This post is the beginning of my posts celebrating Christmas in novels. From now till the end of the year, I'll be interviewing authors with Christmas reads to get you in the holiday spirit. So read on to learn more about Tonya's writing process and her upcoming book.
You’ve now written over 80 books. At the beginning, how many books did it take before you felt you could make writing a full-time career?
It wasn't the number of books. It was the income that I needed to make in order to quit my job as a child therapist so I could still have a roof over our heads and food on the table for a family of six.
How long does it take to write one of your books?
My word count from
HarperCollins is 50k words. That's the total I've held to since I started. I write at
least 4k words a day, five days a week. I can get a book written in about three
weeks. After that I have an editing service I pay that does three rounds of
edits. I also have one hundred people who read the novels before they go to
What made you use a camper as a focal point for our stories?
I wanted to come up with a new cozy mystery with a different occupation for the sleuth. I didn't want to do the typical baking, yarn, etc. shop.
I use the kitchen table
for my desk. If we aren't camping in our camper and it's sitting on our
property, I go there every morning to write. I bring my laptop and all the
things I need for that book with me and carry it back and forth.
When you’re stuck on a scene or a plot point, how do you get back on track?
I see that as a sign of
the characters not going in the direction they want me to. I know that sound
weird, but I can take a walk in my woods on our property or just around our
pond and my juices get flowing again for me to continue the story.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Actually I love writing. I
love all aspects of it.
What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?
Author Anne Perry bought my book and she told me, "You're going places."
Honestly, I was rejected
by the author community when I decided to self-publish so many years ago. They
told me I was vain publishing. My success and determination was how I got past
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I love my job.
What frustrates you the most?
What frustrates me most is
not enough time in the day to write more.
What do you know now about writing you wished you had known sooner?
The one thing I've said
for the past couple of years was I'd not written so many series at once. I'd
focus on one series and continued it until the readers no longer wanted to read
What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
Write one series and focus
Here are the details…Mae West is busy this Christmas season. She's running around Normal getting the town ready for the first Winter Festival, which she hopes will become an annual event for the tourist town.
The freshly fallen snow sure does make the Daniel Boone National Park beautiful and ready for Santa's arrival, but it also makes the curvy roads through the forest very slick. Unfortunately, Mae finds out just how slick the roads are after her car slides off the road and hits a tree, putting Mae into a deep coma.
Mae starts having memories about the fire that took her family and a memory of a murder plot that she thinks happened when she was in her coma. Only, she's having a hard time distinguishing between the two memories and the clues seem to have blurred lines. There's one thing she does know for sure, both incidents come with clues that neither were accidents.
Once again, Mae West with the help of the Laundry Club Ladies put on their amateur sleuth caps to help solve the mystery of the murders before the killer sends her a Christmas gift she can't return.