AlTonya Washington has been a romance novelist for 15 years. She’s traditionally published with Harlequin’s Kimani Romance imprint, winner of the Romance Slam Jam EMMA Award and two time winner of The Romantic Times Magazine Reviewer’s Choice Award. AlTonya is a mom and works as a Librarian.
In 2015, she received scholarly publication for her article An Indie Author in a Library World . She enjoys a successful indie author career and is best known for her Ramsey/Tesano romantic suspense series. Check out her reader website: https://alsreaders.weebly.com.
BPM: Was there anyone early in your career that recognized your talent and help cultivate it?
I actually like to credit friends/classmates who always told me that I should be a writer or that I should change my major from Mass Communications to English. They recognized that writing desire long before I did. I often wished I’d listened to them, but wonder if I’d be loving it (writing) the way I do if I’d taken a different route in getting there.
BPM: How do you stay on top of your game professionally in the publishing industry?
I can’t stress this enough I READ!!! READ A VARIETY OF GENRES!! Sorry to sound preachy, but it really does bring a wealth of benefits to the work. For one thing, it gives a writer the distance we sometimes need from our projects and can’t bring ourselves to take without a good reason. Reading is the BEST reason. Sometimes it helps to bring a fresh perspective to your work. It always benefits the vocabulary-way more fun than reaching for a thesaurus.
BPM: Tell us about your most recent work. Available on Nook and Kindle?
Tradition is available on Nook, Kindle and a host of other reading platforms. Tradition is a contemporary family saga romance and it focuses on what the title implies-a tradition that originated on New Island, a private -unincorporated- spot off the coast of Charleston, SC centuries earlier. The ‘tradition’ was one that was outlawed by many on the island, while others worked to keep it alive. That tug of war had consequences on the main characters that pulled them apart for many years. A sequence of events will bring them back into each other’s lives, along with the unrest that continued to brew amid desires for revenge and atonement.
Download Tradition by AlTonya Washington
Amazon Link: http://a.co/aqKp1gX
BPM: Give us some insight into your main characters. What makes each one so special?
Our hero, Frayzer Guthrie and heroine, Ellia Taylor are two lovely people inside and out but both are deeply wounded by the events that took place and subsequently tore apart their budding romance years earlier. For Fray the wounds are more on the emotional end of things. He blames himself for what happened, for not doing more to change the outcome of the terrible night that changed everything. What makes him so special is his potential to be lethal and yet that quality is tempered by intelligence, compassion and an unwavering devotion to the only woman he’s ever loved. What makes Ellia so special is the quiet strength that she wears like an accessory. Her wounds have taken a different kind of toll that have changed her greatly from the person she once was. What hasn’t changed, however, is her love for Fray.
BPM: Is there a specific place/space that you find inspiration in?
I find inspiration in the time I have to write. Space rarely matters, but give me a relatively quiet place with a nice large table where I can spread out all my stuff and I’m in heaven. When I have the chance though, I do enjoy writing in libraries and restaurants that have good atmosphere.
BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
As a librarian and an author I enjoy research most of all. The history of New Island is woven through this book and required more study than I’m used to putting in when working on a contemporary title, so that was a refreshing change. Although New Island is a fictional place, there were aspects to crafting the place and the drama surrounding it that required me to put my serious researcher’s cap on.
BPM: How much planning goes into writing a book? How long does it take to complete one of your books?
I always enjoy this question because the answer usually varies. The time it takes on a book is relative. I used to say it depends on how long or involved the story is, but I’ve found that’s not even a great way for me to calculate time to write. I’ve written some of my lengthiest titles in as little as 2 months (that’s right…and those have been some of my most successful works…go figure…) I think it depends on the story and how the characters grip me. That’s not to say that all my characters don’t grip me, but there are moments when I know how I want the story to play out and I want to finish it before the idea evaporates. Now when life intervenes or there’s extensive research involved or when we get to the typing part…that’s where things can change.
BPM: Talk us through your experiences as a self-published author. Why did you go down this route?
My first self-published titles were done out of a sincere need to have more freedom with my work. If a story-line called to me, I wanted the freedom to explore it without later being told that I needed to change it because it didn’t follow certain guidelines. Finding that freedom in self-publishing has allowed me to bring more enjoyment into the more structured realm of my traditional work.
BPM: What advice would you give aspiring writers that would help them finish a project?
I understand how important it is to stick to schedules-to commit to writing a certain amount of chapters or words a day. I don’t work that way, but realize that everyone’s writing style varies. I would suggest to a writer who is challenged in this area, to yes, make the effort to write each day. Rather than adhere to demands for specified wordage, however, listen to yourself. Understand when the work is going flat, when what you’re writing has lost its zing. You may still be a few hundred words off from your goal, but you’ll be more confident that your efforts for the day yielded better results. Writing in order to make your word quota may mean you’ll spend more of the next day in rewrites instead of moving into fresh territory.
BPM: Was there an early experience where you learned that the written word had power?
I believe that I’ve always been aware of this, but didn’t feel the true impact of it until I started writing. I’ve felt that impact so many times during the course of my writing career. Writing has done everything from allowing me to please my readers, to keeping me sane when life gets crazy and I need an escape. For me, that’s been my greatest education on seeing the power of words.
BPM: How has writing impacted your life?
It has impacted the size of my world-the amount of wonderful people I’ve met during the course of my career. I’ve made connections that I’m sure I’d have never made had writing not been at the heart of those meetings. I believe having an outlet that’s all mine is especially important being that I’m a mom with a child approaching adulthood. After God, my son is first and foremost in my life. My son, however, will go on to have his own life one day and not need me quite so much. Writing is something that is all mine and perhaps the only thing I’m able to control and let go of when I’m ready.
BPM: What does literary success look like to you?
Writing the stories I wish to tell, the way I wish to tell them. Finding that my readers feel entertained and believe that their money has been well spent when they invest in my books. Being inspired to tell new and more fascinating stories that challenge me and allow me to take my readers into places that encourage them to expand their reading interests. I’d say that’s what literary success looks like to me.
BPM: What are the 3 most effective tools for sharing your books with the world?
A healthy social media presence. A robust blog site. An email list filled with engaged readers.
BPM: Share some of your writing goals. What projects are you working on at the present?
I’ve got so much going on! I think this is the busiest I’ve ever been! I began the year by releasing Chef’s Reunion the second installment of The Caterer’s Wife mystery novella series (FYI- a full length will be coming soon). In March I’m releasing Feast of Fantasy-this novel is a Tesano tie-in for those of you familiar with the Ramsey/Tesano series.
For my T. Onyx erotica fans, Pleasure’s Possession is on the way as is Book of Scandal-The Tesano Elders and A Lover’s Redemption, also of the Ramsey Tesano series. Lots in store! These titles have been in production for a while, so it’s exciting to have them finally ready for release.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Website: http://www.alsreaders.weebly.com AND http://www.lovealtonya.com