Welcome to Toni Sands and her Xcite Press book, Orchid Pink.
What is your writing process?Either I react to an idea when it strikes or nowadays to a suggestion from either of my two lovely editors at Xcite Books. Sometimes I scribble random thoughts in a notebook then mark up names and characteristics on my whiteboard. I’m a touch typist and I work fastest when transferring the story to the screen and the characters are doing the business for me.
Everyone who writes knows it's not easy - what methods do you use to keep at it on days when it would be so much easier to go shoe shopping?Once I begin a new book it’s not difficult for me to concentrate on that wip. One big asset is that my OH works from home and he’s brilliant at leaving me to get on upstairs! We live in a small Welsh town so tempting shops aren’t within easy reach but I plan diversions every now and then. London draws me for shopping, theatres, etc and meeting up with some much-loved folk!
Keeping fit: Do you have an exercise regime to counterbalance all those hours sitting at a computer?Walking is a pleasure in these parts and normally I go out after lunch each day. If the weather’s too awful, I have a simple exercise routine with which I won’t bore you. Does watching tennis count?
Do you believe in writer's block?No. If I’m really not in the mood for writing, I’ll go and do something useful like cook up a big pot of veggie stew to save time for when the Muse is nudging me.
Have you ever used an incident from real life in a book? If so, did it get you into trouble?Trivial incidents and experiences have triggered a bigger story but I try to keep out of trouble!
In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?I started late so am coping with the digital revolution and very thankful to have achieved what I have. It’s the publicity side I find most time-consuming but I think I’ve always been aware that a writer’s life can be a lonely and frustrating one. Thank goodness for the RNA (Romantic Novelists Association)
Promotion is no longer a dirty word. In what ways do you strive to reach more readers?I use Facebook and Twitter but try not to bang on about my books. Since ‘that book’ exploded on the scene, I’ve become much less shy about handing out my card. So far I’ve used a PR service only once but found it helpful and would use it again. Xcite Books are very proactive but obviously they have many authors to promote.
What is your top promo tip for other authors?Keep an eye on opportunities for guest-blogging and being interviewed.
What did you learn while writing this book?Orchid Pink is set in 1900, on the brink of the Edwardian era. My heroine is a Victorian leading a complicated life. Learning more about what lay under the decorous surface in those times was fascinating. You could say I learnt more about the changing role of women.
What was the most fun part of writing this book?I had fun watching Benedict Cumberbatch portray Sherlock Holmes. There’s fabulous archive footage on the Internet so I looked at motorcars and horse-drawn vehicles and had hours of fun ‘dressing’ my heroine, especially for her wedding day. Food features hugely in my stories so I enjoyed surfing typical menus for those folk with enough cash to pay for them.
And just for fun: what would your hero’s honeymoon destination of choice be?Oh dear. This is the only book in which my heroine marries a despicable man. If I’m allowed to cheat here, may I introduce Jimmy, an East end lad who joins the household as odd jobs boy and is tipped to inherit the job of chauffeur from his uncle? Jimmy would whisk you off in his pride and joy - that gleaming Daimler which he’d borrow of course – and tour the Sussex seaside towns. Think What the Butler Saw, plus cockles, mussels, whelks and a nice drop of ale. Be prepared for him to whip off one of your stockings if he had trouble with the fan belt though! Cars weren’t so reliable in those days.
Demure Adelaide hides a passionate nature beneath her elegant gowns. After hiring a delicious new maid, Daisy, she can’t wait to initiate her into the delights of the orchid house. Though resenting paternal pressure to marry businessman Thomas, Adelaide finds excitement in his touch and his erotic whisperings. Yet, when he reveals his sinister side, she seeks solace elsewhere. Christmas brings snowflakes, also a vivid reminder of a heart-wrenching past. Intrigue and obsession rock this Victorian household as Adelaide’s poignant search for love leads her into storms. Will she ever bask in the sunshine?
Orchid Pink is available from Amazon UK and Amazon USA. You can find out more about Toni at her website: www.tonisands.co.uk or on Twitter.