Toni: *blushes* Well, I can't say I've ever had an introduction quite like that.
Renae: **bounces with excitement** Hi, Toni. RJ Jones interviewed me the other day and offered me coffee during the interview, and I realised that I don’t offer my guests coffee. Did you want one?
Toni: Egh. Umm… No, thank you. I can't stand coffee… Don't even like the smell. A glass of water would be lovely though.
Renae: **dashes off to get it**
Toni: *Whistles and looks around the room*
Renae: Back. **hands Toni her drink and takes a long slurp of her own coffee** Now, where were we? Ah, interview. It’s been a while since your last release. Why is that? What have you been up to?
Toni: Yeah, I had three releases all in fairly quick succession in February and then nothing since. Steps to You was a labour of love and hate for me. I started this story in 2013 and had to keep putting it aside to work on other projects, which made it all the harder to continuously pick back up again.
After A Very Holland Valentine was released I could finally drag it back out once and for all. I was determined to finish, even though I had friends laughing and telling me it was never going to happen. *cough* Freddy *cough*
Steps is the longest first edition book I've written, and it's also a contemporary. I've only written a couple of those in the past, both of which were cowboys, and neither were this long.
After I finished Steps I started work on another project, As Fire Rains Down, which also turned out to be longer than I had anticipated. Now, I'm working on the third book in my Smokey Mountain Bears series.
Renae: And Steps to You is releasing on the 26th of September. Let’s have a look at the blurb...
Blurb: Is there something in life that you're afraid of, like heart pounding, shortness of breath, Jesus Christ I'm going to pass out, scared? For Leo Harris that something is heights.
Why his nosy sister would gift him with a pass for the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb is anybody's guess, let alone expect Leo to make it through in one piece. If it wasn't for the kindness of a sexy stranger he meets at orientation, Leo doubts he would have been able to step one foot onto the mammoth structure.
Ryan Anderson's known as a workaholic, as he has no reason not to be, that all changes in one day when he meets Leo. Ryan quickly falls head over heels as he sets out to make Leo his.
Toni: Thank you, I like showcasing this wonderful land I call home. I have actually climbed the bridge. I was in Sydney in 2013 to attend OzMMMeet and thought it would be a good opportunity to make the climb. I hadn't been to Sydney since 1998 and I'd always wanted to do it, so I did. The story came to me while I was climbing one of the 1337 stairs required.
Renae: I’m not afraid of heights, but the thought of going up there makes me a little nervous. But your guy isn’t just a little apprehensive? He’s shit-scared?
Toni: Yeah, poor Leo. He really doesn't know why his sister would be so mean to him. She's fully aware that he doesn't like heights. Honestly, even I don't know what was going through her head when Teresa thought that gift up.
Renae: Yeah, sisters can be mean while pretending to be nice. **wink** I notice this is the first in a series? Fear Series? Oh, cool. What other fears are we going to come across? Spiders???
Toni: LOL. Maybe. I haven't decided yet. There's so many different fears and phobias out there to choose from.
Renae: How did you come up with the idea for this series?
Toni: The idea for the book came while I was making the climb. It wasn't until I was home and typing away that I had the idea to make it into a series, revolving around different people facing their fears.
Renae: In times of need, people often fall in love. I’ve heard of people in hostage situations falling in love after the drama is over, maybe because they cling to that person. Can we trust ourselves to fall in love in the middle of fear?
Toni: I actually just watched SPEED the other day. What do they say in that movie: 'Relationships that start under intense circumstances, they never last.' My guys would disagree with this statement.
Renae: Is there a reason Leo is scared of heights? Is his fear reasonable, or unreasonable?
Toni: Is any fear unreasonable? Nothing happened to poor Leo in his life to make him dislike heights, he wasn't dangled of any balconies when he was a baby or anything. However, when he gets up that high, his body just reacts, he has trouble breathing and freezes up.
Renae: And Ryan? He sounds like an uptight guy. Why is he doing the bridge climb?
Toni: He's really not. He just hasn't had anyone in his life to make him take some time for himself and relax. Ryan's climbing the bridge as he's been in Sydney for three years and hasn't done a single touristy thing. He figured it was about time.
Toni: Not at all.
Renae: So what draws Ryan to Leo?
Toni: Ryan's drawn to Leo the first time he lays eyes on him. Leo looks like a scared rabbit and all Ryan wants to do is give him a hug and tell Leo everything will be alright.
Renae: That’s a great cover! I love the bridge. Who did the cover for you?
Toni: The fabulously talented Freddy MacKay created my beautiful cover.
Renae: And where will the other stories in the series be set? Do the readers get to travel around Australia while reading?
Toni: Of course. I love setting my stories in the country I call home. I think the only two States/Territories I haven't covered yet are the ACT & SA. So they're both on the list for a story.
Renae: And when is the next one out?
Toni: The next book in this series hasn't been written yet, but I'm hoping next year if I can swing it. As for my next release after this, that will be in October/November. A Bear's Bear will be a part of the Mischief Corner Books fall anthology Travels through the Scarlet Equinox.
Renae: For the sake of warning people, if a reader has a phobia of heights, do they need to avoid this book? Or will they empathise with Leo?
Toni: I think they will more empathise with Leo. I don't believe it to be scary.
Renae: Are you sure there’s no spiders in your series to scare people??
Toni: LOL... No spiders in this story. I can't promise for the rest of the series though.
Renae: **pouts** Okay, okay. Where can people find you?
Toni: I can be found at the EDJ or on the rare occasion I'm not there at home…. Oh you mean online. Right. Sorry.
You can find me at www.tonigriffin.net
Email me at email@example.com
Or Facebook me at: https://www.facebook.com/toni.griffin.author
I don't have twitter/Instagram/Pinterest or anything like that. At least not yet.
Renae: Great. Now they know where to send the hate mail when you scare the crap out of them **wink** Thanks for coming along today. It’s been great. Congratulations on the new series and I hope they do great.
Toni: Thank you for having me Renae, I always have a blast when I get to come and visit with you. **Hands back empty water glass**