Monday, 5 November 2012
Author Spotlight - Q&A with Toni Noel
TONI: In "Rising Above" a misfit heroine takes off in a hot air balloon race, is caught in strong crosswinds and forced back in time to 1874, where she's rescued by an undercover Pinkerton agent. A sandstorm forces them off his horse and to seek shelter in a cave. The wind continues to blow for two days. He insists their stay has compromised her reputation and demands she marry him. Wilda has no intention of entering into a forced marriage. She only wants help getting back to the 21st Century and her home in Riverside, California. The hero, Hal, is determined to keep her out of the reach of love-starved silver miners, and to guarantee her safety. That's difficult, since Wilda is accustomed to working outdoors, and is easily bored.
She agrees to let Hal court her, just to get out of the American Hotel, but falls in love with him, and they marry as soon as a preacher comes to town. Wilda has a lot of adjusting to do, and a lot to learn, but to occupy her time she opens a school for the miner's children and shares her knowledge with them until a diphtheria epidemic spreading through the town shuts down her school. Wilda argues that in her time she had childhood inoculations to prevent the disease, and tends the sick against Hal's wishes. He fears losing her to the sickness, the same one responsible for the sudden death of his wife and young son while he was away on a Pinkerton assignment, and secretly repairs Wilda's balloon so he can send her back to her own time.
STEPH: How long did it take you to write?
TONI: It took about six months to write this time travel historical. Writing a historical is easy for me, for I've lived through a lot of the history.
STEPH: How much research did you have to do?
TONI: We spent two weekends in the restored ghost town of Cerro Gordo, where I listened to tales of its history and bought a book put out by the local historical society. While photographing the town I decided to write the book, and absorbed as much of the local color as I could while I was there.
STEPH:How does the cover reflect the story within?
TONI: My cover is amazing, exactly what I asked for on the cover, but so much more.
STEPH: Wilda Stone is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weakness?
TONI: She was a tomboy growing up, but has never been asked out by anyone, not even the boys she grew up with. She's taller than the other women in Cerro Gordo, and strong willed, which causes Hal no end of problems. She's an excellent seamstress, but a hazard waiting to happen in the kitchen. This headstrong young woman has a big heart and a cheerful disposition, but you wouldn't want her washing your dishes.
STEPH: What does Hal find appealing about her?
TONI: The same characteristics that have him tearing his hair out endear Wilda to Hal. She's always ready to lend a helping hand, and to question his decisions.
STEPH: What is the theme of the novel?
TONI: Love conquers all.
STEPH: As a writer, where do you draw inspiration from?
TONI: I draw most of my inspiration from happenings around me. I never know when inspiration for a book will strike me, whether it's a boarded up house in a ritzy neighborhood, the hunky temp employee I interviewed and hired, or a decaying mining town.
STEPH: Do you have an eBook reader? If so, which one?
TONI: I have a NOOK and a Kindle, and alternate between reading on one of them and reading print books. I like the handy size of my Kindle, but prefer the larger screen on my NOOK.
STEPH: Fun question: What do you like to do for Thanksgiving? Is there something you like to bake? How do you fix your turkey? Brine it? Fry it? Bake it?
TONI: I'm like Wilda. My husband no longer lets me in the kitchen until after the meal. I devil the eggs and chill the green stuff -- a congealed salad with nuts -- ahead of time and help him get the turkey into a turkey bag for baking, then stay out of his way. Everyone comes home for Thanksgiving, wouldn't miss it, but just once I'd like to go to the Thanksgiving feast at the Ahwahnee Hotel.
Author Toni Noel hangs out here:
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