Secret things you might not know about Under A Caged Sky

For anyone who’s read Under A Caged Sky and wanted to know a few tidbits more about it, here you go! Some you might know; some you might not.

There’s a scene missing from Anza’s story

There’s a scene with Anza that isn’t shown until Cascade’s book. It couldn’t be in Anza’s, because she’s relating her story to the Coalition, and they can’t know about this one thing she did for the rebellion. I know, I know, I’m being cryptic and that’s a sucky thing to be! But I don’t want to spoil anything from Cascade’s book!

The original Under A Caged Sky cover had me on it

Yup. Does that mean I’m a narcissist? Nope, I just honestly couldn’t find a stock model who fit my idea of Anza, since she was supposed to have hair like mine that breaks combs but isn’t really even all that curly, which makes no sense but is true (seriously, when I used to still try to comb my hair, I could hear the prongs snap and they’d be strewn all around the bathroom floor like, ‘Dudes, what the heck!’), plus her hair color is the same as mine: that ugly dirty blond that the Czechs call pochcana slama (essentially, hay that has been urinated on). So, yeah, I got put on the original cover. Here it is:


The picture of me was taken by my (now ex) husband on top of some castle ruins in Slovakia. It fit Anza really well because the image always seemed a bit melancholy to me. To me, it expressed freedom and a vague sense of sorrow in one, which is Anza in a nutshell.

But I did not want myself on the cover (because it’s narcissistic 🙂 ) and so once I could finally afford to get a professional cover made, I did so, which is the one it has now!

Originally there were aliens!

Yessir, yes, ma’am, originally Under A Caged Sky had aliens that slithered out at the end (like bona-fide outer-space aliens), but my writers’ group members who saw the first version of this were like, “NOOOOOOO! Sonya, NOOOOO!” Or at least one writers’ group member was like that, so the aliens got ousted. Buh-bye.

No, seriously, Anza *doesn’t* comb her hair

My editor expressed much concern about Anza’s constant messy state of hair (seriously, I think she was a bit traumatized by it to judge by her notes like ‘HAS SHE STILL NOT BRUSHED HER HAIR?’), but Anza not combing or brushing her hair is based on my real life experience not combing my hair. I stopped combing and brushing in high school because it just makes it frizzy as all heck and, no, just… no.  I finger-comb it when it’s wet after my shower, then the mess is on its own 🙂

Avin is black

It’s never mentioned, but his surname ‘Terrell’ is the only existing surname in the book (as in it’s the only one not made up), and it was stolen from one of the most beautiful black ladies I know, who happens to be in my writers’ group. Estreia has roots of most likely Hispanic origin.

Yes, my characters are totally fashion-challenged

I have no idea how often my poor editor questioned my characters’ choice of attire 🙂 My favorite time was when she told me to get rid of Anza’s mother wearing white jeans because no one wears white jeans anymore, but I was like (head bowed sheepishly) I do. I totally legitimately have a pair of white jeans that I wear regularly (but here is where I admit – surprise – that I was never in with the ‘in’ crowd anyway :-D)

Originally Anza’s story was written together with Cascade’s

Originally Anza and Cascade’s stories were told in one book, but I had to split it up because they both just grew too long, like toxic weeds. Not to mention it felt like the story lines were too disparate, with Anza’s fluffy sarcasm and Cascade’s bloody darkness; I was afraid readers were going to get whiplash being tossed back and forth from one to the other.

I couldn’t show the sex

I couldn’t show Anza and Jace having sex because it felt too intimate and private. I don’t normally have that problem with other characters, but with them… I just couldn’t do it.


Like, seriously, I was so wishing I had a Jace-like guy in real life when I was writing and editing this. He’s just the perfect blend of dorkdom and sweetness and bravery for me. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever seriously wished I knew someone in real life like one of my characters.

Although I have to admit that Lunar is now running a fast and hard second in my Book Crushes List. And in third place is ‘Jake’, this character in the book one of my writing group members is writing. He’s just so adorable. He scoops out some ice cream into bowls for his cousins just before they need to flee the house they’re in, and the girls stop to dig into the ice cream and he’s like: “I don’t get it,” said Jake. “Are we running away or eating ice cream?”

That part still makes me giggle 🙂

Random things about Under A Caged Sky

One of the guys in my writers’ group sent me this one day about my story:

A genuine conversation that’s just happened between me and my son.

JACK: Hey, Dad, I hope you don’t mind, but yesterday I read that book you’re writing. I’ve gotta say, you’re really good at writing!
ME:Thanks! Er…what book?
JACK: That one you’ve got open on your laptop.
ME: What – this one?
JACK: That’s it! It’s great!
ME: Sonya wrote this one.

My favorite cut scene from UACS:

“We’ll come up with a good plan,” I say.
“An excellent one,” Jace adds.
“One that can’t go wrong.”

And Hattie may be lying

I honestly don’t know if she’s telling the truth about the things she tells Anza at the end of Under A Caged Sky. Dun dun dun…!

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