Interview with Sonya Lawson, Author of The Shadow of the

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What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write The Shadow of the Dark?

It’s a big mix of things. I lived in Columbus for many years and miss it now that I’m out in the PNW. I love baking and wanted to share that love with a character. I also enjoy Lovecraft’s mythos but not the blatant racism, antisemitism, or xenophobia.

A lot of writers started subverting that over the past decade or so, using Lovecraft myth to create more diverse stories. I wanted to do something similar, but make it all about a snarky Midwestern, midsize baker who loves her job and her family and deals with Lovecraftian things popping up in her life as they come along.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of The Shadow of the Dark, what would they be?

I actually have a whole Randy Carter playlist I listen to as I write the series. Randy, my FMC, loves music, especially industrial and alternative with a darker feel. If I had to pick one track from the playlist, I’d say Massive Attack’s “Voodoo in My Blood” fits Randy and The Shadow of the Dark best.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

I do love urban fantasy. Any type of fantasy, really. I also really love romance. I’d say it’s a toss-up between fantasy and romance as my favorite genres. I read widely, though. I also often read horror novels and non-fiction. History, true crime, and pop science books fascinate me. Oddly enough, two popular astrophysics books helped me solidify how some of the time/space/cosmic magic would work in the series.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

I’m currently listening to the Helter Skelter audiobook and reading Grady Hendrix’s newest novel How to Sell a Haunted House. Up next is Katee Robert’s Wicked Beauty. I’m behind on her Dark Olympus series and need to catch up! After that, who knows? I’m more of a mood reader than a TBR planner.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

The Heatwave/first date scene. It comes about halfway through the novel. I loved writing it because it was a significant moment between characters and it highlighted some cool magic and myth in my world. The big draw, however, was using Heatwave as a backdrop. It’s an actual monthly dance party in Columbus I loved to attend when I lived there. A good friend DJs it. I even got permission for the creator to use it by name in the book. It’s a cool little bit of actual Columbus I loved and I was happy to share it with my readers.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

I need to write before I do anything else in the day. If I don’t write first thing, it takes a lot more effort to get back into the story for some reason. Early morning writing works best for me.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Not one in particular. I’m a collector of famous quotes. One I come back to again and again is an Allen Ginsberg quote. It’s from his poem “Song” – “The weight of the world is love.” It’s beautiful and heavy and accurate.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

I hope they remember we all need help sometimes, and it’s okay to ask for it. In The Shadow of the Dark, most of the characters need help but aren’t too happy asking for it. Things start to fall into place when they stop ignoring issues and instead ask for help. It’s something that translates into normal, everyday life. Asking for help is necessary and important.


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