Please welcome Tonya Penrose to my blog. Good morning, Tonya, and welcome. Shall we sit and have a chat? Please introduce yourself to those reading this blog post.
Greetings to all of Mary’s blog friends. Don’t we adore her and her books? She’s one of the most incredible women I’ve met in many moons. When she asked if I’d like to visit with you all, I jumped at the chance. So, I’m Tonya Penrose. I write fiction and non-fiction stories. And I confess this is my pen name. I’m excited to get to the questions. So, without further ado….
Awe, Tonya, thank you. You are so sweet and incredible yourself!
Has writing always been part of your life and when did you “know” that it was time to start writing your first book?
Here’s some comic relief to get things started. So, let’s time travel back to when I was six years old and learning to write. I made my first book out of construction paper. Judging by my parent’s expressions, I realized my illustrating skills were MIA, but I could string a few words together to make a story that brought laughs. I kept at it, too.
As for when I got the nudge to write my first publishable book, that happened a few years ago. ASIDE: I’d been writing short pieces up until then. It’s funny… now that I reflect, but the day it happened I didn’t think so.
I had submitted a 1,000-word fiction piece for my writer’s group to critique before I sent it off. When it came my turn, they all refused to give me a lick of feedback on Old Mountain Cassie. Why? They said the character was so engaging they declared she must become a book. They teamed up and said I was doing an injustice to Cassie to confine her to 1,000 words. I sat shocked and frustrated at this uncharacteristic behavior. Two of them were editors. Despite my protests that I didn’t write books, they kept after me for months. One afternoon I succumbed to their hounding and sat in my writing chair to see if Cassie had more to say. 120,000 words later, she hushed. And I held my first novel that eventually had to become 90,000 words. Don’t tell Cassie’s loyal followers, but lately she’s been chatty. 😊
How difficult was it writing your first book?
The story of Old Mountain Cassie flowed from day one and captured my heart. I had no idea where the story was going, but I kept showing up to find out. I fell in love with the characters and the enchanted town of Divine. As for Old Mountain Cassie, her teachings are a part of my life now.
Have you ever wanted to give up and what stopped you?
Hmm. I have stories circling me like planes wanting to land, so I don’t want to give up because of a shortage of inventory. The thought has entered my mind of late because of how publishing has changed and the impact of the virus on marketing books. I’m looking for a home for my multi-genre novel, CHARM, and that’s proving a challenge. I’m also persnickety about a publisher’s family tree.
It’s the marketing and promoting hardship now that poses that question of do I want to give up? Then, a reader will write a review or reach out to me asking when to expect the next Shell Isle Mystery, or sequel to Cassie or A Secret Gift? I’m putty in my readers hands. 😊
Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?
First my disclaimer, so as not to offend. 😊 They aren’t in order of importance. My daughter, husband, and writing friends. They all contribute something unique in support to my writing path.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you for being my reader and liking the stories. I like you all right back. Now here comes the beg. If you want more of my books, please write reviews and tell five friends about the novels. Treat my books like a chain letter. Don’t be shy sharing.
What is the best advice given to you (book or otherwise), and by whom?
Best selling author, Robert Morgan, told me not to sit in front of a blank screen too long. Take the day off. He’s a smarty. If my muses don’t show up for work, there’s no point in me hanging around.
What is your target audience and what aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?
Since I write multi-genre, I cast a wide net for readers. Old Mountain Cassie: The Three Lessons sweeps across inspiration, magical realism, mystery, romance, and of course humor is sprinkled liberally through all my books.
A Secret Gift is a rom/com.
And Baubles to Die For, and Red, White, and Boom are cozy mysteries.
My fifth novel, Charm has all the above and a sampling of science fiction. It’s a complex, but compelling story with a strong message pertinent to life today.
Did the cover evolve the same way, or did you work with someone to make it come together for you?
I envision my book covers as I’m penning the novels. I work with the publisher’s designers to bring that concept to life. I love each of my covers and hope the readers feel a connection to them. They’ve been a true labor of love.
What are you working on now? Can we get a peek, an excerpt?
As I shared earlier, I’ve recently completed Charm. I’d love to share a brief tease.
“A few unexplainable facts have left botanist ABBY DRAKE dazed and confused: why she can’t account for three lost hours, why a road detour she was traveling changed into a closed loop around a Georgia mountain town called Charm, why she can’t find the place on her map and a route home, and why too handsome, MAYOR NASH WALKER, has appeared offering an introduction to Charm’s curious enchantments.
Nash’s words hold Abby captive on a park bench. She’s stuck in Charm. Needing to discover why and agreeing to complete a series of lessons taught by sage, GITA GREENLEAF, helps chart Abby’s course. Humorous encounters follow Abby. She tries to adapt to living in an enchanted village, where money isn’t needed, but acceptance of the impossible is required. She comes to recognize the unique beauty of living a charmed life. Unable to resist her growing attraction to Nash, causes Abby to question returning home, assuming the portal opens.
Now, if anyone here is an agent/publisher, feel free to come a callin’.”
Any last words before we wrap things up?
Yep, I offer my sincere gratitude to Mary for giving me the chance to hang out with her many friends and readers. I loved sharing a sampling of my writing journey and my books. I invite everyone to visit my website or Amazon and read the book blurbs. Maybe one will tickle your fancy and come home with you. If you like the book, tell others. Remember the chain letter. And do keep my thanks.
About Tonya Penrose
As an author, Tonya’s moved by the effect humor and inspiration-driven narratives can have on readers. She is enthusiastic about crafting stories with beguiling characters, adding dashes of snappy humor, and engaging dialogue that leaves her fingerprint on each page.
When Tonya relocated to the mountains, she found fresh writing ideas waiting. From her favorite porch chair gazing at a tranquil lake, the nudge to scribe her first novel, “Old Mountain Cassie: The Three Lessons” came calling.
And from her beach chair, the idea for the new cozy series, Shell Isle Mysteries presented. “Baubles to Die For” and “Red, White, and Boom” is the second novel in the series. “A Secret Gift” is a romantic romp that promises smiles, sighs, and secrets. Tonya confesses new respect for a chair’s ability to motivate writers.
Her fiction and non-fiction stories are published in numerous anthologies, e-magazines, local press, and literary magazines. She’s listed in the Poets and Writers Directory. She chooses to write multi-genre fiction under the pen name Tonya Penrose.