Living in North Elmham, Norfolk whilst writing in her spare time and for pleasure, Sonya began creating her stories in 1996, but did not become published until 2013 when she became a self-published author with Amazon.
With a range of genres including: historical romance, thriller and the supernatural, Sonya hopes her books will appeal to a wide-ranging audience.
Brass Buttons, a romance set against the background of the First World War was Sonya's debut novel, followed swiftly by the thriller: The Root of All Evil.
Siren Call and its sequel: Echo of a Siren brought a supernatural flavour to Sonya's writing and the trilogy was completed with: Affirmation of the Sirens.
A Whisper in the Wind, a Georgian romance and its sequel: Harbour of Dreams are also available and take Sonya's writing back to the field of romance.
Sonya has also completed two further romances: Dear Mother and With Hindsight, a modern romance set against the backdrop of Oxford university life and political manoeuvring.
Recently Sonya also released two volumes of her short stories: 2000 Words and No Man is an Island.
Currently, Sonya is working on a novel set on her beloved North Norfolk coast.
Sonya Dodd's books
The air was still and sticky. It was as if the world was waiting for something to happen. Even the birds had stopped singing so they could listen more easily to the looming silence.
Although I was leaving my teens behind me, Mum had still made me a birthday cake. At least she’d left off the candles but I came downstairs that morning to see the dining table covered in brightly wrapped presents and cards, the cake there as the centre-piece to disguise the fact the number of gifts was beginning to dwindle. In the old days when my brother, Jack and I had been kids, there had been presents over-flowing on the carpet.
Now the items were spread across the wooden table with tell-tale gaps of pine showing between the prettily wrapped parcels.
A chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ began as I got to the foot of the stairs, followed by kisses from Mum and Dad and a ruffle of my hair from Jack. I pushed him away, embarrassed by the attention and picked up an envelope to tear open.
“You’ll need a lift into town tonight,” Dad commented whilst they all watched me open each item. “Looks like this one will be pretty ferocious,” he added, glancing towards the large window which showed the large, flat, empty plains leading towards the mountains.
They weren’t quite empty, although the wind turbines had been part of the view for so long now I just seemed to look right through them, forgetting their presence.
There’d been a huge fuss when they first went up which was kind of ironic as our house was the only one within sight of them and none of us actually minded them. People in town kicked up a bit of a stink for a while, even with the increasing evidence for us needing to produce energy from natural resources.
The giant sentinels, that’s how I thought of them, were silent statues as their sails turned slowly. From a distance it was possible to imagine they were no taller than a house but as you got closer to them, they loomed and gave off a quiet buzz, the only evidence of the life inside them.
Today their sails were still, I noticed, as I stood my cards on the windowsill. I hoped the bad weather would hold off until after my trip into town. My plan was to meet up with friends at the local steakhouse before we went along to the only nightclub for some dancing. It couldn’t be a late night. Dad insisted on picking me up and I didn’t like to ask him to come and collect me too late.
The day stretched out ahead of me. I’d taken the day off from my job at the bank, not because I had any special plans; I just didn’t fancy having the routine of work on my birthday.
Pixie, our cocker spaniel, was fussing around my ankles. “Okay, I get the hint,” I sighed, stroking his head and reaching for my jacket.
“I’m taking the dog for a walk,” I called through to my mum in the kitchen and headed out onto the front door step. Feeling the humidity, I threw my jacket down onto the bench and followed Pixie as he wove a path across the front yard, sniffing at anything which dared to move.
Strolling slowly to prevent myself becoming too sweaty, my feet led me in the direction of the mountains. I wouldn’t go far, it was too hot and Pixie was easily pleased by just getting out of the house.
Following the dog’s wagging tail, moving through the scrub and rocks like a periscope, seemingly detached from the invisible body below, my thoughts wandered until I suddenly realised I was almost at the first of the wind turbines.
Pausing I looked up at the huge structure and then glanced at the ominous clouds above the mountains. They were swirling as though in anger and occasionally a flash of colour seemed to travel through them. The effect was strange; it couldn’t be lightning because there was no thunder, yet it was as if the storm had already begun.
I shuddered and gazed up at the wind turbine again. Then I realised what had made me hesitate; there was no buzz. The turbine was silent, just like the apparent storm going on inside the clouds without thunder or rain.
Feeling wary, I turned and hurried homewards, eager to return to some normality. I don’t know what spooked me and I guess I should have trusted my instinct that something was amiss. However, as I neared the house, my thoughts returned to the evening ahead and I began thinking about what I should wear.
The evening was long but great. Everyone turned up who had heard about it and after a raucous meal, we invaded the club. The rain had started to fall as we walked from one place to the other, only a few large splashes but it was clear the downpour was going to increase rapidly.
By the time I went outside to look for Dad’s car, the rain was falling in sheets making it difficult to see very far. I heard the beep of a car horn and then spotted a pair of flashing headlights. With my jacket held over my head I dashed across the empty, dark road and jumped gratefully into the passenger seat.
“My feet are soaked,” I cried in disgust, looking down at my sodden strappy sandals which were now dappled in mud, as were my feet. There was a squelching sound as I wriggled my toes.
Dad smiled at me and laughed. “You had a good time though?” he asked as he pulled out onto the road.
“Great, thanks,” I replied, rubbing my forearms dry with the inside of my jacket. Settling back into my seat I looked through the windscreen but there was little to see with just raindrops dancing in the beam of the headlights.
“This is awful,” I sighed, glancing out of the side window but seeing just darkness.
“There’s gonna be plenty of flooding,” Dad commented, leaning forward to see where the road was; it was difficult to see the road markings with such heavy rain as we crawled along.
I was desperate for my bed but knew this journey was going to take some time. Glad to be under my Dad’s protection, rather than in a taxi, I sighed and let my eyelids close as the effects of the wine I’d been drinking began to make my head spin.
The rain thundered on the car roof, creating a deafening noise. It seemed impossible that it could get any heavier but still the intensity appeared to creep up.
As the car jerked I opened my eyes and glanced at Dad. He was concentrating; there was a deep furrow across his forehead and his mouth was pulled tight.
“Everything okay?” I asked.
“I’m gonna have to pull over,” he replied, as the car came to a standstill. “Can’t see a bloody thing.”
I pulled myself upright, knowing I wasn’t being much use. “I’ll help you watch the road,” I suggested.
He looked across at me. “Don’t worry; this has got to lighten up, better to be safe than sorry.”
My eyes closed once more. At least I could grab a bit of sleep whilst we waited, I thought.
I don’t know how much time passed; it was possible I’d drifted off to the rhythm of the driving rain. A sharp jolt woke me with a start and my eyes opened in a flash.
Shivering in the cold darkness, I looked across at my father who was looking out of his side window. “What was that?” I asked nervously. My voice sounded like a whisper against the rain.
“I’m not sure,” he replied. “I’m gonna take a look,” he said, doing up the zip of his jacket.
“Don’t go far,” I told him as he opened the door. A gust of wind nearly pulled the door from his grip as he eased himself out.
The door closed and he disappeared from view. Beginning to shiver, I slipped my arms into the sleeves of my damp jacket and peered out into the darkness, trying to see any sign of my dad.
It was a long stretch of road which linked our house to the town which was unlit and at night it was impossible to detect how far there was still to travel until the familiar sight of our post box and gate appeared. Because of the rain we’d been going pretty slowly so I guessed we still had some distance to go.
The sound of the rain above my head seemed to become a little less heavy and I quietly cursed Dad for getting out. I let out a heavy sigh; I could either stay put or go and see what was keeping him.
The car clock told me it was almost two. I was desperate for a glass of water. Annoyed I released the door handle and the door flew open. With the car rocking from the force still, I stepped out onto the roadside verge, my feet instantly disappearing into a thick layer of mud.
“Bloody hell!” I exclaimed in anger. I drew a foot up slowly until it looked as though I was wearing slippers made of the sticky, brown sludge.
“Dad!” I yelled. The wind grabbed my words, snatching them away in an instant. I walked slowly round the car keeping one hand on the cold metal for security as I battled against the strong gale. My clothes were drenched and stuck uncomfortably to my skin.
The rain might have eased slightly but the wind was vicious and the darkness dense. My senses were back on full alert and there were butterflies fluttering in my stomach.
On the driver’s side of the car I scanned the empty road, hoping to see my dad come into view. But it was like an abyss.
Hopelessly I called out again. Reaching the bonnet, I stopped in surprise. The outline of the leg of a wind turbine was visible straight ahead of me. It was impossible we had travelled as far as the turbines since leaving town but the evidence was in front of me, the only thing to be seen in any direction.
My blood ran cold. It was too close to the road. The huge structures were at least half a mile from the main road and I could have reached out and touched this one.
I could feel my legs trembling. Where was my father when I needed him? Was his disappearance linked to this phenomenon?
I considered getting back in the car but knew I’d be vulnerable inside the shell of the vehicle. Although I couldn’t see anything out here, at least I knew it was all open, empty space and somewhere nearby was my family and home.
Moving slowly back round the car to put a shield between myself and the turbine, which had become threatening in my mind, I realised I could hear a loud buzzing. With the reduction in the sound of the rain, the buzz had gradually increased in volume without me noticing.
My mind raced. I could risk starting the car and driving myself but I’d be like a sitting duck, easy to spot. If I headed out across the open countryside I might eventually make it home but it could take until dawn.
There was an almighty creaking sound of metal followed by a rumble like thunder before the ground shook and I was convinced it must be an earthquake. However, when I looked back towards the turbine I saw with horror that there were now two of them standing side by side.
I wanted someone to shake me and wake me from my slumber but as another sound of creaking metal rocked the air I knew I was very awake.
The foot of a turbine smashed through the roof of the car and I was grateful my fear had caused me to hesitate. Now only one option remained open to me and I made a dash for the edge of the road, rolling myself down the embankment which I knew lay just beyond the road’s edge.
I came to a stop and scrambled to my feet, trying to get my bearings. Another enormous vibration rocked the ground and I only just managed to remain upright.
This was the stuff of nightmares. The wind turbines appeared to be on the move. If someone had told me this was how my evening would end, I would have told them they were crazy. Maybe I was hallucinating and I would wake up in the morning to find myself back in the warmth and comfort of my own bed.
The sound of something flying at great velocity through the air made me turn my head in the direction of the noise as an almighty explosion lit up the sky around me. Some kind of missile must have left one of the turbines because by the glow of the fire I could see the fields behind me were filled with the giant sentinels.
The way to my home was clear but it was the direction from which these creatures of fantasy had come. What would I discover? There was only one way to find out and with the aid of the light from the remaining fire, I began hurrying in the direction of the house, leaving the wreckage of the car and my father behind me, hoping he would also head for home.
Those were scary times which marked a change in our way of life. When I reached what remained of the house, which was nothing more than a burnt out shell, there was no sign of my parents but I discovered Jack hiding in the outbuilding, clearly terrified too.
Glad not to be alone any longer, we waited until the necessity for food drove us towards civilisation. What we discovered was our worst fear. There was little evidence remaining that the town had ever existed. It looked as though the turbines had passed through the place, destroying all evidence of human life.
It’s been almost a year now since that fateful night. The armed forces have joined together to try and minimise damage. The turbines have so far proved indestructible. We are not the only country affected by these monsters; it is a worldwide crisis and who knows how long it will take for someone to discover a way of putting an end to this nightmare? All we can do is live in hope.
Q & A with Sonya C. Dodd
Character development in short stories is very difficult as you have limited words, so I find it is more important to get the character's personality across to the reader rather than wasting time with what they look like. Clearly sometimes certain details about appearance are needed but focus on what kind of person they are and a lot of that comes from how they react to what happens to them and what is going on around them.
So in this story you find out how important family is to the main character and how brave she is from her reaction to the plot.
Is this story a metaphor?
The story isn't really a metaphor. I find wind turbines fascinating, like gentle giants which made me imagine a futuristic world where they might grow in intelligence and move.
Do you base all of your stories in the UK?
I don't base all my stories in the UK. Some are set overseas although there is clearly less requirement for research if you set a story in your own country. I have one novel where some of the plot takes place in Mexico and a short story set in Brazil. For both of those I felt under pressure to ensure they were believable even though I have not visited either country.
Why did you pick the first person point of view?
My answer to this question ties in with the first question. In a short story when you have fewer words and you need to get to the heart of the plot, I find it is often easier to write from the first person because it gives you an opportunity 'to feel' what the main character is experiencing which allows you to write more succinctly.
When I write, I always see the plot like a film playing in my head. So if I am the main character, I can feel my reaction to events a lot more strongly than if I was trying to imagine it happening to someone else.