Author Interview with Sonya Solomonovich

Last summer, I ran a promotion for The Eye-Dancers.  During that promo, Sonya Solomonovich purchased a copy of the book.  Later that fall, she took the time to interview me on her website.  It was a fun interview, as she aimed several of her questions at the main characters of The Eye-DancersMitchell, Joe, Ryan, and Marc had a great time answering her questions, and so did I.

So when she announced the release of her new novel, Dryad, it was an easy decision for me.  I purchased a copy, and genuinely enjoyed the book.  I also wanted to reciprocate and interview her–along with several characters in her book.



What follows is my interview with Sonya, and Solena, and Tyler, and . . . well, you get the idea.

I hope you enjoy the interview!


1.  The main character of Dryad is, well, a dryad!  Have you always been interested in dryads?  Or is it something that you’ve recently discovered and wanted to write about?

I’ve always been interested in Greek Mythology but not so much in dryads.  The idea for Dryad emerged when a friend of mine suggested I should write about a dryad from the Amazon rainforest climbing the corporate ladder.

2. As a writer myself, I am always fascinated by ideas–how they strike, when they hit, and how complete they are when they do come.  With Dryad, did the idea hit you all at once?  Or was it gradual–a scenario here, a character there, a scene there, and you had to build it slowly, over time?

I’m so bad at coming up with ideas for my own books.  It was really a friend of mine who came up with this idea–and wrote it down on a napkin for me–but then gradually I started building on it.  For a while I was considering the main character to be a male dryad, but then I changed it to a female.  Then I decided to add a time travel element and the talking alligator.  Then I forgot all about it for a couple of years.  Finally, it all came together when I realized I wanted to write an adventure that would be both silly and epic, and by that time most of the characters were already in place.

3.  Solena, the main character of Dryad, is a dryad who sympathizes with humans and who takes on the appearance and identity of a human for the majority of the novel.  How much of yourself would you say is a part of her?  Are you a lot like Solena?  Or is she the polar opposite of you?

I have to admit I’m a lot like her.  Sometimes I think I’m a different species and I’m still trying to figure out what humans are all about 🙂  Also, like Solena, I’m a romantic and I enjoy all the superficial glamour and glitz of Hollywood and pop culture.  I think it’s okay to do that in moderation.

4.  The character of Teddy Goldman intrigued me–a self-help guru who, for years, even as a best-selling writer, had his better-looking brother pose for him in PR photographs.  Did any real-life self-help or celebrity personality serve as an inspiration for Teddy Goldman?

I’m glad you asked this question because I love self-help books.  Some are funny and ridiculous, while some are really helpful.  Teddy Goldman is mostly based on fitness guru Matt Furey, who calls himself “Zen Master of the Internet.”  There are a lot of similarities there because Matt Furey is a martial artist who also writes on other diverse self-help topics.  Initially it was meant to be just a small joke, but then he became a more and more important part of the plot.  Then there came a moment when I thought, wait a minute, this character is too perfect.  So that was when I decided he is actually not hunky and has a limp and a better-looking brother.

5.  One of the central themes of Dryad is respecting the environment.  Is this something you have always been passionate about, and do you often incorporate this into your fiction?

I didn’t really become interested in the environment until about two years ago, when I moved to the west coast of Canada.  Everyone here is so environmentally conscious that I couldn’t help but get into the spirit.  And of course, I love animals so it finally dawned on me that animals can’t survive without a habitat!


And now, here are questions for the characters themselves!

1.  Tyler–you are quite the unique character–a talking alligator!  Do the alligators who cannot talk resent you?  Do you have trouble “fitting in” with other alligators?  And do you feel more “at home” with humans than with alligators?

Man, I don’t want to fit in with those yokels, the other alligators.  I’m sure they resent me, and I just love being resented: it means I’ve made it big!  I’m a hotshot executive now, and I’m much happier with my human friends and frenemies.  My life is like some sort of crazy reality show.

2.  Solena–you of course are a dryad.  But over the course of the novel, you take on the appearance and identity of a human and spend a lot of time with other humans.  You even have a romantic relationship with one.  What do you feel are the main differences between humans and dryads?  And what can we teach each other and learn from each other?

That’s a really good question, Mike.  Humans have so many different arts and sciences that there is almost no limit on what they can do!  They could certainly teach dryads to be more innovative.  On the other hand, dryads are good at being happy with what they have.  They inhabit the natural world and are in harmony with it.  (Some) humans could learn from us to connect with nature and enjoy life!

3.  Roger St, Amour, as a seventeenth-century pirate transported to the twenty-first century, what are your thoughts of our way of life today?  We’ve progressed a great deal as a society in terms of knowledge and technology.  But, in your eyes, have we lost anything precious along the way?

Aye, we have lost much of what makes a man feel alive.  How is it that you ride about in magical carriages and yet do not feel a sense of freedom?  A man cannot go anywhere without everyone knowing where he is and sending him those blasted emails.  I’m setting a course back to the seventeenth century as soon as I can!

4.  Sir Lancelot and Gawaine!  Knights of the round table, and, along with St. Amour and others, time travelers from the distant past.  The two of you are the epitome of chivalry.  Based on your observations, is chivalry still alive in the twenty-first century?

Aye and nay…  There is much amiss in this world, and chivalry does not rule the day.  Yet we have seen many ladies and gentlemen fighting against injustice, and that is the most important part of chivalry, methinks.

And, we will finish with Sonya–one last question!

Do you have a sequel for Dryad planned?  What are some of the writing projects you will work on next?

As a matter of fact I do!  I’d like to write a sequel with the knights and Jackson (St. Amour’s lieutenant) as the main characters.  So far they have been minor characters, but maybe they should go on their own time-travel adventure.  Right now, I’m taking a break from writing but I’m sure I’ll come up with a new novel or screenplay one of these days.





Sonya Solomonovich has been a journalist, a teacher, and an editor. She briefly flirted with the idea of becoming a fitness instructor, but then realized that what she enjoys most is writing novels. Sonya is passionate about all things swashbuckling and seafaring. She lives in Vancouver, Canada.

You can connect with Sonya on her website and Goodreads.

If you’d like to buy a copy of Dryad, please click here.

Thanks so much to Sonya (and Tyler, and Solena, and . . .) for doing this interview, and thanks so much to everyone for reading!


Quiet Moments, Green Meadows

“Everything in life is writable about,” Sylvia Plath once said, “if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.”




Sure, large events are worth writing about, both joyous as well as painful–perhaps a wedding, a graduation, a medal of honor; a death, an accident, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity lost.



Who among us hasn’t experienced life-changing moments, moments we want to record on paper or in song, on canvas or in film?  This is at the heart of what it means to create art . . . to take an experience, highly personal and unique to you, and then share it with the world, making it, as if by magic, accessible to everyone, a universal tribute to the human condition.



But what about the small moments, the quiet times, the everyday jobs?  What about that time you shared a lighthearted conversation with a friend, or had lunch with a coworker?  What about the special meal you prepared last Thursday or the audiobook you’re listening to as you commute to your job each morning?



Are these things writable too?


Every year, on a weekend in May, I take the seven-hour drive from the hills of east-central Vermont, where I live, to Rochester, New York, where I grew up.  This year, that weekend has arrived.  I’ll be heading out first thing tomorrow morning.



I always enjoy the drive.  May in the northeastern U.S. is a special time, a time made for driving across the countryside.  Lilacs bloom, showering the land with a riot of color–deep pink, lily white, warm purple.  Tall grasses, lush-green, sway in the breeze.  And the trees, bare and gray for so many months, are now bedecked with the leafy accoutrements of spring.



The towns, too, are alive, as if awakening from a winter-long slumber.  Before merging onto the New York State Thruway, I travel through places with names like Hudson Falls, Schuylerville, Fort Ann, and Fonda.  Small towns, old towns, with local diners and rambling farmhouses and village squares that, very easily, I can imagine as cinematic set pieces for a Frank Capra classic.  It’s all very nostalgic, and it creates in me a stirring, a yearning, an appreciation.



Driving through the towns, I see children playing catch, a lemonade stand on the corner, a couple walking their dog.  And I realize–it’s good to be alive on this spring day, in the 21st century.  It’s good to be going home.




I lived countless “little” moments in the house where I grew up, the house where my parents still live.  There were so many, in fact, they tend to merge in my mind, one upon another upon another, like an old home movie playing at triple speed.  But I remember.



I will always remember  . . .

. . . all the times I played with my brother.  We’d re-create baseball and football seasons with our favorite game, Strat-O-Matic.  Or we’d go into the backyard, and he would play quarterback and I would run routes, pretending I was playing in front of a hundred thousand fans on a Sunday afternoon.  I was just a kid, of course, nine years old, eleven, twelve, and at the time I may not have appreciated the attention my brother gave me as much as I should have.  But I’d like to think that, deep down, I did.  He is nine years older than me.  He was a junior in high school, a senior, then a college student, and still he found the time, and the desire, to be there for me.



Is that worth writing about?

Or what about my mother?  Some of my earliest memories are of her reading picture books to me.  I was three years old, and she play-acted the scenes and made the stories come alive, no doubt planting a seed, creating in me a love of reading and writing that would stay with me always.



Is that worth writing about?

Or what about my friends, who lived in the old neighborhood?  The same friends who inspired Mitchell Brant, Joe Marma, Ryan Swinton, and Marc Kuslanski in The Eye-Dancers, not to mention various supporting characters who pop up throughout the course of the novel.  I remember the games we invented, the trouble we got into, the things we would talk about on those clear summer nights when the stars, twinkling like precious diamonds, spread across the great dome of the sky.  We’d wonder–is there life up there, somewhere?  Are we really alone in the universe?  We didn’t think so.  Not then, and not now.



Is that worth writing about?


These quiet moments, these small moments, these green May meadows of the soul–soft with morning dew, carpeted with dandelions and velvety to the touch–are the sorts of places that encourage us to stop and linger for a while, to ponder where we’ve come from, and where we’re going.



To reflect on the ever-expanding, layered embroidery of our lives, the day-to-day happenings that comprise the bulk of who we are and what we do.  And what and who we love.

And that’s something worth writing about.



Thanks so much for reading!


Worlds without End

Have you ever been somewhere, just some random place on a normal, nondescript day, when, all of a sudden, it hits you?  You blink, once, twice, three times, trying to reorient your senses.  You look more closely at your surroundings, inspecting every detail, hoping to prove–or disprove–your suspicions.  But no matter what you do, or where you look, or how you try to rationalize, the conclusion is inescapable.


You know you’ve lived this moment before.

Deja vu is a phenomenon that science has never been able to explain with certainty.  It has tried, of course.  Many theories exist.  Perhaps memory itself is the root of the feeling.  Maybe, in moments of deja vu, we are remembering something similar, something partial–unable to make the necessary links to complete the picture.  Maybe there is a rational, scientific, perfectly logical explanation to all cases of deja vu.


Or maybe the answers are not so cut-and-dried.  Certainly, to anyone who has felt a strong sense of “having been there before” when they, in actuality, never have, an explanation of faulty memory or a perception that somehow has gone momentarily haywire might not satisfy.

I know it has never satisfied me.  I have experienced deja vu several times, but there was one episode in particular that stands out from the rest.

I was in a store I had never visited.  I knew this to be true because I had never even been to the town in which this store was located.  It was an old-fashioned country store, in the hills of southern Vermont, the kind of place you might expect to see in a Norman Rockwell painting, with hardwood floors, exposed ceiling beams, and an antique cash register, behind which stood a bespectacled woman with snow-white hair and a welcoming smile.


Immediately, upon entering, the feeling hit me, an almost out-of-body sensation.  In my mind’s eye, I saw myself–months ago, years ago?–walking down the aisles, browsing the merchandise, the dull thud of my shoes echoing against the sturdy wooden planks on the floor.  And when the woman behind the register waved, said, “Nice day, thanks for comin’ in,” I knew, knew, she had said those exact words to me before.


I took a deep breath, my head swirling.  I nearly walked out, then and there.  It was too strange, too uncanny.  I paused, thought . . . was I mistaken?  After all, I had been to several country stores throughout Vermont.  Maybe I’d forgotten.  Maybe I had visited this town, this store.  But no.  I was sure of it.  This was the first time.


I walked down one of the aisles, knowing what I would see before I saw it.  I turned into the next aisle, still feeling as if I were somehow hovering above, unseen, a film projector in hand, recording the past, yet playing it simultaneously, the very fabric of time wrapping in and around itself, with me stranded in its spinning, whirling center.  How could this be?  How could my memory of an event that had never transpired be so specific, so actual?


I purchased a small item, checked out.  When the clerk rang me up, I knew what she was going to say.  “Come back and see us again soon.”  I nodded, thanked her, and quickly left.  I have never been back.

Or, perhaps, without knowing it, I have. . . .


The Eye-Dancers, among other things, explores the concept of parallel worlds, of a layered reality, where universes lie, side by side, without any knowledge of each other.  And in these parallel worlds, we have other selves, other versions who go about their days and their lives, just as we do, running errands, picking up the mail, going to the dentist on rainy November mornings–most likely convinced that their universe is unique, the only one in all creation.


In The Eye-Dancers, after journeying through the void and while exploring the variant town of Colbyville, Mitchell Brant, Joe Marma, Ryan Swinton, and Marc Kuslanski are confronted with these issues head-on.  And while discussing their plight, Marc offers this explanation, from chapter 12 . . .

“Everything in existence fits together. . . . The smallest subatomic particle, the worst hurricane, the largest whale, the layers upon layers of reality.  All of it.  And what quantum mechanics tells us is–there are infinitely multiple versions of each of us.  Infinitely multiple versions of our earth.  You couldn’t even begin to count them all.”


Such an idea is difficult for the other boys to grasp, and Marc does admit:  “Infinity will blow your mind if you let it.”  But, given their situation, it is something they think about often.

In chapter 13, in a quiet moment, Joe Marma ponders it all.  The text reads:

“He thought about what Kuslanski had said earlier–worlds upon worlds, onward through infinity.  Each of us scattered throughout the various realities like fallen leaves from the same tree.”


Indeed, might this be the real reason behind deja vu?  Could it be when we feel a strong sensation of having done something we haven’t done, seen something we haven’t seen . . . could it be that some small, hidden aspect of our subconscious mind is remembering an event one of our alternate selves experienced?


Marc Kuslanski considers just this in chapter 18 . . .

“It made him wonder.  What we call the subconscious–how much of it is derived from other worlds, other selves, spread out through time and space?  How much of who we are, what we know, is but a small piece, interlocking with an ever-expanding, layered puzzle of an infinity of existences?”


Far-fetched?  Outlandish?  Perhaps.  But impossible?  Nothing is impossible.  So, you see, maybe I had in fact visited that Rockwell-esque country store before, after all.  And maybe I have again since . . .

. . . in a world far, far away, beyond the sign posts of our reality.  And yet, so close, close enough to almost remember, to almost touch and see.

Close enough that, if we listen, really listen, we can occasionally hear its echoes speaking to us, like soft whispers in the dark.


Thanks so much for reading!


An Awards Extravaganza, and . . . Breaking the Rules!

It’s always a great feeling when The Eye-Dancers receives a nomination for a blogging award.  Blogging awards offer us a wonderful way of spreading the goodwill that makes the WordPress community the special place it is.  And it is again with much appreciation and gratitude that I accept the nominations from several blogging friends.



Thanks to Anne at Tales Along the Way; Jennifer K. Marsh; and Janice at jemsbooks for nominating The Eye-Dancers for The Shauny Award for Blogging Excellence, The Sunshine Award, and The Inner Peace Award, respectively.  I was fortunate enough to have been nominated for these awards previously, but I wanted to thank all three of these wonderful bloggers!  If you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting their sites, I strongly urge you to do so!


Within the past few weeks, The Eye-Dancers has been nominated for three new awards. . . .

Thanks to Janice at jemsbooks for The Butterfly Light Award.  Janice has been a steadfast and ongoing supporter of The Eye-Dancers, and I can’t thank her enough.  I hope you’ll check out her great blog, and download her wonderful books!



Conditions For Accepting The Award

Here are the conditions for accepting the award :

1. You must write an acceptance post, making sure you link back to the blogger who awarded you and thank them. You MAY NOT lump this award in with a batch of other awards.  [Oops!  This is the first rule I am breaking in this post!]

2. You must individually name and re-award to a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 9999999 bloggers. You must let them know either personally with a comment on their blog OR a pingback (I’d suggest their about page) [Hmm, this is the second rule I am breaking . . .]

3. You must link back to Belinda’s blog either to OR

4. You must write a short paragraph (yes only one paragraph – damn this is easy) – Entitled either “How I’m Spreading Light” OR “How I’m A Positive Influence”

5. Display Belinda’s lovely “Butterfly Light Award” badge on your blog.


“How I’m A Positive Influence”

Honestly, this one was tough!  It feels a little egotistical to use such a heading.  But one thing I hope The Eye-Dancers site has done, and continues to do, is to encourage everyone to unleash the creative powers within, to let them out with a flourish.  Tell your story.  Sing your song.  Paint your picture.  Do what you love, and then share it with the world.  Only you can tell your story.



As for the blogs I nominate, please keep reading!


Thank you to Jennifer K. Marsh for The Imagine Award.  Jennifer has supported The Eye-Dancers for the long haul, and I very much appreciate it!  She has a wonderful blog (more on this in a minute), and is a very talented author.



The purpose of The Imagine Award is to highlight blogs which make special use of creativity and passion.

According to the rules, I must nominate 3-5 blogs for the award  [more on this later–more rule-breaking, I’m afraid!] as well as state 3-5 reasons why I like Jennifer’s blog . . .


Jennifer’s site is great.  There are many reasons for this.  Here are five . . .

1.  She has a deep appreciation for nature and the environment.  Her posts reflect this, her words portray this.  As a fellow nature lover myself, this is something I genuinely appreciate and admire about Jennifer and her blog.

2. Jennifer is a highly creative and imaginative person, and her posts have the ability to lift me up on wings, enabling me to fly high overhead, and enjoy the view.  She is a talented wordsmith and a dreamer of dreams.

3.  Jennifer has a wonderful sense of humor.  Regardless of what type of post she is writing, her humor shines through.

4.  She is very honest, open, and holds nothing back.  Jennifer will post on subjects that mean a great deal to her, and is not afraid of sharing her heart with her readers.  This, combined with her fantastic sense of humor, truly makes her blog a very personal and heartfelt reading experience.

5.  Jennifer exhibits a tremendous variety in her posts.  From one post to the next, she keeps things fresh and unpredictable.  And when it comes to creative writing, unpredictable is good!



So for these reasons and many more, I hope you will visit Jennifer’s blog!


And thanks so much  to Alisha Williams at Poemotherapi Shoppe for The Paragon of Fine Art Blogger Award nomination!  Alisha’s blog is a creative cornucopia of beautiful words and images.  She is a very talented and accomplished poet.  I am sure you will enjoy visiting her site as much as I do!



The Paragon of Fine Art Blogger Award celebrates bloggers who love art.

Rules for the acceptance of this award:

  • Along with the acceptance of the PFAB Award please post anything that would express your love for art, it may be in a form of a painting, a photograph, an illustration, a poem or essay, anything done for the love of art.
  • Choose 6 bloggers who should merit the said award.  [I think you know where I’m going with this by now!]
  • Notify the deserving bloggers of the award, let them know the rules.
  • Acknowledge the presenter of this award by linking back.
  • Pin the Ajay-inspired badge on your blog.


For this award, I wanted to write a few words on why art is important to me and, indeed, to the world.

It’s an age-old debate.  Does art reflect life?  Or does life reflect art?  To me, both aspects are true.

Art certainly reflects life.  Any artist–writer, painter, singer, etc.–brings their own experiences, their triumphs, failures, loves, and losses into their art, into the things they create.  This much is irrefutable.

But the reverse is also true, and it provides the more important aspect of this life/art, art/life duality.  Ray Bradbury was once interrogated by the police for walking around the streets of his neighborhood at night.  His crime?  Simply walking, thinking, being.  Out of this experience, he created “The Pedestrian,” a futuristic little tale that depicts a world where everyone remains indoors, hidden away from the world, existing within the confines of their walls, glued to their televisions and trapped in a virtual, artificial reality.  This is art.  Taking a personal experience and broadening it, crafting an imaginary tale that on one hand transports us to a faraway world, while on the other forces us to look at our own society, our own laws and mores, our own selves.



And by doing this, art shapes our lives.  It causes us to think about things we may not otherwise have considered, it causes us to see the old with a new pair of eyes, with a new point of view.


It’s always very difficult nominating just a few bloggers for each award.  There are so many wonderful blogs out there, selecting only five or ten or fifteen is virtually impossible.  And the truth is, it is all of you, everyone in the WordPress community, that makes The Eye-Dancers blog so much fun for me.

And so, I would like to share each award mentioned here–The Shauny Award, The Sunshine Award, The Inner Peace Award, The Butterfly Light Award, The Imagine Award, and The Paragon of Fine Arts Blogging Award–with each and every follower of The Eye-Dancers site.  I hope you’ll choose to accept at least one of these awards, and, perhaps, all of them!



Thanks so much for all of your ongoing support!  It means the world to me.  And thanks so much, as always, for reading!


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