In today’s interview we welcome the author of
Toby Tells, Toby Nomad
Q.Who are your greatest support – who believes in you?
A. My daughter explained social networking to me. I also belong to an online critique group who are honest enough to let me know where I’m screwing up.
Q.Where do you write from? e.g. Kitchen table? Study? Bedroom?
A. My kitchen table. All I need is a computer and a place to feel comfortable typing.
Q.Do you write at set times e.g. morning, afternoon, evening, very early morning?
A.The earlier the better. I’m usually up at 5 in the morning and am writing by 6.
Q.What motivates you to write?
A. I was a very shy kid. Public speaking classes were a nightmare for me. Writing became my way to be heard without getting in front of a group. When I lost my job due to a foot injury, writing became my emotional outlet. It saved my sanity.
Q.What are the biggest distractions to your writing time?
A. I guess its everyday life. There are bills that have to be paid, laundry, shopping, household chores. But it’s all that life stuff that makes for interesting stories.
Q.What part of the world do you live in?
A.North Carolina. A little neighborhood that sprung up in the middle of farm country.
Q.Are you from there originally?
A.No. I’m a Florida girl. Was raised in a little town called Madison. Before moving to North Carolina, my family and I lived in an even smaller town called Shady Grove.
Q.Have you ever suffered from writers’ block?
A. I wouldn’t call it a block. More like lack of direction. My outlines are so sketchy, it leaves plenty of room for new ideas and creativity. Sometimes, that gets me into trouble.
Q.How do you overcome it?
A. By going looking at the end of the outline and asking myself, “Is this really necessary to the story line?”
Q.Have you taken any writers’ courses and have they been worthwhile?
A. I’ve taken a few at our local college. I believe any form of education is beneficial.
Q.Have you ever belonged to a writers’ group? And what value did you gain from it?
A. I belong to an online group. A few of them taught me to slow things down. When I first started writing I was all about the dialogue and action. Someone kept asking what motivates my characters. That made me slow down and realize no one does anything without a motive. Readers won’t know it if I don’t tell them.
Q.Is self-publishing satisfying enough for you or would you prefer to be traditionally published?
A. It would be nice to have some big-time publishing companies logo on my book. And there are a lot of benefits. But then again, I’ve always enjoyed doing things my way. There are things I won’t compromise on. So if I have to self-publish to keep that honesty in my writing, I’m willing to put in the extra work.
Q.Have you ever tried to find an agent?
A. In the beginning. I got some great feedback on how to improve my writing, but no one was interested in representing me. So I’m learning how to become my own agent. It’s a lot of extra work and takes me away from my writing, but extra work means extra rewords.
Q.What would you expect an agent could do for you that you can’t do for yourself?
A. Their job is to promote an artist. They make connections which I don’t have. But that’s okay. I’m working on the “If you build it, they will come” premise.
Q.Do you think you can make a full-time career being an Indie writer?
A. I think anything is possible as long as you believe, plan, and execute. Right now, things are hard. I’m not going to lie about it. I’m not on anyone’s radar that I know of. But building a brand takes time and hard work. I expected that.
Q.How long have you been writing?
A. I’ve been making up stories my entire life. But I haven’t taken it seriously until the last few years.
Q.What drew you to want to write a book?
A. My short stories were becoming longer and longer. The “Toby Tells” series started out as me popping jokes while writing critiques. Someone encouraged me to make some of those jokes short stories. That’s what started the collection. I also wrote a mystery/romance novella under LF Gillis. When I lost my job due to injury, I was angry and depressed. Instead of going to a doctor, I started writing serious stuff. Hoping to publish a series about a female boxer on a downward spiral before the end of the year. It deals with some pretty serious issues.
Q.From where did you get the idea for this current story?
A. Like I said, it all started out as me popping jokes and getting encouragement to write comedy. The thing was, people liked the fictitious narrator “Toby” so much, I let “him” do the talking. Like me, “he” snatches bits and pieces of everyday life. He just puts a crazy spin on them.
Q.How did you go about developing it?
A. The first story in the collection is about a bunch of, well, not-so-sophisticated people standing around a bonfire talking. That’s not an unusual phenomena in small towns. One of them has spent time in a big city. Since he was the local sheriff’s son, and had other relatives in law enforcement, he would have just enough knowledge to know how things might work. “The Godfather” came to mind. By the end of the story, I realized my narrator was left out of the scheme. Instead of writing him in, I decided to let him bring the whole thing down. Afterward, witness protection seemed like a good idea. One “redneck” cliche is using converted school buses as campers. Why not use it and any others I can think of?
Q.What is your next project?
A. I just completed a romantic mystery. But I’m in the middle of writing about a female boxer and her life outside the ring. She returns to her deceased grandfather’s farm to figure things out. By chance she runs into her old high school flame. The real twist is, while doing the boxing research, I discovered brain trauma. That’s something I can’t ignore. So there’s going to be at least two books in this series.
Thank you Toby for giving our readers some insights of your life. To purchase Toby Tells click HERE