If any author could get me to read a genre that I wouldn’t normally read, Jane Toombs would be the one. Her fantasy dragon series is full of interesting characters with strong heroes and heroines. She adds just a smidgen of spookiness to an already intriguing plot, then she leaves her readers wanting more.
As a child, Ms. Toombs lived in a time when there were no such things as computers, satellite TV, or video games, so the fun was outside, not inside. She’d spend time playing jump rope and jacks with other girls her age. When they had enough of a group, they would play games like Simon Says and Hide and Seek. In the winter, they sledded and ice-skated. In the summer, they went swimming together, since they lived on Lake Superior. So her mom never had to tell her to go outside and play or else.
Ms. Toombs sometimes writes stories based on her dreams, especially if they’re terrifying. She listens to big band music when she writes, but she keeps it down to background music so it doesn’t distract her.
Some of her favorite things include popcorn, lemon drops, Hershey dark chocolate Kisses, the Viking from her past, her grandcat, Kinko, sunsets, looking at Lake Superior (she lives across the road), a feathery snowfall (which they get often in the winter), and reading a book that’s written just right.
On Writing, in Ms. Toombs’s Own Words
What or who inspires you to write?
In the beginning, it was my father. He wouldn’t allow me to use his old standard typewriter until I learned to read and write. But then he told me every time I used it, I had to write him a story. It never occurred to me that I couldn’t do that. My first was about my cat. He read it, told me it was good, then gently pointed out what could be improved and suggested that I rewrite using his suggestions. I did, and even I saw it was better. He was a great motivator. My mother was persistent at urging me to finish everything I started, which had nothing to do to with writing at that time. So between the two of them I had the right kind of a critiquer and one who taught me to finish things. Otherwise, I’ve always been self-motivated.
Why did you begin writing?
See above. I desperately wanted my fingers on that typewriter, and if I had to write stories—so be it. Getting praise for the stories, along with suggestions for improvement, certainly helped to keep me at it.
Which author inspires you?
Inspires? I’m not sure I can really say any do. But I know I draw on authors who wrote stories that I enjoyed in the past for ideas. Example: I recently wrote a story called “The Charmer” for a Jewels of the Quill Halloween Anthology called Halloween Treasures from Whiskey Creek Press. This story has elements from H. Rider Haggard’s She and a British film called The White Worm. If that’s what you mean by being inspired by authors, then I can list a few: E.A. Poe, A. Merritt, H.P. Lovecraft, McCaffery’s dragon tales, and some old movies like The Wolf Man. From this you can tell I enjoy writing paranormal the most.
What do you find most rewarding about writing?
Being able to sell my stories so others can read what I’ve written and, I hope, enjoy them. Yes, money is nice, but letters from fans give me greater pleasure than being paid for doing it.
Have you experienced writer’s block? And if so, how did you cure it?
Never been a victim of it, though I have experienced a good deal of procrastination, which is why I made a New Year’s resolution to finish the first book of every series I’d ever thought up and did synopses for. I started with my Darkness of Dragons Trilogy, and I sold the first book to Devine Destinies so fast that I had to write the next two as fast as I could. Dragon’s Pearl and Dragon’s Diamond are now out, and so is Dragon’s Stone. I’m now working on the fourth chapter of the first book in my Ghosts of Dagon House Trilogy, Taken In. But if it sells that fast, then I’ll have to finish the other two before I can get to the next series. At this rate, it’ll take me years to get to all of them, since there are still five series left, and some of them are longer than three books.
When is your next book due out, and what’s it about?
I have a book out in September: Lady Luck, the launch book of Champagne Books’ new In the Cards Tarot series. Each story involves a Tarot card accidentally introduced into the one or both of the main characters’ lives. For example, I used the Wheel of Fortune in Lady Luck, and its accidental introduction changed the lives of both the main characters and two of the minor ones. Other authors will be writing other books in this Tarot series, using other cards, and most, like mine, will be suspense romances.
Unwise, the first story in my Underworld Series from Eternal Press will be released in October. The Underworld has nothing to do with Satan but is simply an alternate world. To be brief, it’s a fairy tale involving a princess who’s slated to marry an older king, when what she wishes for is a handsome young prince. One should be careful what one wishes for…
We certainly have a lot to look forward to from Jane Toombs. Please check out her website: JaneToombs.com, then read my review of Dragon’s Pearl.