Toni Shiloh excels in writing inspirational contemporary romances that make us believe that those happy endings really happen! Oh, there may be hurts and misunderstandings but there are always shining moments of forgiveness and redemption. The heroines are spunky, the heroes are hunky, and there are often sweet children and adorable pets. Shiloh has truly found the winning formula, and her latest book is the perfect example. Winning His Trust released February 21st.
I've served on several of Toni Shiloh's recent launch teams and they have truly been a pleasure. She's graciously agreed to answer some questions so that others can get to know her better!
Good morning, Toni, I'm so glad that you're here to chat this morning but first, please let me congratulate you! It's just been announced that two of your books are finalists for the Selah Award, the industry-wide contest designed to honor the best in Christian publishing from the previous year. I've read both of them and I completely understand their nominations. An Unlikely Alliance and Her Christmas Redemption are both wonderful and I hope that you can soon add Selah Award Winner to their titles!
Now, let's chat!
1. Toni, have you always enjoyed reading, or is this a recently acquired taste?
My love of reading dates back to childhood. You could find me with my nose stuck in a book, heading to the library, or returning with a stack of books.
Same here, Toni! I even remember reading the back of the cereal box as I ate breakfast. As my skills grew, I read everything that was available in the school library and I was in Heaven when our county finally had its own library!
2. When did you know that you wanted to write?
I didn’t know until after my military days when I went back to get my bachelor’s degree. I’d dabbled here and there in previous years but never made a diehard commitment to write until I took creative writing in college.
3. Many of your books are contemporary romances. How did you choose this genre? Any plans to branch out into other genres?
I think the genre kind of chose me. It was what came out when I first started to write. My stories were always in a contemporary setting. As for romance, I love love and it made the most sense. One day, I’d like to branch out to other genres but still maintain romance thread.
4. Please give us a glimpse of a typical writing day for Toni Shiloh.
Most of my days are pretty routine. I do admin (non-writing) stuff in the morning. As soon as I get through my to-do list, I open my current manuscript. Whether it’s one that’s a first draft that I’m hoping to finish or one that needs to be edited or revised. Sometimes I can have one book in the first draft process and another in the editing process and work on both or only one, depending on the amount of time I have that day.
5. I often see the terms plotter and pantser. Do you begin by plotting your book and following your outline, or do you start and allow your thoughts to flow from there?
I’m definitely a pantser. I don’t plot because it gives me hives. ;) However, I do figure out who my characters are and their backstory before letting them takeover the process.
Well, you've definitely found your winning formula! Don't change a thing!!
6. Your newest book, Winning His Trust, takes readers back to Willow Springs, a fictional small town in Arkansas, and two recent books were set in the fictional African county of Ọlọrọ Ilé. How do you choose your settings, and how much time do you devote to researching your choice?
I choose based off what I think the book needs in relation to the story idea I have. With Willow Springs, I know I wanted it to be somewhere beautiful. I pulled up a map and started doing so searches before settling on Arkansas. Then I researched the different areas before settling on Buffalo River/Ozark area. With my fictional African country, I had to see which countries in Africa had a monarch, where they were located, how colonization affected them, etc. From there, I picked a location and crafted the story.
Wow, definitely a lot of research but it certainly adds to your stories! That's one reason I enjoy them so much---I get to travel in my armchair.
7. I'm always inspired by your stories. What do you hope that readers will take away from your books?
I hope they see the goodness of God through every trial and every blessing. It can be so hard to get trapped by what we see but God shows us His way, His view. That’s what I hope readers see when they’re done reading one of my books.
8. What's your next project, or should I say projects?
Lol, projects is probably more apt. I’m currently working on writing book two in my upcoming Love in the Spotlight series. I also have a release coming in April, Royal anthology which features a short novella set in Ọlọrọ Ilé.
Do you have any other thoughts that you'd like to share with all of us?
I don’t. Thank you so much for having me.
You're very welcome and thanks again for chatting with me today. Working with you is always a pleasure and I look forward to what's ahead in 2023!
Check out my reviews of some of the above-mentioned books!