Sonja Verena Paris (Reuter) was born in Hamburg, Germany in July of 1964. She studied German and English Language and Literature at the University of Hamburg, sang lead in the local Rock band “Bandits” and took almost three years singing lessons from the well-known opera singer Liliana Aabye-Hecker.
In 1988 she was hired as editor and journalist by the Heinrich Bauer Publishing company in Hamburg for the “Wochenend” magazine. Due to her English language skills, that were above the English language skills of her peers, she conducted interviews with foreign celebrities such as Sean Connery, Helen Schneider and Paul McCartney (just to name a few).
That was the time she turned her back on singing: “I had to choose between music and writing, because I had not enough energy for both, especially at the beginning stages of my journalistic career, when I still had so much to learn. And as a mezzo soprano it was anyway unlikely that I would ever have been able to make good money in the opera field. Like Liliana Aabye-Hecker said to me: “You will always have a job, playing mothers or witches, but your voice is not high enough to sing the main parts.”
“Besides: I had always a weight problem, and making it in the music business as a chunky short woman is near to impossible, regardless in which field. But that was not my only problem: Even though I was good during practice, I always had so much stage fright, that I needed to be considerably drunk, plus take off either my glasses or take out my contact lenses ( I am extremely shortsighted) before going on stage, so the audience would just be a blur to me. Only in this haze and daze was I able to be relaxed enough to give my best in front of a larger audience. Not ideal conditions for trying to become a professional singer, and so I decided, that I had realistically a better chance to become a professional writer.”
“When I came to the United States, because of my marriage to Johnny Paris®, sax player and founder of the instrumental Rock band Johnny and the Hurricanes®, I left all my old life behind, including my desire to write. That changed after my husband’s passing in 2006, when I found the outline of his biography, his diaries and other material about his life, which pushed me to pick up where I (and he!) left off and get back into the writing mode again. Somehow, finally I found a reason to write again. This biography was my first book project. I completed it in collaboration with my husband’s former band member Duane Thomas. It was followed by “Make the Cougar purr”, a book about a middle-aged woman that has to cope with her husband’s infidelity and sudden death! SURPRISE SURPRISE!”