We have a British Kiwi visiting today! Please make Toni feel right at home.
Hi Kylie, thanks for having me ‘over the pond’.
Where are you? I live in Auckland, New Zealand – the semi winterless north. :-) I have been here since my parents emigrated from England when I was nine years old. I have to admit that the recent Royal Wedding had me hankering for the ‘olde country’.
How many years have you been a member of RWNZ? I joined RWNZ back in …. um …. 2003. Gosh, has it been that long! I had to go and check the RWNZ Clendon Award results page on Barbara’s Books webpage to work that out.
I was a member of RWAustralia back when Donald Maass came to your conference in Melbourne. I hope to rejoin soon.
What genre do you write? I write women’s fiction, that oftentimes has a dark and/or erotic vein.
Who are your favourite authors? Jodi Picoult, Anne Rice, Alice Sebold, Jean M Auel, Sebastian Faulks, Virginia Andrews, Stephen King, Diana Gabaldon, Karina Bliss and an even more eclectic list of erotica authors, a lot of whom go by the name of ‘anonymous’.
What inspired you to write romance? LOL. I’m the writer who often gets score sheets back from competitions telling me that, ‘… this is not a romance…”. But putting that to one side, I think I fell in love with romance as a young adult, reading my mum’s Catherine Cookson collection.
There’s something special about a happy ever after and some security in knowing that at the end of the book, I’m going to have an attack of the warm fuzzies and know that these two people I have fallen in love with are going to have a safe and secure future together. Although I get a satisfactory ending with a lot of the material I choose to read, I don’t always get the emotional satisfaction of a HEA.
Who's your dream agent and dream publisher? Harlequin. I continue to be blown away by their support for their writers and their marketing savvy. I’m hoping for the perfect agent match, but I’m not prepared to admit who I’m stalking at the moment. :-)
What's the best thing about going to conference? Networking. Meeting amazing like-minded people whose eyes don’t glaze over when you start talking about plot points, character arcs or goal, motivation and conflict.
And lastly, finish these statements...
My greatest strength as a writer is... my characters – they talk to me. I have no choice but to write their stories.
A sexy hero needs... chest hair.
My latest WIP (work in progress) is about... a woman fighting for the right to have her deceased husband’s children.
When I write I like to... write in small 200 to 300 word stints. I’m like a Meercat, I need to pop my head up (and out of the story) to check on the ‘real world’ around me.
My best writing milestone to date is... to have an editor and an agent say that they will look at anything that I write.
Thanks so much, Toni, for answering my questions!
You can visit Toni at her website or follow her on Facebook.