A few fun facts about the author from the author:
I’m always on the go. I have three teenage boys (15 twins and 13) so I’m always taxing them around or hanging out at different sporting events. I have two wonderful MALE dogs that sit by me while I write. I was the only girl in the family until recently when a stray FEMALE cat showed up on my doorstep. I’m a sucker for a stray, so I kept her. She lives in the garage, though she does like to come in the house in the morning. My hubby bought her a really cool heated cat house. She loves it.
Until recently, I worked full time as a Child Developmental Therapist. I work for myself and keep 14 clients on my caseload. I work with parents and children with developmental delays ranging from speech problems to down syndrome. I’m certified birth through three. So I get my baby fix.
I’m happy to say that I’m working full time as a writer and part time as a therapist.
Thank you for joining us at Scribbler’s today Tonya!
Please tell us about your book, A Charming Cure.
A Charming Cure is the second book in A Magical Cures Mystery Series. It’s based around a homeopathic self taught curist, June Heal. But when she realizes her homeopathic potions are really magical, many doors open up . I’ve created a magical town with a talking crystal ball and cat plus many more mysterious surprises.
In A Charming Cure, June has to go to Hidden Hall A Spiritualist University to help hone her magical skills. Of course someone ends up dead and June is involved…..
When brainstromng a story idea do you begin with character or plot?
It takes me about two months for an idea to formulate in my brain before I begin to put characters to it. So I guess plot is what drives my character development.
Where do you get your ideas?
I watch a lot of reality TV and LOVE IT. There is some great things to draw from, after all, truth is stranger than fiction. I write with humor, so I try to find funny in everything.
My family and I play a game where I say ‘Okay, what if I had a magical community, what type of characters would be funny?”
One of my guys said, “what about twins that run a funeral home and they go around sniffing people to see when they are going to expire.”
Of course I took that idea!! The Karima sisters in the series was born.
I have a critique group that made up of Heather Webber (Heather Blake), Shelley Shepard Gray, Hilda Linder and Cathy Liggett. We come up with funny scenarios and we call dibs when it resonates with us.
Do you figure out deep backstory for each of your character’s before beginning or invent on the fly as your write?
I get an address book for each series, thanks to Heather Webber for the idea, and I put them in there with their description and what they have to offer in the community. After that, I let them write their own story. I don’t have a big plot outline. I know the beginning, middle and end of a book. Other than that, I sit down and let the characters take over.
Which secondary character was your favorite to write?
Madame Torres, June’s snarky crystal ball is a lot of fun.
When in the writing process did you know you were going to write a sequel to A Charming Crime?
From the beginning. There are too many funny characters in the town not to. I can’t wait for all the books to come out so you get to know all the characters.
Do you have a minor character you’ve written into one of our stories that you would lke to turn into a protagonist for a future book?
From the beginning. There are too many funny characters in the town not to. I can’t wait for all the books to come out so you get to know all the characters.
Do you have a minor character you’ve written into one of our stories that you would lke to turn into a protagonis for a future book?
Funny you say that. Yes, I wrote very small part of a girl in one of my Grandberry Falls series novels. She has been knocking on my head to come in, but I haven’t opened that door to her yet. I think she’s camping out there stuffing notes in my head because recently I came up with an entire story for her…in my head.
Do you have any tried and tested cures for writer’s block you’d like to share?
I don’t really believe in writer’s block. If I can’t get going, I will write long hand and it starts to flow or I will make myself sit down and type. Getting in the mood is the hard part, but once I write for five minutes, I’m off and running.
Can we have an excerpt from A Charming Cure?
Sure, here you go!
“Bubble, bubble.” My hands hovered over the copper cauldron, I leaned back. It was the first time I had ever used it and was a little unsure of the effects. If something was going to fly out, I didn’t want it to hit me. Plus, I didn’t want the fertility potion I was making to hit me. My fertility was fine exactly the way it was . . .non-existent. A puff of relief escaped my lips when nothing out of the ordinary happened, causing my blunt bangs to fly up in the air.
I stood up straighter, pulled down the edges of my jean jacket and picked up the Magical Cures Book. Little did I realize that when my mother, Darla, left me the book in her last will and testament, it would teach me who I really was.
Slowly, I opened the leather bound book and found my page. I held it up to my nose. With a deep inhale, and with a bee fertility cure in mind, cinnamon, sage, yellow jasmine and Marsh tea took over my senses. I sat the book down next to the cauldron and placed my hands back over it.
Nothing happened so I continued. This time I spoke a little louder, “Bubble, bubble. Clear the bee’s troubles. Let the bee’s create honey, to keep bringing Petunia more money.”
Steam flew upward as I pinched off different ingredients and tossed them in the simmering pot. Petunia peeked around the partition, making me a little nervous.
Originally, I had the cauldron in the back of A Charming Cure, but I didn’t like going in the back and leaving the shop unattended. So, I had the counter made taller and a partition to block off any and all magic happening behind it.
I ducked as a mini-tornado whirled and churned like mad over the steam. Carefully, I reached over and threw in a dash of Marigold just like the instruction in the Magical Cures book said to do. Only it didn’t say throw, it said to gently stir.
As soon as the Marigold flakes hit the bubbling water, sparks flew up, stopping the cylinder from twirling. The cauldron shut off, letting me know the bee-pollen potion was finished.
Petunia stepped back from the partition.
“Scardy-cat.” I smiled and picked up the ladle, stirring the mixture and making sure it was the right consistency.
“I’ll take licks and rubs over that any day,” she chimed from the other side of the partition, referring to her four-legged creatures.
She owned Gollybee Pet Store a few shops down. Every shop owner in Whispering Falls had a psychic ability with a magical twist. The entire village was magical.
To an outsider, Whispering Falls, Kentucky was just a tiny town with a population of five hundred, set in the foothills of a few mountains. Most people that visited our little village didn’t know how special we really were, but they felt the magic while they were here, which was why they continued to come back for more.
Meow, meow. Mr. Prince Charming ran over and created figure eights around her ankles. You could always tell when my cat liked you. He would do his signature figure eight move.
The bell above the door dinged, letting me know that my first customer of the day was here. I glanced up at the clock. There was still five minutes until A Charming Cure opened, but I would never turn someone away that needed a cure for whatever ailed them.
“Good morning, Mr. Prince Charming.” In one quick move, Petunia picked up the cat. Her hazel eyes narrowed and focused on the customer. Petunia pushed the stick back in place that was falling out of her makeshift up-do she had created with her long, brown hair. She always had some sort of nature hanging around in there. Sometimes it was a small creature, but today it was a twig. Petunia’s gift was being able to communicate with animals and Mr. Prince Charming loved her.
“I’ll be right with you.” I popped my head around the partition and stared at the woman dressed in all black. I tucked my black bob haircut behind my ear, and pushed my blunt bangs to the side to get a better look. She didn’t look like one of my usual customers.
Without acknowledging me or without a word, the woman’s long, thin hand stretched out and retrieved a homeopathic bottle from the round, tiered table that sat just inside the door.
Hiss, hiss. Mr. Prince Charming had jumped out of Petunia’s arms and stood at attention facing the customer. He was never good at disguising his dislikes either.
“Mr. Prince Charming!” I whistled him over, and he came running behind the counter. “I’m so sorry. I’ll be right with you.”
Quickly I grabbed the glass bottle that looked like a stack of lifesavers. The rainbow-inspired bottle lit up when I touched it, letting me know it was the perfect match for the bee pollen. I put a small funnel in the mouth of the bottle. I scooped the potion in the ladle and carefully poured it into the funnel. Slowly, the potion dripped into the bottle. I twisted the lid on securely and waited until it was ready.
Meow, meow. Mr. Prince Charming jumped up and landed next to the box of Ding Dongs.
“You know exactly what I need.” Carefully, I unwrapped the foil and took a big bite of what I considered to be real magic. The chocolate treat was magic to my soul. The best comfort food—ever! My go-to when I became stressed. And, for some odd reason, the new customer seemed to put my intuition on high alert.
That was my psychic gift. I didn’t have anything cool like the mediums, palm readers, and tarot readers of the village. But, my intuition had never failed me, so I guess it was a good gift to have, even though I sometimes wish I could turn a few people into ants or fleas.
I pinched a small piece off and fed it to him. I’d always heard chocolate wasn’t good for animals, but fifteen years of eating Ding Dongs hadn’t hurt him yet. He’d never been to the veterinarian. I tried taking him a few times in Locust Grove, Kentucky, where we lived before we moved to Whispering Falls, but somehow he’d end up disappearing right before my eyes. Finally, I gave up.
The bee pollen glowed in the rainbow bottle. It was ready.
“All done.” I held the bottle in the palm of my hand and walked out from behind the partition. “Just add a few drops to the hive and you’ll be buzzing with babies in no time. Pun intended.” A big smile crept up on my face.
I was the youngest and newest spiritualist in the community and I was sure they still didn’t know how to take the Samantha Stevens wannabe.
Petunia didn’t smile at my joke. She took the bottle, but never took her eyes off the customer who continued to pick up my bottles while curling her nose.
The customer had picked up the lime green potion bottle that was sitting on the corner shelf closest to the door. Tapping the bottle with her red-tipped fingernail, her eyebrows raised.
“Do I know you?” There was something familiar about her. At least that was what my intuition told me, and it wasn’t in favor of her. Before I gave her a not-so-nice potion, say a potion that would turn her hiccups into a croaking frog or her negative attitude into one of giving, I needed to know her answer.
It was only a few weeks or so ago that I moved to Whispering Falls, Kentucky, took over Darla’s, my deceased mom’s, homeopathic shop, and made it my own. After the initial shock from learning that my father had psychic abilities as a healer by using cures, I’d became excited to learn that I too had inherited the psychic gene. A Charming Cure had taken off.
Not only was I dishing up the best homeopathic cure, I was also giving a little extra dose of magic in each potion. Also, I had a knack for knowing what else someone needed in their life. A little extra dose of love or a little financial help didn’t hurt anyone. My intuition never let me down.
Hiss, Hiss. Mr. Prince Charming, my cat, darted out from the counter. Hiss, Hiss. He pawed the air with his back arched and his teeth gnashing toward the woman.
“Oh, shut up!” She drew her black cloak around her as if she was shielding an attack from Mr. Prince Charming. “I should’ve squashed you when you were a kitten. I had plenty of opportunities when I fed you.”
“Are you his owner?” No way! There was no way I was going to give Mr. Prince Charming back to his original owner. Especially someone that seemed to be as nasty as her. “I’ve taken really good care of him over the last fifteen years. I’d be happy to pay you for him.”
Mr. Prince Charming was unlike any other stray cat in Locust Grove, the town I grew up in before I moved to Whispering Falls. There were a lot of stray cats. He showed up on my porch on what-so-happened-to-be my tenth birthday. He had on a faded collar with a tiny turtle charm dangling off it. The turtle had one green emerald stone for an eye and the other one missing. I didn’t care. It was beautiful.
Oscar, my childhood best friend and now Whispering Falls sheriff, had asked around if the cat belonged to anyone. No one claimed him, and he just continued to hang around. Darla didn’t mind, so he stayed. I got him a new collar and kept the charm for myself.
“Want him back?” She threw her head back letting out a full cackle that rattled the bottles on the shelf. “Oh, no. I don’t want him back. I’m here to collect you.” The woman raised her voice. Petunia rushed between us and came nose to nose with her. The scary woman continued, “She has no choice. She must leave right now!”
“Take me?” My mouth dried, and I gasped for air. Water filled my eyes. “Take me where?”
What genre outside your own would you like to attempt writing?
I actually write women’s fiction and non-fiction. Other than mystery and women’s fiction, I don’t have any other genre desires.
What’s your daily writing schedule like? Do you write every day, same time, same place?
Every morning I get up and connect with my STREET TEAM. I love love love my readers and I connect with them like no other author. I exchange mail with them, phone calls, skype, and meet them in person. So they are my priority once I get my guys off the school. Then I do a little promoting and marketing. If it’s a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, I have to go to my day job. When I get home from day job, I immediately sit down and write 2k words with no interruptions. All of this is before three o’clock when my guys get home from school. On Thursday I write all day until 3 o’clock and on Friday I meet with my critique group for breakfast. After breakfast I go home and write. I write on the weekends too. Everyday I walk my dogs at least two miles. It gets me out of the house and my brain needs the fresh air to rejuvenate. I keep my notebook with me at all times. I write at my guys sporting events, anywhere and everywhere.
What was your journey from first draft to publication like?
Writing a novel is very hard and time consuming. It took a lot of dedication and rearranging my priorities to finish. People tell me all the time they want to write a book. I always encourage them, but tell them that you have to be dedicated and love it, because it’s NOT easy.
Do you have a favorite author?
Gosh….I refuse to answer that 😉
If you could become one fictional character for a week, who would it be?
I’d pick my own June Heal. I’d love to have magical powers!
Do you have a favorite quote?
Thoughts become things. Choose the good ones.
What would be the one piece of advise you’d give to an aspiring writer?
PUT BUTT IN CHAIR. Plain and simple.
What do you like to do when you aren’t writing to relax, have fun?
I spend all my free time with my family. There is nothing better than hanging out doing a puzzle, watching reality TV, or hanging out in our kitchen at the island. My guys are at the age where we gather in the kitchen and they talk. It’s great! I love that we are such a close family.
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