SC’s History and Genealogy Inspire Author Sophia Alexander’s ‘Silk Trilogy’ | Community News
Lowcountry writer Sophia Alexander has released Book 1 and now Book 2 of her “Silk Trilogy” novels. Her first book last year was the award-winning historical novel, “Silk: Caroline’s Story.” It is set in Kingstree in 1899 and concerns the biological mother of the sequel’s main characters.
Alexander’s writing is inspired by historical fact, genealogical inquiry, intuitive guesswork, and whimsical romance. She was one of the featured writers at the recent Independent Bookstore Day at Main Street Reads. His second novel has just been released: “Tapestry: A Lowcountry Rapunzel”. Royal Town Rambles wrote a glowing review of ‘Tapestry’ on their BlogSpot site: “It was one of those novels that sucks you in and you find it hard to let go until you turn the last page. connection to local names and places makes it all the more appealing.His paperbacks are available online or in bookstores, his e-books are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play Books, Apple Books etc. will have a author event at Main Street Reads on May 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Regan: When did you start writing? What prompted you to write historical fiction?
Alexander: I’m a mom to two college-aged kids and a number of manuscripts. They started when the children were still in primary school. I had simmered on my genealogy for decades, having had a passion for my family history since I was about 12 years old. Progress on my grandmother’s side was stalled by adoption rumors. She denied them, but I kept digging, trying to find scenarios that made all the pieces make sense. “Silk” is a fictional story about what could have happened. I never took a single English or history class in college, having placed them in AP classes in high school. As a biochemistry major, however, I’m in oddly good company among fiction writers — some of my favorites (like Barbara Kingsolver, Diana Gabaldon, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia) also have scientific backgrounds. My writing has been deeply influenced by the countless hours I have spent participating in writing groups and reading craft books. Older, more experienced writers (some of whom hold degrees in English!) have mentored me over the past decade, and I am infinitely grateful to them.
A: Your first book won several awards: the IndieBRAG Medallion, finalist for the Shelf Unbound Indie Book Award, the Next Generation Indie Book Award, the American Fiction Award and the Book Excellence Award. It was also shortlisted for the Goethe Prize by Chanticleer International. Did a teacher tell you that you had the ability to write at a very young age?
A: The only thing that comes to mind is that I won an award in sophomore year for “The Honey Bee”, a short story about a bee that learned to share its honey. Above all, I loved to read. I always left the library with a pile of tottering books. Judges must sift through thousands of works for competitions. Such awards are validated after a decade of careful editing and polishing in seemingly endless cycles.
A: Which historical fiction writer do you admire? Are you trying to follow someone’s style?
A: I’ve never consciously tried to imitate anyone’s style, but I’m flattered by how many people have compared “Silk: Caroline’s Story” to Jane Austen’s novels (although hers are contemporary for its era and that mine have a heavy southern Gothic element). A parallel might be our social realism, and I like to imagine that my writing has at least some wit, just like his. I read an omnibus of his complete works one summer when I was about 20 years old. We absorb what surrounds us – reason to be aware of what we spend our time on. I’ve written another rather different biographical novel that hasn’t come out yet. One of my beta readers says the writing reminds her of Philippa Gregory. I also kept this comparison to heart. Oh the vanity!
A: Are you currently working on volume 3 of the trilogy? Publication date?
A: I’m about to head over to another revision of Book 3, “Homespun”. Its scheduled release date is March 17, 2023, the next St. Patrick’s Day!
A: Is there an important and unexpected type of ending in the last book or do you prefer it to remain a surprise?
A: There’s so much action towards the end of “Homespun!” Its finale is grandiose but not the shock of the end of “Silk”. There is, however, an unexpected change. And dead. Of course, there are deaths!
A: Do you want to teach English and writing/composition one day in your career?
A: I am not qualified to teach English! I’ve been involved in groups writing, critiquing, and editing other people’s work for a while, so I can imagine one day editing professionally or teaching a creative writing class. I’m grateful to those who share their knowledge in this way, but it’s not on my agenda for the foreseeable future.
A: What is the next step for you after the end of this trilogy? Would you ever write in a different genre?
A: Oh, absolutely! “The Silk Trilogy” is Southern Gothic, whereas a biographical novel I’m working on is more like strictly historical fiction, involving extensive research, as you can imagine! I also wrote two medieval fantasies for YA. This is all on the back burner until “The Silk Trilogy” is fully released.
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Mary E. Regan, columnist, is a freelance publicist with her consulting firm ProPublicist.com.
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