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INTERVIEW: Sophia Karlson Admits Writing Love Scenes Isn't Easy

Welcome to the Tuesday Author Interview with Christina Boyd for the Who, What, When, Where, and Why.


I met Sophia Karlson last fall through Bianca Marais's Beta Reader Matchup for a romance story I am working on. Then I started following Sophia's social media, read one of her delicious romances, The Intern, and now I'm a fan.


CHRISTINA: Why did you choose the publishing path you chose: self-publish vs. traditional?


SOPHIA: I’m a hybrid author, having been traditionally published before I started self-publishing. There are merits to both. Every writer wants the validation that comes with a publishing house, but for me, the self-publishing route is faster, I have more control over the final product, and I don’t wave my rights goodbye for life. 


The Intern: A slow-burn, forbidden office romance. Published September 27, 2022

CHRISTINA: Good points! I think, especially once you build a following like yours, the idea is less daunting.


What is your current project or latest release?


SOPHIA: In 2023, my family moved from Toronto to Vancouver for my husband’s work. The process really redefines hell, and afterward, I found myself at a loss with my writing and my motivation. A close writing friend dared me to write a mafia romance, as my writing leans toward darker content. As NaNoWriMo was coming up, I thought I might as well do something with what was left of 2023. I signed up for two things I always vowed I'd never do: write a mafia book and NaNoWriMo and… Surprise! I loved doing both. Contemporary romance has a lot of constraints, believe it or not, but writing in a criminal network opens up new possibilities in a world where ‘anything goes.' I’m now plotting the next book in the series (I’ve committed to five in total), and it’s as if I’ve gotten my mojo back.

  

CHRISTINA: Love that you found something to energize your writing again. I'm looking forward to the new series.


Which of your own novels is your favorite?


SOPHIA: My favorite is One Sweet Summer, a small-town contemporary romance with a dyslexic hero who stutters, and a Miami beach babe who wants to cut ties with her parents’ interior design business and find herself. They must work together to build a tiny house for a reality show and sparks fly from page one. I wrote this during the peak of the first Covid lockdowns, mostly to deal with the construction noise from the McMansion they were building next to our small cottage. I love all my heroes, but this one has features of those I love dearly. I suppose, it was just a matter of time before such a man made it into one of my books.

 

CHRISTINA: Sounds like just the kind of contemporary romance to reel me in.


What makes you get up in the morning? What do you love?


SOPHIA: My dogs! I have two beagles, Phoebe and Frodo, and if I’m not up and about by seven-thirty they hunt me down. I’m an early bird and love the quiet of early mornings to write or plot, depending on where I’m at with a project. I’m often up and about by five-thirty in the mornings.


CHRISTINA: Same! I am an early riser, too, and find the quiet of the morning, sunrises, a lovely way to start the day. Plus, my silver Labrador's stomach is on a schedule that is more reliable than any alarm clock.


Favorite contemporary author:


SOPHIA: I am a Lucy Foley and Kate Quinn superfan! I love the worlds they create, the depth of their settings, characters, conflict, and clever plots.

  

CHRISTINA: What do you think makes a good story?


SOPHIA: What makes a good story has so many different answers. It depends on the genre and the reader. I think as long as the writer can get the reader to wonder ‘what’s going to happen next…let me turn the page and see,’ you have a good story. Some readers love high conflict and high stakes, others love a gentler read that is like comfort food. People also read for different reasons – to solve a crime before the inspector does, to be a hero (albeit in someone else’s shoes), to fall in love again. Every type of story will have its own attributes that will make it ‘good.’ There’s a time and place for everything, and luckily, we don’t all have to like the same thing. 'Read what you love' is my motto, and don’t finish it if it isn’t ‘good.’

 

Book cover with white couple, man with dark hair and beard and woman with long blonde hair embracing.
One Sweet Summer: A small town enemies to lovers romance (Ashleigh Lake Series Book 1). Published June 14, 2022

CHRISTINA: Yes, lawd, yes. I used to feel guilty if I didn't finish a book, but my to-be-read list is long and only getting longer. I've learned I can't waste time trying to read a book I am not enjoying. What is the point?


Have you gone on an author pilgrimage or research trip? Where and what was the most memorable moment?


SOPHIA: Some of my books are based in East Africa, and they are inspired by the time I lived in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I was born and raised in South Africa, but now live in Canada. As such, these earlier books are my love letters to a continent that will forever be part of me.


CHRISTINA: What’s more difficult to write? A love scene or a love letter?


SOPHIA: As an open-door romance writer, I’ll admit that writing love scenes isn’t easy. I struggle with them, and they take me days to write, but I’ve come to realize that as a writer you need to step away and let the characters do their thing. Once they take over, writing steamy scenes becomes much easier. As for writing a love letter…yikes… Back to my author pilgrimage!

 

CHRISTINA: I love that. Now, I'm really looking forward to reading your earlier books! Thanks so much for taking time for this Tuesday Author Interview. I'll keep my eyes peeled for the new series.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sophia Karlson writes sensual, emotional, and evocative contemporary romance. Some snark might sneak in. When she's not writing, she's binge-watching the latest TV series, being walked by her beagles or planning the family's next trip into the wilds. She's ghosted Facebook, is failing at Tiktok, and has little time left for Instagram, however, she hasn't given up (yet). Check out her efforts at @sophiakarlsonauthor.

Her novel, Perfect Mistake, was shortlisted for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense and won the Katherine Hayes Award. Her novel, The Shrink, won the Imbali Award from Romance Writers of South Africa.


You can connect with Sophia via:

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