Happy Monday, people. Today, I'm pleased to welcome the lovely Toye Lawson Brown to my blog as we chat about writing and her latest book, Smoke and Fire, A Firefighters's Love Story. Please give her a warm welcome.
As usual, one lucky commenter will receive a copy of her eBook. Make sure you follow my blog via email to be eligible. Winner will be announced in next Monday's post.
Last week's winner of Take 2 by Linda Bolton is Mary Preston. Congratulations! Contact me to receive your copy.
Now on to this week's interview...
Q1) Can you tell us a little about yourself
I am the mother of two adult children (a son and daughter), and have two granddaughters that I adore. My spouse and I have been together for over twenty years and we’ll be together until the end of time. By day, I work in the legal field and write as a way to relieve my stress.
Q2) Have you always wanted to be an author?
The thought crossed my mind of writing for a living when I was in my early twenties, but black authors were very rare and had established a good following of readers. I didn’t think I could break the barrier of Caucasian readers that Jackie Collins, Barbara Delinsky and other had established, so I just wrote for pleasure and never submitted any of my manuscripts to a publishing house.
Q3) Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?
As I mentioned before, I grew up reading novels mostly by Jackie Collin, Danielle Steele, Tom Clancy and Stephen King. I loved all those authors but soon wanted to read novels revolving around African-American characters and not characters in slavery or gangster roles. I discovered Eric Jerome Dickey, Alice Walker, Walter Mosley and Zane and soon those became my favorite authors and inspired me to write stories for characters that were mature and had great careers.
Q4) Can you tell us what a typical writing day for you is like.
Depending on what I’m writing, either a romance or suspense novel, I have to set my pace. I usually listen to music in the form of whatever I’m writing. I don’t necessarily lock myself away from everyone when I write, but if I’m working on an intense section of the book, I will ask that I not be disturbed. Most of my writing takes place on the weekends and during my vacations if we don’t have any travels or events planned. And, I don’t write every night when I get home from work because, if I’ve had a bad or stressful day, I notice my characters actions are stressed and I end up doing a lot of rewriting. I do try to read what I have written and make notes or corrections before I go to bed.
Q5) Let’s talk about your new book. Can you tell us a little about it?
“Smoke & Fire A Firefighter’s Love Story” is my new book. It revolves around Jonathan DeMinico who is a Cleveland Firefighter and totally hot. His womanly ways are challenged when meets Gabrielle King, a respiratory therapist who treats him after he is injured battling a house fire. He is definitely a ladies man and doesn’t see himself settling for one woman but he is getting the sense maybe being with Gabrielle for the rest of his life might not be so bad. Gabrielle is weary of giving Jonathan the time of day after overhearing his friends talking. She isn’t going to fall for his flirting and risk getting burned by love again. But, there is a third person waiting in the wings to shake things up a bit for this couple if they ever decide to become a couple.
Q6) How did you come up with the idea for this story?
I’m a sucker for men in uniform and most of my stories revolve around men playing sports, or fighting crime and this time I decided to use the real heroes who are often overlooked when it comes to romance novels. I wasn’t familiar with their day to day operations so I contacted a person that happened to be close friends with a Lieutenant at a Cleveland firehouse. I called him and we set up a day to meet and chat. That chat lasted for several hours and included other firefighters of the firehouse who were more than happy to share their individual experiences. I had so much fun talking to those guys and it heightened my respect for them even more. I don’t want to seem prejudice against women by not having women often as my leading characters but I love a good strong man and will pair them with strong women.
Q7) What is up next for you?
I’m working on the second installment of my Detective Series titled A Journey to Justice. I don’t have a release date set yet but I usually take a couple of months between novels before I release another one. I have to let my brain rest and get a good idea going before I start drafting a new story.
Q8) What is the best piece of advice you would give to a budding writer?
Research is always good. I loved doing the research for all my books. I’ve made friends with people in law enforcement and now at the fire department and I know I can call on them when I get stuck on a subject. Next would be having good people in your corner. Most indies can’t afford professional editing or copywriters to go over their manuscripts, but if you get a few people knowledgeable in English and sentence structure, they can help you be that second and third pair of eyes. I’m guilty of not catching every edit but I have to say with the people I use now, they tend to catch most of my mistakes and question me on stuff that doesn’t make sense. Then I have beta readers who will read the whole book and give me their feedback. I appreciate the honesty they give me and it does make me take a second look at what I’ve done before I release my work.
And the last thing I would suggest is not to have friends and family pad reviews. I will not ask my friends or family to review my books. All the reviews I get are from readers I don’t know. This is the only way I can gage how well I’m doing. If a friend takes it upon themselves to review the book, I can’t stop that but I don’t ask and I don’t argue with readers that don’t care for what I have produced. Everyone will not like what I write and new authors should not get discouraged if they receive a bad review. Learn from those and keep writing.
Q9) What is the next book on your To Read Pile that you are dying to jump into?
I have a few. I have the new releases by AC Author and Delaney Diamond loaded on my kindle but I’m looking for a juicy suspense novel to get my blood running. I love suspense novels and the alpha males that stomp the bad guys in the end.
Q10) Is there anything else you would like to add?
I have become a fan of you writing also. I loved a Valentine Challenge and have read it several times.
Chicago. I loved visiting there but being from Cleveland, I felt overwhelmed by the number of people. Cleveland is not small but compared to Chicago and New York, the number of people made me appreciate the small town feel we have sometimes.
Favorite place you’d like to visit:
I want to visit Puerto Rico and Cuba. I love the Spanish culture and would love to see it first-hand.
Favorite place to write:
My bedroom. It’s quiet and when I close the door, it usually means for everyone to stay away until I open it again.
Cooking but now writing is taking over as my favorite hobby.
This is going to sound corny but I loved “Dirty Dancing and following that would be The Brothers”. Neither of those movies would be considered classic but I liked them. Pretty much any movie that can hold my attention is a good movie. I’m not much of a movie buff and tend to drift off into my own world.
The Color Purple
Toye Lawson Brown lives in Cleveland, Ohio. She is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and a member of the Northeast Ohio Chapter of RWA. She is also registered with GWA (Guild Writers of America). Her passion for writing began when she would daydream and write those stories floating in her head on paper. She recently dusted those stories that were rotting away on paper and published her first book in 2010 "Obsessive/Obsession". Since then, she has self-published many more novels. She'll admit to dabbling in many hobbies over the years, but writing has been her passion and her mental stress reliever.
Writing has allowed her to escape from the day-to-day grind of work-related stress and into a world of fiction where she decides how the day would end for her characters. She hopes you enjoy the adventures her characters deliver to you as you read, as much as she has enjoyed writing them. Each book has been a personal achievement for Toye and promises to continue to strive to bring readers the best possible stories to be told through her many characters. If you are purchasing any books using Kindle, she can now sign your copy to make it personal. To do so, go to www.authograph.com and look for the ebook you wish to purchase. Feel free to email Toye at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website http://www.toyebrown.com, join her blog at http://www.booksbytoye.com. Follow her on twitter @quietbreezes.
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