Author Spotlight

 

I was given the chance to chat with a very talented author this month, who took time out of her busy schedule to spend some time with us here at Joyfully Reviewed.  So, without further delay…let’s hear from

Toni Meilleur

It sounds like you have enjoyed writing for several years, what made you decide to pursue getting published? 
Even though I've always enjoyed writing I didn't have the discipline to sit down and complete a story let alone trying to get published. As I got older and had kids, discipline became second nature. You know with kids what has to be done has to be done and I finally applied that concept to my writing.

Was it a difficult process?
Yes oh yes. There were times when I was sooo impatient from waiting to hear if the publishing house liked my stories. The rejection letters were hard to read and often times made me question whether I had what it took to be a writer.

I read you are a personal trainer. Has fitness always been important to you and do you see yourself ever doing anything different?
Truth be told when I first started working out, it was so I would look bigger. I am such a small woman that I didn't want to be seen as a weakling. I started weight training to look like a formidable opponent. Lol. Needless to say the process of working out led me to the importance of being healthy, period. I don't see my lifestyle changing in this way because it's part of who I am.

Tell us a little about what makes Toni…Toni.
Oh boy this is opening up a can of worms. What makes me, Toni is the fact what you see is what you get. I am the first to admit all my faults and either correct the serious ones or laugh at the minute ones. I am upfront and honest. So if I am asked a question you better be sure you want to hear my answer because I don't tell people what they want to hear. I treat people the way I want to be treated. I am just as strong minded as I am open minded. Last but not least, I don't let anyone control me.

You write in several genres, do you have a favorite and if so, why?  Is there a genre you would like to try?
I do write in several genres just to see if I can do it. I am not saying by any means I'm good at all of them. But I do like the fantasy genre best because of the freedom to create without borders. I would like to write a horror/romance story. Or even straight horror for that matter. I'll get around to it, I'm sure.

Do you have a writing schedule that you follow?
When I have time and feel like it. But always I write in the evenings. Something about the night inspires me. I think of things during the day but it's at night that my fingers itch to tap-dance on the keyboard and let the story out.

Tell us some of your favorites…foods, hobbies, books, authors, music, movies, and any others you would like to share with us.
I love love love Italian food. My hobby is my work since I'm a personal trainer. I'm always reading up on the latest health finds and trying to find different effective exercises. I do have my favorite authors, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Katie McAllister, Jaid Black, Karen Marie Moning and Laurell K. Hamilton to name a few.  Right now my absolute favorite movie is 300.  It's ab city in that movie and my jaw drops everytime I look at that 'absterpiece'. Love music. I include music in everything I do. Writing, working out, cleaning, relaxing. My favorite artist is Rob Thomas. My music taste spans the genres as well as eras.

Do you enjoy hearing from your readers and what is the best way to contact you?
I love hearing from readers. I like the feedback. I've had quite a few readers whose letters made me smile. I can be easily reached at my email am48174@aol.com.

How do you promote your work?
Usually on review sites I'll put up an ad. On my website I have contest goings. I'm always in the market for fresh ideas on promoting.

How do you find a balance between family, work, and your writing?
It's hard. But family comes first, though work is extremely important. I plan ahead activities I want to do with my kids since work automatically blocks certain time. Since they are older now and tend to want to spend time with friends, I have more time for my writing without the guilt, LOL.

How do your stories come to you?  All at once or do they form as you write?
Ok this is going to sound odd. Some of my stories are dreams I've had. I keep a pad and paper by my bed so when I wake up I scribble it down. Most of the time in the morning it makes sense and brings the dream to surface. I write down a quick synopsis including the ending. It's just a matter of providing the intricate details and working it out so it ends the way I dreamed it. Sometimes I might add things that I think might be funnier or have a more interesting twist.

Do you find it difficult to let your characters go when you are finished with their stories?
No, once I'm done with the story I'm spent creatively until the next inspiration. Then those characters take over my thinking process and so on and so forth.

What was the best piece of writing advice you received?
I'm the only writer I know, so I haven't gotten any advice other than from editors who are determined to make me learn proper punctuation. LOL.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Discipline. Any writer worth their salt has to have discipline and commitment to their stories.

I read you enjoy doing theatre…do you have a dream role that you would like to perform?
Actually, I have already done it. I was in 'Chicago' the musical and got to play June, one of the Merry Murderess'. That play was rigorous, but was so awesome to do. I'd definitely do it again now that I'm over performing in my underwear and boots in public.

Is your family supportive of writing?  Do they read your work?
My family is supportive but don't read my work. Many of my family members are devout Christians and the graphic sex and some violence in my stories go against their religion. My kids are supportive but again they're too young to read the stories due to the sex in the stories. However I have written stories for them and they have loved them.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Other than I encourage fans to visit my website. Stay tuned for upcoming releases as I am signed with a few different publishing companies: Siren, Samhain. Extasy and LiquidSilver. I have stories coming out from all of these wonderful companies. Feel free to contact me via my website or email. Thanks to all my readers out there and Joyfully Reviewed!

 

     

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