Author Interview: Sonia Marsh

Sonia-Author-Photo-Red-Small1What made you decide to write Freeways to Flip-Flops?

When I told my friends that we were uprooting our family from a beautiful lakefront house in Orange County, California, to live in a hut in Belize, they encouraged me to start a journal and turn it into a book. They knew this would be a unique story.

I kept a daily journal in Belize, however, I did not write at a set time each day. Instead, I would run to my computer whenever something interesting happened. By that I mean, a specific conversation, argument, emotional moment with my family, or something significant that happened, and I wanted to keep the dialogue “real” and the emotions raw and clear in my mind.

Our life in Belize was simple, without television, shopping malls, bookstores, coffee shops, or movie theaters. We lived in a third world culture where life was slow paced and things did not get done when you expected them to get done. In a way, this was the perfect environment for writing. My only distraction was nature—so beautiful—and I spent hours studying my surroundings, and taking care of daily chores. Everything takes longer to do in Belize. Life was so different from life in Orange County, California. One day, an old “pirate” sailboat sailed in front of my house. It looked like one built to shoot a Hollywood movie, only this was the real deal. The next day a capsized “drug” trafficking boat was found close to the Island Ferry tourist boat. How often do you experience this in suburbia?

 

What were you hoping to accomplish in writing your book? Is there a message from that period in time that you were trying to convey to the reader?

I hope to motivate people to step out of their comfort zone and not postpone their dreams. We can always find excuses to not do the things we want to in life, so I hope my memoir shows how we took risks in order to get our oldest son back on track, and how we grew from our major learning experiences. I have always wanted to find my paradise, and I thought this would be living on a tropical island. I discovered that paradise is a place you need to find within yourself, and that it’s not a physical location.

 

How did you go about organizing your book? Are there any tips you would give to other authors writing a book similar to Freeways to Flip-Flops?

Since my memoir was based on a recent year in Belize, I recommend keeping a journal and writing the dialogue and events that happen as soon as possible. One of the compliments I receive from readers is how the dialogue seems so realistic. I also think that we need to write vivid scenes, so that readers feel like they are watching a movie.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to work with professional editors, and to get a story structure editor to help your memoir follow a path that will intrigue and engage your readers.

 

Are you working on another book? If ‘yes’, can you tell us about it?

I just published another book called: My Gutsy Story® Anthology: True Stories of Love, Courage and Adventure From Around the World. It seemed a natural progression to go from my own “Gutsy” story in Belize, to asking others to share their”My Gutsy Story®.” I plan on publishing the 2nd Anthology in a year or so, and to continue with the popular series. I’m always looking for writers to submit their own “Gutsy” stories.

I also plan on publishing a book on “How to Become a Gutsy Indie Publisher,” to help other writers with the juggling act of publishing and marketing their books.

 

 

FFlipFlops-s-Cover-Small.-432x648Have you ever wanted to chuck it all and move to paradise? Well if you think you have it in you, then Freeways to Flip-Flops will show you how one suburban family made the gutsy decision to uproot their three sons and small rat terrier to live a simple life in Belize, Central America. Through many adventures and misadventures, the Marsh family reconnects, and learns that stress sometimes follows you, even in paradise. Some important life lessons were learned from their year in Belize, including a new definition of where paradise can be found.