Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Author Spotlight (AlTonya Washington)

AlTonya Washington is a South Carolina native and graduate of Winston Salem State University in North Carolina . She released her first contemporary romance with BET Books in 2003. “Remember Love” was nominated as Best First Multicultural Romance by Romantic Times Magazine. In 2004 she was named Best New Romance Author by the readers of Shades of Romance Magazine. Her 2nd novel “Guarded Love” was labeled a “TOP PICK’ by Romantic Times Magazine. Her third novel “Finding Love Again” won the Romantic Times Magazine Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Multicultural Romance of 2004. 
Her fourth novel “Love Scheme” was nominated for the annual Romance Slam Jam ‘EMMA AWARD’ as Favorite Steamy Romance. In March 2007 she released the third title in her popular Ramsey series “A Lover’s Mask” which was nominated for the Romance Slam Jam ‘EMMA AWARD’. Her January 2010 Harlequin/Kimani release “The Doctor’s Private Visit” received an EMMA nomination for Favorite Hero. Under the pen name T. Onyx, AlTonya crafts her erotica titles and will release her third effort later this month: “Pleasure’s Powerhouse- Trois Plaisir”.
AlTonya plays many roles including “mom” and currently resides in North Carolina where she works for an academic library as a Serials Assistant. In fall 2010 she became a graduate student in pursuit of her Masters in Library Science. To learn more about her upcoming works visit her website .

  1. Which project was your longest project to complete? My lengthiest projects are the historical romances. So far I’ve crafted two and I’d have to say my second title by far required the greatest time commitment. “Passion’s Furies” (Genesis Press 2008). Historical romances have always been my favorites and the chance to create them has been a phenomenal experience. There is however considerable work to be done before the book is actually written- lots of reading & researching everything from the subject matter, to patterns of speech, dress, furnishings, modes of travel, etc. in Passions I used the Denmark Vesey rebellion in Charleston, SC as the backdrop of the story. Educating myself about the man, his mission and his followers was extremely enlightening and very enjoyable.
  2. How did you make the time to write if you’re working a daytime job? I truly believe that it is only possible to write while working a day job if writing is in your heart. If you’re writing with the intentions of striking it rich so you can quit your day job, then you won’t get very far. Writing definitely has to be in your heart- a part of who you are. I write several times a day throughout the day- I write during my 20min morning break, my lunch hour, in the morning when I first arrive at the library and have that time before it’s time to begin the workday. I write after work (most days) I try writing during the weekends mostly when my son is away visiting family- it’s important that I make time for him and that he not see my writing as something that always keeps mommy busy and away from him. My writing schedule may seem extreme (even more so now with grad work) but it works for me. That’s what’s important, finding a schedule that works for you no matter how weird it may seem to others.
  3. Why do authors give up? Is it due to instant gratification? Writing is not an easy thing, it takes time, dedication, discipline. Once the book is written, I think that’s where the real work begins. As involved as writing can be, marketing can be just as involved- even more so. It’s an entirely different animal, but very necessary if one expects to have some success in the writing world. It takes a lot of time to get your name out there especially if you don’t have a publicist or someone who handles that for you. Most of us don’t and it takes so much effort. I started writing in 1994, got published in 2003, but I don’t think people were really starting to know who I was until 2009. I did tons of book signings back then. I didn’t always sell a lot of books but made a lot of contacts and those emails were the seeds of my early marketing strategy. There’s no set rule for marketing success but you have to begin somewhere. It can be such a tedious/time consuming process that I feel many of us become discouraged. I feel I still have a long way to go, but I plan to have fun getting there.

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