An Underwater Odyssey
Filled with adventure and intrigue, The Oyster Thief plunges readers into a vast underwater world harboring a mysterious secret.
Coralline is a mermaid in the Atlantic Ocean whose idyllic life is ruined by an oil spill that gravely sickens her little brother. Desperate to save him, she embarks on a quest to find a legendary elixir.
She encounters a human man, Izar, who’s left his life on land behind to find a cure for his dying father. What he doesn’t tell Coralline is that he works for Ocean Dominion, a corporation whose ships plunder the waters she calls home.
Their quest for the elixir pushes the two of them together, even though their worlds are at odds. Their pasts threaten to tear them apart, while a growing attraction adds to the danger. Ultimately, each of them faces an impossible choice. Should Coralline remain with the world she knows, including her fiancé, or should she relinquish everything for a stranger who might betray her? And Izar holds a secret of his own—one that might cause him to lose Coralline forever.
Magnificent and moving, set against a breathtaking ocean landscape, The Oyster Thief is an enthralling debut novel destined to become a classic.
- Finalist for 2017 International Book Awards
- Runner-up for 2016 New England Book Festival Award
- Finalist for 2015 Chautauqua Prize
A critically acclaimed work of global investigative journalism
An engaging account about this most secretive of global enterprises.
—J. M. Coetzee, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature
Sonia had no idea that the night she arrived at the doorstep of a dairy farm would mark the beginning of a journey that would ultimately wind all the way around the world. Over the course of living with farmers, hitchhiking with strangers, and risking her life, she developed surprising insights and solutions, both about the food industry and herself. Delving into issues of animal welfare, human health, and the environment, Project Animal Farm aims to make the world a better place for all its inhabitants.
People will be talking about this book for decades.
—John Robbins, author of The Food Revolution
Author | Speaker
Sonia pushes the boundaries of imagination in her debut novel The Oyster Thief, an underwater odyssey. She is also the author of critically acclaimed Project Animal Farm, about the world’s food system. A skilled storyteller and speaker, she lives in Toronto, Canada.
- 18 Apr : Beaches Library (Toronto, ON)
- 23 Apr : Diane Frankling Co-op (Toronto, ON)
- 6 May : West Hill United Church (Toronto, ON)
Interested in an event in your area? Get in touch with Sonia at firstname.lastname@example.org
April 15, 2018
I am excited to share here the details and flyers for three upcoming spring events for Project Animal Farm in Toronto!
A critically acclaimed work of global investigative journalism, Project Animal Farm traces my journey investigating animal farms around the world and their impact on animals, people, and the planet. In the events, I will be speaking about food sustainability, and how we can all play a role in creating a better world. Please click on the links below to learn further details or visit the Events page here. All events are free and open to the public.
- Wednesday, April 18 at 7pm at Beaches Library, Toronto (2161 Queen St E). EVENT FLYER!
- Monday, April 23 at 7.30pm at Diane Frankling Co-op,Toronto (85 Bleecker St). If planning to attend, please RSVP to Ryan Hayward at email@example.com. EVENT FLYER!
- Sunday, May 6 at 10.30am at West Hill United Church, Toronto (62 Orchard Park Drive). EVENT FLYER!
March 29, 2018
I am excited to announce two opportunities for innovators and readers, as they relate to my upcoming debut novel, The Oyster Thief. The story features a vast underwater world harboring a mysterious secret.
Innovator Opportunity: As the writing for The Oyster Thief starts to wind down this spring, I will be shifting gears toward promotion before the book launch in the fall. I would be grateful for your help in figuring out ways for the book to reach a wide audience before then. If you like the idea of entrepreneurship or marketing, I would love to hear from you!
What’s in it for you? A fun creative opportunity, being part of a live product launch, and meeting interesting people. For all interested in helping out, I will be holding a Book Promotion Kick-Off Party at my home in Toronto this spring, with snacks and refreshments.
Separately, for those who don’t live in Toronto, I will be hosting a Skype session.
Are you interested in either the party or the Skype session? If so, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reader Opportunity: I am fortunate to have an awesome team of beta readers who have been providing feedback on The Oyster Thief prior to the book’s release in the fall. At this stage, I’m seeking a couple more readers interested in providing feedback on the first few chapters of the book.
What’s in it for you? An enjoyable opportunity to read and influence a story before its release to the public. If you’re interested, please e-mail me at email@example.com.
I am excited to announce two events in April. I will be speaking about food sustainability, which I explored in my first book, Project Animal Farm. A critically acclaimed work of global investigative journalism, the book traces my journey investigating animal farms around the world and their impact on animals, people, and the planet. Please click on the links below to learn further details or visit the Events page here. Both events are free and open to the public.
- Wednesday, April 18 at 7pm at Beaches Library, Toronto (2161 Queen St E).
- Monday, April 23 at 7.30pm at Diane Frankling Co-op, Toronto (85 Bleecker St). If planning to attend, please RSVP to Ryan Hayward at firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 27, 2018
True feedback is a gift, and I feel fortunate to receive it from an amazing team of beta readers for The Oyster Thief. (An underwater odyssey, the novel features the quest of a mermaid and a human man who confront numerous inner and outer obstacles to find a life-saving elixir.)
Here is a definition of a beta reader from the Oxford Dictionary: “A person who reads a work of fiction before it is published in order to mark errors and suggest improvements.”
As they read The Oyster Thief in installments, beta readers have been telling me what’s resonating with them and are suggesting creative ways to improve the story. Their comments are ultimately helping me make the novel more interesting and enjoyable for you, the final reader.
I am so excited about the team of beta readers that I would like to introduce them to you here (listed below in alphabetical order)!
AAMER HASHAM (my husband) lives in Toronto and leads a global team of project managers focusing on information technology projects. His interests include learning new web-development languages, self-development, and nature. Fun fact: He has visited the southern tip of the world! His thoughts on The Oyster Thief: “The book blends a fast-moving story with fascinating facts about the ocean.”
KRISTYN NANLAL KHETIA works as a consultant for an international organization in Washington DC. She is passionate about food and agricultural issues and first got in touch with me after reading Project Animal Farm. Her interests include reading and cooking. Fun fact: She is an avid fan of Formula One racing! Her thoughts on The Oyster Thief: “The underwater world feels very intriguing and imaginative, with an array of mysterious characters.”
LAUREN FRIEDWALD is a speech-language pathologist who lives in Manhattan. She loves writing, yoga, and matcha tea. Fun fact: She does background work for TV shows and movies during the summer! Her thoughts on The Oyster Thief: “The story is engaging and suspenseful. I can visualize the characters so well that I feel as though I am actually interacting with them while I read. I constantly want to know what they will do next!”
LUCAS MELBYE works at a research firm in Toronto, where he helps nonprofit organizations expand their audiences. In the summer, you can find him at the cottage and in the winter, he’s often snowboarding with his son. His thoughts on The Oyster Thief: “This is as imaginative, insightful and descriptive as anything I’ve read.”
SALMAN FARUQI (my brother) is a radiation oncologist who will soon be moving from Toronto to Calgary. There, he will continue to treat patients with cancer of the brain and spine. His interests include fantasy novels, fitness, and meditation. Fun fact: He is a natural on the dance floor! His thoughts on The Oyster Thief: “With engaging characters and a gripping plot, it’s a phenomenal read, with something for everyone.”
SARAH KREJCI is an assistant professor of biology and environmental science in Florida. She has been studying seahorses for sixteen years and is currently beginning a project to identify the genes that control seahorse color (they can be quite colorful). Fun fact: Besides her passion for the ocean, her life centers around her three little sons. Her thoughts on The Oyster Thief: “I love the detail and complexity in the development of the underwater world—it’s amazing!”
SOFIA FARUQI (my sister) lives in Washington DC and works at think tank World Resources Institute. She focuses on the economic and ecological benefits of forest restoration and was recently featured in a neat video on the topic. Her interests include travel and reading. Fun fact: She is a dedicated pet-sitter! Her thoughts on The Oyster Thief: “It transports me to a whole other world, an underwater realm brimming with intrigue and mystery.”
STACEY GORDON STERLING is a librarian and law professor in Montana who loves to talk and write about animal law. Fun fact: She is known to show up at family gatherings with a car full of puppies she is fostering! Her thoughts on The Oyster Thief: “The book weaves together the best elements of great fiction—compelling characters, clever storytelling, and arresting imagery.”
A big thank you again to the team of beta readers.
January 26, 2018
Hello! This January note is a bit of a miscellaneous update in the midst of all my writing. The Oyster Thief is turning out to be a much more special story than I’d ever imagined! I am excited to share it with you as soon as I can.
My husband and I recently returned from a trip to Cozumel, Mexico. Off the eastern coast of Mexico, the tiny island of Cozumel in the Caribbean was beautiful, with spectacular turquoise waters. We were impressed with some of the environmental efforts underway in Mexico, from turtle protection awareness to composting.
Our snorkeling instructors were also vocal about sunscreens. You may remember that in the August 2017 update, I mentioned that most sunscreens contain chemicals that are toxic to coral reefs. As such, I decided to buy a mineral sunscreen prior to the trip to Mexico. I loved it—a tiny quantity went a long way and it smelled and felt great. If you’re planning your own winter getaway in the next couple of months, I recommend getting a sunscreen that is safe for both you and the marine life you’re going to see. There are lots of mineral sunscreens available; I got Beauty by Earth, which you can find on Amazon.com here and Amazon.ca here.
It was also exciting to see marine life in Mexico that I was actually able to recognize, from the research I’ve been doing for The Oyster Thief. I saw the stunning spotted eagle ray and immense cushion sea stars.
December 5, 2017
I am excited to announce the launch of this newly designed website! Please let me know what you think.
I’m also thinking of forming a small team of beta readers—readers who are interested in reading chapters of my upcoming debut novel The Oyster Thief and providing feedback. It’s a great opportunity for avid readers who want to influence a live work. If you’re interested in being a beta reader, please send me a note at email@example.com.
In the November 2017 update, I talked a little about Coralline and Izar, the two protagonists in The Oyster Thief. The story features some animal characters too, in addition to human ones. (Yes, it’s still a book for adults, but it’s an underwater odyssey and I’m finding it great fun to have animal characters in the story!)
The animal characters are based on true traits of their species. One of them is a seahorse.
Here’s what I’ve learned about seahorses over the course of researching them.
- Romance: Many kinds of seahorses are monogamous. Even after their mate dies, they don’t seek a new one. They’re also big on keeping the romance alive—some seahorses, such as the lined seahorse, perform a ritual dance of greeting with their mate every morning to reestablish their bonds. Also, unusually in the animal kingdom, it is the male seahorse who bears the young.
- Individuality: Lined seahorses can be distinguished by the beautiful crown-like pattern on their head called a coronet, as unique for each individual as a human fingerprint. (It’s not very visible in the photo above but can be seen when looking at a seahorse from the front.)
- Sneaky: Seahorses have a greater ability to change color than a chameleon; they camouflage themselves easily to blend with their surroundings.