The YA Author Club is expanding is author presence and bringing on new talent every single week. This week, we are introducing the newest member of our team, Toni Lombardo. She is not an indie author, and she does not plan to become one. She’s working hard at establishing herself within the traditionally published world. We wish her the best of luck in her efforts and thought it might be kind of cool to offer our fans/friends/followers a new voice within the club. Instead of posting information about indie publishing, Toni will take a few minutes every few weeks to fill us in on her trials and tribulations as she journeys toward the Big Six.
Also… leave us a comment and let know which Big Six pic you like best #1 (first one at top) or #2 (second one to left). The one getting the most votes/comments will be the one we use to introduce Toni’s posts from this point forward.
Social Media Sites for Toni:
Without further ado, we are pleased to introduce Toni Lombardo:
Hello there blog readers! Toni here, I am going to talk about myself now. Hope you don’t mind.
Okay, so first off I am a twenty something (21) and striving to be a writer! I am currently(ish) a student at a community college (although at the moment I am taking a break from school) and my plan is to major in meteorology. Of course I’ll have to transfer to a four year. In some moments I want to major in English, because I am in love with words (a good thing for a writer, right?) . I would like to teach an elective class in a preppy school to do with the appreciation of old timey writers (Stoker, Melville, Shelley, etc.) and introduce the kids to modern day writers who I think are fantastic such as John Green (The Fault in Our Stars) , Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why) , *clears throat* T.R. Graves (not kissing up, she is actually really great, like go read her books now!) .
I have been writing since I can remember. I wrote short stories or was forced to by teachers, but I always enjoyed it and nine times out of ten exceeded the length required or well wanted (sometimes they weren’t happy) . My dad also made up stories for me when I was little, I hope to one day publish and anthology of them (I do attribute that to my love of the plot) . I actually sat down to write a book when by hand when I was fourteen? Maybe? But I gave up on that book (I will one day reapproach that book, but for now the characters and I are not mixing…it’s not my fault blame them) to write what I wanted to publish as my first. I started that book when I was fifteen and finished it when I was sixteen and went onto the next. I am on the third in the series and am currently rewriting the first book. I was young when I wrote it and afraid of words like sex, so I would dance around the word. Plus other things I wrote in it are just cringe worthy and embarrassing. Trust and believe if a writer says their work is cringe worthy it is…we are our biggest critic yes, but if we can make ourselves cringe it is pretty correct to believe that the reader would wonder what the heck the writer was thinking.
I spend my days working at a clothing store. I love it. I work with kids ranging from size 6-20. I love working with the girls who aren’t societies standard of ‘beauty’. It’s great because you can see the kid coming in so self-conscious (because they are a size 16 not 12 like their friends) and leave smiling because you told them they are beautiful and helped them pick out clothes and raved over how amazing the kid looked and sometimes the kid even hugs you. I know this sounds like I am saying ‘oh look at me. I’m so great. Blah, blah, blah.’ That is not my intention. Today’s society is so messed up, these kids are so self-conscious at such a young age, and they are getting bullied. Their parents telling them they are beautiful is one thing, when a someone else makes a big deal about it the kid feels good. I think it’s a thing everyone should do. Encourage people, because one day you will need it. Okay enough about my job.
I also spend my days plotting up stories and plot twists. I like listening to music and sometimes it even inspires or curbs scenes. I like going to the gym and reading, it is where I get most of my reading in. In one day at work…working on stock in the back room, five new book ideas came flooding in.
I have one dog, a Beta named Platelet in one tank with a snail, eight goldfish all named after characters in my books and a Plecko and a snail in another tank that is huge. I have the plecko and snails to help keep the tanks clean.
I’d like to write more often and I need to. It is the best and worst thing in the world, if you are a writer you will understand that sentence; if you are not a writer ask one that you know.
I use Twitter and Instagram and Facebook to interact with writers and friends and share stuff about my books and from time to time excerpts!
I hope to change the publishing world by introducing them to new styles of writing! And once you get to know me you know I don’t just dabble in things, I jump in whole heartedly with both feet, and most of the time without a safety net. I am beginning to blog under the supervision and guidance of Graves (I just love her) . Please come back bi-weekly to join me on my journey of publishing and writing on my blog series called Toni’s Big Six Journey.
It can be found here: http://yaauthorclub.blogspot.com
Listening to: Wishing Well by Ben Moody: All for This
Quote: “Just know, when you truly want success, you’ll never give up on it. No matter how bad the situation may get.” – Unknown
Spotlight Interview Questions
1) What is your all-time favorite book and why?
“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green (TFIOS) . It is just perfect. I cried on every page and went hysterical at Chapter 21. I re-read the book within two months and re-experienced all that beautiful pain (readers of this book will get it #nerdfighter) . Also, I bonded with my IBBF (internet best friend forever) over this book. We’ve known each other for a little over two months as of 7.12.2013, but it is one of the greatest friendships I have had. So, beyond being a great book it brought me a great friend.
2) Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book’s characters could relate to and why?
Oh gosh, this is a biggie. I don’t really know. I have my own style, but some of my darker pieces, like “The Tale-Tale Heart” which is a re-doing of “The Tell-Tale Heart” by E.A. Poe for a final English paper, have been associated to Poe. I’m actually about to start a second mirroring piece of his, that T.R. Graves is up-to-date about.
As far as characters…People are going to think TFIOS for some of my characters, because I talk about the book ALL the time and it is a book about kids with cancer. But my book is about a kid or two with cancer but there is more of a story to it than that, just like Green’s.
As far as my characters relating to other characters…oh I don’t know, never thought about that. I’ve read books with characters that reminded me of mine, but never really thought about it that way. I think Devon would like Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.
3) Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?
“If you don’t know, you do not deserve to know!” –Devon
Oh my, how can I explain, Devon? Okay so in this scene Devon just found out something in his family. Sorry for being vague, don’t want to give away plot points. He is really struggling in his life at the moment and this news was just devastating. Like a lot of teens Devon struggles with the idea of self-harm and when his brother is talking to him he (Devon) hints to wanting to hurt himself, and when his brother doesn’t get the hint he says the above quote possibly angrily.
4) What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?
Things that inspire me to write…I don’t know. Sometimes I just see something, okay I was in a store the other day and saw a beautiful all glass frame, free standing. I saw it and instantly knew it belonged to a character in one of my W.I.P.s, and when I got home it was already done the character would have it in their house. So it is just kind of random, if I see something and it attaches to a character, I say it inspired me.
People- My best friend Anne is who I write for along with a few other people. Anne is my muse and my ‘first reader’. She keeps me going when I don’t want to write and pushes me to finish projects. So she inspires me as well as Graves, Green, Asher, and others.
Music!!! Ahh, such an inspiration! Don’t want to say too much here because this topic is going to be a whole blog post for me!
What makes me want to keep writing—my characters. I get a points where I miss them and I physically feel missing them, I feel pain of sorts. Sometimes just thinking and plotting and writing notes just does not suffice, so I write to subdue the longing for interacting with them. And I love writing, so that helps.
5) Describe your typical writing day or week.
They are random. I write whenever and wherever. At one point I was writing (more than this at home) every Friday night at the bar in Red Robin, where one of my friends works. I would buy an unsweetened peach tea with EXTRA regular syrup and she kept me in well supply. It was a great writing environment and the support was great!
6) Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you’re writing?
I love, love, love peach tea, but I can’t have too much caffeine otherwise I can’t sleep. So at one point it was that, but now….yeah, it is still that, I just can’t have it all the time.
7) Can you tell us what you’re working on right now (& possibly provide an excerpt & cover) ?
Sooooo many things! The book I am working on to get published first is Life’s Not a Fantasy. I have a cover idea, but no cover yet!
An excerpt? Sure! Here is the introduction. It is written by Devon:
It wasn’t ever supposed to be like this. Our family was always so torn apart, even before what I’m, about to write. Dad was out fighting for ‘our safety’ but was never home…he was a ‘lifer’. Mom chose her favorites and clung tightly to them, and I fell to the bottom of that spectrum. I was okay with it though.
I was always the ‘untypical typical’ teenager, meaning I was or still am the loner. I’ve done my fair share of stupid things, but more on that later.
He, Cameron always held us together. He was our rock. He could make or break our family and now his name resonates with pain.
How can one name ruin everything? How can one name bring so much pain?
It’s been days, moments, but his name already feels like a curse.
Thanks for reading! Hope this was entertaining.