MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR TONI COX
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
Hi Amy. My name is Toni Cox. I am a fantasy author and believer in dragons.
My genres include epic fantasy, urban fantasy, dystopian fantasy, PNR, YA fantasy, and dark fantasy.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
I have several worlds that I write in, but my favourite is the Elemental Saga. Elveron, the main planet of the story, is where I would like to live. It is a world I have been creating in my mind since I was a kid and it has grown with me over the years until it became the epic universe it is now.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I have always had an overactive imagination and, when real life got too dull, I’d make dream up fantasy worlds, and dragons, and mythical creatures. Much more fun than school, and homework. When I wasn’t riding horses, I always had my nose stuck in a book. My love for reading started early and I turned into a love for writing later on.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
My research depends on which genre I’m currently writing, but I always do intense research. I love worldbuilding, but in order to do that, I need to know my facts.
For the epic fantasy series, it is usually bio-diversity, medieval weapons, dragon anatomy, and things like that.
For my dystopian novel I am currently writing, I needed to research the engine capacity of a Range Rover, how a police radio works, how long the batteries of solar panels last, and a whole range of things I had no idea about before.
It is a lot of fun.
Can you tell me about your Series?
The Elemental Saga is divided into The Elemental Trilogy and The Elemental Short Stories.
The trilogy is the main story, but as I was writing it, I felt that there were back stories that deserved a mention and decided to turn those into stand-alone novellas. Those became the short stories.
The trilogy follows Maia, elf princes of Grildor, and her struggle to save her people for an evil that has invaded her planet. She has her dragon, Midnight, who fights by her side, but when Death appears, all hope seems lost.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
The third book of the trilogy, Forbidden Elemental, is definitely my favourite.
Was it always meant to become a series?
Yes. There are 33 books in the Elemental Saga in total, of which 7 are already published. Loads to look forward to.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
Unfortunately, I still have a day job and only get home at 5pm every day.
I write and do marketing from 5:30pm to 10:30pm Monday to Friday, 12:00pm to 11:00pm on Saturdays, and 8:00am to 8:00pm on Sundays. It’s my life and I love what I do.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
A dystopian novel, called RESILIENT
An urban fantasy novel, called DREAMSTATE
A PNR novel, which is part of an anthology, called THE WOLF OF ASHFORD MANOR
A fantasy novel, called DRAGONLORE: MASTER OF LEGENDS (this is book 1 of a series)
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
My main characters always have names that have a special meaning in my life. Some of the side characters are named after friends that have asked to be mentioned in my books. Yet others, I name depending on their traits.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
It was the dystopian fantasy I was hesitant to write at first, having been so focused on writing epic and YA fantasy for so long, but I discovered that I enjoy it and I am having a lot of fun with it.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The fact that I still have a day job. I wish I had more time to write. Marketing takes up more than half the time I have, pushing back publication dates.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I have two or three. The latest one is pretty cool. I’m working on making a new one, but it will probably be a while before it comes out.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Taking that first step to publish my first book, lol. Overcoming that self-doubt.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Being an author, of course.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Preferably, behind my desk, writing full time. An e-mail from a movie producer in my mail box. And, a best-seller badge on several of my books. That’s not too much to ask, is it? (Keeping my fingers crossed)
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
I get asked this question a lot and my answer is always the same; Never Give Up. Carry on writing. It is more hard work than you can possibly imagine, but the rewards at the end will be worth it.
Invest your time in marketing. Make friends with other authors. Ask for help. The indie author community is incredible.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I studied to be a horse-riding teacher, so that’s what I would be doing. Unfortunately, I now suffer from severe Rheumatoid Arthritis and AS, and am no longer able to ride.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
The bad are as important as the good. I’m always happy to just get reviews, as they are extremely difficult to come by. I do read them, but I won’t respond. I do mark them as helpful on Amazon if they were particularly nice.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
Publishing a new book.
Where did your love of books come from?
When I was kid, I was given a book for Christmas. The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. As a horse-mad girl, I read the book in one sitting and then proceed to buy the entire series during the months that followed. I have been hooked on books ever since.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
There are too many to mention, but if you like fantasy, I recommend you read Robin Hobb, Angela Ford, Sarah J. Maas, and Daniel Arneson.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Maia and Midnight. Maia, because she isn’t your perfect heroine, and Midnight, well… he’s a huge, fire-breathing, black dragon. How can I not like him?
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
I love it. Unfortunately, I do have to sleep on occasion.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I pretty much write what I want, or what I want to read. The stories in my head cannot be told to conform to market. Besides, the characters do whatever they want, anyway, and hardly ever stick to the plot line.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
As I said earlier, the indie author community is amazing. Over the years I have made many friends and all of them have in some way contributed to my success.
My #AuthorBestie is Sian B. Claven, author of The Butcher Books.
About The Author
Born in Germany in 1976, Toni Cox moved to South Africa in 1991. Although she has spent much of her working career in the timber wholesale business, she is also an accomplished horse rider, has a diploma in project management, photography, and nutrition, and has a passion for books and all things fantasy.
From a young age, her dream had always been to put her imagination into words – give the stories life. When she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2013, she decided life is too short not to follow her dream. So, with the support of her husband and three children, she began writing book 1 of the Elemental Trilogy in January 2015.
Toni Cox writes Epic Fantasy, Young Adult Fantasy, Sci-Fi Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Dystopian Fantasy, and Dark Fantasy. She is a firm believer in dragons.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
FB Group: www.facebook.com/groups/toniselementals
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️
Thank you, Amy