.
Q. It’s my birthday and all I want from you is a book to add to my massive pile, which book is it?
A. The Illiad and The Odyssey. Gotta go with a classic.
Q. What time is it?
A. Time to buy a watch.
Q. You're forming your own 80's rock tribute band. What's the band called?
A. Rifles and Tulips
Q. You get mysteriously transported back in time. When are you, where are you and what's the first thing you're doing?
A. End of the Ancient Egyptian Empire - Alexnadria - I'm going to tell Cleopatra not to bet on Marc Anthony. He's not the sure thing she thinks he is.
Q. I'm hungry and I want to eat the tastiest thing on the menu. Describe it to me.
A. Chicken wing dip: creamy, spicy, cheesy bites of awesomeness that pair well with bread, crackers, chips, or raw vegetables (highly recommended with celery sticks)
Q. Oh no, while you were on your adventure into the past you accidentally let it slip that you’re from the future and now people are very scared of you and you’re going to be executed for witchcraft (yes even if you only travelled 10 years into the past – don’t get smart with me) What are your famous last words?
A. There's never a doctor around when you need a Tardis.
Sionna’s two favourite fictional characters are Jimmy the Hand, the pickpocket with “amazing skills, a quick wit, loyalty, courage and a noble heart”, from Raymond Feist’s Magician Apprentice series. “It was impossible not to love his brash cockiness.” And Dominic Dragonseeker fro the Dark Series by Christine Feehan. He is the ancient and humble warrior, adept at killing vampires, with abundant patience and a steady heart. She is very much taken with his “ability to give his lifemate, a woman who survived a horrific past, the time she needs to build trust in him as well as the freedom to do what she felt was necessary to stop evil” and asks “Who wouldn’t love a partner like that?”
If she could be one of her own characters she says she would “definitely” be Sonya Mackenzie because she’s “a powerful witch who can kick butt, take names, talk to fairies, and bake cookies? Sign me up! (Plus, her love interest is pretty cute)”
During the interview we played a game of would you rather, it was highly informative.
Q. Would you rather live in your favourite fictional world or have your favourite fictional characters come to our world?
A. Definitely live in my favourite fictional world. They've got magic. We don't
Q. Would you rather have a butt for a face or a face for a butt?
A. Depends on if the mechanics work the same as IRL. If everything goes still goes down, I’ll take the butt for a face, because who wants that coming out of your mouth?
Q. Would you rather do something good but be forgotten or be remembered for doing something bad?
A. The former. I honestly have a hard time understanding people who do bad things. The mindset they must have or the lack of conscience. I don’t want to hurt anyone, and if that makes me too boring to be remembered, so be it.
Q. Would you rather be Lord Voldemort’s servant for the day and do everything and anything he asks, including but not limited to giving him a pedicure or bathe Hagrid for an entire year?
A. Ha! Yeah, probably still Hagrid. Giving Voldemort carte blanche, even for just a day, doesn’t seem wise.
QUICK FIRE ROUND!
|Naughty or Nice?||NICE|
|Up or Down?||UP|
|Yes or NO?||YES|
|Sense or Sensibility?||SENSE|
|Lord or Rings?||LORD|
|Game or Thrones?||GAME|
|Dungeons or Dragons?||DRAGONS|
Three questions from a 7 year old
Do you have a cat or dog? Neither currently, though I prefer dogs.
What time do you have lunch? Around 1 in the afternoon.
When will you write your next book? Probably as soon as I finish writing the one that I’m currently working on. It’s partially started. I just need to iron out some details.
That last question was an excellent question from our 7 year old interviewer and begs me to ask how Sionna’s work in progress is coming along.
Really well, actually. 33k words one-week in. Fingers crossed, it’ll keep going like this until I finish.
And finally some words of wisdom from the delightful and talented Sionna Trenz for our aspiring authors out there.
“Just write. Seriously. The world is full of rules, advice, guidelines, etc. So much so that your mind becomes cluttered with details about how to write. But none of those details matter if you don’t get your story, the one inside your head, down on paper first. All they do is cause you to doubt yourself and freeze. I’ve seen other authors argue over miniscule grammatical issues, whether this punctuation or that are correct. And while I won’t say that isn’t important (I am a card-carrying member of the grammar police myself), I will say that there isn’t any need to worry about them if your story isn’t written yet. So, go with your gut or your head or your heart. Get your rough draft down. Then start fretting about rules and word count.”