I’m so, so stoked to have author Toni Wall on the blog today! She is the first author to sign with our small press, SR Press, and I can’t wait for her debut novel to enter the world! She shares more about herself and her writing life in the interview below.
Hi Toni! It’s so nice to have you on the blog today!
T: Hi! Thanks so much for having me!
When did you first decide you wanted to write? How did your first story enter your mind?
T: So this question has come up recently for another project I’m involved with. And after lots of thought I realized, I have no idea. It’s just something I’ve always done and always wanted to do. When I was young-young, I started writing fan fiction. I didn’t even know what fan fiction was. One day I heard that there were other people who wrote stories based on their favorite television shows and I was completely shocked, thinking, I do that too!! But I’d literally been doing it for years before I was in the position to learn what it was.
What made you decide to take more of the self-publishing/hybrid route?
T: Lack of patience? I’m not old but I’m not super young either and at some point, I finally decided that if I really wanted to buckle down and publish a book (and I did), I would need to do it myself. I didn’t want to take the time to query for years. Also, I liked the idea of having creative control. I finally decided to go the hybrid route when I realized what I wanted was to write a book and have it published, but what I didn’t want was the pressure of having to figure out all the technical stuff. I was actually getting pretty stressed about it all to the point where I was wondering if it would ever actually happen.
Tell me a little about your debut novel, Persuasion of Deceit. What is it about? Is it part of a series?
T: So, this book is about a girl who wants to help and gets a little (a lot) in over her head. The King has gotten out of hand, and she happens upon a plot to assassinate him and decides she wants in…and sort of ends up dragging her friends into it as well. It sounds kind of like your average assassination/intrigue storyline, except our King is anything but average. He has a knack for mind games, in the most literal sense, and our little band of rebels is hit with some terrifying twists.
What inspires you to write?
T: I don’t even know. Everything? I mean, just driving down the street can inspire stories. Seeing the person in the car next to me, on the phone, looking extra serious, can cause my mind to go wild with possibilities. Before I know it, I’ve made up a backstory and planned out the rest of their day, and my kid is just looking at me and rolling his eyes.
Who are some authors that inspire you to become a better writer?
T: All of them! I want to create worlds and write twists like Sarah J. Maas. I want to write angst like Jennifer L. Armentrout (I mean, seriously, that woman is a master at angst). I want to write enemies to lovers like Laura Thalassa. I want to paint beautiful word pictures like Natalia Jaster and Erin Morgenstern. I just want to be all of them.
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written thus far?
T: So many, and the more I read and revise, the deeper I fall in love with them. But if I had to pick one . . . There’s a mentor-type character in Persuasion of Deceit that I fell for pretty quickly when he showed up on the page, and I could probably call him my favorite.
What is the hardest part about writing for you?
T: Finding time. With a family, including three kids and a couple of dogs, it’s hard to find the time (and the quiet) to be able to sit down and get my thoughts from my head onto the paper in a way that makes sense.
What is your favorite part about writing/editing?
T: Getting to know my characters and exploring their relationships. For me, and I’m assuming other authors as well, what I put on the page is only a portion of what I know about these characters. About what’s going on in their lives when they’re not on the page, or in the lives of the characters whose point of view we don’t get to see. I just love falling for my characters.
How would you describe your writing style?
T: I really don’t know. Do I have a style? As far as my process, I’m a mix between the writer with the detailed outline and the writer that just sits down and starts pouring onto the page. I think the unofficial, or maybe official at this point, word is “Plantser.”
Do you have a favorite snack or drink you enjoy while writing?
T: Well, since I usually try to drag myself out of bed before everyone else and try to get a couple of hours of writing in then, I would say my favorite drink is coffee and my favorite snack is breakfast. Though, to be honest, my favorite drink while doing anything is probably coffee.
Just because I’d like to include it for readers’ purposes, what would you say your target audience is for your book? Is there any content I should warn readers about?
T: My main characters are in their early twenties so I would put this book in the New Adult category. Upper-upper YA for sure. While there is a love story, there isn’t anything really explicit in that sense. Though, I do have a warning at the beginning of the book because my characters have some surprising conversations and face some serious violence. That’s another reason for the NA label. I don’t, or try not to, shy away from reality. (Sorry, guys! Really, I am, it was a ride to write!)
What is some advice you can give aspiring authors out there, especially mothers, that you’ve learned from your writing process/journey?
T: Oh, I wish I had some! I’m still that person who gets online and searches for this exact thing. Writer moms, HOW do you do it!? Maybe, don’t overwhelm yourself. Write when you can and don’t stress if you don’t get all the words in that you were hoping to. Slow and steady wins the race. Trust Me! And really, in the end, the page will still be there, waiting, it’s not going anywhere.
Can you share your favorite quote(s) from Persuasion of Deceit to tease readers?
T: Hmm, there are a lot of bits that I like but they aren’t necessarily very profound. There is a point when Logan, the mentor character I mentioned earlier, and Raven, my main character, are having one of their conversations (which, I loved writing their interactions so much). Raven says something like, “We could all be dead tomorrow,” and Logan responds with something like, “We could always all be dead tomorrow. And that’s why what we do now is so important.” You know, make your moments count and always be kind. Those last bits aren’t in the book, those are free from me for this interview.
What do you plan on working on after Persuasion of Deceit?
T: So, the sequel to Persuasion of Deceit! While this book doesn’t end on what I would call a traditional cliffhanger, it’s also pretty obvious that there’s more to the story. And I’m going to try to share that. Right now, I know the story and it’s like, bursting in my head, and I’m feeling a little intimidated about getting it down on the page in a way that makes sense, but we’re going to try! After that . . . I might be brewing an enemies to lovers fantasy, but right now that’s only a slim outline and a Pinterest board.
Finally, I heard you enjoy a good cup of coffee… What are your favorites? Asking for a friend. *winks*
T: Oh! I’m going to sound like a commercial but about a year ago Panera started this coffee subscription thing. One flat rate a month for unlimited (every two hours) coffee. I love iced coffee and I usually go in the afternoon, grab a coffee and let it sit in my fridge until the morning. And it’s Good coffee, like, really good. Of course sometimes I like to splurge for a fancy Starbucks. Mostly around the holidays, because that’s when I can get my favorite. Venti, iced, salted caramel mocha, without the mocha, extra caramel and extra salt. Yum!
Huge thank you to Toni for letting me interview her! To hear more about her upcoming novel, please check out @sr_press on Instagram, or @srpressllc on Facebook. Also, be sure to follow Toni through the social media links below!
Toni Wall was bit by the writing bug at a very early age,writing fan fiction before she even knew it was a thing. In fact, she was genuinely shocked to learn, later, that other people shared the hobby.
Now she writes actual fiction and loves getting to know (and falling for) brand new characters. Writing is like therapy for Toni and she loves every minute of it, even when it’s difficult.
She’s an avid reader and is always reading more than one book at a time. She blames bookstagram for her ever growing to be read pile and partially for her finely curated book boyfriend collection.
When she’s not writing she’s Mom, and let’s face it, she’s Mom a lot more than she’s writing. With three boys and two dogs she’s kept extremely busy and it’s no wonder Coffee is her middle name. Black, no sugar, (no time for frivolities).
Toni is married to her college sweetheart and together with their sons and dogs they live happily tucked away in an eastern Pennsylvania suburb.
You can follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/justaddpages/
And Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ToniWallWrites