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Sonja Yoerg and True Places

In April of 2018, Sonja Yoerg graced us with her first post as a Writer Unboxed contributor. We’ve been thrilled to have her, and are pleased to join the author today as she tells us more about her latest novel, True Places. Join us in welcoming Sonja back, and celebrate the January 1st release of her novel.


Sonja Yoerg grew up in Stowe, Vermont, where she financed her college education by waitressing at the Trapp Family Lodge. She earned a Ph.D. in biological psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and wrote a nonfiction book about animal intelligence, Clever as a Fox (Bloomsbury USA, 2001) and four contemporary novels: House BrokenMiddle of SomewhereAll the Best People, and True Places. Sonja lives with her husband in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

“Sonja Yoerg is a master story spinner who builds a tale of escalating intrigue while at the same time exploring emotional depths few authors are able to reach. In her latest, True Places, she keeps the reader asking, “What would I do?” which is a sure sign of a knock-out novel. When she twists the plot again and again, she manages to help us escape all of our own constraints to fully embrace the journey. Beautiful, unique, suspenseful, and full of wonder, True Places is a unique gem of a novel that will leave readers with a full heart and a recharged mind. Bravo!” — Julie Cantrell, New York Timesbestselling author of Perennials



Q1: What’s the premise of your new book? True Places is about the unlikely friendship between a frazzled modern woman, Suzanne, and the uncivilized girl she discovers near death on a roadside in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Suzanne rescues the girl, and brings her into her family, but it turns out that Suzanne is also in desperate need of help.


Q2: What would you like people to know about the story itself? On one level, it’s about a modern family balancing individual desires with what is best for the family as a whole. On a different level, I explore our detachment from nature and its consequences for living fully.


Q3: What do your characters have to overcome in this story? What challenge do you set before them?

 When Suzanne gets to know the girl, Iris, she begins to see her flawed family from Iris’ unique perspective, and questions her decision to give up her dreams to raise a family. Iris has her own difficulties, in that she cannot accept the “civilized” world and also cannot return to living in the woods. Suzanne’s and Iris’ dreams and obligations pull them in opposite directions, but they have to find a way to help each other.


Q4: What unique challenges did this book pose for you, if any? Five points-of-view! So much juggling…


Q5: What has been the most rewarding aspect of having written this book? How it seems to be connecting with readers. Isn’t that always the best part?


Writer Unboxed began as a collaboration between aspiring novelists Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton in January, 2006. Since then the site has grown to include ~40 regular contributors–including bestselling authors and industry leaders–and frequent guests. You can follow Writer Unboxed on Twitter, or join our thriving Facebook community.

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About Mary Ellen Bellusci

Mary Ellen Bellusci is a longtime resident of Baltimore, Maryland... A foodie, traveler, writer, and pursuer of happiness.