ARABESQUE ROMANCE NEWS 2001
Q. What lead to your decision to write romance novels?
R. The first romance I ever read was a novel by Barbara Delinsky called 'Special Something'. I was 22 years old and was at the time writing children's books. The challenge of writing a black romance suddenly appealed to me. I felt deeply motivated by a strong sense of taking control of black imagery and dispensing with negative stereotypes. Using the romance genre as a platform to work from was my initial step toward that goal.
Q. When you first began to submit your novels to publishers, how difficult was it for you to get published?
R. England, where publishers still have a very Victorian attitude toward novels, was not the right place to submit my ideas for diversity in romance. Usually, my work was returned to me as fast as the Royal Mail would allow. I knew then that I would have to turn my attentions toward America, where fortunately, I got lucky.
Q. Despite all your success as a romance author, have you ever considered exploring another genre?
R. Broadening my horizons has crossed my mind. I have recently graduated with a Masters Degree in Writing and would love to work on a hardcover. But at the moment, I have no plans to let my fans down as a romance novelist.
Q. Has anyone in your life ever been an influence on a character in one of your novels?
R. I've never based a character on one single person. I find it's what someone may say to me that triggers things. Also the rich tapestry of my Caribbean family history allows me to explore avenues to enrich my characters.
Q. Among the characters that you have created in your novels, do you have a personal favorite?
R. I enjoyed developing Shay Brentwood from Roses Are Red and Violets Are Blue. He's a wonderful hero and I tried very much to model him on a picture I'd seen of the actor, Mario Van Peebles. Shay Brentwood was certainly a favorite among my reviewers, too, which gave me a sense of accomplishment.
Q. Who are some of your favorite authors and how have they influenced you in your own writing?
R. Shirley Conrad was the first author to influence my writing style when I was much younger and read her bestseller 'Lace.' I also enjoy Chester Himes and still have giggles when I re-read 'A Rage in Harlem.'
Q. Tell us a bit about the research involved in writing romance novels.
R. Researching a novel is very hard work. For instance, Wade Beresford from Infatuation has an Afro-Italian background. I was able to date his family history by researching the role West Indian servicemen and women played during the Second World War. My latest hero, Professor Theophilus de Cordova from Possession is Afro-Brazilian. He's also a scientist. I was able to indulge on some of the wonderful achievements black scientists have pioneered around the world by checking patent records. It's worthwhile stuff.
Q. Is this why you enjoy writing romance, to create such wonderful stories?
R. I enjoy the power of developing strong black images and role models. Also what goes on between the two lovers can be quite intriguing. The fun part is reaching the end, just to see how it all turns out.
BBC WORLD SERVICE ONLINE INTERVIEW 2002
Sonia Icilyn talks to us about her origins, her books and the language she uses. To listen to Soniaís online voice interview on how she began writing, her views on carefully tailoring the use of English, Patois and Eubonics in her work and what shapes her ideas to enliven the minds of her readers, why not log onto the British Broadcasting Corporationís Website and click onto Black History Month.
Click here to visit the BBC World service website
SHADES OF ROMANCE MAGAZINE 2001
Shades Of Romance magazine interviewed Sonia about her books. Log on to their website to read more ...
Click here to visit the Shades Of Romance Magazine website
Sonia Icilyn loves to hear from her
readers. Please contact her.
Back to previous page
Back to top
This page, and all contents, are Copyright ©1998 - 2006
The Peacock Company
Designed by M Gordon
This page was last updated 01/07/2006