Monday, June 04, 2012
FEATURED AUTHOR: Toye Lawson Brown
I live and work in Cleveland, Ohio. My passion for writing started when I would daydream and write those stories floating in my head on paper. I recently dusted those stories that were rotting away on paper and published my first book in 2010 "Obsessive/Obsession". From there I have published four more novels: Nayla's Dilemma-The Ends of Justice, Fighting The Desires, Law and Disorder: Partners Undercover and A Love Delayed.
I'll admit, I have dabbled in many hobbies over the years, but writing has been my passion and my mental stress reliever. Writing has allowed me to escape from the day-to-day grind of work-related stress and into a world of fiction where I decided how the day would end for my characters. I hope you enjoy the adventures my characters deliver to you as you read, as much as I have enjoyed writing them. Each book has been a personal achievement for me and I will continue to strive to bring readers the best possible stories to be emoted through my characters.
A Love Delayed
Marcus Winters had what most men wanted. Fame, money, a successful career after retiring from the NFL. He lived a clean life - at least that is what people thought. Behind closed doors his life was far from perfect.
Lauren Bennett came to Cleveland, Ohio to embark on her new career as a Marketing Director. Little did she know the innocent morning she spent with a mysterious stranger, would turn into a life-changing journey.
Follow the lives of two individuals destined to be together only to have circumstances possibly keep them apart. Will love be strong enough to overcome the stumbling blocks thrown in their path to happiness, or will the towel be thrown in for each to go their separate way?
How did you start out your writing career?
I started doing short stories for myself. I had to have an escape from the real word. I would write so much that I didn’t realize how many stories I had written in notebooks until the books started piling up in my secret drawer.
What did you learn while writing this book?
A Love Delayed taught me that fiction can imitate real life. I had to feel each character’s emotion in order for the story to have realism. I’m hoping since I got really emotional writing this story, that readers will feel the same.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
This book was my first attempt at pure romance with drama. My other books were more suspenseful with a little romance thrown in. I wanted to be a versatile writer and not paint myself into a corner by being one dimensional. I hope this book accomplished that for me.
What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?
The story. I had developed this story to go another way when I decided to make it a romance instead of a suspense novel. I had to change my characters from working in law enforcement to more realistic careers, such as marketing and sports.
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The recognition from readers has been amazing. I always said that if I sold one book I would be successful and happy. I never dreamed readers would leave me emails or contact me on social media’s saying how much they have enjoyed my books. I still re-read emails to make sure they were talking about me.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I love character development. Once I get my characters in order, I am good to go with writing the scenes for them. The thing I hate the most is the hours I spend re-reading editing. It’s a necessary process but I truly hate it.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
I wish I would have followed my dream when I was younger. I had so much creativity flowing during my early years. Second, I wished I’d saved more of my short stories I wrote. Over the years I’ve moved and got married and things got lost. Trying to recreate those stories will never happen for me now. And third, the importance of being patient. If you want to do anything great in this life, you have to be patient and not rush things.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
The big “do” I have for aspiring writers is to go for it. Set goals for yourself and reach for them at full force. Be diligent to your craft. My one “don’t.” Do not put out just anything. If you want to be taken seriously and want readers wanting more from you, take the time to perfect your skills. Invest in editors and proofreaders. If you are a little on the weak side of bringing your characters to life, invest in a developmental editor to help you out. You can use family and friends to help with this as long as they can be honest and you have thick skin.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
The time invested in writing. Some of my friends don’t understand how I can dedicate so much time in front of the computer just writing. I’ve had others tell me that I should not invest so much into my writing since I’m not trying to make a living doing it. I take it all in stride and let them think what they want. It might not be my bread and butter, but I enjoy it.
Tell us something few know about you?
For one, no one knew I always wanted to be writer. When I was ten or eleven, I took guitar lessons. I actually played one country song to the end. I gave it up because the strings and constant strumming killed my fingers.
When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to cook, sing, read, and solve crossword puzzles. I spend quality time with my family doing cookouts or just hang out and relax.
What do you do to interact with your readers?
I have a fan page on facebook or just my regular page and email. I love to hear from readers and answer any questions they might have. My blog and website are also open for readers to interact with me at any time.
Our theme for this month is INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS. Have you ever considered self publishing your work? Why or Why not?. If you are a independent publishers, can you offer some tips for taking this journey.
I am a self-publisher. My tip would be to line up beta readers if you can’t afford editors or proofreaders. This is the most important area you don’t want to skimp. My first book was not properly edited and I pulled it to redo it the proper way. This is a hard and long journey also. You are responsible for promoting, marketing and getting your book in front of potential readers. If you are serious about writing, you will make it through all the hard work self-publishing involves. Enlist as many people as you can to help you.
Who was the first author you ever met?
I attended a book expo in Detroit, Michigan and met Valerie J. Lewis Coleman and Sylvia Hubbard. Later the same year, I met A.C. Author, Cheryl Faye, and G Street Chronicles during an expo in Philadelphia.
Oprah always asks, what do you know for sure?
I know for sure I love writing. I know for sure I put my best efforts into every book I write. I know for sure I have the readers in mind when I’m thinking of new things to write about.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
I would love that. My next book is titled “WHEN THE MUSIC STOPS” I have attached a small excerpt.
WHEN THE MUSIC STOPS (THE DETECTIVE SERIES) Chapter One
Sydney Howard, 33, graduated from Ohio State with a Masters’ Degree in Music Theory. She played the piano with finesse, and her vocals were always in perfect pitch. Using her degree to help other aspiring entertainers, she taught music at the School of the Arts. Sydney on occasion would perform vocals as a backup singer for recording artists she’d befriended over the years, but never had any desire to be a solo artist, or become part of an elite all-girl group.
Sydney waited patiently in her classroom for the substitute teacher to arrive. Taking a tissue from her purse to wipe her eyes, Sydney reflected on her family who meant everything to her. Growing up on the lower eastside of Cleveland, she was one of the few kids on her block that had both parents living in the same house happily. Her parents were heavily involved in her life. They made time to be at every school event from grade school to college. Sydney never felt their presence was unwelcome but loving. They were parents that cared enough to guide her into a happy and healthy adulthood.
Now her mother was dying, and she held no power to stop it from happening. Her father was suffering, and she could not comfort him as he slipped into a depression. Thomas Howard insisted Sydney continue to work, and he would call with updates. Her mother’s condition had deteriorated overnight leaving her little hope she would live through the day.
Donovan rapped lightly on the door. ”Hey, Sydney, I’m coming to take you away for a little bit.”
Startled, her head turned to the voice near the door. “Donovan, hey, what are you doing on my side of town?”
“Like I said, I came to take you away for a bit. Do you have another class coming in or can you leave for lunch?”
Scooting her chair from behind her desk, she rose to acknowledge her dear friend. “No. I’m waiting for a sub to get here, actually.”
“Talk to me, Sydney. I know you’re going through a bad time with your mother. I’m here for you.”
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
My email address: email@example.com
My website: www.toyebrown.com
My blog: www.booksbytoye.com
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