Wednesday, 11 April 2012

A Warm Welcome to Toni Sands

By way of a very refreshing change, I’m delighted to welcome as my guest this week fellow Carmarthen RNA member Toni Sands, an accomplished short story writer, whose debut e-novel Orchid Pink has recently been published by Xcite Books… oo-er! Here’s Toni sharing her thoughts about writing romantic fiction and why you don’t necessarily need to wear six-inch stilettos and black velvet to write erotica!

My mother regularly borrowed Mills and Boon romances from the library. For me, an inquisitive pre-teen, these books sparked an interest in love and relationships that still hooks me. But after my father found me engrossed in a sizzling story about a landlady and her lodger, I had to make do with the Chalet School books for a while.

My own writing progressed from boarding school tales to romance and gentle supernatural stories, some of which appeared in women’s magazines. Years later, at the first writers’ group I joined, the organiser told me he recognised a sensuous quality in my work. Editor Elizabeth Coldwell published my first stories then I met a well-known author at a library presentation and she recommended I pitch to Black Lace. I still recall jumping for joy when Xcite Books accepted my story Marie, Marie. Since then, Xcite has published much more of my work and Hazel Cushion and my two lovely editors are very supportive and great to work with.

One of last year’s highlights, apart from attending the Romantic Novelists’ Conference at Caerleon, was being asked to appear on a panel, hosted by the bubbly Jane Wenham-Jones, author and presenter. In her view, confided Jane to the audience, erotica writers looked just like librarians. Well, I have received the comment, ‘I’d never have thought it of you,’ when mentioning my erotic publications. But I confess to a slight attack of the vapours when I find myself semi-apologising for boldly going where others fear to tread. Do readers really believe crime authors go out to slit throats and throw dismembered corpses into bottomless pits in the cause of plotting a darkly murderous novel? I don’t think so. Yet, the mention of writing erotica brings a ‘naughty’ frisson especially when a member of the opposite sex is involved.

I don’t set out to shock. My characters dictate the pace and if the writing’s flowing, who am I to complain? I always like to create a happy ever after or at least the promise of one and it’s difficult for me to write anything unless it’s tinged with a smidgeon of humour.

Chris has kindly mentioned my debut e-novel and first historical romance, Orchid Pink, set in the late Victorian era. I’m chuffed that my other half has created a Facebook page for my heroine, Adelaide Beauchamp, who communicates from 1900. 

I’m also one of a team of Xcite authors commissioned to write for The Secret Library, a sumptuous new imprint. My story of Rebecca and sexy smuggler Jac is called Traded Innocence  also the title of a collection of three novellas, each by a different author, launching 16th April. I used material from my 2006 dissertation for this story set on the beautiful Gower Coast of Wales.

Currently I’m pitching a women’s contemporary novel and preparing to run some creative writing workshops. Next project is a gentle WW2 romance, aimed at the pocket novel market. What, not erotica, I hear you say? I think writing only erotic fiction would be rather like living on a diet of chocolate and mangoes!

Thank you, Chris, for inviting me to drop by. And thank you anyone who’s taken time to visit. Now I shall paint on another coat of scarlet lipstick, wrap myself in black velvet, smooth on silver lace fingerless gloves and teeter off in my six-inch stilletos to drink champagne. I wish! 

Mind how you go in those heels, Toni!  Thank you so much for being my guest here today.

There’s more about Toni on her website: www.tonisands.co.uk and you can follow her tweets on Twitter @tonisands



14 comments:

Flowerpot said...

That was very interesting and I will definitely go off and order some of those books. Great post, thanks both.

Toni Sands said...

I promise to be circumspect, Chris!
Thanks, Flowerpot for your lovely comment. Happy reading.
Toni x

Fennie said...

Thanks, Toni, most interesting. I always enjoy reading about what people write and how they write it. I will remember your slitting throats analogy as people ask all the time how can you write about something you don't know. I reply that's the thing about fiction: it doesn't happen (and therefore - within reason - you can make it up).

Thanks also to Chris for hosting this.

Pondside said...

That was great! I enjoyed that little peek at how Toni works.
Of course, fiction is made up because there's nothing as weird as the truth!

Deborah (Debs) Carr said...

Congratulations and thanks for telling us all about your new books.

Toni Sands said...

It's lovely to be among like-minded people :) and thank you for congrats and comments. I think as writers and readers, we aim for the best.
Keep up the good work, Chris!
Toni x

Lesley Cookman said...

As one who was also asked to write for the Secret Library and just COULDN'T, as you know, I so admire you, Toni. Thanks, Chris for the post.

Cara Cooper said...

Many congratulations Toni, you are busy and on a total roll - long may it last. Fingers crossed for your pocket novel too!

Toni Sands said...

Thanks, lovely ladies for dropping by. Yes, lots to be thankful for and hopefully many more words to come. Lesley, I could not write in your genre. You're not called the Queen of Cosy Crime for nothing! Cara, we both seem to have a 'dark side and a light side'? Looking forward to writing the pocket novel soooooooon!
Toni x

Jane Lovering said...

A very good insight into the world of the erotica writer - thank you Toni. Wish I could do it, I find myself giggling like a schoolgirl if I have to write about grease-nipples....

Toni Sands said...

Thanks, Jane. Lots of people would kill to write like you do :) Maybe I should write an erotic story about a car mechanic...
Toni x

Susan Bergen said...

You're an inspiration, Toni, to 21st century women everywhere. Even M&B Historicals etc are pretty raunchy nowadays, so it's nice to see more women happily reading and writing erotica. Well done and I wish you lots of luck with your novels.

Toni Sands said...

What a lovely comment, Susan! Yes, I do think the lines are blurring. Was talking to someone yesterday who feels like I do though...she can't pass a raunchy novel to her mum to read :) My Traded Innocence is out this week so dare I offer it to my big sister? Will let Chris know :)

Posie said...

I am just catching up...hello Chris and hello Toni, lovely to read about your work, I used to love Mills and Boon in my early teens. Good luck with your writing...could just do with some champagne and chocolates and a good book :-)