At Gothic Bite Magazine we love welcoming new patients to become part of our asylum. We question them and learn about them. It doesn’t matter what creative field they are part of because they’re our patient now. This week, we welcome Indie Author Jackie Sonnenberg!
Patient Name: Jackie Sonnenberg
I currently live in Orlando, FL, but I grew up in Chicago, IL. I have a background in journalism and wrote for the leading Chicago area newspapers while publishing short fiction online.
I also have experience as a cosplayer and haunted house actor, and one day I brainstormed how I can merge my creative worlds together.
I specialize in original characters with backstories, so every October, I got to play around with a new monster that fits in whatever room or scene I was working. And since I cosplay, I would make my own costumes, so every character was 100% unique.
It did not take me long at all to figure out I can do this with my career as an author and uniquely showcase my written characters. I create all original costuming of my book characters and appear at conventions, haunted houses, and events as that character in a fun, interactive, and informative way to promote my books.
My current growing collection is taking the classic Nursery Rhymes and giving them a horror twist. As of present, I have two published: a paranormal called MY SOUL TO KEEP and a pre-apocalyptic THE LAMB WAS SURE TO GO. There is a vampire one on the way.
ALEXA WAYNE (A.W.): When did you find out you would want to write novels?
JACKIE SONNENBERG: As a kid, I would read books and actually come up with my own ending, or own plot if I didn’t like it!
A.W.: Which genre would you think you write, and what category is best to describe your writing?
JACKIE SONNENBERG: I was always into Fantasy and Sci/Fy and anything imaginative. I blame being a haunted house actor for getting me into horror!
With my twisted Nursery Rhymes collection, I felt like it fits best with Y.A. and readers loving dark retellings.
A.W.: You mentioned to me your work, all set in paranormal or Gothic settings, would you let our readers know why you are more attracted to that genre?
JACKIE SONNENBERG: Everyone loves the unknown because it paves the way for the imagination to fill in its own blanks. That’s why any good ghost story can grab the reader in the right direction!
They want to read about what goes bump in the night and what could be lurking around the corner…
A.W.: When writing about paranormal, do you do research, and if so, how far do you go with your research?
JACKIE SONNENBERG: I sure did. For MY SOUL TO KEEP, I interviewed people who have had real paranormal encounters. Many said the same thing that their encounters were from someone that they knew.
I also read several articles about animals having a sixth sense and recognizing when something was there. I had to write in a cat that helped out the main character, and those were my favorite scenes to write!
A.W.: What is most important to you when writing your novels?
JACKIE SONNENBERG: Number one is creativity with credibility. Sure, it’s fiction, but does it make sense? Is the world believable? I also very much want to keep the readers guessing.
If the ending and story, in general, are too predictable, then it’s not really a unique story. I do pay homage to classic stories and motifs while at the same giving it something completely different.
A.W.: Which authors influenced your writing?
JACKIE SONNENBERG: Growing up, it was R.L Stine with Goosebumps, because I always wanted to come up with some of my own! Let’s not forget Stephen King and Neil Gaiman! I do like Ruth Ware for her fresh and gritty thrillers.
A.W.: Which of your novels is your favorite, and why is it your favorite?
JACKIE SONNENBERG: I think no matter what, I will always be excited about my current WIP because it is still new and the freshest in my mind.
A.W.: Do you believe in the paranormal, by that I mean in hauntings, that there are creatures out in the wild we still don’t know the existence of?
JACKIE SONNENBERG: Absolutely. I believe that some people did have sightings and encounters, and there is plenty out there we still don’t know about. It really sets my gears in motion with the knowledge that space and the ocean are vastly unexplored.
A.W.: What was your reaction when you learned a publisher wanted you as part of their authors? / What made you decide to be self-published?
JACKIE SONNENBERG: With traditional publishing, I was ecstatic to learn I fit in somewhere and could be a part of something, and I learned so much from editors and other authors.
I decided to self-publish because I feel like I am bringing so much more to the table than books. I am publishing these characters as well, and to be in complete control over time is crucial to guarantee they are going to debut in the world together. A new book, new costume.
A.W.: What sets you apart from other paranormal and Gothic authors?
JACKIE SONNENBERG: As mentioned, the costuming and character acting that goes along with my promotion.
Sometimes I am recognized, and that always makes me happy, but it is better when I am not recognized right away. It means I was convincing enough and that I made the impression I wanted to make.
A.W.: What can readers look forward to from Jackie Sonnenberg in 2020?
JACKIE SONNENBERG: My next twisted Nursery Rhyme book is vampire-themed and will be coming out this spring.
Also, this spring is a short story based on Cinderella in the dark fairy tales anthology called THE MIRROR TALES, also coming this spring. I have since expanded this story into a novel, and yes, there will be an original costume…
If you enjoyed this interview, come back each week for other interviews with authors, editors and more! We love welcoming new patients! If you are a creative yourself, go to our CONTACT section and send us an email to become part of our asylum!
Until next time…enjoy the bite!