Today we welcome Toni Sands to the RNA Blog. Toni lives near the Black Mountains in Wales. Many of her ideas arrive while she’s walking by the river. She also finds inspiration when travelling by train or when visiting London where she enjoys roaming galleries and gazing at colourful window displays. She drinks too much coffee and often talks to strangers. Toni enjoys networking, especially getting to know fellow RNA members. She’d like to keep on writing as long as her readers keep on reading. Describe your journey as a writer. How did it begin?
I have to thank my late, lovely mum for instilling in me a love of words. I seem always to have enjoyed writing but my first success with short stories was when I was asked to record two for BBC Wiltshire Sound in the late 1990s. Hearing my work broadcast kick-started me, I suppose.
You write fairly steamy romance which feature in collections by Virgin Black Lace and Xcite Books. What inspired you to choose this genre?
Here is Toni's favourite 1950's doll, which her mother bought her. I love her little vanity case.
The RNA attempts to raise the profile of romantic fiction. Do you think the media is less dismissive of romance than it once was, or is this a cross we will always have to bear?
Probably, though I believe Richard and Judy and certain local radio presenters have helped authors of romantic novels and hopefully will continue. For what it’s worth, I believe the RNA has enhanced its street cred over the last decade.
Were you in the NWS before getting published, and did you find it helpful?
Yes. I submitted one partial and three complete ts to the scheme and received positive feedback and helpful critiques in each case. I’m convinced what I learnt helped me towards achieving publication of my novel.
With the increasing popularity of e-books, how do you think digitisation has helped or changed your own career as a writer?
My ‘romantica’ as some people are now calling erotic romance is mainly e-published. It’s probably the genre most likely to benefit from digitisation, considering it’s the one most difficult to find on that highest or lowest shelf in Waterstones. Which craft tip has helped you the most? Definitely hearing and reading Liz Fielding’s and Fiona Harper’s advice about bringing emotion to the page has helped me unstiffen my upper lip! But I don't think I shall ever stop learning.
What do you enjoy most about being a writer, and the least?
Creation of new characters and hearing their voices in my head does it for me. Before they come to take me away, quite simply I enjoy entertaining people. I don’t want to sound precious but that’s huge motivation for me. Least enjoyable – oddly enough not rejection but comments from people who class all erotic writing as ‘smut.’ Don’t let me get started.
If your book could be a movie, who would play the hero?
Can you tell us something of what you are working on now?
I’ve just finished first draft of a WW2 romance pocket novel. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed writing light kisses and hand holding. In fact I’m so jolly pleased with this era I’m fast turning into Celia Johnson. But I’ve been approached with a view to writing a trilogy which I hope will feature some very hot knights. (The K is intentional.) So it’ll be off with the winceyette pyjamas and on with the black satin robe again soon.
Demure Adelaide hides a passionate nature beneath her elegant gowns. After hiring a delicious new maid, Daisy, she can’t wait to initiate her into the delights of the orchid house. Though resenting paternal pressure to marry businessman Thomas, Adelaide finds excitement in his touch and his erotic whisperings. Yet, when he reveals his sinister side, she seeks solace elsewhere. Christmas brings snowflakes, also a vivid reminder of a heart-wrenching past. Intrigue and obsession rock this Victorian household as Adelaide’s poignant search for love leads her into storms. Will she ever bask in the sunshine?
Thank you Toni for sparing time to talk to us today, and we wish you continuing success with the books.
Best wishes, Freda
Details of all Toni Sands publications can be found on Amazon where she has an author page. http://www.tonisands.co.uk
You can follow Toni on Twitter @tonisands
Interviews on the RNA Blog are for RNA members, although we do occasionally take guests. If you are interested in an interview, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org