We had the pleasure of chatting with Sondi Warner all about “Lead Me Astray”
1. Tell us about “Lead Me Astray”
After her death, Aurie Edison awakens in Overlay City, a shadowy world of supernaturals hidden within the ley lines of New Orleans. There, she meets a non-binary Empath named Mys who agrees to help her with her unfinished business, and Detective Zyr, a rogue werewolf investigating the sketchy circumstances surrounding her hit-and-run. A magnetic attraction soon pulls the three of them together – but can they stay out of bed long enough to catch the vampire who may have killed Aurie?
2.Writing a book is often a journey of self-discovery. What did you learn about yourself in the process of writing “Lead Me Astray”?
The characters in Lead Me Astray, from the heroes to the villains, all reflected aspects of myself. The main theme of the novel is finding a way to live your best life, and as I worked on it, I realized that I had been playing it too safe like Aurie, the timid-turned-adventurous heroine, or isolating myself like Mys, the nonbinary Empath love interest. I also have a tendency to become a workaholic who misses out on the pleasures of life, like Zyr, the primal male lead. After finishing Lead Me Astray, I decided to make changes in my daily routine so that I could get more out of life, because as we see in chapter one of the book, life can be short, and nobody wants to leave with unfinished business.
3.Could you please share your personal journey on how you first came across Wattpad and what motivated you to start writing there?
After years of working as a ghostwriter, I was between clients and feeling uncertain about my future as an author. My fifteen-year-old daughter encouraged me to try Wattpad, which I was hesitant about at first. However, she knew that I wanted to write stories that were meaningful to me. Her motivation, along with seeing how much the next generation of readers enjoyed the platform, gave me the boost I needed. Wattpad has been a phenomenal way for me to connect with readers and share my stories. I’ve even made some great friends along the way.
4.How would you pitch your story in one sentence?
A suspicious hit-and-run brings together a ghost, an empath, and the werewolf detective investigating the crime for a thrilling journey into a paranormal underworld where desire and danger vie for control.
5. Tell us all about the paranormal aspect of “Lead Me Astray”, where did you find your inspiration?
The paranormal aspects of Lead Me Astray were inspired by the city of New Orleans, its culture, its people, and its folklore. It’s a place where I attended Vampire Balls, shared my art at the House of Blues, sang karaoke with my friends in bars, and trawled the streets letting the good times roll. One thing that has always stood out to me about my home state of Louisiana is how steeped in the occult it is.
In Lead Me Astray, I introduce a hidden world called Overlay City where a convergence of ley lines calls to the world’s paranormal entities. Ghosts, werewolves, vampires, angels, and devils walk the streets. It’s a dangerous place, but also a place of great power. Those who are strong enough to survive in Overlay City can find anything they desire, but they must be careful not to get lost in the darkness. I hope I have created a world that is both thrilling and frightening, and that readers will be drawn into its dark, perilous, and passionate depths.
6.What inspired your cover for your book? Tell us about the character on the cover?
I’m grateful to have a fantastic team at Wattpad who assisted in bringing together the right talent to create our outstanding cover. We wanted to include elements of New Orleans, such as the silhouette of the city skyline, while also highlighting our main character, Aurie Edison. As the human protagonist leading us into this paranormal world, we felt like she should be the main focal point. We also wanted to capture the energy and excitement of the city, as well as the mystery and intrigue that are central to the story, which we did using a vibrant color palette. I am very pleased with the way the cover turned out, and I believe it does an excellent job of representing my book.
7.What are you currently working on?
I am currently publishing Book 3 of the Overlay City Saga on Wattpad. This new paranormal romance, Where the Numinous Awaits, is the sequel to Lead Me Astray and Into the Wild Dark. Because it takes place at the same time as the previous books, all three can be read in or out of sequence without too many spoilers, but Where the Numinous Awaits concludes the story of the villainous vampire Darcy Cyprian and brings back all the main characters from the previous novels for an action-packed and passionate conclusion. New chapters are updated weekly!
Check out the blurb:
The last freshwater mermaid. A dragon shifter bad boy. A werewolf shaman to lead them across the Great Divide. True love transcends everything.
Beautiful dreamer 23-year-old Nixie Fontenot is content with fantasizing her life away until her mother’s death reveals that her reality has never been what it seemed. Nixie is far more than a small-town girl stuck in a dead-end job. She’s the last freshwater mermaid in North America, entrusted with safeguarding a powerful weapon called The Book of Tides.
For the betterment of humanity, the book must be transported to a different plane of existence. Enter 27-year-old Special Agent Dextra Rodriguez. The wildly sexy werewolf shaman is skilled at crossing into places she shouldn’t be, and since the journey requires a trip to the Other Side, she’s the only OASIS agent who can get Nixie where she needs to go.
Dex doesn’t exactly want to leave her comfy quiet cover job as a professor. But the call of duty gets a lot more thrilling when 25-year-old Legend Liang joins the crew. The dragon shifting speed racer is tasked with driving them to the City of Immortals. Hot on their trail is the billionaire vampire Darcy Cyprian, seeking to add The Book of Tides to his collection.
There’s no time to waste and certainly no time for dangerous liaisons. Yet the trio find themselves tangled in a web of desire as secrets, lies, and treachery threaten their very existence. Caught on the Rainbow Bridge between life and death, can love save the world, or will it all come down to lust and self-destruction?
8.What is your biggest success as a creator?
I believe that my biggest success as a creator is staying motivated. Maintaining one’s drive and determination in the face of adversity is a key ingredient to success in any field. As an author, guest speaker, and content creator, I am constantly faced with challenges and setbacks, such as keeping up with the rapid pace of technology, riding the waves of the rise and fall of different social media platforms, and chasing the shifting tastes of readers and followers. It’s easy to get discouraged and give up when things get tough. However, if you can stay motivated and keep going, you will eventually achieve your goals.
9. Has your Wattpad community inspired your work?
Absolutely! The Wattpad community motivates me to express my creative side to the fullest. It’s a platform that connects writers and readers who share my passion for storytelling, and I enjoy posting my stories and getting nearly instant feedback. Wattpad is also a great place to find inspiration. I’m always reading other people’s books, and I’m always wowed by their creativity. I am so grateful to be a part of such a welcoming, inclusive community, and I look forward to sharing many more stories with my readers in the future.
10.Finally, do you believe your writing journey would have been different if you had not chosen Wattpad as your platform? Can you elaborate on this?
Choosing Wattpad as a platform allowed me to stretch my wings as an author and truly write the books that I wanted to read. The publishing industry can be notoriously difficult to crack, and I don’t think I would have had as many opportunities to be experimental had I chosen a different way of showcasing my work.
Wattpad is a platform that allows authors to share their work with a large audience for free. This means that I was able to get feedback on my work from a wide range of readers, which helped me to improve my writing and expand my readership at the same time. I’m doubtful that would have happened for me if I had been trying to get published traditionally.
That’s why I’m grateful for the doors that Wattpad has opened for me as an author. It has allowed me to connect with readers from all over the world and to share my love of writing with them. I am excited to see what the future holds for me, and I am confident that Wattpad will continue to be a part of my journey.
About the Book
After her death, Aurie Edison awakens in Overlay City, a shadowy world of supernaturals hidden within the ley lines of New Orleans. There, she meets a non-binary Empath named Mys who agrees to help her with her unfinished business, and Detective Zyr, a rogue werewolf investigating the sketchy circumstances surrounding her hit-and-run. A magnetic attraction soon pulls the three of them together - but can they stay out of bed long enough to catch the vampire who may have killed Aurie? Content and/or trigger warning: This story contains scenes of violence and sexual activity, which may be triggering for some readers.