Sunday, November 16, 2008
An Interview with Toni V. Sweeney!
Please welcome Toni V. Sweeney to my blog today!
Alisha: Can you tell us a little bit about your childhood? Favorite memories?
Toni: I was born at an early age in the years between the War Between the States and Vietnam. (This is my coy way of not telling anyone how old I am.) My home is in Georgia, although I haven't lived there in quite some time. Since I had three uncles who were almost my age, I was a bit of a tomboy--riding horseback through the cornfields, going hunting with them. (They refused to take me again because I made so much noise, I scared away all the animals--which was my intention!) My cousins and I used to act out the movies we saw and since I was the tallest, I was always the "hero," sword fighting with sticks, shooting arrows from a homemade bow, swinging through the trees on a rope. I used to wrap a towel around my waist and pretend to be Tarzan. (That was when I was 9 and could still run around without a shirt!) Then, when I turned 12, I realized that girls had more fun and decided to become a lady. (A lot of things changed after that!)
Alisha: What a fun childhood! Tell us about the hero and heroine in your latest release.
Toni: My latest novel, which will be released by The Wild Rose Press, is Three Moon Station. It was written in 1990, and was indirectly suggested by a made-for-TV movie I saw in 1989 called "Murder by Moonlight," where a murder suspect hid out in a colony on the moon. My heroine, Katherine Rawls, is a young woman who has the misfortune to witness her boss being murdered and runs away, taking the evidence with her. She's not a forceful person--having been raised by an overbearing uncle who is a shady businessman and may be part of the reason for his partner's murder--but she intends to get the evidence to the police. Her leaving Earth isn't her idea; she takes the wrong shuttle and instead of going to the closest precinct, she ends up going to the planet Tritomis-2 with a group of women convicts being taken there to be Domestics for the local ranchers. Unknown to Katy, however, the women are to be married to the ranchers, not just hired by them. She's taken to Three Moon Station by Sarkin Trant, the rancher who bids for her, mainly to keep her from another rancher who is under suspicion of killing his three other wives. Katy's dismay at learning that she's married to a stranger--and not just his housekeeper--and that this stranger is expecting full marital rights is contrasted with the growing attraction she has for him and that brings the conflict--to stay with Sar and be happy, or return to Earth after the probationary period of their marriage is over, and give her evidence to the authorities.
Sarkin Trant is a rancher who has had more than his share of sorrow. Orphaned during a virus which ran rampant among the settlers, he has been raised by his father's best friend, only to make what some people considered a mistake which ruined his life--they never say that to Sar's face, however, for the "mistake" is his son, Chance. At the age of fourteen, Sar finds himself--after a brief encounter with a gypsy girl--an unmarried father with a halfbreed son. With his foster parents' help, he raises his child. When he is older, he is rejected by the woman he is courting because of Chance, so he takes his son and returns to the ranch his father owned--secluding himself, raising his horses and his son--for the next 20 years. Rescuing Katy is one of the few times Sar has allowed his emotions to get the best of him and he determines desperately that he is going to make this beautiful, naive, and frightened young woman love him as much as he is beginning to love her. The fact that he's 14 years older than she and Katy is only 2 years older than Chance, and the fact that there has been no woman in Sar's life since that brief encounter with the gypsy...ever...are two of the stumbling blocks he has to overcome in showing his love for her. When the hired killers looking for Katy arrive on Tritomis-2, Sar is willing to die to protect the woman he loves.
Alisha: I don't normally read this genre but this sounds like such a great story! The kind of story that could add a whole new list of books to my TBR pile. I'm intrigued! If you were granted three wishes by a genie, what would they be?
Toni: That my books were well-known and loved by everyone; that I had someone in my life like Sarkin Trant; that I had a house with a yard and trees and flowers and puppies playing in it.
Alisha: Such beautiful wishes, Toni. If you could go anywhere to tomorrow, where would you go?
Toni: I'd like to visit Alsace-Lorraine. My ancestors came from there and I'd like to see it. You rarely ever hear about Alsace and the only well-known person I've ever heard of who was born there was Albert Schweitzer.
Alisha: If you could see anyone tomorrow (dead or alive), who would it be?
Toni: I'm afraid that wouldn't be someone famous, but a very personal choice--someone I loved and lost and have never forgotten.
Alisha: If you could choose six people to spend one week on a desert island, who would it be and why?
Toni: I'm assuming this island is deserted but not without the accoutrements of civilization? My friends and fellow writers, Linda Nightingale and Mary Barfield, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie--because they appear to be securely grounded in reality in spite of being celebrities--Johnny Depp (so I could tell him what a great actor I think he is and ask him if he'd like to make a film of The Irish Lady's Spanish Lover because I think he'd make a good Padraic/Esteban), and my cousin Janelle, who has done everything I wish I had enough nerve to!
Alisha: What word or phrase tingles in all the right places for you?
Toni: Oh, if I told you, they wouldn't be my private phrases anymore, would they--nor my private tingles, either!
Alisha: If you had one day to spoil yourself, what would you do?
Toni: I'd like to spend it in a leafy, shadowed jungle glade with a lake and a waterfall (but nothing dangerous in the water) with a studly guy who'd know how to take advantage of a leafy, shadowed jungle glade with a lake and a waterfall!
Alisha: Hmmm....I think you just told me your private thoughts, Toni. Now what would the Stud say? *giggle* If you could change one incident in your life, what would it be and how would you change it?
Toni: In 1970, I was in an automobile accident which permanently disabled me. I was pressured to get into that car that day. If I could do it over (of course, this would involve knowing what had happened previously), I would do my darndest to convince the other person not to make me get in that car.
Alisha: What’s the sexiest thing a man has ever done for you or said to you or both?
Toni: It was such a small thing. The one I loved and lost...one day, I caught him around the waist and hugged him and said, "Gotcha!" and he murmured, so low I almost didn't hear it, "Yes, you do..."
Alisha: Mmmmmmm....now that's not a small thing at all. How lovely!
Toni's My Space
Toni's You Tube
EXCERPT from Three Moon Station:
Katy was sleeping so soundly she didn't hear Sarkin Trant come back to the house. She didn't hear the bedroom door open, his footsteps as he tiptoed in, or the quiet movements as he undressed. Only when his weight touched the bed, causing her to roll toward him, did she rouse slightly but it wasn't until he put his arms around her that she came suddenly and violently awake.
Sitting up with a cry of alarm, she struck outward, touching warm, solid flesh.
The lamp flashed brightness, as Trant reached for the pistol lying beside it, looking around quickly. "What is it?"
Staring at his bare back and shoulders, half-hidden by the unbound hair, Katy uttered a shriek, ear-splitting in its terror, and scrambled backward, dragging the sheet with her. Her back struck the headboard and she climbed it, huddling against the wall, clutching the sheet to her breast.
He looked up at her, the gun swinging around, aimed directly at her. "What's the matter?"
"Oh, please! Don't shoot me!" Was he going to kill her? Without any reason? Are all these colonists latent murderers?
"I'm na going to shoot you!" His voice held surprise and something close to disgust. "What's the matter wi' you?"
He activated the safety and dropped the gun onto the table.
"W-what are you doing in here?" She held the sheet closer, pressing it against her chest, toes curling downward to wrap around the iron rosettes decorating the headboard.
"Where else would I be? This is my bed, y'know!" His tone implied she'd been stricken with sudden amnesia.
" ...and since 'tis now night, where else would I be sleeping but in m'own bed?"
" ...your bed...." In that case, where's his wife?
"Is there an echo in here? Yes, Sunshine--my bed! Now, d'we have its ownership established?"
"But--you put my bag in here...."
In a rush, she understood. There is no Mrs. Trant. Oh, God!
He had bid for her, not merely to get a housekeeper but for something more--it was more convenient to have a woman handy if he needed one, especially when the only other available females were two days' ride into Zero!
"You mean," she began, hoping he was going to deny it, "that you want me to-- Oh no. No."
"Aye." He was nodding, saying with a mixture of exasperation, anger, and concern, "Hell, Sunshine! 'Tis sort of expected , y'know?"
His voice was surprisingly sarcastic.
She didn't answer, just shook her head and wrapped the sheet closer around her.
"Oh, do na act so silly!" He was trying to be patient, she could see that, but still confused. "I admit I expected a little shyness but-- E'en though we did spend last night together in the wagon, we're still almost strangers...." He stopped, looked away, studying the far wall. "I mean...."
The sheet, stretched against him, was covering part of one thigh and his stomach. He put his hand on it, pressing it onto the bed. Katy could see the curve of his hip and the paler mark of a tan line on the golden skin. She swallowed loudly.
He looked back, shaking his head. "You're overreacting! Maybe you na expected to do this so soon but-- Damn, quit staring at me!" He looked uncomfortable. "You've already seen me naked--and probably others, too!!"
"Of course, I have!" Katy replied sharply. All Uncle Cyril's's groundsmen--the caretaker, the gardeners, the pool-boy--went without their shirts while they worked. She'd seen them all that way--and it was practically the same thing, wasn't it? She thought of those smooth, hairless chests. Wasn't it? "But not in my bed!"
That caused a widening of the aqua eyes. For a full minute, he didn't speak, just stared at her.
When he did say something, it was very soft. "You mean...y-you haven't ever--You're a virgin?" Katy didn't have to answer, the blush said it all. He looked away again, "God, I got a bargain, dinna I?" and made a beckoning gesture, patting a spot beside him. "Come down, Katy. We need to talk about this!"
I bet they have some SERIOUS talking to do, among other things..snicker! Great excerpt, Toni! I can't wait to read more! Thanks for being my guest of honor today! ~Alisha