A while back I reviewed urban fantasy thriller No Rest For A Wicca, following the adventures of half-witch Morgan Hawkes as she tries to track down a serial killer. Today author Toni LoTempio joins us to give a little insight into her work.
A little about you, first: give us three fun facts about yourself.
TL: a) I taught myself to read the Tarot when I did research for my novel Bound By Blood.
b) When I was in High School, I was president of a local Dark Shadows fan club and I got to go down to the studio, watch a filming, and Met JONATHAN FRID in person!
c) I collect antique series books, and write for a series book magazine, Susabella Passengers And Friends, since 1995!
When did you first begin writing? Is it something you always wanted to do?
TL: I started very young — when I didn’t like the way a story ended, I’d rewrite the ending! I always knew I’d be involved in writing in some shape or form – when I was in grammar school, I always wanted to be Lois Lane!
Describe your novel No Rest For A Wicca in one tweet (140 characters).
TL: A mix of voodoo, witchcraft, with a hunky, hot vampire thrown in for good measure :-)
What’s your favourite part of the book and why?
TL: Without giving away too much, I love big confrontation scenes — and Wicca has a few of them.
You’ve put considerable effort into the story’s world-building. Where do you get your ideas from?
TL: I’ve always been a fan of “things that go bump in the night” starting with horror movies when I was a kid (Black Sunday, Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein – does that count?) I was hooked on Dark Shadows as a teen and I love to read Stephen King and John Saul.
Your protagonists, Morgan and Cole, both have family difficulties. Is this an issue that often crops up in your work?
TL: Yes, even though I had a very good relationship with my parents. I’m an only child, and I’m not particularly close to any of my remaining family, save for two sets of cousins I see pretty regularly. So I draw on that frustration a lot in my stories.
Why did you choose the indie publishing route, and how have you found it thus far?
TL: I actually had an agent for two years (author HP Mallory had the same one) but when my book was rejected by NAL said agent lost interest in repping it and we parted ways. I started to shop my work around, but the market had started to tank by then. HP Mallory is the one who suggested I go the indie route. So far the reviews have been good, so I’m seriously considering putting out more – but I haven’t totally given up on the traditional publishing route, either. So we’ll see.
What one tip would you give to others wishing to follow in your footsteps?
TL: Oh, gosh. You’ve got to have a thick skin in this business. Some people will love your work, some will hate it. Editors will want you to change practically everything about the book you liked in order to “sell”. You’ve also got to have a TON of patience. And that’s really funny, because I’ve never been a patient person.
Was there any question I should have asked you, but didn’t?
TL: What writer inspired me the most, and what am I currently reading? Well, I think the writer responsible for getting me into the horror/paranormal genre would have to be Stephen King and John Saul. I love King’s early works — like Salem’s Lot and The Shining and Christine – and I devour any new book by Saul. I’m also a big JD Robb fan — I have every single IN DEATH book. Right now I’m into the Rizzoli and Isles series by Tess Gerritson. The first one was a little tough to get into because of all the medical terms, but I’m LOVING the others! Right now: The Mephisto Club.
That’s everything from me. Any last words?
TL: Just to thank you for this interview, and for helping me promote NO REST FOR THE WICCA. I think people can visit my website to get a sense of who I am and what I’m about.
I also blog twice weekly at Fallout Entertainment. Come visit and join the fun!