Word Addicts: How did you come up with the title for your book?
Toney Larson: I used my favorite book Wuthering Heights as a romantic tool in the novel. There’s a quote that says “He shall never know I love him.” I took that idea—the fact that she writes a book about her love for him without ever intending him to actually read it!—and shortened it. I changed “shall” to “will” because my beta reader’s feedback said it made them think it wasn’t a contemporary novel. I think it’s fun and provocative.
Word Addicts: What genres have you written besides romance, if any? Is there a genre you haven’t tried yet but want to in the future?
Toney Larson: I have written in the YA retold fairytale genre and that’s actually what I work on the most because it will be a ten book series when completed. Each book follows a character in the world I’ve built and retells a fairytale in a new way. I try to grapple bigger issues such as abuse and unfair prejudices. I also have a steampunk series I am working on that I’m very excited about.
Word Addicts: What are some of your hobbies when you are not chained to the computer?
Toney Larson: I homeschool six kids so we are always finding fun things to try. I’m an artsy person by nature so painting, illustrating, playing the piano, needlepoint, sculpture, graphic design, and Irish dance are fun things I enjoy doing. I love learning and reading. History is a favorite of mine.
Word Addicts: What are your favorite types of characters to write about?
Toney Larson: I favor themes of women overcoming mental or societal challenges. My first YA novel covers emotional abuse, for example. This romance was a little different in that its lighthearted, but still follows a character that has to rediscover herself. I hope that my writing is heartfelt and compelling.
Word Addicts: What is your beverage of choice while writing?
Toney Larson: I usually just drink water. I don’t do tea, coffee, or alcohol. I could say I have religious reasons for not drinking alcohol, but that wouldn’t be true. Alcoholism runs in my family so I avoid it at all cost. If I’m spoiling myself, I might do an herbal tea (usually honey vanilla chamomile) or hot chocolate.
Word Addicts: What book are you reading now?
Toney Larson: I’m doing a lot of research for a regency romance, so I’ve read quite a few Georgette Heyer books, a few Sarah Eden books, and revisited two of Jane Austen’s books. I just completed Ashes on the Moor, but my favorite books of the lot were Northanger Abbey and Cotillion.
Word Addicts: What projects are you working on?
Toney Larson: I have a few going on! I am working on a second romantic comedy to follow this one. I am about to publish my third book in my YA fairytale series, and I am writing the fourth, fifth, and sixth books at the same time. I also have one draft of a steampunk novel that I’m trying to decide what to do with. And I have a couple regency romance books in the works. I wish I had more time!
Word Addicts: What has been the most memorable moment of your writing career to date?
Hearing my books read by narrators on audible was mind-blowing. A talented voice actor was bringing my characters to life! Then to hear my children and husband react and laugh to the story and jokes I wrote as we listened to the auditions was amazing. It made it feel real, like I made something that people enjoy and want to listen to.
Word Addicts: Do you have a routine / a particular place and time when you write?
Toney Larson: Nope. I wish I did! I usually write in spurts. We have mental health issues in the family as well as homeschooling six kids, so life gets hectic! I have a loft in my room that I’ve turned into an office where I do my graphic design and business stuff. My husband recently bought me a computer just for writing that I can take anywhere. I’m hoping that will up my production!
Word Addicts: Who / what inspires your writing? Who are your favorite authors?
Toney Larson: Everything inspires my writing. My favorite question is “What if?” and making that into a twist. I love being surprised in books and that’s what I strive to do. My favorite authors are Emily Bronte (Wuthering Heights is my favorite book!), Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer (a recent find), Gail Carson Levine, Robin McKinley, Patricia Wrede, and Charles Dickens.
Word Addicts: Do you find the self-motivation and the discipline required difficult?
Toney Larson: I’m highly motivated and can get a lot done in a short period of time. The problem for me is balancing home and work. Right now, home takes more time and priority since I am a full-time mom and their teacher. As my kids get older and we’re able to keep up routines better, I find that I am able to get more writing done. My husband is really supportive, but also has to balance my passions and ambitions with his work and mental health. I think that I was born to write and that’s the easy part for me. It’s everything else that I struggle with!