Today we’re pleased to welcome Tonya Burrows to the blog for a little Straight Talk!
When you are getting ready to start a new book, what’s the first thing you do?
It changes depending on the book, but generally the first thing I do is find the characters from the masses milling about inside my head. I fill out humongous profiles for each character and keep them in a binder for future reference. Sometimes the characters change by the time I get to the actual writing (I had one heroine change her name on me eight times!) but I can’t come up with a plot until I have some idea of who I’m writing about.
How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book?
I do a happy dance—not pretty, believe me—and then start another one!
If you could have dinner, coffee, or drinks with a fictional character, who would you choose and where would you go?
Just one? Because there’s a certain Brotherhood I would LOVE to hang out with. I don’t care where we go—although it would be a blast to see all those big bad males at an amusement park, wouldn’t it?
But if I have to choose just one, I guess it’d be my boy Zsadist. He’s my favorite character. Ever. (And yes, Laura Kaye, I will absolutely fight you for him!)
What was the inspiration for your book?
There were several inspirations over the course of a couple months that eventually converged into the idea for SEAL OF HONOR. It all started when I was living in Texas and commuting to school through downtown Austin traffic at rush hour to get to class. I devoured all of Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series on audiobook during those long rides and got this crazy idea that I’d like to write a special ops romantic suspense series like that. But, honestly, the idea of the research terrified me, so I didn’t really pursue it until I saw the Denzel Washington movie Man On Fire. I didn’t particularly care for the movie, but it sparked an idea. SEAL OF HONOR is definitely the exception to my usual characters come before the plot way of writing.
How difficult is if for you to come up with a title for your books?
Oh gosh, titles. *sigh* Tell you what, I’d rather write a whole other book than come up with a title for one. Same goes for back cover blurbs. And taglines. And queries. And synopses. And basically else anything that forces me to condense 90 K words into something short and pithy. Ugh. Titles.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
DON’T GIVE UP! DON’T STOP WRITING!
I know everyone says the same thing, but it really is the absolute best advice. I’ve been trying to get published since I was 19. I was 27 when I sold my first book. During all those years of rejection, I wrote 10 manuscripts and each one taught me a little something more. It’s not an overnight process. It takes dedication and a thick skin. You have to really want it and then you have to go and make it happen.
Where does the magic happen? Where do you write?
I have a bad case of wanderlust and have yet to put down roots, so I don’t have an office or anything like that. I basically write wherever I have my computer. My grandma’s living room. My bed. The front porch. The library. I also spend a lot of time in a local coffee shop. I like the white noise of people talking there.
Do you prefer print books or eBooks?
I have both a kindle and an iPad and while I do use them for reading, I prefer print books. After staring at a screen all day working on my own writing, I really don’t like to stare at another screen when I’m reading. I gives me a headache after a while.
My only problem with print books is finding a place to store them. Plus, they are really heavy—something I discovered when I moved half way across the country. So even though I like print, I do tend to buy more e-books.
What’s in the works for you?
My second book, a Brazen called WILDE NIGHTS IN PARADISE releases next month on June 10. It’s the first in my Wilde Security series about five brothers who run a private security company. I’m currently working on Wilde Security #2, as well as researching for the second book in my HORNET series, which will release next spring.
Wilde Nights in Paradise – Coming June 10th!
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