She's currently working on Sexual Games, the eighth book in the Heroes of Silver Springs series. The hero, Jackson Graham, and heroine, Mallory Stone, were first introduced in the second book, Twin Games.
Tonya's always been an avid reader and has written little things here and there as long as she can remember, even writing parts for a school play in elementary school.
"I remember sitting in my father's gas station after school one afternoon (I was in middle school by then) reading a book and an idea came to me for a story of my own," she said. "I started writing it and have been writing off and on ever since."
Professionally, she started out writing YA books, with her first, The Feud, being published in 1999. She wrote several YA novels, followed by a few mysteries under a pen name before making the transition to adult romance and erotica in 2003. In all, she has 42 books published. I asked about her favorite.
"They are all my babies but, if I had to choose a favorite, it would be Taken By Surprise, book 7 in the Heroes of Silver Springs series. The story is action packed with a slew of supporting characters that really gave the book more depth. Not to mention, Michael Cosmos is super DEA agent-licious."
Tonya also has two old west novels published under the pen name Bonnie Parker. I asked her why she chose that particular name.
She laughed. "When my publisher, Siren-Bookstrand, asked me to write these books and told me I had to use a pen name, I tried to think of something with a good country southern sound to it. Bonnie came from my grandmother, Bonnie Franklin. Parker was my great-grandmother's last name. Both have passed on now, but they were highly influential women in my young life. They were also two of the most country women I've ever met. It wasn't until after I chose the name and submitted it to Siren-Bookstrand that I made the connection of Bonnie and Clyde. That just made it all cooler!"
Tonya told me that a good erotic story has to have a plot that doesn't revolve around sex.
"It might be an internal struggle or a force of nature or even a big, bad drug lord out to get the characters, but there has to be more to the story than the heroine and hero(es) having sex all the time," she explained.
When she hits a road block in her writing, she takes a shower.
"Yes, sometimes that means I take several showers a day," she said with a laugh. "But something about the warm water and total quiet clears my head of all the goobledygook and gets my characters talking again."
And total quiet can be hard to find at Tonya's house. Instead, it's normally total chaos, and she loves it! Between her and her boyfriend, they have five kids: 1 ½, 11, 13, 16, and 17 and the oldest four live with them full time.
"Believe me, there's never a dull moment, but it's absolutely fabulous," she assured me.
Tonya admits that with the four that live at home and the fifth visiting every other weekend, her writing space is anywhere she can find a few hours of quiet. She enjoys writing on her back deck during the summer, but winters depress her because she has to stay cooped in the house.
She generally writes five days a week and tries to write a minimum of two thousand words a day—if she doesn't reach that goal, for whatever reason, she will catch up the next day or write on a planned day off.
"If the story is flowing and I have more time left in the day before kids and the real world take over, I write more. Sometimes the story is flowing too well for me to step away from it for two days, so I'll write then as well. Then there are times when I want more than two days off, so I write more the other days to make up for it," she explained.
She told me that she doesn't develop her characters or plot. Her characters introduce themselves to her, tell her about themselves and the interesting struggles and events in their lives. The plot forms from there.
"My characters tell the stories," she said. "I'm just the living being at the keyboard giving them the outlet to reach the world."
Tonya likes for her titles to give a clue about the characters and/or the plot of the story.
"For instance, Marissa's Rights, book two of The Service Club, is about Marissa and her struggles with cop heroes, Justin and Ben," she explained. "Justin and Ben came up with a very creative alteration of the Miranda Rights to read to Marissa in the story, too. Operation Mustang, book three of The Service Club, is another good example. Mustang is the name of the heroine and her men are Navy SEALs enlisting in the op to capture Mustang's heart."
For fun, I asked Tonya, "If you were stranded on a desert island and were only allowed to have five modern conveniences with you, what would they be?"
"A port-a-potty would have to be number one on my list. I don't care if there is no one else on that island, I can't stand to take a leak outside! Toilet paper because who knows what's on the leaves of those trees out there. A laptop with an infinite battery life because I couldn't go more than a day or two without writing and keep my sanity. A toothbrush--gotta keep my breath fresh for when my tall, dark and doable hero shows up to rescue me. Oh, and deodorant. Can't be smelling all funky when Mr. TDD shows up either."
Finally, I asked, "What advice would you give an author who wants to write erotica?"
"Read, read, read, and let those dirty thoughts free. I had a couple of authors who wrote romance come to me with this question. My advice was to take what they already wrote, open the bedroom door, and let their characters explore in very descriptive, no-holds-barred scenes."
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Mustang Ducote craves the Rylon brothers’ touch. She can’t give in to her darkest desires or she’ll lose everything. Now they’re on her ranch, and her attempts at resisting are failing. When danger strikes, she’s faced with two options—full surrender or a Rylon brother retreat that’ll take them out of her life forever.
As Navy SEALs, Diek and Gunner have been tested. But claiming Mustang proves tougher than any op they’ve faced. It’ll take all their training and focus to accomplish the mission that’ll change their lives. But others are after her, too, and withdrawing might be the only way to keep her safe. Lucky isn’t a SEAL, but he’s got an arsenal of toys saved for Mustang’s pleasure. Loving her is easy. Freeing the submissive vixen from the demons in her mind and those out to get her won’t be. But a lifetime of erotic passion is worth every obstacle tossed in the way.