Alexis: Morning Person? Or Night Person? How do you know?
Toni: I am a morning person, but grumpy until I've eaten, so if you stop by for an early chat don't stand between me and the refrigerator. I've usually been up an hour by then, have read a few chapters of some good suspense while walking 2.25 miles on the treadmill, and can't wait to devour a bowl of fiber-rich cereal. I read while eating, too, and then head upstairs to make the bed, get dressed, and slip into my writing persona.
Alexis: We won't bump into each other then because I'm a night person. Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what?
Toni: I am never far from music. I keep a 4-CD player downstairs, and boom boxes in every upstairs room because I like music to surround me wherever I work. When writing I listen to classical music turned down low or to instrumental love songs. I feel punished when I can't hear music.
I recently underwent hand surgery. Prior to the procedure the hospital required a pre-admittance interview. Near the end, the interviewer asked in a hushed voice, "Is there anyone at home you are afraid of and would like help getting away from?" I told her, "No, I have no reason to leave my husband of 60 years." Then she asked me what I did to relieve stress. "Turn on some music," I said, and immediately felt myself relax. I hadn't even known I was stressed. So, yes, music is a very important part of my life.
Alexis: And I like complete silence. Every author has her process I guess :-) Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.
Toni: I'm afraid my fans aren't very vocal, but I did receive this great email from my editor-in-chief regarding Fairy Dusted, my latest release:
"Toni, I have to tell you, I think this is my favorite book you’ve ever written for us. I absolutely adored it…Thanks for a great read, and a pleasant edit."
It doesn't get any better than that. Right?
Alexis: Nope. That's damn good! What do you do to unwind and relax?
Toni: Not a lot since my cardiologist took me off all stimulants, but my critique group still teases me about the way a few sips of margarita affect me. It doesn't take much for me to unwind: a good book, soft music, a shady campsite near a lake, a long walk as the sun is setting. I'm an outdoors woman and proud of it, with my roots buried deep in rich Southern soil and my feet usually bare.
Alexis: And I grew up in New England in good sturdy cowboy boots. How do you describe your writing style?
Toni: Homey. Sensual. Down to earth. I recently read a friend's first published book and noticed how much more white space there was around my sentences than around hers, and began studying her writing to see what made the difference. She used longer words. I guess I could, too, but it wouldn't be my story then. I used to keep a dictionary in my lap when reading anything by Barbara Taylor Bradford, a favorite author of mine. I could always count on learning a few new words by reading her books. I'm not a minimalist, I love description and really have to rein myself in when it comes to setting the scene. As my log line says, I write books about safe havens for the heart, and prefer four letter words to long when telling my stories. How's that? Did I answer your question?
Alexis: Absolutely. Oops, that was a 9 letter word :-) Do you have a milestone birthday coming up? If so, how are you approaching it?
Toni: Yes, in August I had to have my driver's license renewed. At my age that is always traumatic, but my next birthday is one I'm really dreading. It just might be the year to retire. Again. I'm finding it becoming harder and harder to write with all the social media distractions. Maybe I'll hang out my shingle as an 'Editor of Last Resort', the person a writer turns to for a final perusal of a manuscript for missing words and typos before the book is released. I enjoy doing this for writing friends. For some reason the mistakes other authors make jump right out at me.
Alexis: Oh, we can't let Toni retire, can we? Visit Toni on the following links:
Fairy Dusted is available for download from:
Or from your favorite eBook store.
Alexis: Check out this excerpt from FAIRY DUSTED:
If only Jill didn't want a baby so badly.
Better still, if only he wanted a child. Things might work out for them if he did, but he wouldn't change his mind about this. Not when another young life would hang in the balance.
Drew's gut clenched. Sure as day followed night Jill would never forgive him for not coming clean with her on this.
The sudden clang of a pot lid and footsteps moving about in the kitchen ended Drew's reverie.
Exhausted from trying to solve his clients' marital problems, he was more than ready to seek refuge inside. Enjoy a tasty meal seated across from his beautiful wife in their well-appointed dining room.
As if he would.
Dread kept Drew glued to the spot, afraid to open the back door, hesitant to face his one-hundred-ten-pound wife.
The pot lid clanged again. Drew yanked open the door and strode in.
Jill stood at the stove, stirring something in an iron pot, her dark auburn hair pulled back from her face with a silver clamp.
"Gosh that smells good." He grabbed a long-handled spoon and sampled the bubbling stew. "How soon do we eat?"
She glanced at him and smiled, a good sign. Lately, he never knew what to expect when he came home. Fertility drugs played havoc with Jill's hormones. With their relationship, too.
He constantly worried about their marriage. He'd be satisfied if they never had a child, overjoyed, actually. He and Jill growing old together, walking through life hand in hand.
Just because we're married doesn't mean we have to have a child.
To Jill, it does.
She'd make too much of his action if he patted her softly yielding butt. Before his next breath she'd have him stripped and stretched out on the bed.
Fertility drugs changed Jill. Gave her the upper hand in their sex life. Made her lust for him, and had gradually eroded their love for each other in her determined rush to give him a child. A child he was afraid to father.
So far, his prayers had been answered and Jill hadn't conceived, but how long could he depend on his luck lasting?
"How was your day?" he asked, giving her a tight hug, his hands firmly planted at her waist.
Alexis: Don't forget to leave a comment for Toni for a chance to win this wonderful story :-)