Author Interview with Sonnia

Author Interview with Sonnia

interviewed on Jan 26, 2021 Gurgaon
Q. How would you describe yourself?
I am a leadership and career coach and have over two decades of professional experience. As a proven sales leader who has worked with well-known hospitality brands like The Oberoi Group, Accor Hotels etc. I have some great teams and developed some exceptional managers which resulted in improved organizational performance. I have coached high performers on their achievements and successes.

As a life coach, I work with people to unlock their true potential and accelerate their growth to achieve success in their lives. I work with organizations to develop their managers to senior roles and improve their performance. I do coach a variety of individuals, and my specialty is working with smart successful folks - people who want to take charge of their life or advance their careers and want to achieve success. My coaching enables clients to develop their leadership skills, life skills, or overcome limiting beliefs to achieve their goals. As a career transition coach affiliated with Randstad Risesmart currently, I help people transition careers and reorient career paths.
I like to travel, and I like to meet people. Trying various cuisines is something I always look forward to and I occasionally indulge in baking some goodies. I am an avid reader and love to pen my thoughts. I have lately taken to gardening and crafts and thoroughly enjoy my 'me' time!
Q. Tell us something about the books that you have written and the story behind them.
I have written a book called The Turning Points 1965 war. It is a collection of 25 short stories meant to be an easy read for those not from a Military background.
The turning points are the points or the situation during the war when the eventual outcome got re-defined. Each story highlights the point of no return wherein the position of a seeming defeat of India was turned around to that of victory thanks to the grit of our soldiers and the strategic planning of the military commanders. Despite being outnumbered and having outdated equipment the Indian side turned from a defensive position to offensive stance - wherein The Hunters became the Hunted!

The book is about strategy and tactics that changed the course of History forever. I have deliberately not dwelt on battalion formations and division compositions so as to make easy reading for everyone. My effort here is a tiny tribute to recognize the individual acts of bravery, strategic thinking and the leadership of individuals in a world where life and death do an interchangeable dance.
They are all Heroes - some living and some who attained glory - whether awarded plaques or not. They have risen to the occasion as demanded in the line of duty but never let their men, comrades or Country down. It was and continues to be Nation First for these Men – Men of substance, Men of honor and Men of courage.
Q. What place does writing hold in your life, how has been your writing journey so far?
Writing is something I used to do well as a teen-ager, and, then life happened. As much as I loved to reflect and pen down my thoughts, it took a backseat when I was in a corporate job, but I decided to pick up the pen again on a vacation. I had gone to Ahmednagar Cantt. 3 years back and had gone to see a display of tanks in the museum. I 'met 'a tank with 'Attar Uttar' written on it and I thought it was an odd name for a tank. But then my Father explained that it was not the tanks name (it is common for Commanders in the Army to give a name to their tank as that is their companion in the war) but a name of a place in Punjab where the most extraordinary battle was fought in 1965. My interest was roused and I researched and was startled to discover that it was a heroic war and this particular battle's strategy was taught in some renowned war colleges in the World! And we Indians had no idea. That is when I decided to pick up the pen again and highlight this and other stories that have been forgotten in the sands of time. I intend to continue with it ad am already on the turning points of the 1971 War.
Q. What is your writing process, a typical writing day routine?
I do not have a typical writing day honestly. I have coaching sessions being a life and career coach and usually sit down in an evening after dinner to do the research and writing that I need to do. There are many days I go without writing at all and sometimes a frenzy takes over and I will end up putting notes, expanding and just typing furiously into my laptop.
Q. What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I would say I find word-of-mouth as a honest feedback and great marketing channel though it does take time to get the sales. Social media is an effective platform however I am not a believer in ads. The groups on social media are pretty effective.
Q. What do you think makes a book sell, or makes a reader buy it?
A reader buys books primarily because he is either recommended that book and either knows the person or knows of the person who wrote it. 50% readers buy the book based on the cover. A book also sells because it gets good reviews, and/or gets promoted/referred on social media well.
Q. What's the most moving or affecting thing a reader has said to you?
I was really touched when one reader wrote on Amazon a heartfelt review on how one of my stories about a pilot who went MIA brought tears to his eyes - he could feel the emotion so strongly for the Hero of that story.
Q. What are your favourite three books, and why?
My favorite 3 books and they are all in different genres are:
1. The Palace of illusions - A Story on the epic 'Mahabharata' through the eyes of Draupadi. A feminist interpretation through a glorious Queen who lived in a patriarchal system and was empowered in that time in History and who changed the destiny of so many people.
2. The subtle Art of not giving a f*ck - As it promises, a key to finding your own empowerment and conquering your trials and tribulations through what works for you and not necessarily what is considered the 'good' barometer. A refreshing way to a grounded life.
3. The obstacle is the way - The ancient art of turning adversity into advantage. A great read as it evolved as a strategy from the battlefield to the boardroom
Q. Who are your favourite three authors and what do you like the most about them?
William Dalrymple - As a historian and a travel writer he manages to transform a normal scene into one that is more vivid and imaginative. His passion for India and her past is apparent in the novels he writes.
Paul Coelho - He writes about personal success and fulfilment - and well embodies what he writes. As a global guru he walks the talk of his success stories.
Jodi Picoult - She is a fascinating story teller. Each of her novels tackles a moral dilemma, told through multiple viewpoints. Always a fascinating read.
Q. Tell us about the books that you are currently writing and their progress.
I have recently started on my next book which is The Turning Points of the 1971 war - a compilation of acts of heroic deeds in the 1971 war of India & Pakistan and focus on the situations which turned things around for India. And, again this is a tribute to those who kept the vigil going and ensured that our tricolor continues to fly high.
Q. What challenges do you think are faced by writers, what's the worst thing about the book industry according to you?
There are numerous challenges a writer faces at the start - the sheer project of writing can appear overwhelming to start with. But like all projects once you start writing, then you go with the flow. Hunting for a publisher can be the biggest consuming task - you have to spend time to go through referrals. It is good to research them, speak to them and agree on the publishing terms. It s essential to go with the ones who can help the Author in the marketing efforts too and have a good team of editors, design etc.
Many Authors avoid the top publishing firms as most do not respond back or have extensively long periods of response.
The book industry has evolved considerably in India and now most Authors are able to self publish thanks to Amazon's self publishing platform.
Q. Apart from writing, what goals do you want to achieve in life?
I have many goals in life and as a life coach I aim to pursue mine as well as encourage everyone to focus on theirs. Pursuing financial, relationship, career, personal development, health and wellness and spiritual goals are all work-in-progress at this time :)
Q. At QwertyThoughts.com, we are trying to bring authors and readers under the same roof, to connect, discuss and socialize over books. What's your take on this?
I would say QwertyThoughts is extremely forward thinking in this aspect. A book invariably opens up a magical connection between an Author and a Reader. Every reader responds differently to a book's content and yet feels connected to the Author and a platform that can give the opportunity for the reader to ask the Author on what made them write a particular piece would be soul satisfying. For an Author to know how their piece got interpreted would be an eye opener too. A win-win!
Q. What message do you want to share with budding writers?
A good reader does make a good writer. Keep a notepad on you at all times to jot down sudden ideas and thoughts. Avoid those who discourage you. Spend enough time editing it and re-editing it. Take the time to research your publisher if not self publishing. Spend some thoughts on who your target audience is because you will need to market it to them.

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I am passionate about what I do and am a people's person, results oriented and believe in encouraging people to achieve success
About the author
Sonnia has worked in the hospitality industry for over two decades, gaining experience in customer management, sales training, strategy development, image consulting and career development. As a seasoned human she is passionate about advancing people’s careers and life experiences. In addition she is also involved in travel planning, experiential food trails, soft skill training, career counseling and life coaching. Right people for the right career....more