Mama Diaries

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Guest Author, Tonja Drecker



Today, special guest, Tonja Drecker is here to tell us about her soon-to-be-released book, Music Boxes. 

How did you get the idea to use ballerinas in your book? Were you ever a dancer?


The idea came to me while I was weeding my garden—nasty blackberries with vicious thorns. An image of a ballet teacher staring over her shelves of music boxes with an evil grin settled in and wouldn’t leave. I have no idea what it had to do with the weeds, but I loved the image and built on it from there.

I never had the chance to learn how to dance, which is too bad since I’ve always enjoyed watching ballet. However, music was always a large part of my life as a pianist, organist and choir director. My daughter is the dancer. She started ballet when she was four, and then switched to hip-hop when she was about twelve. From there, she was discovered by a private trainer and competed all the way up to the German nationals. She kept us on our toes for many years.

It's funny how ideas happen. You must've had ballet on your mind from your daughter's years of dancing. Sounds like she's a talented dancer! 


Who is your favorite character in the book and why?

I adore several of the characters, which probably isn’t surprising. If I had to pick a favorite, it might be Ms. Mulberry. She makes her grumpy appearance on the first page but proves that first impressions aren’t always correct. She’s such a spunky, quirky lady who packs a ton of secrets and surprises. I’d love to have a neighbor just like her.

She sounds fun!


Who or what inspired you to be a writer?

I’m not sure anyone or anything really inspired me to write. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and assume the love for stories came from there. The moment I learned how to spell, I wrote my first ‘book’, which was an entire three pages long and colorfully illustrated in crayon. Of course, my parents read picture books to me every now and then, but it wasn’t something they did regularly. I wrote stories on and off all the way through college and had a couple things published in the school’s poetry/story collections, but I never considered becoming a writer. The idea of allowing others to read my stories came after my first two children were born. We stayed in Ireland for several months while my husband headed a project in Dublin. The house we rented had shelves of romance novels. While the kids took their afternoon naps, I didn’t have anything to do. So, I flipped through those books. And then, it hit me—people wrote books. It might seem like a silly realization, but it was the first time I thought about it. And that’s where my writing began.

A vivid imagination and a love of books are definite musts for a writer! 


When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?

When reading this question, I have the urge to flip it around because writing is probably the thing, which I spend the least amount of time doing (am I allowed to say that?). I run a small farm with cattle and chickens, and still have my youngest two children at home. Keeping everything up, going and repaired—it’s amazing how often things break on a farm—along with the usual household chores and running after the kids (and husband), fills most of my day. I also have a children’s book review site, which takes time too. The writing floats in between. I do love to hike, travel, bake, garden, and canoe too.

Sounds like you are super-busy. With that much going on it's a wonder you have any time to write! 


Are you working on anything else?

Currently, I’m working on two manuscripts. One is a joint project with another writer, a fantasy packed with magic, intrigue, adventure and action, which runs a bit on the darker side of things. It’s aimed at the young adult audience and will hopefully be ready to send off this coming Fall.

The second manuscript is aimed toward the middle grade audience again. This one is a mystery and adds a good dose of humor. The cases are inspired by real life crimes but more quirky ones. The entire thing is very STEM centered and keeps curiosity, experimentation, and fun as the primary agenda.

Teachers will like the STEM aspect of the middle grade book. It'll help get you in to do author visits!


Where can readers find your book?


Thanks for stopping by! 
Here's more information about Tonja's book:


Music Boxes
By Tonja Drecker
Middle Grade Fantasy / Performing Arts
158 pages
Dancing Lemur Press
Ages 9 to 12

·         ISBN-10: 1939844568
·         ISBN-13: 978-1939844569


Book Blurb:
“I only desire your talent...”


Twelve-year-old Lindsey McKay's biggest dream is to be a famous ballerina. But after moving to New York, she ends up at the Community Center with a teacher who’s a burly bear in tights.
When she meets Madame Destinée, the teacher of a top dance school who offers her classes for free, Lindsey can't believe her luck. In exchange, she must perform in the school’s exclusive midnight shows, ones sure to make her a star. But something’s not right...
One by one, the other dancers disappear. Each time they do, a music box with a figurine just like the missing ballerina joins Madame Destinée’s growing collection. If Lindsey doesn’t discover the truth about the dance school, she might end up a tiny figurine herself.


Sale Links:


Author Biography:
Tonja Drecker is a writer, blogger, children’s book reviewer and freelance translator. After spending years in Germany exploring forgotten castles, she currently resides in the Ozarks with her family of six. When she’s not tending her chickens and cows, she’s discovering new adventures, nibbling chocolate and sipping a cup of tea.

Links:




Early Order/Pre-order Special
Pre-order/order your book (ecopy or print) before midnight (EST) on Friday night, March 8th, send a copy of your proof of purchase to  tonjadrecker@gmail.com along with an US mailing address, and you will receive an envelope with exclusive swag (bookmark, sticker, etc).

Giveaway
The giveaway will run from midnight (EST) on the night of February 21st, 2019 until midnight (EST) on the night of March 15th,  2019. Entries will be made through the Rafflecopter. One winner will receive a music box ( the one found in the book video: https://youtu.be/ww_RY4IVg3w ) with the author’s golden signature on the bottom as well as swag (US addresses only). The second winner will receive an Amazon GC of $10 (US). The second winner must be in possession of a qualifying US Amazon account.



And it's that time of month for the IWSG post. Since I won't be back on Wednesday, I'm doing this today. The question is, "Whose point of view do you write from–the hero or villain, and why?"

 I'd have to say I've always written from the hero's point of view, for no good reason other than that's what I do. This question has made me think, though. It might be fun to look at some of the things I've written from the villain's point of view. It's certainly a great way to get to know your bad guy! 

48 comments:

  1. Fantastic interview! Music Boxes has such an intriguing premise, and I love the sound of the Ms. Mulberry character. Congrats, Tonja!

    And ooh, love this month's question for IWSG. Looking at things from a villain's POV is always heaps of fun, so you should definitely give that a go, Sherry!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ms. Mulberry does sound like a really cool character!

      Delete
  2. People write books! Her revelation made me chuckle. Congratulations, Tonja.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks, Sherry, for having me. Writing from a villain's POV could be fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're very welcome. I wish you all the best with your book!

      Delete
  4. I didn't know you stayed in Dublin.

    Thank you for hosting Tonja during her book release week.

    ReplyDelete
  5. congrats to Tonja on her upcoming book!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wonderful interview Sherry, this book brought back memories of my estranged daughter who, as a youngster loved to dance, ballet, tap, modern but her real love was disco dancing. Thanks for the memories.
    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet lots of young dancers will enjoy this book.

      Delete
  7. Congrats to Tonja for what sounds like a fantastic children's book. It sounds like something I would've LOVED as a kid. (Hmmm, well I do have a few grandchildren who are still in that age bracket...)

    Great interview, ladies!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi, Sherry & Tonja!

    It's a pleasure to meet you, Tonja, and to learn about your latest completed project Music Boxes. Few objects hold as much magic and mystery as a music box. You must have a vivid imagination indeed if, in the midst of gardening, your mind produced an image of a ballet teacher with an evil grin admiring her collection of music boxes. The plot of your book reminds me of the 1958 science-fiction horror movie Attack of the Puppet People in which a doll manufacturer invents a machine that shrinks people down to one sixth their normal size and places them in suspended animation. The toy maker turned mad scientist places his victims under glass and displays them as dolls. I am sure young readers will find Music Boxes captivating. Best of luck with it and all your future endeavors!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your great comments as always, Tom!

      Delete
  10. Very nice interview, Sherry and Tonja. It's always fun to find out more about authors and their books. As mentioned before, I loved Tonja's " Music Boxes"story and wrote a review for it. Best wishes to both Sherry and Tonja.

    ReplyDelete
  11. haha yep, people write books. At least until Skynet takes over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know about Skynet. Sounds like an evil villain. :)

      Delete
  12. Enjoyed the interview and the book sounds like a fun read. Congrats to Tonja.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I recall Stephen King saying most stories came to him as a picture: someone was doing something enigmatic and he had to find out who the person was and why. The weeding bringing about a ballet teacher staring at a music box-- how interesting is a writer's mind... Best to Tonja Drecker and her intriguing book.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Writers' minds are very interesting!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I need a dancing gif for this comment! I'm so stinking excited for Tonja. She's a sweetheart and such a hard worker; super talented, too. Happy Book Birthday, girl!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, she's been working super-hard. I hope her book does really well!

      Delete
  16. Wonderful interview. Congrats to Tonja! Ms. Mulberry is a good choice. I wonder about her history!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have the book. Now I need to find the time to read it!

      Delete
  17. Tonja's a busy gal. Congrats on doing all you do and doing it so well.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Congrats to Tonja! A great interview! Big Hugs Sherry!

    ReplyDelete
  19. thank you for well written interview.
    have a great day

    ReplyDelete
  20. Congratulations to Tonja! Thank you for the interview!

    ReplyDelete
  21. This sounds like a good read. Congratulations Tonja!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the mystery element. Definitely a good read!

      Delete
  22. So excited to see Tonja here. I loved Music Boxes! Such an intriguing story. I think it is so cool that Tonja lives on a farm- but I can imagine it is a ton of work. Best of luck to her!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't imagine taking care of a farm. That's definitely a lot of work!

      Delete
  23. Great interview, sounds like a cool story :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. "I'm allowed to write for three days", satta king by the next afternoon I'm chomping at the bit to get back to it.play bazaar

    ReplyDelete