Chat With an Author Giveaways

Interactive Q&A and Giveaway with Sonya Bateman

Hello all! Today we bring you another author spotlight on The Book Smugglers, with the debut urban fantasy novelist Sonya Bateman!

Sonya is the author of Master of None – a book about a singularly unlucky thief, a Djinn, and a mission to save the world.


Gavyn Donatti is the world’s unluckiest thief. Just ask all the partners he’s lost over the years. And when he misplaces an irreplaceable item he was hired to steal for his ruthless employer, Trevor—well, his latest bungle just might be his last. But then his luck finally turns: right when Trevor’s thugs have him cornered, a djinn, otherwise known as a genie, appears to save him.

Unfortunately, this genie—who goes by the very non-magical name of “Ian”—is more Hellboy than dream girl. An overgrown and extremely surly man who seems to hate Donatti on the spot, he may call Donatti master, but he isn’t interested in granting three wishes. He informs Donatti that he is bound to help the thief fulfill his life’s purpose, and then he will be free. The problem is that neither Donatti nor Ian has any idea what exactly that purpose is.

At first Donatti’s too concerned with his own survival to look a gift genie in the mouth, but when his ex-girlfriend Jazz and her young son get drawn into the crossfire, the stakes skyrocket. And when Ian reveals that he has an agenda of his own—with both Donatti and the murderous Trevor at the center of it—Donatti will have to become the man he never knew he could be, or the entire world could pay the price. . . .

Check out our review of Master of None HERE. In honor of her debut release, we Smugglers are having the lovely Sonya Bateman over for an interactive Q&A and a chance to win her books! We have TEN copies of Master of None up for grabs. Entry is easy and simple, per usual – just leave a comment here asking Sonya a question (about her series, her writing process, Tim Burton obsessions, etc). The contest is open to residents of the US and Canada only, and will run until Saturday, April 24th at 11:59PM (PST). Good luck!

Please and give a warm welcome to Sonya Bateman!

Hello there! Thea and Ana, thanks so much for having me over. I’m excited to be talking with y’all! (No, I’m not Southern, but I do have a lot of cousins down that way…) Even though I’m a new kid on the mainstream urban fantasy block, I’ve been at this writing thing for a long time – and I’m open to questions about anything, writing-related or otherwise. Maybe you want to know why I wrote MASTER OF NONE in first person from a male character’s POV, or how I came to write about djinn, or the scintillating story of my bleeding to death the day I got “The Call” from my agent. Or maybe you’re interested in my drawn-out attempt to learn Japanese, or my rubber skull collection (some of them glow in the dark!), or how I spend my free time (drinking coffee, mostly). So, bring on the questions – as Johnny Depp said in CORPSE BRIDE: “I have a… dwarf… and I’m not afraid to use it!”

Sonya Bateman lives in upstate New York, where there are two seasons: winter, and construction. Her home is shared with a husband, a son, three very strange cats, and a gerbil with half a tail. She enjoys reading and swimming, and wishes there were some feasible way to combine the two.

In addition to spending a lot of time writing, she is attempting to learn how to speak Japanese. So far, she can say hello, thank you, and why don’t we go to your place for a drink? She does not plan to speak to any native Japanese speakers with her limited vocabulary at this time, as the conversation may lead in the wrong direction.

You can contact her at

You can read more about Sonya online at her website.

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  • Tracey D
    April 20, 2010 at 1:37 am

    Hi, Sonya.

    Several years ago, I took a Japanese class. The language is a challenge but I really enjoy it. Plus I’m a big manga and anime fan!

    What is your opinion on book trailers? Do you think they help in book sales?

    I look forward in reading Master of None.


  • Raquel Vega-Grieder
    April 20, 2010 at 1:57 am

    Hey Sonya How Do You Feel About E-Books And E-Book Readers?


    What Do You Read To Relax And Unwind?

  • Breia Brickey
    April 20, 2010 at 4:32 am

    What is your writing process?
    What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?

  • elaing8
    April 20, 2010 at 5:21 am

    I’ve been seeing htis book around quite a bit lately.Reviews I’ve read so far have been great I can’t wait to read it.

    what 3 words would you use to describe your main character?

  • Shipa
    April 20, 2010 at 5:55 am

    As a fellow Japanese learner whose vocabulary and grammar skills are limited, I completely understand. Why did you want to learn Japanese.

    I am quite curious about how you came to write about the djinn/genie?

  • Sonya Bateman
    April 20, 2010 at 7:00 am

    Hi Tracey – I love anime too! For a while I was completely addicted to Dragonball Z (mostly because of Vegeta 🙂 I’m not sure whether book trailers help sales, but as long as they’re interesting, I don’t think they hurt (and they’re fun! *G*)

    Hi Raquel – I love e-books, and wish I had a Nook. With reading for relaxation, I’m always looking for something new or new-to-me, but I have a bunch of old favorites (like Terry Pratchett).

    Breia, mostly my writing process is to re-read what I wrote the day before and just start writing. Revisions are the real work. I don’t think I have a favorite part – I just love writing!

  • Sonya Bateman
    April 20, 2010 at 7:07 am

    Thanks, Elaing! Three words… (ooh, that’s tough!): tenacious, fallible, contagious? LOL

    Shipa, I’ve always been fascinated by the Japanese culture, and wanting to learn the language was a natural extension (but oh man, is it hard!). I decided to write about the djinn because it was a legend that hadn’t been explored too much in urban fantasy, and it seemed like there would be a lot of fun stories to be told. 🙂

  • Sue Brandes
    April 20, 2010 at 7:20 am

    What are you reading? And would you reccomend?
    I have not read this type of book but; it sounds very interesting. Adding it to my to read list. Love the cover. Thanks for being here. 😀

  • Marie
    April 20, 2010 at 7:47 am

    Hello Sonya.

    Congrats on your debut!

    With the UF genre growing exponentially, did you find it difficult to create a unique character/storyline?

    Thanks, Marie

  • CrystalGB
    April 20, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Hi Sonya. Your book sounds great. What is the funniest/weirdest comment you have received from a fan?

  • Lisa B.
    April 20, 2010 at 7:57 am


    Master of None sounds amazing. Can’t wait to read it. Where did you begin with this idea. Was it plot, character or world?

    And when did you start seeing things really fall into place agent and publisher wise?

  • GSM
    April 20, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Sonya–What made you want to feature a djinn in your book? It sounds so interesting. Fun post. Domo arigato.

  • Amanda Isabel
    April 20, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Hi Sonya
    Just wondering – I mean, genies in our culture are more of a Disney-blue-funny then a sexy serious thing – what made you want to write with a djinn in mind?
    I really like the complexities of the genie, so just wondering!
    Amanda 🙂

  • Danielle Yockman
    April 20, 2010 at 8:12 am

    Sounds like a good read. Where do you like to write?

  • Christa
    April 20, 2010 at 8:21 am

    What is your favorite part of the writing process? The original “wow! an awesome Idea!” stage? World-building? Plotting? Getting to the final word of the first draft? Revising?

    I love that you’re writing a UF with a male MC. :mrgreen: I do love female UF MCs, but it’s nice to have a male MC too.

  • Sonya Bateman
    April 20, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Thank you, Sue – happy to be here! I’ve just read my second Gena Showalter book in the Lords of the Underworld series and I’m loving it – would recommend that! 🙂

    Hi Marie, and thank you! It is tough to find new things to do in urban fantasy, but it helps to have a male protagonist and a not-very-well-mined fantasy race. *G*

    Thanks, Crystal! I think the funnest reader thing so far was finding the book mentioned on Lovin’ Me Some Romance, along with some wondering why there was a wolf on the cover, and where the genie was. It was really cool that I got to stop in and tell them the wolf was the genie!

  • Sonya Bateman
    April 20, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Hi Lisa – it definitely started with character. Donatti came first, and then everything else. 🙂 I had been with my agent almost two years when the book sold (sadly, the book I signed on with her originally wasn’t quite right for a debut and never sold) – and everything happened kind of fast after the offer came!

    GSM – thank you! Douitashimashite. Hajimemashite! I’ve always found the djinn fascinating.

    Hi Amanda – I thought genies were getting the short end of the stick. In most Arabian legends, they are definitely not nice, so I wanted to see some that acted like the demons they are. 🙂 Of course, they aren’t all completely evil…

    Hi Danielle, I have an “office” (it’s a disaster, and I’ve spray-painted on the walls, and I have a bunch of “collections” strewn about – posters, Japanese things, rubber skulls) and do most of my writing in here.

  • Sonya Bateman
    April 20, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Christa, you snuck right in there! *G* The process and getting to know the characters is a ton of fun – but I admit, I especially like to finish a book. It’s so satisfying to say “I wrote that!” – even if it’s not the greatest piece of literature since The Great Gatsby. LOL. And thank you – I’m really happy to have a male MC!

  • Wendy
    April 20, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Hi Sonya! You know, it’s funny because lately I’ve been seriously getting into male POV (just read Chimera by Rob Thurman – so good!) so hearing about your book is awesome, definitely adding it to my wishlist!

    Congrats on your book, by the way! 🙂

  • Raelena
    April 20, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Do you listen to music while you write or create a playlist for your books?

  • Sonya Bateman
    April 20, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Hi Wendy – thanks! I keep hearing good things about Rob Thurman’s books – must check her out!

    Raelana – definitely! I love listening to music. Some of my favorite bands are Godsmack, Breaking Benjamin, Seether, Evanescence, and Poets of the Fall. I also listen to a lot of movie soundtracks while I’m writing. POTC being a top favorite. *G*

  • Donna S
    April 20, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Hey Sonya!

    Congrats on the release.

    What did you do when you first found out it was going to be published?
    Are you working on anything else you can tell us about?


  • van p.
    April 20, 2010 at 10:54 am

    I have to agree with one of the above commenter, i love seeing that you chosen a male as your main character…All i see are female heroines in the UF/PF genre…so it’s really refreshing.

    If a movie was made of MON, who can you see play the role Gavyn?

  • Sonya Bateman
    April 20, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Hi Donna – thanks! When I found out about the offer for MON, I was at work (at McDonalds!), and what happened is a long (and pretty funny!) story – I talked about it with Tia Nevitt on her blog a few weeks ago, right here. *G*

    Thank you, Van – it was really a lot of fun writing a male POV! I’d definitely love to see Justin Long as Donatti (if you’ve ever seen Live Free or Die Hard, that’s why 🙂 )

  • Amber S
    April 20, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Looks like a great book, Sonya! What led to creating your hero as the world’s unluckiest thief? He sounds like a character I would love 🙂

  • John J.
    April 20, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Wow, interesting book from the sounds of the review – I’m a sucker for thief-turned-hero. 🙂

    So, have you planned on writing any new series in urban fantasy or another genre? And have you any favorite books that use genies/djinn?

    Personally, I love the YA books compiled into the omnibus Wishes on the Moon. Sort-of sequels to Aladdin.

    Either way, you’re book is another rung on my momentous ladder of a TBR pile! 😀

  • joder
    April 20, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Congrats on your books release! It sounds super entertaining and I would love to read it!

    My question for you is….Since it’s a part of every author’s life, how do you handle rejection? Do you have a punching bag, a bottle of Jack, a head banging song you trurn up really loud while screaming at the top of your lungs?

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  • Cindy C.
    April 20, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    What is your muse while writing your book?

  • Kate L @ YzhaBella's BookShelf
    April 20, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Hi Sonya!
    What was the most challenging part of writing from the male POV?

    Thanks for this!
    Have a great day every one!
    Kate (aka YzhaBella’s BookShelf)

  • Barbara Elness
    April 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Ok, I’ll bite, what’s the story of you bleeding to death when you got “The Call,” and how did you manage to survive bleeding to death?

  • Julie Swaney
    April 20, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Hi Sonya,
    How did you decide between urban fantasy and paranormal romance?

    This book sound great!!! Can’t wait to read it.

    Julie S. (jellybelly82158)

  • Myra C.
    April 20, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    the book sounds great! What are your 3 must have items you need when you write?

  • Katrina
    April 20, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Oooh, oooh! Bleeding to death! Bleeding to death! Always fun. Do tell. Please?

    (On a side note: reminds me of the Red Hot Chili Peppers song ‘Otherside’)

  • Dottie
    April 20, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    I love urban fantasy, all forms, and Master of None sounds great, especially the POV. What made you choose this POV? Was it easier to write/harder to write? Just curious.


    Dottie 🙂

  • willaful
    April 20, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Good cover – are you happy with it? Did you get to choose your own title?

  • Gillian
    April 20, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    I have heard nothing but praise for this book and can’t wait to get my hands on it!

    You said we could as you anything, so… What colour is your toothbrush, and what is your favourite word?

    (As I live in Oz, I am not eligible to enter this contest)

  • Jasmine A S
    April 21, 2010 at 6:03 am

    Darn, I was going to ask the bleeding-to-death question, but I see someone has already beaten me to the punch. So here’s my question. *clears throat* When you were writing a character who sincerely believed himself to be totally unlucky, did you find that depressing?

  • Audra Holtwick
    April 21, 2010 at 6:55 am

    Bleeding to death what was this about? Congrats on your book! Was it hard to write from the male perspective and what made you chose it? :mrgreen:

  • Sonya Bateman
    April 21, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Wow! Thanks for all the great comments. 🙂

    About bleeding to death – I was working at McDonalds at the time, and somebody brought in a box of donuts, so I was eating a jelly donut before my shift started, and my husband called the store and told me I had to call my agent Right Now. Since my book was out on submission, there was only one reason she’d call. I started shaking, got jelly all over my hands, and ran around the grill screaming that I needed a phone (we weren’t allowed to make long-distance calls from the office phone).

    The grill manager thought I was bleeding to death and almost called 911 before I managed to explain why I needed a phone. Somebody gave me one, I called and heard something about an offer and a two-book deal, practically had a fainting fit… and then spent the next four hours grinning like an idiot and making double cheeseburgers. *G*

    Also, my toothbrush is yellow, and my favorite word is “and” (it’s so much cleaner than “then”).

  • Sonya Bateman
    April 21, 2010 at 8:12 am

    I love love love my cover! My agent and I came up with the title in a brainstorming e-mail session (whatever I had been calling it, it was so meh that I can’t even remember the former title!).

    I’m hoping to go for a theme of sorts with the titles. The next book is (tentatively) going to be “Djinn’s Apprentice” (and is scheduled for release April 2011, yay!).

  • Bethie
    April 21, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Japanese? How interesting. Is it hard to learn a language that is so different from English.

  • Lisa Richards
    April 21, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Mark Henry’s and Jaye Wells’ comments on this book are enough to send me rushing out to get it. Djinns haven’t been done to death and I hope there will be many more in this series.

  • Donna W
    April 21, 2010 at 11:17 am

    I really like the cover too. I’m in need of more urban fantasy from the guy’s perspective. Your book has a unique premise which I really like. Congrats on the release.

  • Zita Hildebrandt
    April 21, 2010 at 11:33 am

    I can’t wait to read it! Congratulations. You must be over the moon!

  • Marianna G.
    April 21, 2010 at 12:05 pm


    I want to know what made decided to learn Japanese?

  • ThisViewOfMine
    April 21, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Sounds like nothing I’ve read before! So, what is a djinn?

    I want to learn japanese myself. How have you been learning? I have 2 books and I’m going to ask for rosetta stone for my birthday. Do you listen to japanese music? I could recommend some really good bands. 😀

  • kisah jackson
    April 21, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    i can’t wait to read this!

    since you’re learning japanese, are you into anime as well? several friends of mine learned japanese for this reason….any good stories/shows you would recommend?

  • Stephanie N
    April 21, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Hi there,
    I’m curious if there is a special place that you would really like to set your story in, but just haven’t done so as of yet. And if you have one, where would it be and why?

    I’m always curious as to how and why authors choose the settings of their stories.

    I’m looking forward to reading your book.

  • Christine M.
    April 21, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Just because you quoted Corpse Bride I’m going to ask you what’s your favourite Tim Burton film? 😉

    Your book looks awesome, congrats on your release!

  • Pamk
    April 21, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    will this be a series and if so can we find out something more about the next one. And any more projects in the works.

  • Lexi
    April 21, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    The thief character is one of my favorites, courtesy of reading Thief, when I was very young. What led you to the character’s occupation?

  • Sonya Bateman
    April 22, 2010 at 5:33 am

    Great questions! Let’s see if I can answer some…

    Japanese is definitely a difficult language for a native English speaker – the pronounciations and constructions are so different, it’s almost like trying to learn Martian. But I love the Japanese culture and really want to visit Japan some day. From what I understand, it’s a sign of respect to learn their language before a visit (and I think you get points for trying, even if the execution isn’t so great. 🙂 )

    I’ve been learning with Japanese for Dummies, a translation dictionary, and the Pimsleur audio course (so far). And I definitely love me some anime – DBZ, of course, and Naruto (the subbed version, not the dubbed), Blue Sub 6, Golden Boy (hilarious!), to name a few. I’d love some Japanese band recommendations!

  • Sonya Bateman
    April 22, 2010 at 5:42 am

    Hi Stephanie – I’ve done most of the setting in upstate New York so far for two main reasons. I’m familiar with the area (I live here, LOL), and I wanted to have a more rural setting for the djinn, because they are elemental beings. Some day I’d love to set something in Japan (big surprise, right?) but I haven’t found a valid reason to do that yet.

    Christine, my favorite Tim Burton film is A Nightmare Before Christmas, with Sleepy Hollow a close second. *G*

    Pam, definitely a series! The second, Djinn’s Apprentice, will be out April 2011, and I’m currently working on some ideas for (hopeful) further books in the series.

    Hi Lexi – I’m a sucker for “bad” good guys! 🙂

  • ThisViewOfMine
    April 22, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Golden Boy is 100% hilarious!

    Some band recommendations are:
    Hyde(they all have the same singer)

    There is Acid Black Cherry, and Janne Da Arc (same singer)

    Kanon Wakeshima she used the cello alot. Very beautiful.

    BoA Lol, I’ll stop here before I get carried away. 😀

  • Sonya Bateman
    April 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Thank you, ThisView! Youtube, here I come. 😀

  • Angie D
    April 22, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Hi! I was just wondering who are some of your favorite authors to read? I am always looking for new authors and books:)
    Thanks for answering all these questions!
    email bangersis(at)msn(dot)com

  • Aik
    April 23, 2010 at 4:02 am

    Hi! Can you please tell me the title(s) of your favourite book(s)?

  • Sonya Bateman
    April 23, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Angie and Aik, you asked the tough questions. 🙂 Here’s a few I really like:

    Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series
    Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas series
    Meljean Brook’s Guardians series
    David Gemmell’s Druss the Legend series (high fantasy)
    Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series (fantasy humor)
    Chelsea Cain, Heartsick (thriller)
    Currently awaiting Jaye Wells’ The Mage in Black

  • Anne G
    April 23, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    It seems to me that most Urban fantasy has a female protagonist, so I’m curious why you decided to have a male be your main character.

  • CherylS22
    April 23, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    This book looks very good. So, are you working on your next book & what is it about? Thanks for the giveaway!

  • tany
    February 2, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Submit them to and see if you find people with the same favorite words there.

  • tany
    February 2, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Great words. Submit your favorite words to and see if you find people with the same favorite words there.

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