Disilgold: What can you tell the Disilgold community about yourself that will explain why Disilgold has sought you for a perSOULnalized interview?
Tonya Blount: I am an author, playwright, Talk Show Host, domestic violence advocate and CEO/founder of Leave the Wilderness, a non-profit organization that aids, uplifts and assist battered women and their children.
Disilgold: What is your latest book about?
Tonya Blount: My latest book, The Resurrection of Me will be released in November 2008. It’s a spiritual memoir that picks up where my debut novel, Leaving the Wilderness ended. The release of Leaving the Wilderness and how God transformed my life from being a battered woman that nearly lost her life to having a national ministry uplifting, assisting and empowering battered women and their children and mentoring women to be the best that they can be.
Disilgold: How long did it take you to complete your book?
Tonya Blount: It took nearly 8 months to write. However, I did take breaks from time-to-time.
Disilgold: What were the happiest moments you have experienced while writing your latest book?
Tonya Blount: Wow, there were so many. Just writing this memoir really took me to another place. I have never experienced freedom the way I did writing The Resurrection of Me. I always tell people that Leaving the Wilderness liberated me but writing this memoir allowed me to really take a look at where I had came from--a broken battered woman to a woman that was sharing with the world my soul and how with faith nothing is impossible.
Disilgold: Describe your writing style?
Tonya Blount: I write with a bit of poetic flair… for Resurrection of Me, however, I wrote it as if I was having an intimate conversation with my reader.
Disilgold: How did you develop your writing style?
Tonya Blount: I just began writing. I am a singer, as well and when I perform I dig really deep. I take the same approach with writing…I dig deep into the souls of the characters that I write about. I befriend them. I remember when I had finished writing my third novel, Cha-Ching, I cried for two days after the ending of the book. I had become so connected--spiritually and emotionally to the character, Storm. I was surprised at how sad I was.
Disilgold: Do you have a favorite author of all time or someone who inspired you to achieve your goals as a writer?
Tonya Blount: I have many favorite authors…too many to name.
Disilgold: Where do you see yourself as a writer ten years from now?
Tonya Blount: Uh, at the moment, I believe I will be retired…and sharing my gifts in other ways. However, I pray that my novels and my memoir will touch readers for many years…even after I have made my transition.
Disilgold: What marketing tips can you provide to new authors?
Tonya Blount: I think most new authors are doing this now…sending out e-mail blasts, networking and promoting on myspace.com.
Disilgold: What other projects are you working on?
Tonya Blount: Right now, I am preparing for The Resurrection of Me Domestic Violence Awards & Scholarship Luncheon which will take place on Saturday, November 15, 2008 in Brooklyn, New York. I’m excited about this event. I’m also working on a documentary chronicling the rise of domestic violence survivors. The documentary is entitled, The Resurrection of Me: Domestic Violence Survivors Share Their Stories. I am also preparing for The Resurrection of Me Spiritual Retreat which will take place in the Catskill Mountains in April 2009. As you can see, I am busy and love what I have been called to do--to reach out to women--especially battered women and aid them in restoring, lifting their lives and becoming the 100% whole woman they should be!
Disilgold: What are your top ten favorite books right now?
Tonya Blount: The Measure of A Man by Sydney Poiter, Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner, Eternal Victim, Eternal Victor by Donnie McClurkin, A Woman Scorn’d by Dorothy Goins, Rewriting the Script by Arlether Wilson, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, The Five People you Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, Keep the Faith by Faith Evans
Disilgold:When do you write and for how long?
Tonya Blount: I generally write in the wee hours of the morning until I fall asleep.
Disilgold: Do you have a favorite location for writing?
Tonya Blount: I love to write in my bed with the laptop.
Disilgold: What method did you use to write or organize your book?
Tonya Blount: I always write from the beginning to the end. I can’t write one chapter for the end of the book and go back to the beginning.
Disilgold:What three words best describe your writing style?
Tonya Blount: Emotional, Spiritual, Uplifting.
Disilgold: What other hobbies do you pursue when you aren't writing ?
Tonya Blount: When I have time…and that doesn’t happen very often…I love to crochet, and draw.
Disilgold: Are there any hidden jewels or talents that you possess that many of your readers may not know?
Tonya Blount: Well, I think most people know I sing, but I also play the piano. I used to play when I was child until I started having children. Now that my children are grown, I have the passion again and I having been playing again. I love it!
Disilgold: Where can folks buy your latest book?
Tonya Blount: The Resurrection of Me will be available at most nationwide stores. We are currently working to get the book in all the independent bookstores in the NYC area. I love in Brooklyn so it most definitely has to be available there.
Disilgold: What have been some of your toughest obstacles as a writer?
Tonya Blount: My first two novels were self-published. It was incredibly difficult to get the book into stores. Distribution is another full-time job…which I didn’t enjoy and wasn’t prepared for. I just wanted to write and have folks read my story.
Disilgold: This section of our interview requires brief responses.
The "Get PerSOULnal" Interview
Disilgold: What time do you awake normally every morning?
Tonya Blount: About 5:30.
Disilgold: What is your writing fuel in the morning? Music…and just life. Things happen in our everyday life that inspires our writing.
Disilgold: What early morning rituals have followed for many years?
Tonya Blount: Praying, listening to music, and calling my mother.
Disilgold: What are your favorite foods to snack on while writing?
Tonya Blount: Chocolate, chocolate and a Pepsi. I know, that’s terrible.
Disilgold: Do you watch television or listen to the radio when you're writing, and if so, what do you watch or listen too mostly?
Tonya Blount: I love to listen to music when I am writing. It all depends on what I’m writing. Sometimes, I listen to jazz, R&B…slow jams…. For The Resurrection of Me, I listened to a lot of Rachelle Ferrell (Jazz) and Gospel.
Disilgold: What is your favorite book of all time?
Tonya Blount: Uptown, Downtown. My first grade textbook which introduced me to the wonderful world of writing. With the exception of the Bible, nothing has been able to replace it.
Disilgold: What is your favorite magazine of all time?
Tonya Blount: Essence.
Disilgold: What is your everyday outfit?
Tonya Blount: Pants or skirt suit and high-heeled pumps or boots (I’m always working).
Disilgold: If you could inspire a child, what would you say?
Tonya Blount: You were born with everything you need to succeed in this life. Never minimize your dreams and keep God first.
Disilgold: What is your favorite motto?
Tonya Blount: Re-examine all you have been told…Dismiss what insults your soul. Walt Whitman.
Disilgold: What is your favorite time to put your writing pen down and rest? During the early evening.
Disilgold Have you traveled anywhere besides your hometown and if so, where?
Tonya Blount: The funny thing is, I hate flying…but I love to meet and help people and I have traveled all over the country.
Disilgold Where is your dream vacation?
Tonya Blount: Paris.
Disilgold What do you particularly like about the literary world today?
Tonya Blount: Entrepreneurship. Some people may say there are too many books, too many new authors…I look at it as we are taking advantage of an opportunity that wasn’t available to our parents or grandparents.
Since most new books are being self-published--with every new book that is released, another person has become CEO of their company. There is absolutely nothing negative about power.
Disilgold: If you could leave one word of advice to people in general, what would it be?
Tonya Blount: God.
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