Monday, 6 June 2011

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Toni Noel, author of Temp to Permanent

STEPH: I don't know much about Temp To Permanent. Can you tell me a little more about?

TONI: In Temp To Permanent, the beleaguered owner of an advertising firm is thrown for a loop when the temp agency sends her a male replacement for her secretary who has the flu. This man is all she's ever want in a lover, but she's doubtful he'll be able to manage her busy phones.

Greg surprises Carina. His skill with computer graphics far exceeds her secretary's ability, and Carina's thriving business returns to normal, until troublesome things start happening, little irritating things that slow down their production, until the petty cash disappears. Carina suspects Greg is a plant sent by her competition to force her company to fail. Will the attraction she has for him survive her suspicions?

STEPH: How long did it take to write?

TONI: It takes me six weeks to write the first draft of a novel, and may take several years to polish it for submission. During the Temp To Permanent revision I began to wonder who wants to pick up a book about a lady boss who can't keep her hands off the temp help, but must? The situation was already humorous, or could become erotic, which ever I chose.

Not erotic, I was certain. Maybe what I needed was a good mystery to distract my characters, but for them to work more closely together, a situation rife with opportunities for romance. That's why I added the mystery. It gave my characters a problem to solve other than the sexual harassment one they'd face if either acted on their desires.

STEPH: Did you do a lot of research for the novel?

TONI: No research was need for this novel. Authors are instructed to write what they know. I'd worked in accounting offices for thirty years. I knew all about the subtle games office workers play, but there was nothing the least bit romantic about our accounting department. We were kept too busy for office intrigue, so I needed a different setting for my novel and decided on a quieter office situation for my characters, a business with only two employees. I wanted a place where a hero and heroine already attracted to each other would be forced to spend time together in conference every day, rubbing elbows, you might say. I already knew a little about computer graphics. The last company I worked for designed and built remotely controlled underwater vehicles. I interviewed a few of those designers, questioned the owner of a graphic arts business and started writing.

STEPH: Where did the inspiration for the story come from?

TONI: Prior to year end close ach year, I interviewed and hired a temp to take over my timecard duties while I produced financial reports and worked the accounting year close. One year I hired a male temp, not because of his drop-dead looks, but because of his obvious skills. He had an accounting degree and office experience, and best of all, required little training before I was able to tackle my work without interruption. Not so for the rest of the company. Even the married female employees hung out of their cubicles each day when he made his rounds.

STEPH: If your story was going to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

TONI: Greg would look like Sean Penn, with twinkling blue eyes and curly black hair. Carina would be a young Glenn Close.

STEPH: What is the theme of the novel?

TONI: The theme of Temp To Permanent is Love finds a way. Carina is convinced Greg lacks ambition. In reality, he's ashamed of his past failures, and refuses to talk about his past. To Carina, her father lacked ambition and determined not to fall for someone without goals in his life. She's a highly ambitious, successful businesswoman who has scratched her way to the top of her field, but has recently realized she is unhappy with her current life. Something is missing. She's not sure what until Greg walks into her office and she discovers she wants the very thing she cannot legally have: her temp.

STEPH: What do you want readers to take away from the novel when they finish it?

TONI: I always want my readers to finish my novels with the satisfaction of a happy ending, a resolution that leaves them smiling, and memories of a couple whose newly found love warms their heart long after they read 'The end.

STEPH: Do you have an eBook reader? If so, which one?

TONI: My husband gave me one of the first Nooks, bought when they were still pricey. I have a cover for it that feels like suede and folds back flat when I'm reading. I also have a light for it, but am yet to need it.

My husband recently bought a mini-computer for me to use in the motor home, so I also download .pdf files, copy them to a flash drive and read on the mini. In some ways I like it better.

STEPH: How important was the setting to the novel?

STEPH: Here again, write what you know influenced this novel. For several years I was the accountant for a local hotel and worked at San Diego's Embarcadero. This city's main business district is located a few blocks east of the bay, and all up-and-coming business owners need easy access to downtown, so Carina's opened her business in Little Italy, a stones-throw from downtown, and Greg rented an apartment in Old Town to avoid a lengthy freeway drive to where he hopes to eventually work. This setting gave my characters scenic views right outside their doors, and excellent places to dine while they became better acquainted.

STEPH: What's your writing space like?

STEPH: I emptied a spare bedroom for my office. My desk, a six foot door, turns the floor space into a mini-maze. Four tall, stuffed bookshelves line the wall I face when I write. One narrow end is beneath the window. The other end protrudes into the room, parallel to the bookcases and the sewing machine at my back. When we have company, this room becomes a catchall room for odd , collecting things we'd like to keep out of sight, items that never seem to find their back out of here, so not, my office is not neat, no many how many classes I take on organizing my writing space, but it almost serves my needs.
You'd think with a six foot desk I'd have plenty of room.


STEPH: Thanks for popping in, Toni! It was great to have you on the blog today!


  1. What a fun read! I had a similar incident back in my corporate days. I was single, he was cute and he had too many other ladies to notice me!! But it was a fun few days. BTW, love the door for a desk. My sis has one and it is gorgeous. An old antique door that she bought old legs for, then sort of white-washed - beautiful.

    Sigh, another book for my TBR pile. It grows!!

  2. Thanks, Linda, for stopping in. I'm afraid my door is more utilitarian. I did give it a coat of spar varnish to make it smooth and less utilitarian, but it stays so covered no one can see it.