Toni's writing career began during convalescence after an auto accident. Since that time, she has published nearly a dozen novels and as many short stories. She is proud to be a true southerner - although she swears she was born WAY after the War between the States!
Most of your published books are in the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre, although you’ve written westerns, horror, and a vampire novel. Why do you prefer Sci Fi/Fantasy?
I suppose I prefer fantasy because I don’t have much of a science background. My science fiction is mostly “Soft” science with more characterization and adventure than any technology. I grew up on Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, Robin Hood and Tarzan, and my stories are a composite of those genres and heroes.
You began writing during your convalescence after an auto accident? What prompted that endeavor?
Because I was an invalid for over 2 years (and was pregnant during that time, also), I lost my job. My husband never recovered from the accident and there was very little money for frivolities such as books. So I started writing my own, to have something to read. Naturally, I wrote what I liked to read so it was a combination of romance-adventure-fantasy. By the time my first book was published, I had almost 28 books written. The first book I wrote (which underwent many titles before I settled on one), eventually became : The Chronicles of Riven the Heretic, which was published in 2007, 20 years after it was originally written.
Who is your favorite author and why do you like his/her work?
I have several favorite authors. One is JD Robb, her “in Death” series. I like the fact that it’s about the NY police and set only a few years in the future, around 2045, I believe, and I like the interaction between the two main characters, Eve Dallas, a NY Homicide cop, and her husband, Rourke (he has only one name), who’s the richest man in the world but with a very shady past. I also like Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series about the “only practicing wizard in Chicago.” The thing I like about both these series is that the characters aren’t static; their authors let them grow—in their relationships and in their own philosophies--within the stories. I’d love to see both made into TV series. “Harry” was made into a series a few years ago but they opted to downplay the magic so it flopped. I also like Kelly Armstrong and Christopher Fowler’s “Peculiar Crimes Unit” series. I’m reading the latest one right now, “Bryant and May on the Loose.” It’s about the two oldest detectives working for Scotland Yard and the crime they investigate, usually smacking of supernatural entities though they eventually turn out to be committed by just plain twisted humans.
What is the biggest challenge you faced as a writer?
Getting an agent! So far in my quest for representation, I’ve been turned down by 28. People keep telling me I don’t need one since I’m managing to get published anyway but, like everyone else, I’d like to see a book with the imprint of one of the “big” publishing houses on it and there’s no way that’s going to happen without an agent. I’ll admit I’m not trying very much at present. I’m just about to accept what people are telling me and chuck the agent idea out the window.
What is the title of your most recently published book? Briefly tell us what it’s about and let us know where we can buy it.
At first, it seemed like the screenplay of a romance--
A famous rock star disappears…twenty-five years later, a former fan discovers he’s still alive. They fall in love and marry and he takes her to the ranch where he’s hidden for a quarter of a century, but there the love story degenerates into a tale of horror…
Once Travis Brandt, aka Hildebrand, the most famous singer of the '80s, takes Melissa Powers to his ranch in the Nebraska sandhills, everything takes on a sinister tinge. Travis' assertions as to why his former marriage was destroyed, and his decision to disappear at the height of his caree,r sound false to his new wife, as does his refusal to have children. When Melissa discovers she's pregnant in spite of her husband's careful attempts to prevent it, she learns Travis' secret…a tale of rags-to-riches, the story of a youngster from Nebraska who became the idol of millions, but wanted more; of a young man who bartered his soul to the Powers of Darkness in return for fame.
Hildebrand wanted it all and got it, and now Travis, Melissa, and their new family must pay for his sins!
Here’s the link: http://www.classactbooks.com/Serpents-Tooth-by-Toni-V-Sweeney_p_154.html
Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. What is the single most important “tip” you can give to a new writer?
Don’t give up; if you believe you have a good story, keep trying until you find someone who’ll publish it. You may have to opt for a smaller publishing house but it’s a good way to get your foot in the door and sometimes, the “smaller” places will do you more good than the “big” ones.
Are you a member of any writer’s organizations? Why? Why not?
When I lived in California, I was a member of the South Coast Writers Association. I’m also a member of the blogsite the Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers.
Do you have any upcoming book signings or appearances? If so, give us all the details.
Unfortunately, no. Being in Nebraska in the winter precludes many outings locally and also limits air travel in many cases. I will be featured on various blogsites and on my own also.
FUN QUESTION: Spiders or flies, and why?
A good question! I’ve never been afraid of spiders; in fact, one of the first things I do when I move into a new place is announce to all spiders in residence that: if you don’t bother me, I won’t bother you! So far, we’ve co-existed well. I used to have a lovely green-and-yellow spider in my garden in Nebraska , a huge creature, about 3.5 inches across, including his legs. My Dearly Beloved was scared to death of him, but I wasn’t because I knew he’d keep the garden free of insects trying to feast on my tomatoes and squash. I know spiders can also be secretive and sneaky and do devastating things to their prey but I guess I’d still have to say “spiders.”
What are the addresses of your website(s) and blog(s):
My website is: http://www.tonivsweeney.com/
I also have a myspace page, am on Facebook, and have trailers featured on YouTube.