Hey there, kiddos! This has been a fantastic week. There was a huge response to the “Author Interview Corner” Facebook page, amassing 43 “likes” in 7 days. As promised, 3 winners have been randomly selected to receive a free (SIGNED) e-book by Franklin E. Wales. Those winners are *drum roll* Joseph Pinto, G Elmer Munson, and Craig Saunders! Congrats, guys. Thanks for the support. Your copies of “3 Fingered Jake and the Traveling Roadshow” will be sent out shortly!
And thanks to EVERYONE who has shown support thus far.
Next week we will run another contest. This time author Alan Nayes has offered 3 free copies of his book, Gargoyles. Details on that will be posted alongside his interview next week, but for now… onto this week’s interview with the INCREDIBLE Tonia Brown!
When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always been a voracious reader. I read and read and read and read. I just love it. A few years ago, around 2007, I was just finishing the fifth in a series and it dawned on me that the book was almost a duplicate of the other four. And I said something along the lines of, “I could write a better book than this crap.” To which my husband responded, “Then do it.” I took him up on it and did just that.
Your new novel, “Skin Trade” revolves around a young girl with a history of sexual abuse. In the introduction to this book, you warn readers that her back story may be “a touch unsettling”. Yet, I never came across a passage that struck me as too graphic, or terribly perverse. The necessary parts of her past were brought to light, and you did a wonderful job balancing those with the main events. That being said, what made you decide to write a character such as Samantha? What inspired the idea of a fifteen year old with her particular history?
Skin Trade started out its life from the point of view of the trappers themselves. It was going to be about the trappers and the lifestyle and how they got by on skinning zombies for a living. Halfway into plotting the first section, I decided to switch to a female pov just for a change of pace. (I see a lot of z-poc fiction written from the male pov.) At first, Samantha was a debutant on the search for her missing parents, but the plot line was sluggish and she just wasn’t talking to me. That’s when I realized I had written exactly the kind of prissy character I hate to read. The typical damsel in distress that needed constant rescuing. I changed her back story, made her tough as nails and gave her a crappy future to look forward to, and after that she spoke and grew and just about wrote the damned thing herself!
I would also like to add that the author’s note about her history of sexual abuse and experience was my editor’s suggestion. And a fine one at that. She pointed out it wouldn’t be the racism or violence of the book that would put people off, but the nature of Sam’s sexual exploits at what we modern folks consider a young age. I decided to explain things a bit to folks who were less familiar with such things.
“Skin Trade” is set in the 1800s. Do you favor this time period in fiction? Do you have any other tales written in this period?
I never thought I would say this, but yeah, I like writing historical fiction. Not historically accurate, mind you. I like mixing it up with a touch of steampunk or weird science or anything that takes it out of the normal timeline and thrusts it into the category of alternative history.
And yes, I have several novels and shorts set in this time period. My erotic steampunk series Clockworks and Corsets is set in the mid 1800’s. My most recent steampunk horror work, The Cold Beneath, is set in the late 1800’s. I have several short stories published with Steampunk Tales that are in this time frame, and my ongoing weird western web serial is set in the late 1800’s as well.
I remember reading your short story collection “Triple Shot Of Unnatural Nature” back in April, but it looks like there are three more books in this series: “Triple Shot Of Strange”, “Triple Shot Of Werewolves”, and “Triple Shot Of Zombies”. Do you have a personal favorite in this series?
Actually, there are five in the series now. I just released Triple Shot of Steampunk, which contains, yes you guessed it, three steampunk stories. My plan is to just keep putting these triple themed sets out until I either run out of things to say, which is highly unlikely, or someone tells me to stop. I think maybe Strange might be my favorite in the series. I never could find homes for those three tales because they are just a little off center of any one genre. In fact, those three stories are what started the whole Triple Shot series to begin with when I deiced to release them on my own. Folks seem to enjoy them, which makes me happy.
What is your favorite monster?
I can’t say for certain as I have never personally gotten to know any monsters.
Seriously though, the monster hierarchy for me is: vampire, ghost, demon, werewolf, zombie. (Zombie being the bestsest and vampires being so-so.)
I enjoyed your guest blog over at Luna’s Lair, where you made the bold (and probably controversial) statement: “There is no such thing as writer’s block!” You claim it’s simply a matter of making your writing a priority, not letting one project bog you down, and limiting less important activities, such as TV. My question is: Have you always felt this way, or did you develop this mentality over the years? Was there a time when you claimed to suffer from the dreaded “block”?
First of all let me say thanks for reading the post. And allow me to remind your readers they can forward their angry emails to me. [;)]
I have always felt this way on the matter. I hear folks say all the time that they haven’t written anything in weeks because they are suffering from so called “writer’s block” and to that I say phooey! There is no such thing as just not being able to produce words. They might not be the best words, but you should be able to write something, even if it’s a letter to a dead movie star. Just write something, anything! If you are sitting in front of your computer or legal pad or little scraps of handmade paper or whatever you chose to write on, and you cannot type or write word one, then maybe it’s time you looked for another career.
Most of the time when I hear the words writer’s block applied to someone’s life, I find that the truth is that someone has become too busy to write for one reason or another. If you are too busy then just say so, but don’t hide behind a fictitious malady that we are supposed to sympathize with. I have a super bulky schedule, and yeah, sometimes I don’t write what I want to or even at all. But I never blame it on an inability to produce.
Did writing “Skin Trade” present any challenges or obstacles, or did it pour out of your fingertips with ease?
My main obstacle with this novel was describing the business of the trade without the gore becoming too gratuitous. A good friend of mine acted as a consult for the trapping and skinning scenes, which kept me in line as far as how it all worked on a realistic level. He even had some good suggestions on how to skin a human. And as I said before, it was a fairly easy story to write once I settled on the main character and her back story.
I’ve heard good things about “Badass Zombie Road Trip”. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Badass is about a geek, a zombie, a stripper and Satan. How can you go wrong with that combination? Jonah accidentally loses his best friend’s soul to Satan, who then offers to return Dale’s soul if Jonah will commit to a cross country trek in order to find it. To make the journey easier (ha!) Satan turns Dale into a zombie. A soulless, hungry, asshole of a zombie. Along the way they meet a stripper, lose various body parts and learn the true meaning of friendship. And tampons.
Friendship and tampons are essentially what this novel is about.
What other projects are you working on?
Lately I’ve been novel hopping (which is a big no-no in my personal view of writing) between the sheets of a few horror works and one or two steampunk pieces. I am proud to say that just this last week I finally confessed my undying love to a horror/fantasy/humorous story, and we should set the date for our nuptials soon. I won’t give away the details quite yet but I will say that this one is for all of my fellow nerds out there.
Where can we find you on the web?