The Tonia Brown Illustrious Peep Interview!
Tonia, you’ve got a penchant for Victoriana and dead things. Is there a place inside your head or heart where they connect?
My lifelong love of horror spilled over into my more recent love of steampunk. I am huge fan of the Victorian era as well as horror, so it only made sense that they would meld into a nice, undead chap that would politely raise his pinky while he ate your brains. If he still has a pink, that is.
That leads into the next question… Why horror?
Why not? Horror evokes those primal emotions that charge every ounce of your being. That flight or fight response gets your heart pumping and your blood racing. For me, that moment of true fear is not only an addictive adrenaline rush, but also the most exercise my poor heart gets all week.
Since we’re both with Permuted Press, I can ask a question like this: how did you find them, or how did they find you?
I had submitted twice to them before, with polite rejection each time. As they say, third time is a charm. Skin Trade fits their brand much better than my other offerings, hence the three book deal. Of course, a good word from a fellow author helped ease the path the third time. I have to thank Timothy Long for giving me a hand up on this one.
When did the writing bug bite you?
I have always written in one form or another, but didn’t start writing fiction habitually until a few years ago. I was reading a series by a well known author, and on the fifth book I noticed all of the tales were essentially the same. The same plot, over and over, just worded differently. I complained about the state of fiction today to my husband and he challenged me to write better. I took him up on the challenge and here we are.
Have you found your family and community to be supportive of your writing?
My family is supremely supportive of my work. My husband is my biggest fan, and my twin sister is my largest critic. Both keep my work and my ego in check. My friends are some of my most faithful readers, and some of my most faithful readers have now become my friends. So, in short, I have a wide and loving network of support. I am both blessed and grateful.
Creativity seems to run in your family. Your sister has a wicked pizza imagination. Does anyone else in your family have a muse? If so, what kind of muse?
Funny you should mention my twin sister. Pizza isn’t her only outlet of creativity. She and her husband run a small business called Mystic Artisans. They create all manner of art; painting, marble etching and wood burning that would make you weep to see. My husband’s creativity leans more toward the spiritual side of things. He runs the blog vine-and-ivy.com in which he discusses all things divinely oriented from a pagan point of view.
Every writer has a dream, whether it is money, or fame. What’s your dream?
It may sound flakey but I find the most satisfaction just in reaching the reader. Whether it’s just someone emailing me to tell me they enjoyed a book, or a post on Facebook to say they just finished the latest one and loved it, these things are my goals.
At a recent convention, ConTemporal, a fellow came to my table and told me he was trying to work out a cosplay for the character of Boon from my Railroad! series. I honestly thought I would start crying it pleased me so much. The idea that someone would want to cosplay something I created just made me burst with pride. I reached him, and that reach carried over into his own creativity. That’s worth all the money and fame in the world.
Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t turn down a huge contract or a big old bag of money or the chance to see my books on every shelf in every bookstore left in the world. I may be altruistic but I ain’t crazy.
What advice do you have for up and coming writers?
Read. Write. Rinse. Repeat.
You can find Tonia here: