Interview with Toni Mount
I’ve decided to try my hand at interviewing people. My first guest is Toni Mount, a respected historian who has branched into the world of medieval thrillers.
She’s currently promoting The Colour of Betrayal. The fourth story in her Sebastian Foxley mystery series.
I’ll give more information on both her and her book after the interview, but for now, on with the questions.
1. Authors tend to have very strong feelings about outlines. Do you write from an outline? If so, how much detail do you put into the outline? If not, why not?
A. I don’t write much of an outline at all. I prefer the ‘Stephen King’ method: think of a situation, put your characters into it and see what happens. It’s a ‘seat of the pants’ way of writing and not generally recommended, but it works for me.
2. Do you have a writing routine? Do you write a certain number of hours a day, or go for a certain number of words? Do you always write at the same time of day in the same place, or is it whenever/wherever?
A. No routine. I teach classes and give one-off lectures as well as writing, so some weeks I’ll have little time to write, other times a lot will get done. I always write at my adapted keyboard as I have a disability that makes using a pen or any other technology apart from my PC very difficult to use. I can type all day, if I’m in the mood but never in the evenings, otherwise my brain is too busy and I can’t sleep.
3. How many drafts do you go through before you feel done?
A. I write the story chronologically, from beginning to end. Because I type quite slowly, I tend to correct grammar and spelling as I go. I often go back and read the last few paragraphs of a story to refresh my memory before writing new stuff. Once I’ve completed the first draft, I let it ‘rest’ for a while, depending on the deadline, then I try to read the whole thing in one or two sittings. This way, I notice that Jenny had blue eyes in chapter 1 but green in chapter 14, or Dave moved from the house on the corner to the house next door. That sort of thing. I can also see if the story has boring bits or if the reader might need a breather from nonstop action. So draft 2 corrects continuity and pace. Draft 3 corrects overlong sentences, repeated words and gaffs I’ve missed earlier. If I’m happy, I send it off to MG for approval and editing. Proofs and edits are returned which I accept of decline. So it’s probably about 4 drafts but with on-going editing at every stage.
4. What is your worst writing habit?
A. My worst writing habit is probably boredom which leads to stories being almost finished but not quite. It’s a real effort – kicking yourself up the backside isn’t easy.
5. There is an old gag, “be careful, or i’ll write you into my novel.” Have you ever written a person you actually know into anything you’ve written? Alternately, how much do you base your characters on real people?
A. No, I’ve never actually based a character on anyone I know. However, I often take habits, mannerisms or personality traits from people I’ve known and mix them together to make a character. I think all writers do this. You see a kid picking his nose and scuffing his feet in the dirt and that gives you an idea for a character. Another kid is tall and gangly, another has buttoned his coat all wrong. Put them together and there’s your new character.
6. Do you ever get stuck while writing? If so, how do you get going again?
A. Yes, I get stuck. To get unstuck I have a hot shower. Don’t know why but I always have my best ideas there.
7. You are published by MadeGlobal, how did find MG?
A. I didn’t find MadeGlobal; they found me. They read some of my factual stuff and asked if I’d write an online history course for them. At some point, they wondered what else I’d written. I said there was a novel lying in the drawer. They asked for a synopsis and a few sample chapters which they enjoyed, so I sent the rest of it. Voila! It was published as The Colour of Poison. Sebastian Foxley solved his first murder mystery.
A bit more about Toni
Toni Mount earned her research Masters degree from the University of Kent in 2009 through the study of a medieval medical manuscript held at the Wellcome Library in London. Recently she also completed a Diploma in Literature and Creative Writing with the Open University. Toni has published many non-fiction books, but always wanted to write a medieval thriller, and her novels “The Colour of Poison”, “The Colour of Gold”, “The Colour of Cold Blood” and now “The Colour of Betrayal” are the result. Toni regularly speaks at venues throughout the UK and is the author of several online courses available at www.medievalcourses.com.
From the cover of The Colour of Betrayal—
The fourth Sebastian Foxley Medieval Mystery by Toni Mount.
A short story
Suicide or murder?
As medieval Londoners joyously prepare for the Christmas celebrations, goldsmith Lawrence Ducket is involved in a street brawl. Fearful that his opponent is dying from his injuries, Lawrence seeks sanctuary in a church nearby.
When Ducket is found hanging from the rafters, people assume it’s suicide. Yet, Sebastian Foxley is unconvinced. Why is his young apprentice, Jack Tabor, so terrified that he takes to his bed?
Amidst feasting and merriment, Seb is determined to solve the mystery of his friend’s death and to ease Jack’s fears.