About Tonya Plank:
After working for many years as a criminal appeals attorney in New York, I now live and write in Southern California. A former amateur ballroom dancer, I wrote the dance blog, Swan Lake Samba Girl. My first novel, Swallow, won several awards, including gold medals in the Independent Publisher and the Living Now Book Awards, and was a finalist in ForeWord’s Book of the Year and the National Indie Excellence Awards.
When I’m not busy writing, I love taking road trips with my rescue dog, Sofia, devouring Mexican food and Cadillac margaritas, shopping for clothes used in movies and TV shows at “It’s a Wrap” in Burbank, sweating to dance-based workouts, cuddling up with my cats and a good book, and seeing dance performances of any kind. My favorite places in the world are Lincoln Center in New York City, the Pacific Coast Highway from Laguna Beach to San Francisco, and the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah.
To connect with me, visit my website (listed below), where I try to blog regularly.
What inspires you to write?
My life experiences and my desire to tell stories are generally what inspire me! I started my ballroom romance series, Fever, after having been an amateur competitive ballroom dancer for several years and meeting so many fabulous people and watching so many incredible dancers. I just knew one of these insanely talented men would make a great romantic hero!
Tell us about your writing process.
I write very general outlines to give myself something to go by. I usually know generally how I want my stories to end, where I want the characters to be emotionally and physically, in their careers and relationships, etc. But I leave myself open to changing the plot if the characters seem to be going in a different direction. I definitely create character sketches before starting out. I want to know as much about my characters as possible before they set out on their journeys. I think that not knowing your characters well at the outset can lead to either shallowness or lots of re-writing!
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I definitely “hear” their voices as I write their dialog! I have to, or I would think they would sound inauthentic. I just think of how each character would react to his or her situation, to another character I’m forcing them to interact with, and I let that guide me.
What advice would you give other writers?
Read, read, read! Read as much as you can, in as many genres as you can. But, time being limited, definitely read widely in your genre. Read book blogs and review sites, and be familiar with what readers are loving and really connecting to with the other books in your genre.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I had an agent for my first book, which was a work of women’s fiction, and we had some positive feedback from editors at big houses, but ultimately it never sold. So, with her blessing, I decided to self publish. I had a pretty good experience with that one, so when I began my romance novels, there was no question in my mind that I was going to do the same. I really love having the control over the cover, over pricing, and over marketing – how I connect with my readers.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
That’s a hard one! I definitely think self-publishing will continue to grow, as will the digital-first imprints in the bigger houses and smaller presses. I definitely think ebooks are going to become more and more popular. I’m very optimistic. Readers have more choices than ever about how to consume products, and with ebooks being so much cheaper than print, it means authors can sell more books and readers can buy more.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women’s fiction, chick-lit
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.