Episode 303: A Survivor Story as a Middle Grade Novel in Poems — Interview with Sonja K. Solter

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there word nerds! Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Sonja K. Solter.

Sonja graduated from Stanford University and earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University, with a critical thesis on writing trauma in middle grade and young adult realistic fiction.

She is currently a creative writing mentor to youth with the Society of Young Inklings and enjoys writing poetry and prose for children of all ages. When You Know What I Know is her gorgeous debut novel. Visit her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

In this episode Sonja and I discuss:

  • The inspiration behind When You Know What I Know
  • Plot points in a character-driven story
  • Writing a book in verse instead of prose
  • How an ensemble cast effects the main character
  • Writing about trauma in middle grade and YA
  • How attending a conference led to publication

Plus, her #1 tip for writers.

About Sonja K. Solter

Sonja K. Solter graduated from Stanford University and earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University, with a critical thesis on writing trauma in middle grade and young adult realistic fiction. She is currently a creative writing mentor to youth with the Society of Young Inklings and enjoys writing poetry and prose for children of all ages. When You Know What I Know is her debut novel. Sonja lives with her husband and two children in Louisville, CO.

When You Know What I know

A sensitive, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful novel in verse about one girl’s journey in the aftermath of abuse.

One day after school, on the couch in the basement, Tori’s uncle did something bad. Afterward, Tori tells her mom. Even though telling was a brave thing to do, her mom still doesn’t believe her at first. Her grandma still takes his side. And Tori doesn’t want anyone else — even her best friend — to know what happened. Now Tori finds herself battling mixed emotions — anger, shame, and sadness — as she deals with the trauma. But with the help of her mom, her little sister, her best friend, and others, can Tori find a way to have the last word?

From debut author Sonja K. Solter comes a heartbreaking yet powerful novel that will strike a chord with readers of Jacqueline Woodson and Laurie Halse Anderson. According to The National Center for Victims of Crime, children are the most vulnerable to sexual abuse between the ages of seven and thirteen. Sonja K. Solter took a difficult subject matter such as sexual abuse, and has beautifully written a powerful narrative that will spark a conversation between teachers, parents, and children.

If you decide to check out the book, we hope you’ll do so via this Amazon affiliate link, where if you choose to purchase via the link DIY MFA gets a referral fee at no cost to you. As always, thank you for supporting DIY MFA!

Link to Episode 303

(Right-click to download.)

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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!

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