Today we travel to the Mediterranean island of Cyprus to chat with Sonia Kilvington about how becoming a journalist, teaching ESL, being accused of stealing, and The Invisible Man come together as part of Sonia’s past and present life.
In which genre do you write?
I write in many different genres as I like to challenge myself, and I don’t want my writing to be predictable. I began writing murder mysteries and have two books with a detective, who moved out to Cyprus at the same time as I did! Over the last couple of years, I have concentrated upon writing short stories, in noir, crime, psychological horror and a couple of ghost stories. To push my boundaries, I decided to write a science fiction story, and I came up with the idea of infusing human emotions into a ‘companion android’ who would not have the emotional intelligence to control or understand them. The story is called ‘Perfect Love,’ and it’s the best thing I ever have written. Its included in my short story collection; Nightmare Asylum & Other Deadly Delights.
Can you tell me something interesting about your career path – were you always a writer?
I became a journalist by accident after moving to Cyprus. I submitted a couple of poems and a short story to two local magazines, both of whom contacted me and asked me to write articles, features and do interviews for them. It wasn’t paid work, but there were some nice perks, and I learnt a lot about how to structure ‘real’ stories and features. I eventually moved on to write for a business magazine and a gorgeous Russian glossy based in Limassol, as a staff journalist. After the financial crash, all of the magazines closed and I worked freelance for quite a while, before finding a passion for teaching ESL to Chinese children online; which is a job that I am currently enjoying.
Has the Covid19 virus changed the way you work?
The children that I teach have been trapped inside their apartments for months. Most of them are tired and bored, and they complain about getting too much homework from their online schools. Sometimes they can be a little boisterous as they cannot run-around outside to burn off any excess energy. I have been teaching most of them for two years; bonds have been made, and I feel privileged to watch them grow up and be a small part of their lives. With the current situation, I try to be more patient and tolerant. I attempt to keep the lessons light and fun. The Chinese company that I work for has been very good to me. I enjoy working with people from other cultures, as there is always something new and different to learn. I think this keeps me sharp and more connected to the world, which, in turn, improves my writing.
What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you?
When I was at university, I used to dream about being a writer and would write at home, not daring to show my work to anyone as I suspected I didn’t have much talent or many skills. One day in a literature class, we were asked to copy the style of a war poet, write a line and read it out loud. When my turn came to speak, the lecturer, whom I didn’t like at all, glared at me and said, “You stole that, I’m sure it’s from somewhere… but I can’t quite place it.” I was mortified to be accused of cheating until I realized – she can’t tell the difference, and she has studied this poet for years… It was a weird, light bulb moment, as a sneaky little voice whispered into my ear “what if you really can write?”
Which of your personality traits has been most useful, and why?
My husband says I am dogged; I don’t give up trying, because I find it difficult to let go of things even if they are not working. It’s a blessing and a curse.
At this stage in your life, what advice would your young self give to your more mature self?
Never lose your sense of fun, or give up on your dreams.
What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?
I watched the new version of ‘The Invisible Man’. It was 5 a.m., and I was wide awake, looking for something to do. I really enjoyed the old black and white version with the guy swathed in bandages, wearing dark glasses. It’s a great story, so I thought I’d watch the new movie starring Elizabeth Moss. I love her acting in the ‘Handmaid’s Tale,’ as her character June/Offred, uses cunning and ingenuity to survive. Miss Moss has a lovely face, but she is never ashamed of looking ugly or evil, and there is no thought, fear or idea that she seems afraid to communicate. She excels in playing characters which are simultaneously a victim and an aggressor, and I enjoy the dramatic tension this brings to her performances. It’s something I have tried to recreate in the characters in my own stories, especially ‘Women’s Work.’ Modern technology has moved on dramatically since the first movie came out, and this hi-tech version didn’t disappoint.
If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why.
I wouldn’t want to be any of my characters in Nightmare Asylum, as they don’t have an easy time of it! Although, I’m part of those characters, as they all contain elements of me and my experience; but in disguise.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?
People always say the same thing about my writing – I would never have dreamt that you wrote that, as it’s so unlike you. In real life, I try to be a positive person and help others when I can. I don’t really know where the dark stories come from, but I have learnt that the nightmares must be a part of me. My story Nightmare Asylum is based on a reoccurring dream that I had in my twenties. I combined it with my belief in the paranormal, to make something I hope is quite frightening. It certainly frightened me…
What’s your favourite place to visit in your country and why?
I love to visit Polis in my home for the holidays. It’s a beautiful place and we have found a nice secluded hotel where they make their own jam and preserves. There is no entertainment so, it’s a quiet place to write, and if you do manage to be awake at 5 a.m., you can go to the beach and watch the baby turtles hatch and tear along the sand, throwing themselves recklessly, headlong into the tide. It’s a wonderful experience to watch.
Tell us about your most recent book.
My most recent book is an eclectic collection of short stories, ‘Nightmare Asylum & Other Deadly Delights.
It was wonderful to have you on MTA and to learn more about you and your writings. Wishing you all the best Sonia! – Camilla
Nightmare Asylum – Despised by day, tortured by night.
A midwifery student’s life disintegrates into a terrifying nightmare, after a disturbing encounter with the notorious child killer, Evelyn Green. Dark secrets from Lydia’s past unleash a truth that conjures her fears into unspeakable horror.
Other Deadly Delights – Tales from the psychotically unsound and deadly deluded.
A stalker turns serial killer; a cleaning lady is imprisoned in the basement, there’s a prophetic warning for a woman in peril, and an android with love addiction, plus many more… a deliciously dangerous collection of short stories, ranging from psychological horror to paranormal, sci-fi and noir.
Dare you enter the nightmare Asylum?
Where we can find it:
It’s available on Amazon in kindle and paperback versions, although I am still dreaming of an audiobook…
More about Sonia:
Sonia Kilvington is a journalist and fiction writer from the beautiful Mediterranean island of Cyprus. She has published many articles, travel features, short stories and interviews in glossy magazines. She loves to write dark and disturbing short stories in genres such as noir, crime, ghost and Sci-fi. Her online writing credits include Out of the Gutter Online, Spelk fiction, Pulp Metal Magazine & Near to the Knuckle. Her new short story collection, Nightmare Asylum & Other Deadly Delights – published by Close To The Bone, is available on Amazon.
Connect with Sonia:
FB writer’s page: https://www.facebook.com/soniafiction/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Soniacyprus (@Soniacyprus)
Contact email: [email protected]
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