1-How long have you been writing?
Since 1989. Actually I began writing seriously a few years before that, shortly after my automobile accident. I lost my job because I was hospitalized for over three months and couldn’t walk for over a year, and couldn’t afford to buy books, so I started writing my own. 1989 was when my first book was published.
2- What is your favorite genre to write?
I’ve written in quite a few genres but specifically, I’d have to say fantasy, which is my favorite. Fantasy gives one so much leeway to say and do outrageous things...and who’s to refute them, since it’s fantasy?
3-What are you working on now?
I just finished the final entry in the kan Ingan Archives series, entitled Regeneration. I say it’s the “Final entry” but I said that about the last novel in the series, too, so…who knows? It was sent to the editor a couple of weeks ago and is scheduled for a 2014 release.
4-When you begin a story do you start with character or plot?
Since I’m mostly into series at present, it’s plot because I already have all the characters. Though I usually add a few new characters to each book, it’s mainly a matter of putting them in a new setting each time. After a while, one gets to know the characters so well, it gets easier to write about them.
5-Tell us about your latest/upcoming release. What inspired it?
My upcoming release is an anthology called The Eclectic Paranormal Reader. I got the idea for the title from McGuffey’s Eclectic Reader which was a schoolbook used in the early Twentieth Century. I had to look up “eclectic” to make sure I knew what it meant. Anyway, during all my writing, I had chapters here and there which didn’t really seem to fit into the story and ended up being deleted, or I had a snippet I’d written and no story to fit it into. Sooner or later, those errant chapters and bits of writing found themselves transformed into short stories while a few actually made it into other novels. And those stories make up the Eclectic Paranormal Reader. As the title says, they all have paranormal/fantasy themes in some way. If anyone has read some of my novels and then reads the Reader, he may recognize a few plots or characters. I’m sure some are going to say “Hey, I’ve read this before but I know I’ve never seen this book.” That’s because several in slightly changed form finally made their way into a novel or two.
I understand a few famous authors have done the same thing, though I wouldn’t put myself in the same league as they, however.
E-clec-tic: a varied selection…
A collection of nine fantasy short stories/novelettes offering a combination of adventurous fantasy alternating with a dash of light fancy. Some may make the reader laugh, Others might cause him to peer into the shadows with concern. A few could provoke an unexpectedly serious thought…
All will definitely entertain.
EXCERPT (from the novelette The Key):
“We’re doomed,” Prime Chancellor Nico announced for the fifth time in as many minutes. “Clearly and irrefutably doomed.”
“That’s not a very good attitude for the second most powerful man in the kingdom to hold,” young Lord Ash commented. He gave the old man a glare that was not only impolite because of his youth but also sarcastic in the extreme. “What happened to that perennial optimism I’ve heard so much about?”
“My Lord,” Nico surveyed the young noble with a jaundiced eye appearing to be suffering from too many sleepless nights. Rude little twit. Just because he’s the late vicomte’s nephew… “I stood by your uncle during trying times. Upheld any decision he made because I always felt, no matter how bleak the situation, he’d always come up with an Eleventh Hour solution to save us all, but this time His Majesty isn’t here. Indeed, our current predicament is because of just that fact. It’s of his own making, and quite frankly, I don’t have any answer as to what to do, either now, at the Eleventh Hour, or any time afterward.”
“So we’re just supposed to sit here and let high noon come and go, and do nothing?” Seventeen-year-old Ash couldn’t believe the defeat in the old man’s voice.
“Sit...stand...lie upon the floor, if you will, the result will be the same.”
“It’s only ten o’clock,” Ash protested. “There’s still time.”
“Don’t try for false optimism, my Lord.” The old man shook his head before pressing it into his hands. “At noon, the three months will be up, and we’ll still be without a vicomte. Once that’s known, Purdha will fall to its enemies. The kingdom’s doomed.”
“We’ve got to do something,” Ash protested.
“Like what?” Minister Rahl spoke up. He’d been sitting in a chair by the window, silent so long the two other men had nearly forgotten he was there. “If the smartest and most able men in the country can’t find that damned key and get the door to the vault open, what can we expect to do at this late date?”
“How should I know?” Ash responded. “Use a battering ram…knock it down…take some of that magic powder the alchemist invented and blast the door in. As you’re all so quick to remind me, I’m just a boy. You’re supposed to be the wiser ones because of your venerable ages.”
Both men ignored that verbal jab.
“The power of the king’s the only thing that's ever kept our enemies from striking.” Nico intoned it like an obituary. “As much as I hate to admit it, I’m afraid Rahl’s right.”
Ash didn’t answer. He just stared out the window. The sky was a peaceful blue, not the murky gray with black, swirling clouds it should be to reflect the turmoil going on inside the little chamber.
The Eclectic Paranormal Reader will be released March 15, 2014, by Class Act Books.
Toni V. Sweeney has lived 30 years in the South, a score in the Middle West, and a decade on the Pacific Coast and now she’s trying for her second 30 on the Great Plains. Since the publication of her first novel in 1989, Toni divides her time between writing SF/Fantasy under her own name, and romances often set in the South under her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone. In March, 2013, she became publicity manager for Class Act Books (US) and also Double Dragon Publishing (Canada). She is also on the review staff of the New York Journal of Books.