|Available now at Carina Press|
Today multi-published author Toni Anderson has stopped by for an interview and some information about her book, EDGE OF SURVIVAL which was released by Carina Press on November 21.
How did you come up with the idea for EDGE OF SURVIVAL?
In some ways this is hard to talk about without giving away story spoilers so I might be a little vague in places. Basically the idea came from 3 different directions. Firstly, I’ve always been fascinated with the British SAS. My dad is an ex para and a military history buff. I grew up surrounded by books on the military, watching every TV program ever made on soldiers and war, and visiting every military museum in Britain. I have vivid memories of my dad climbing the barriers in a couple of museums to strip a Vicker’s machinegun just because he wanted to.
But what really intrigued me was what happened to the SAS guys when they left the Regiment. Suicide and alcoholism are common among these men who are the secretive heroes of the British military. I wanted to explore that.
The second aspect is people living with diabetes. In this story, the heroine, Cameran Young has type-1 diabetes, but she doesn’t let it slow her down. However, it’s a daily struggle and I wanted to show this.
Thirdly, I’m a fervent lover of wildlife and the environment—this comes into play in the story.
What made you set your story in Northern Labrador?
Back in the 1990s I was privileged to be part of a research study up in Northern Labrador. It was an amazing experience for a girl from Shropshire. The area is so remote that it formed the perfect backdrop for this story and was somewhere I wanted to revisit, if only through writing.
How much research did you conduct for your story and what was the most interesting thing you did while conducting your research?
I foolishly assumed that having conducted the heroine’s research study in the first place the research aspects of this book would be easier. Boy, was I ever wrong. I had a good grasp on the landscape and the limitations of working in these remote areas. I’ve flown in choppers oodles of times and tagged and tracked fish. But I didn’t know anything about diabetes. I didn’t know anything about flying a helicopter. I didn’t know anything about the psyche of an ex-soldier. I didn’t know how the RCMP conducted murder investigations in the remote places...can you see the list growing and growing? J The most interesting thing I did was to communicate with a former SAS soldier turned helicopter pilot (what were the chances of me finding this guy? It was fate J). He really helped me get a sense of who my hero was.
What do you want your readers to take away with them after reading the story?
Hmm…good question. There are messages in the story but no preaching. I’d like readers to take away the need to look after our soldiers when they leave the military. The fact that people can live with diabetes but finding a cure would be a hell of a lot better option. I hope they also take away that warm, feel-good emotion you get when you read a really good love story.
What attracted you to romantic suspense?
Romantic Suspense is what I love to read and what I love to write. I like the added aspect of danger, I like the complexity of trying to solve a crime or avoid danger while all the time trying to deal with falling in love when you least expect it.
What process did you use to write your story?
I hate my process. It involves multiple drafts and much hair-pulling. I am a plotter. I tend to use the worksheets from Discovering Story Magic to develop my internal and external conflicts, but it’s still ugly.
How do you make time to write?
I write when the kids are in school and often in the evenings. I wrote my first book, HER SANCTUARY, in the evenings when they were in bed. It took me five years and was exhausting. Right now I’m privileged to be able to stay home. We’ll see how long that lasts J
Do you write multiple drafts or barely need revisions when typing, The End?
Multiple drafts and I never type THE END. My writing is too organic to ever type THE END J Or I’m too anal.
What comes first – characters or the plot?
They both tend to grow together. The story grows out of a scene that pops into my head. Then I start asking who might be affected by this scene. Who are the players and why does it matter? The characters and plot grow from each other.
If you could choose anyone, past or present for a mentor, who would you choose?
Nora Roberts. The woman is driven.
What advice would you give new writers?
Never never never give up—or was that Churchill? Join a writing group like Romance Writers of America, read lots of writing books and write every day. Don’t be put off by criticism.
What’s your biggest dream?
To be a NYT bestselling author who can pay the mortgage and contribute to the family coffers.
What is your idea of romance?
I’ve been married to a wonderful man for the last 14 years. The thing I find most romantic is the mutual support we give one another. If one of us has a bad day, the other is there for them, trying to make things better with a kiss and a hug. We take time to let the other know we’re thinking of them throughout the day and we both understand what’s really important to each other and make compromises. Yes, candlelight and roses are nice, but so is a cup of tea on the bedside table when you wake up, and knowing the dog has already been walked.
EDGE OF SURVIVAL (November 2011)
Foreword by Brenda Novak
Dr. Cameran Young knew her assignment wouldn't be easy. As lead biologist on the Environment Impact Assessment team, her findings would determine the future of a large mining project in the northern Canadian bush. She expected rough conditions and hostile miners—but she didn't expect to find a dead body her first day on the job.
Former SAS Sergeant Daniel Fox forged a career as a helicopter pilot, working as far from the rest of the human race as possible. The thrill of flying makes his civilian life bearable, and he lives by his mantra: don't get involved. But when he's charged with transporting the biologist to her research vessel, he can't help but get involved in the murder investigation—and with Cameran, who awakens emotions he's desperate to suppress.
In the harsh and rugged wilderness, Daniel and Cameran must battle their intense and growing attraction while keeping ahead of a killer who will stop at nothing to silence her…
My heroine has diabetes and I'm donating 15% of my royalties to diabetes research.
Toni is a former marine biologist who conducted her Ph.D. at the Gatty Marine Laboratory in St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland. She was born and raised in the U.K., but now lives in the Canadian prairies with her husband and two children, living about as far from the ocean as possible. Her stories are set in the stunning locations where she’s been lucky enough to live and work—the blustery east coast of Scotland, the remote isolated mining communities of Northern Labrador, the rugged landscapes of the U.S. and the Red Center of Australia. She escapes the long brutal Canadian winters by writing Romantic Mystery and Suspense stories.
Toni, thank you so much for visiting with me today.