Toni Blake I would like to take this time to thank you for granting Coffee Time Romance this interview. I would like to tell you that I love your intriguing web site.
Today we will talking about her book Swept Away. Plus she will be telling us a little about her self. Welcome Toni Blake. So pleased you could join me in an interview.
Thanks for inviting me! And I'm glad you like the website. My web designer is brilliant and always manages to capture exactly what I want to project about myself through the site.
Toni, I see you have new book out now from Avon Red line, Swept Away, can you tell us a little about the premise of the story?
Kat Spencer is spending time on her family's private island, trying to mentally prepare for a wedding she's not sure she wants to go through with - when a man from her past literally washes up onto the beach. Brock Denton is the bad boy she once tried to seduce ten years earlier but who turned her down - and he's now an FBI agent who just escaped from a yacht after his cover was blown. When he and Kat end up stranded on the island, this time he's set on seducing her. And any other time, she would have let him - but given that she's engaged and holds marriage to be sacred, that presents a problem - a big one. There's lots of passion, lots of danger, lots of humor, and lots of emotion as Kat decides whether to let herself be "swept away" by Brock's many charms.
Can you tell us a little about Avon Red line,is this the steamy line of their books?
Yes, Avon Red is sexy and steamy and it's also Avon's brand new line. I'm honored to be the first full-length novel launching the imprint, in fact. The books in the line strectch from very hot and sexy romance - like SWEPT AWAY - to more extreme erotica, and the line will have one release a month in trade paperback. I hope readers will check out the offering as it sounds like there will be something for everyone!
Do you find you tend to mirror your own experiences to draw emotion into you characters?
Yes and no. I very seldom write anything autobiographical in any way. But I do write with a lot of emotion and I think it's impossible to do that without drawing on one's own feelings. I'm a highly emotional person and when I'm writing, it's almost like acting - I put myself in the characters' shoes and try to let the story reflect what I think they're feeling in every moment of the book.
Did you have to do a lot of research for Swept Away?
Actually, yes, I did. I owe debts of gratitude to the wonderful people who helped me. Author Maggie Price, who works in law enforcement and whose husband and brother are police officers, spent a great deal of time helping me work out the suspense portion of the story. And Author Sue-Ellen Welfonder and her agent, Roberta Brown, helped me with questions about the part of the story that took place in Naples, Florida. I also did a little research on smuggling, sea glass, and other various and sundry things that made their way into the story.
Swept Away is not your first published book. How do you think your writing has progressed from the very first acceptance till now?
I think it's changed quite a bit - yet in other ways stayed the same. I think my voice has grown and expanded into something more appealing and unique over time and that I've just generally become a better writer in the eight years since my first book came out. I've also gone through stages - from light and humorous to very sexy to very dark and angsty. I'm pleased to say that I think Swept Away represents yet another slight shift and that it pulls together the best of all those elements.
Have you considered a sequel to Swept Away? Why or why not?
I've never written a sequel to any of my books. The reason why is - when I craft a hero and heroine, I try to make them really dynamic, compelling individuals. And though I think and hope my secondary characters are appealing, I don't know that they're hero or heroine material - at least for me. If I were to write a sequel or series, I would have to know that from the start and carefully construct all the major players at that time.
Can you tell us a little about The Love Bug Tour on your site?
Sure. Fellow writer and friend LuAnn McLane and I were in anthology together last year called TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS. We also happen to live about ten minutes apart! This is fairly rare - for two local authors to end up in the same book - so we decided to have fun with it and do a regional book tour in LuAnn's cute little red VW bug. I came up with the name of the tour and Luann wrote a press release, and away we went! We hit local stores as well as stores in several surrounding cities in the Midwest where we live, and we had a great time!
How has being a writer changed or affected your life or you?
I can't quite imagine my life without being a writer, since even before I was pursuing it as a career, I've always written, as far back as when I was a kid. Now my passion has become my career, so now it's an obligation, not just a hobby - but I still love it and feel very thankful I've achieved my dreams.
Do you have a routine for writing? Or just when the mood strikes?
Unfortunately, deadlines don't allow me to write when the mood strikes. I write every day, all day, full time. Of course, I have the occasional doctor or hair appointment mixed in, but basically, I write or deal with the business of writing Monday through Friday from about 8:30 to about 7:00.
Tell us about the moment you made up your mind to submit your work to a publisher.
I had always wanted to be a novelist and had always written stories and books, but had never seriously pursued publication until I was about 25. I had recently married my husband, gotten a good job, and sort of just settled into "adult life." I began to feel something was missing in my life and soon realized it was that I'd stopped writing a few years earlier. After I started writing again - every night, in the bedroom, with a pen and notebook - I decided I didn't want to wake up one day when I was eighty and wonder, What if ...? After that, I became DETERMINED to become a professional writer, and it took a while, but it was well worth it.
Can you please give us your web site address?
If you could say one thing to readers, what would that be?
That I appreciate the support of readers so very much! This is a tough profession, extremely competitative, and for publishers, it's obviously a "business," which means it's often about trends and finding that next bestseller - so it's easy to start feeling, at times, like the work you put your heart and soul into doesn't matter much. So when a reader e-mails me or approaches me at a booksigning and lets me know one of my books has entertained or touched them in some way, it's the most phenomenal gift anyone could give me.
Toni Blake thank you so much for joining me in this interview. Are there any other upcoming works you would like to mention or anything you would like to add about Swept Away?
My next book, TEMPT ME TONIGHT, is scheduled for release in June 2007, also from the Avon Red line, so I hope readers will keep an eye out for it. But first, I hope they'll check out SWEPT AWAY, due to hit the shelves at the beginning of September 2006. And they can read an excerpt and reviews at my website, too!
Thanks for a great interview, Karen!