Today, we have Sophia Soames here to tell us about some of her books and her life. As a mother of four, I can relate to what she has to say LOL
Authors are always told to write about topics that we know well, and that advice is mostly solid.
Apart from when it’s writing about your own job. I have put off writing about what I do for years, because it is simply….yes. Messy.
I have spent the last 25 years knee deep in the Travel and Customer service industry, and whilst many people might think this is a glamourous and exciting career choice, let me start off by correcting that. Well…. Of course, they are absolutely right.
The Travel industry lets you meet the most interesting people, and has seen me travelling to far flung places that I had never thought I would ever visit. But still, every golden opportunity has a flipside, and that is true for most jobs. For me? Endless nightshifts and missing half my children’s lives. Still, I wouldn’t change a thing.
So, I hear you ask, what has my career choices got to do with my writing? I used to be a stern ‘’I only read contemporary fiction’’ person. I read all the talked about novels, and found a few Authors that I enjoyed. I was a mother, a wife, a respected member of the School Parents association, and I worked two fulltime jobs. You can see what is coming next, can’t you?
Well. I discovered this rabbit hole of independently published short stories written exclusively for a web-based audience. What? You may say. Well you might know it better as Fanfiction.
I ended up reading Fanfiction exclusively and almost obsessively, amazing angst-filled stories, some of them rather brilliant, written by people like you and me who were building an obsessed following through chapter-by-chapter based publishing.
I read until my eyes bled. Then I started writing a few stories myself.
Some Authors will look down at Fanfiction writers, thinking it’s an easy little hobby to have. It can be, if you don’t mind spending hours and hours perfecting your work without the help of an editor, publishing it, only to have nobody read it. Fanfiction sites are saturated with stories, and only a few writers build a following. You have no way of promoting yourself, no way of making people read what you publish, and all you can do is cross your fingers and hope that someone will press that kudos button, and leave you a supportive comment. Some days are good. Other days you question your sanity.
I was lucky, and built a lovely following of readers, who interacted with me and pushed me to write more. It’s not a fairy-tale of any sorts, I was attacked by trolls, had people threaten me and hurl random abuse at me on social media for daring to make my characters do something they didn’t approve of. Traditional Authors have it easy, moaning over a few bad reviews on Goodreads. Bearing in mind that the age range of writers on Award winning Fanfiction platforms like AO3 range from early teens to late 80ies, the internet can be a terrifying place.
Back to my career choices. I decided to take my Fanfiction characters and push them further. I made them do silly things. I made them have awkward stupid sex. I made them straight, gay, pan, bi and in the end it didn’t matter. I made them feel, and I made them ache and I made them fall head over heels in love. They made terrifying mistakes, they said the wrong thing, they made the wrong choices, but they loved. Damn it, I made them fall in love, helplessly and endlessly so. I loved it. And I loved these stupid men who kept talking to me in my head, right back.
Fanfiction gives you a very narrow frame to develop your characters, and I started a new story where I introduced a few original characters to see if I could make my readers love them as much as the well-known names in the story. They luckily did. So, I took them out of the box, and gave them jobs. They became airline crew, worked in hotels, studied and taught. They nannied and travelled the world. See the pattern? I made them do all the things I had loved doing, and I am still finding new angles to push my boys even further. Having stepped over into traditional self-publishing, my stories are still coming, thick and fast and I now spend most of my downtime writing.
I have spent the last 20 years working as a flight attendant, or as we in the UK prefer to be called: Cabin crew. Glamourous! I hear you shout. You should write more Flight attendant stories! Romance in the air!
I have read a few Airline crew romances, and unfortunately, as you would do if you read a book about someone doing your job, you half cringe and half sweat and then shake your head and whisper ‘It doesn’t quite work like that!’.
The problem with believably writing about airline crew is simple. We just don’t know each other. We meet a few minutes before our prefight brief, then spend a day or two getting hurled across the planet in a whirlwind of turbulence, stale food, bodily fluids and sweat. Add a few tears and you can picture what we look like when we finally step through the door of the hotel room that will serve as our home for the night. You drop your ridiculous high heels by the door and sit yourself down on the toilet, greedily side-eyeing the Room Service menu despite the fact that you have spent the whole day picking at airline meals, whilst wondering where the bruise on your knee came from and if your tights will survive a handwash in the sink so you can wear them again tomorrow.
Your uniform has gained a few new suspicious stains, and you wish you could skip washing your hair, but it stinks of Eau-De-Boeing or such, and after a long hot shower (should you be lucky enough to be able to work out how the weird looking hotel shower works) and spending at least ten minutes staring at the air-conditioning unit thundering in your room wishing you had an axe so you could just spend some of that pent up frustration from dealing with the unpleasant human in 22D, by beating the shit out of it? You nosedive head first into the hotel bed, and you don’t even care to look under the pillow to see if there is a nasty bug left behind, nor do you have the strength to check for stray serial killers hiding under your snazzy looking hotel bed.
Now, this is when the fun part starts. This is usually when the husband texts you to find out where items A, B and C are, because he can’t be bothered to look, then Kid 1 Facetimes you to ask why you haven’t washed his hockey kit, it smells, apparently, and Kid 2 sends a message that his School Uniform is too small, again, can I order a new one? Kid 3 has to bring in some monstrosity home-made Roman fort for Monday, and can I help make it? Do we own any shoe boxes? The school has sent at least 3 memo’s that require my attention and on top of that? My favourite Author goes and drops a new release. So no, your average cabin crew member does not put her little cocktail dress on and she certainly doesn’t end up rat-arsed at the bar after a flight. Most of us sit in our rooms and micromanage our lives from a far, whilst our families seem to manage quite well without us. Apart from the missing dog collar and the fact that Kid 4 only has one school shoe because the puppy ate the other.
The next day, you are back in a metal tube with a bunch of strangers, and you have a right laugh for another day being hurled across oceans and landmasses back to base, and then you all air kiss and wave and call each other darling (mostly because after all this time you still can’t remember their names) and then? You never see each other again. You rarely make lasting friends, of course you do gel with some people, and hey, I met my husband, a dashing cabin crew member who flirted relentlessly with me over a trolley, and spilt hot tea on my hand before offering to take me on a date. So yes, true love does happen. Sometimes. It’s rare, but it does.
So, should I write an airline romance? Well, I kind of did. What if it all goes right? Is a short novella where three cabin crew members get themselves stuck in a triangle of confused feelings and hurt. This novella is available in KU if it takes your fancy, and the follow-up will land next year where you will meet the most hilarious messy gang of cabin crew. Fasten your seatbelts and get ready for Viking Airlines, coming to a kindle near you in late 2021.
So, to round this little essay up, do I actually write about what I know? The answer is yes. My books are full of imperfect human beings, who have big messy families, they work hard and play harder. My books are the place where things go wrong, but at the end of the day? My book people, they love each other, and their love lasts a lifetime. And I know all these characters really well. If you loved Little Harbour, the messy tale of Jens and Axel finding out that being a family is bloody hard, and that kids are not the perfect little humans we expect? You will laugh when I tell you that that book was written at my kitchen table, whilst my own brood argued and smeared themselves with Nutella, throwing food fights and arguing, as I ate cheese doodles and drank coffee. Those kids are all real, and they still all squat in the house I call home. Open Water is full of the professions of friends and family who endlessly supported me and answered all my weird questions. 717 miles? I spent two years as an Aupair in my youth, and Felix Mother Birgit? Ahem. I think I don’t need to say anymore. She is me, the best and the worst of my sometimes insane Mothering skills.
In this Bed of Snowflakes we Lie, was last year’s Christmas release, a story of a bunch of students sharing a University dorm in Oslo. There is Oskar, the nerdy runner who hides himself away to keep himself sane. There is the extroverted Erik, the ringleader of the cool guys, the golden boy with a seemingly endless line of friends. There is a family bound by love, where Christmas is all about laughter and food, yet there are secrets that need to be aired, and bravery that needs to be found. I hope that it will bring you a warm fuzzy feeling of holiday cheer as Erik and Oskar find their way in the world over a few weeks in December, where pizza is eaten, slippers are worn and snowflakes are falling all over the place.
This year? I decided to push myself harder and write a book about foolish Christmas dates, and ships that nobody knows how to captain. A little bit like myself and all of my brilliant ideas, this story spiralled helplessly out of control as Car sales manager Andreas pretty much hijacked himself into Luca Germano’s bed, head and heart. There was also some new to me kinky ideas that made their way onto paper, so please read the trigger warnings before you choke on your mulled wine. Ahem. The book contains neither ships or Captains, but refers to Plato’s Ship of Fools, of a crew where everyone tries to steer the ship when nobody actually knows what on earth they are doing. That summarizes the story in a very Christmassy little nutshell.
Ship of Fools is out on Dec 1.
I write what I know, and then sometimes I write about things I know absolutely nothing about. But it all turns out well in the end, I hope.
Stay safe and have a wonderful Christmas.
Thank you for reading,
I’m probably daydreaming again, because I didn’t notice him coming back, but there he is, standing in the doorway wearing… like every piece of clothing he owns. Joggers, jumper hoodie and a dressing gown on top. And socks. Like he is trying to hide inside a mountain of clothes. Or he might just have been really cold, despite the flat being nice and cosy.
“Do you own any more clothes to wear?” I say, and let a stupid giggle slip. “You could fit another coat on top… it’s Christmas, so perhaps gloves and hat?”
“This is not a hookup.” He says briskly, clearly not appreciating my silliness. He walks up and removes the teabag from the first mug. Then the other. Like he’s trying to help, yet his hands are shaking.
“This is not a hookup.” I say, slowly folding my arms over my chest. “This is a cup of tea and a biscuit in your flat. Nothing more, nothing else.”
Links to the books mentioned :
Andreas Mitchell is single, stupid and bored, and should have a good long think about the amount of bad life choices he has made lately. Instead he heads straight for the one guy he knows will become his worst mistake yet.
Luca Germano makes no choices at all, instead he lives quietly in the background, and prefers the safety of his own hand to risking his heart. And someone as pretty and fearless as Andreas Mitchell, is the last person on earth he should let into his life.
Especially at Christmas.
This is a work of fantasy and fiction. This story contains descriptions of sexual roleplay and consensual violence, and elements of mild BDSM, which are not intended to be taken seriously, or imitate real life. Please read with caution if these
themes might trigger or upset you.
Find more stories from the fictional British town of Chistleworth, in Custard and Kisses (free to download from Prolific Works) and This thing with Charlie (part of the Winter Wonderland giveaway starting on Jan 1, 2021)
Sophia Soames is a Scandinavian born, British Author who writes modern M/M fairy tales of love lost and found in the midst of life and family. Her stories are all contemporary tales of real men who stumble their way awkwardly through life until they find their very own Happily Ever After.
She a mother of a bunch of feral kids, two fur babies and a never ending line of awesome AuPair’s who makes her life supremely and hilariously fantastic. She is married to Harry Styles….nah, not really, but her husband is pretty awesome too and quite happy to wear ballgowns on special occasions.
She has spent the last two years populating her Amazon KU account with stories of Single Fathers and Northern men in the Scandinavian Comfort series, Norwegian Aupairs in London in the 717miles books, and now the time has come to meet the men of the Fictional British town of Chistleworth. In Ship of Fools you will meet Luca and Andreas, as they figure out that sexual chemistry is the least of their concerns over Christmas. Look out for the free Chistleworth bonus story, where Charlie will get his happily ever after, coming in January as part of the Winter Wonderland giveaway. Finally the Short story Custard and Kisses is set in the same Chistleworth universe, and is available as a free download from Prolific Works.
Her next venture is a series set in the Clouds Hotel in London, where the glamour of a busy inner-city hotel, meets unexpected moments of love and lust.
Connect with Sophia on all social media platforms @sophiasoames.
FaceBook Reader’s Group: Sophia Soames’ Little Harbour.
I sincerely hope you enjoy Ship of Fools, and if you did? Feel free to connect, or leave a honest review on Amazon or Goodreads. I look forwards to hearing from you!
Stay safe. All the love, always. Sophia x