Monday, July 09, 2007


SORMAG: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.

Toni Lee: I have a BSBA degree from the University of Central Florida and live in Central Florida with my family. I’m a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association, and I’m a member of the leadership team of the CIC (Complete in Christ) Singles’ Ministry of my church.

In addition to writing, I’m a Coordinator of Computer Applications. I analyze, design, implement, and maintain computer applications systems.

Besides being an avid reader, I also enjoy watching romantic-comedy movies and Bollywood/Hindu films. I’m a fan of Tyler Perry’s works, and listening to Urban/Black Gospel and Christian alternative music is a big part of my daily routine.

I love recreational travel.

Just prior to my work on Expectations, I published my first play, The Crown Mystery. I’m committed to communicating the message of Christ through my novels and plays; hence my motto: Spreading Truth Through Fiction.

SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?

LEE: Expectations is a romantic comedy-drama about a woman who prays for a husband and receives more than one unexpected answer. When Michael Greer barges into Daria Simpson’s home to avoid a belligerent ex-girlfriend, Daria is not impressed. Then Michael renews his relationship with Christ and begins attending her church. Suddenly, the atmosphere becomes electric, and despite her best intentions, Daria can’t get her mind off that man. Soon they’re having monster alerts that have nothing to do with ogres or dragons. Hilarious encounters, eccentric aunties, and a persistent ex-girlfriend give them plenty of action, but nothing prepares them for the arrival of a secret baby who reveals an awful secret.

The novel takes you on a roller coaster ride of laughter, drama, self-discovery, spiritual renewal, and love.

It’s a fresh look at the struggle for pre-marital purity and the power of forgiveness. Using recognizable characters, situations, and comedy, this novel addresses the impact of self-discovery, physical intimacy, and spiritual renewal on the Christian single man and woman.

SORMAG: What led you to the idea of writing this book?

LEE: There are many Christians harboring unforgiveness.

Some are even depressed and angry with God, because they’ve been praying for a long time, and haven’t received any answers. Or haven’t received the answers they expect.

There are folk out there just like the hero in my novel, Michael Greer. They are in a backslidden state and are miserable, because they feel God drawing them back to Him, yet they are resisting.

Christians know that pre-marital sex is not permitted. But it’s not an easy thing to love someone and not enter into that arena.

Using comedy, I wanted to address all of these issues. Not just address them, but offer solutions to the struggles.

In essence, I wrote Expectations to spread truth through fiction with a liberal coating of laughter.

SORMAG: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing this book?

LEE: It surprised me to learn that I could actually string words together and create an interesting story.

I discovered that I had a voice that people liked.

I learned that I could create characters on paper and breathe life into them.

SORMAG: What would you like your readers to take away from your book?

LEE: My novel has many interrelated messages. I would like readers to gain the following from Expectations:

· We have expectations, but God has a plan.
· The truth that God loves them and is concerned about every facet of their lives.
· Sometimes the answer we expect from God is not the answer we receive, but it will be the right answer for us. The timing of that answer will be perfect.
· Unforgiveness is a destructive force.
· Time for us here on earth is finite. Don’t put off having an honest and intimate relationship with Christ until tomorrow, because tomorrow may never come.
· It’s important to stay pure before God in thought and deed.

SORMAG: How did it feel to hold your first book?

LEE: I felt like a proud momma. It was awesome to hold a published copy of “my baby” in my hands. The labor was well worth it.

SORMAG: What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?

LEE: It absolutely fascinated me to watch Expectations unfold at my fingertips. The characters became “real people” that I cared about and grew to love.

SORMAG: What did I enjoy the least?

LEE: Editing! I’m afflicted with a condition that I have heard referred to as God Syndrome: I wrote it, and it was good. LOL! Now, you can just imagine the struggles I had during the editing process.

SORMAG: What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
LEE: Writing is hard work. Publication doesn’t happen overnight.

SORMAG: What do you do to make time for yourself?

LEE: I’m an avid reader. When I want an escape, I will pick up a novel. Now that I’m a writer, some of the joy in reading has dimmed for me, because I can no longer just enjoy a story for the story’s sake. I read and critique. I hate that! LOL! It’s become instinctive.

When I start to feel overwhelmed by writing, church, work, and familial responsibilities, I take a timeout and watch Bollywood/Hindu films.

SORMAG: What was the last book to keep you up at night reading it?

LEE: My responsibilities—work, church, writing, family—don’t leave enough energy for late night reading. As I stated before, I’m an avid reader. If I list authors here, I’m afraid I’ll leave out some really good ones. I’ll just say that I like cozy mysteries and historical and contemporary romances. My only requirement is that they MUST give me a good giggle.

SORMAG: How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

LEE: Readers can find me on-line at the following locations:

They can contact me via snail mail at…
P.O. Box 677212
Orlando, FL 32867-7212

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