Born in Sydney, Australia, Sofia Diana Gabel is fiction author who has dabbled in various genres including young adult, science fiction, women’s fiction, romance and thrillers. Her first published novel, A Woman’s Way, was released in 2011 and told the story of 19th century feminist Maria Deraismes. Gabel blends historical fact with fiction as she details Deraismes’ struggle against misogyny and the French government during the turbulent 1870s in Paris.
In 2013, Gabel published Two Brothers: Origin, the first book in a young adult science fiction trilogy. A engaging tale of love, drama and action, the trilogy continued with 2014’s Two Brothers: Heritage, and the third book in the series is forthcoming. In November of 2014, Gable published Charity’s Heart, a suspenseful historical romance, and Pest Control, an environmental satire, was released on November 24th.
Gabel currently lives in southern California with her family and her three hairless Sphynx cats. To learn more about her and her work, visit www.sofiadianagabel.com.
What was your childhood like, and how did it shape who you are today?
Well, I was born in Sydney, Australia, but we moved to Canada when I was only four. We stayed there for two years, then moved to New York state. I was very shy and had a strong accent, so didn’t exactly fit in. I did have a couple of close friends, but soon, we moved again, this time to southern California. By now, I was quite withdrawn and sensitive about being different, so I basically kept my head down and wrote stories as a way to escape. I was teased and mocked, so by sitting alone, away from everyone else, and writing in my little spiral notebook, I was left alone. This is what started me writing. Writing is still an escape for me, and while some people find it a lonely profession, I think I’m used to it from all those years of writing alone. I usually will write characters who are bullied or different because I can relate.
Who are your biggest creative influences?
I think it would be my dad. He’s gone now, and although he was not a loving father, he was very intelligent and creative, and he wrote fiction! My brother, sister and I grew up with science fiction (my dad’s favorite) and novels everywhere. Because of this, I started to write as well. He was a merciless critic of anything I wrote and thought was good, but that made me want to get better at writing. I’m grateful that I managed to get published before he died and found out that he actually liked my writing and my books!
What initially made you decide to write a young adult science fiction trilogy, and what inspired the story of Two Brothers?
Since I grew up loving science fiction, and had three daughters who were teenagers all at the same time (that was a difficult time for all of us!), I decided to write a young adult science fiction story with romantic elements, and of course, the whole “outsider” element as well. My main character, Argus, wants nothing more than to fit in and be a normal teenager, but that’s not possible, as he soon realizes. I think we all go through that stage of just wanting to be one of the crowd.
What inspired your love of archaeology, and how have you incorporated your archaeological studies into your writing?
I think I fell in love with archaeology when I was very young because my father would always take us to museums. My first love was ancient Egypt and Rome. Now I love it all. I have also worked as an archaeologist and hope to complete my graduate degree and thesis by June 2016. I am currently working on two archaeology-related novels, both thrillers.
Does writing come easy to you? Has it always?
It does come easily, and I think that’s because I’ve been messing around with it for so long. Not that everything I write is worth the paper, or computer, that it’s written on! Far from it. I write an awful lot of crap! My parents were always very strict when it came to speaking correctly, so I think that translates to writing as well.
Do you consider yourself to be a perfectionist? If so, how do you know when a novel is complete and ready for public consumption?
When it comes to writing, I think I’m close to a perfectionist. It’s hard to ever really, truly stop editing and revising, but there comes a point where you have to say, “Enough!” I have found myself still editing even after I query though. The best way to get a book in shape is have someone else look it over or send it through a critique group. I belong to two critique groups and each of them always finds things.
In your opinion, how important is a strong first sentence?
Very important. A weak opening can destroy the story. Not always, because we can all excuse a weak opening if the story gains strength quickly. But that first sentence does count. It would be great to have the first sentence as a “hook,” but that’s not always possible. I keep trying though!
What’s the best movie you’ve seen recently?
Gravity. I know it was a few months ago now, but wow, that movie is great! I’d go up into space in a second if someone offered me a trip.
If you could take a few weeks and go on vacation anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
Only one place? I’m addicted to traveling, so I think it would have to be a combo-vacation. I recently went to Scotland and Ireland, so I think I’d choose somewhere new. Perhaps northern Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium. Darn it, now I really want to go!
If you could offer one piece of advice to your 18-year-old self, what would it be?
Don’t worry about high school, it’s in the past. Use your imagination to its fullest, study hard, work hard and enjoy life.
What are you working on next?
Trying to finish book three of the Two Brothers trilogy, and currently working on a new story as well as the sequel to Charity’s Heart. I also have a short science fiction story in the works, but the characters are giving me trouble. Seriously, they need to cooperate.