What is the Gist of Your Story? #17

A sound premise and compelling themes are undoubtedly the hallmarks of great writing. In another addition to the SERIES on literary themes and premise, I’d like you to join me in welcoming Sonia Marsh. She welcomes new friends, bloggers, writers and readers at: website /  Facebook / Twitter.

Author’s bio

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Sonia Marsh is a “Gutsy” woman who can pack her carry-on and move to another country in one day. She’s a motivational speaker who inspires her audiences to get out of their comfort zone and take a risk. She says everyone has a My Gutsy Story® - some just need a little help to uncover theirs.

Her story, told in her travel memoir Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island, is about chucking it all and uprooting her family—with teenagers— to reconnect on an island in Belize. Her memoir has received 7 Awards, including 1st Place, Gold Medal in Autobiography/Memoir E-Lit Awards 2012/13.

Sonia has lived in many countries: Denmark, Nigeria, France, England, the U.S. and Belize, so she considers herself a citizen of the world. She holds a degree in environmental science from the University of East Anglia, U.K. and now lives in Southern California with her husband, Duke, and their rat terrier Cookie.

Sonia on her memoir

I have always wanted to become an international journalist as I’m curious and love to interview people from different parts of the world. Instead, I became a Gallup Poll questionnaire designer for European surveys.

After our family’s year of living in a hut in Belize, I knew I had a real story to tell that was unique and would spark people’s interest. When we returned to the U.S., I decided to take classes, attend writing conferences, and hire editors to mold my 660-page journal into a commercial travel memoir.

I like “connecting” with people and expressing my inner thoughts and honest feelings. I enjoy sharing part of myself and covering issues that I believe can either motivate or help people question and think about unconventional ways of taking action in life. If my memoir can empower one person to step out of their comfort zone and take a risk, I feel grateful to have connected with that person in some way.

The premise of Sonia’s story

Getting out of your comfort zone to a foreign country leads to emotional growth and change. A suburban family discovers that trading materialism for a simple life on a tropical island helps them reconnect in unexpected ways.

A brief synopsis that explains the premise

What do you do when life in sunny Southern California starts to seem plastic, materialistic and just plain hellish? For Sonia and Duke Marsh, the answer was to sell their worldly goods and move to an unspoiled, simpler life with their three sons in Belize, Central America, a third-world country without all the comforts and distractions of life in the developed world. Sonia hopes the move will bring her shattered family back together. She feels her sons slipping away from her, and her overworked husband never has time for her or the boys.

This is the story of one family’s search for paradise. In her memoir, Sonia chronicles a year of defeats, fears and setbacks, and also the ultimate triumph of seeing once-frayed family ties grow back stronger from shared challenges and misfortunes. For Sonia, paradise turned out not to be a place, but an appreciation of life’s simple pleasures: a close-knit family and three well-adjusted sons with a global outlook on life.

The themes that drive Sonia’s story

  • The unconventional life
  • Escaping the materialistic world
  • Adapting to a new culture
  • Seeking adventure
  • Escaping the entitlement attitude of the developed world
  • Learning to live with less
  • Relationships
  • Family dynamics
  • Teenage defiance
  • The expat life
  • Searching for paradise
  • Reconnecting a family
  • Starting a business in a third-world country

Remember, effective book publicity relies on strong promotional messages, which are extracted from the themes contained in your writing that, collectively, make up the premise of the story. 

Promotional Opportunities for Sonia’s Book

I think it’s necessary to become a public speaker if you wish to sell your book. Most of us, including myself, are scared to do this, but if you attend conferences, listen to TED talks, and keep learning, your confidence will grow with time. We all make mistakes, including those whom we admire; the secret is to keep going and to adapt our strategies as we move along.  Here are some of the topics I cover during my presentations:

  • How to be “Gutsy” and Take Risks in Life
  • Life Lessons: How a Year in Belize, Changed My Family
  • How to Find Balance Within Your Family
  • How to Get Your Kids Away From Peer Pressures and Entitlement Attitudes.
  • From Materialism to Simplicity: Lessons Learned
  • Don’t Let Your Budget Get in the Way of Your Dreams
  • Be Gutsy: Live the Life You’ve Dreamed About
    • Be Gutsy and Find Your Passion
    • Secrets to Finding Your Paradise Within
    • Expat Life: What You Need to Know Before Living the Expat Life
    • How to Become a Gutsy Indie Publisher
    • Successful Blogging to Build Your Author Platform (your audience)