Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Interview with Toni Sands

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? 

I blame my mum again! She read a lot of Mills and Boon, some of which were rather steamy. I used to ‘borrow’ them, often reading by torchlight under the bedclothes. It was a chance remark, many years later that triggered my first erotic romances though. Someone at the writers’ group I attended told me he detected ‘a sensuous quality’ in my writing. Then a well-known author (RNA member) gave a presentation in my local library and when I chatted with her afterwards, she recommended I pitch to the Black Lace imprint.

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? 

As my novel ORCHID PINK has no conventional hero, I think Ben Barnes, best known for Chronicles of Narnia is best fit for sexy smuggler Jac from TRADED INNOCENCE. It was of course very difficult for me to research the answer to this question …

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: freda@fredalightfoot.co.uk 


Lesley Cookman said...

Go it, Sandra!

Chris Stovell said...

What a lovely interview with Sandra who is such great fun. It was that underlying humour in addition to the depiction of Adelaide's very real dilemma that I particularly enjoyed 'Orchid Pink'.

Chris Stovell said...

.. 'about' even! Sorry - must engage brain as well as typing fingers!

Toni Sands said...

Thanks for dropping in. Doing my best, Lesley!
Chris, I'm delighted you enjoyed Orchid Pink.
All best x

Liz Fielding said...

Lovely interview, Sandra. Can't wait for the sexy knights!

Toni Sands said...

Nor me! Still out there in the mists of time but hope to capture them soon. Thanks for dropping by, Liz and best wishes for a hassle-free move.

Ty-shaun Coles said...

Amazing post. I also enjoyed your blog in general. I like the feel you bring through your writing. I'll come again! You have a new follower.


Toni Sands said...

Chow back! Goodness knows what I'm saying but thank you, Aristoph, for your kind comment. I'm rather like the cuckoo and sneak into other people's blogs rather than create my own. It's great to be here. Do keep an eye on my website for events etc. There's another e-publication looming!

Susan Bergen said...

Nothing I enjoy more than a knight, Toni! I'm keeping my eyes peeled.

Fiona Marsden said...

Another author for my TBR. Looks fascinating.

Sheila Newberry said...

Great interview, Sandra, and your sense of humour does indeed shine through - well done! Come on, the knights!
Love Sheilax

Toni Sands said...

Lovely to find more comments this morning. You're all motivating me to create my brotherhood of knights so thank you, Susan, Princess fiona01 and Sheila. I always enjoy reading author interviews and it's great to be included x

LindyLouMac said...

Thankyou for this introduction to an author I am not yet familiar with.

Toni Sands said...

Thank you for taking time to leave a comment, LindyLouMac. I'm a bit of a maverick, liking to change genres. Hopefully you'll find something you like!

Cara Cooper said...

Hi Sandra, love that new (is it new?) genre romantica. Can't wait to hear about all those hot knights! All that shining armour and chain mail, great stuff. Good luck with the pocket novel, I'm 5000 words into one myself so yay for us!

Toni Sands said...

Cara, thanks for your lovely comment and good wishes. I don't know how 'romantica' arrived but yes, I like it too. Hope your wip is going well.