It's with great pleasure I introduce, women's fiction author, Tonya Kappes, author of a delightful new book, Carpe Bead `Em. We had a chance to chat a bit and I'll admit, I asked a lot of questions. Tonya has a great sense of humor and she's a good sport.
Tonya, I'm so glad to have a chance to visit with you. Tell me a bit about you. I know you're married and the mother of four teenaged boys. From what I know of you, the past few years, it sounds like a big boisterous family setting. Do you work outside the home?
Yes! I do work outside the home with.. KIDS!! Can you believe it? I can't escape it!
I'm a Developmental Therapist for children birth to three-years old. I work with all sorts of children with disorders like shaken baby syndrome to speech therapy etc.
How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?
I put it on my head and hope it sinks in while walking really fast.
No, seriously. I keep all my writing stuff with me at all times. When I have a free second between therapy appointments I pull it out. When we are at one of many sporting events~I pull it out. The community we live in is use to seeing me with pencil, paper, laptop in hand.
What do you do to relax and recharge?
What? We can do that?? I do walk my dogs every day. Being with my family keeps me going. Plus I love my day job, and I get rewarded from helping those sweet little ones. It charges me up.
You've been writing for some years, how long have you had the goal to be published?
From day one. From the day I started seriously writing, I was writing for publication. I only wanted my name on a book. When that happened, I wanted to touch readers. Readers are my number one priority. It doesn't matter about the amount of books sold, or the amount of money, it's all about my readers.
How did you go about making that a reality? (How did writing groups, continuing education, etc help?)
I have to say; I'm very blessed to be surrounded by such a great group of writing women. My local RWA chapter has Lori Foster, Shelley Shepard Gray, Heather Webber, Jules Bennett, Dianne Castell, Toni Blake, Cathy Liggett, Kay Stockham, Becke Davis, Gabrielle Edwards, Tina Wolfer, just to name a few. They are great women who encourage me. Plus my critique group, that I meet with every other week, Heather Webber, Shelley Shepard Grey, Hilda Linder-Knepp, and Cathy Liggett, keep it real for me.
I really took a lot of classes to hone my craft. The story part is easy and flows, it's all those grammar rules that flub me up. WHO NEEDS RULES??
You have a blog, The Naked Hero, with Misa Ramirez. How did the blog help you with fulfilling your goal to be published?
Yes, Misa Ramirez! Amazing woman! It helped me build a platform and establish a presence on line before I was published. I really do believe in connecting with readers and I found it there. I make sure I email each person who comments on my blog. I want them to feel like I hear them. I do.
How have you handled discouragement that comes with submitting and getting rejections?
I'm a "glass is half full" girl! I'm all about karma, destiny, and giving back. When I got rejections, and I did, I never got upset. It only fueled my fire, and I continued. I would send out sixty-one-hundred queries at a time. I can honestly say, I never ever got mad or upset. I accepted it and moved on.
I teach my children this every day!
You tout yourself as a high-class hillbilly (*snork), so does this tag make Tonya Kappes quirky? Or does designing and beading make her quirky?
Ummm.it's me! I love to go barefoot, packing my Gucci bag, and calling everyone y'all. I'm a people person and can get along with the richest and the poorest, the smartest and the dumbest. There is good in everyone and I find it no matter what.
You say you love writing about, "quirky characters and even quirkier situations." So, define for me quirky, and how it applies to your writing?
Quirky, to me, is living outside the box and letting the world know it is okay. Society lives in this box of rules, and I don't, nor do my kids.
I love writing about these kinds of characters. They are entertaining and make a great character! It takes my reader away from their life and makes them smile.
You write woman's fiction. What drew you to this genre?
I love reading about the growth, learning something to make your life better. It was just a natural write for me. I'm sure it's because it was all I use to read. Now I read anything I can get my hands on.
What's something you admire about Hallie, your heroine in Carpe Bead `em?
I love the fact she was able to come full circle in her life before it was too late. She discovers how important family is no matter where you come from. She has such a wonderful growth and her spirit, in the end, was gold.
(I love her friends and her interaction with Bo and his shirts, cracks me up.)
This might be like asking a mother to pick her favorite kid, but do you have a favorite scene?
I love all the scenes when Aunt Grace calls her in the middle of the night. Hallie never, not once, didn't take her Aunt's call.
What's easiest (or hardest) for you-dialogue, plot, character, or something else?
I love to cross tenses! My editor always corrects me for this. I write the full novel, then go back and make myself look at the tenses. It should get easier with each novel, but it hasn't.
I know you are hard at work on a series. Can you tell us a bit about it and when it will be released?
OH! I love this series. It's my first series that just flowed through me. All three novels are set in a fictitious town of Grandberry Falls, and centered on the residents there. The town is so charming with a waterfall in the middle of town square where you can throw in a penny for good luck, have lunch at The Fatted Pig, dessert at The Trembling Cup Caf‚, or a cocktail at The Thirsty Turtle. It's a town you will want to live in.
The Ladybug Jinx is the first in the series that will be released at the end of July. The second book, Happy New Life, will be released in September. The third and final book (I say that.) is Never Tell Your Dreams Before Breakfast, and will be released in January. Readers will follow this town and some main characters throughout a major growth in all their life and community.
Tonya, I'm eagerly awaiting reading this series! You are such a good storyteller. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.
Tonya Kappes, the queen, princess, and jester in her family of 4 boys, 2 dogs, and best friend husband, is the author of two novels, Carpe Bead 'Em and The Ladybug Jinx. She writes contemporary women's fiction and humorous cozy mysteries with quirky characters and quirkier situations. Tonya teaches on-line classes at savvyauthor.com about those heroes/heroines/villains we love to write and read about. Tonya's Promotional Toolbox is a must-go-to workshop, where Tonya works with authors on how to effectively promote and market themselves and their books. She is the co-founder of The Naked Hero website, and The Writer's Guide to E Publishing. Find out what's going on with Tonya on her website. You can also find Tonya on Facebook.