Saturday, February 16, 2019

Author Interview with Tonja Drecker

The DMS was lucky enough to interview Tonja Drecker. Lizzy recently reviewed Music Boxes and it was great to share our thoughts about it and hear yours. We are excited to learn a little bit more about the story behind her awesome stories. So, without further ado... take it away, Tonja!


Read our review of the book


What inspired you to write Music Boxes?

Honestly, I wish I knew. I was out in the garden pulling weeds…blackberries with nasty thorns…and the thought of a ballet teacher with rows of creepy music boxes danced through my mind and stuck with me. Since I drove the kids to three different schools at that time, I’d use the opportunity to tell them stories during the drive. That’s when the idea blossomed into an entire plot.


How long did it take you to write Music Boxes?

Once I sat down and typed it into my computer, the first draft was done in about four weeks. But I’d already worked the story out in my head by then thanks to those hours in the car. The first draft was by no means the story it is today. It went through dozens of edits and had a long, rocky road before it became the story it is now.  From idea to published book, it’s taken five to six years.


What is your writing process like? Do you listen to music? Write in a special place? Edit as you go or write and then edit?

My writing process is a bit like the rest of my life—go with the flow. When I wake up in the morning, I’m never sure what the day will bring. So, I snatch writing time where and how I can get it. I never listen to music—silence is golden and something I treasure. I do have a writing office but rarely see it and tend to write at the dining room table or…thanks to a Christmas gift…at a standing, portable desk in front of the fireplace during the winter. I tend to get chilly fast.


As to editing while writing, I have the world’s most vicious inner-editing monster. I do edit while writing the first draft and find it very hard to continue to a new scene. I also believe it’s better to fix problems immediately when I notice them and not wait until the story is done. It makes for a very long writing process, though.


What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein was and is one of my favorites. I loved The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Clearly. In the fifth grade, I decided I was too old for children’s books (a silly, odd rebellion thing bookworm style). My father took us to the library every Saturday, and I insisted it was time I graduated to the adult section (I remember how amazing it felt to step into that part of the library!) The first book I grabbed was Dune by Frank Herbert, and I fell in love with that story.


If you could live during any time period in history, when would it be? Why?

I wouldn’t want to live during any other time period but visiting one would be nice. During a camping trip to Italy, we discovered the Etruscan pathways near Pitigliano (Via Cava)—hundreds of miles of twisting paths hand-carved into the rock. Some are 50 feet deep and miles long. Creating them was a monumental task, and it’s a mystery as to why they were made. Today, a parade of torches marches through a section of them once a year. It’s mystical as well as spellbinding. I’d love to have the chance to learn why so much effort was put into these paths. It’s simply something I’ve always wondered about.

If you could befriend a character from your book, who would you befriend? Why?

Bridget, Lindsey’s little sister. She’s a violin prodigy. Lindsey is jealous of her and everyone thinks Bridget’s entrance into Julliard is the best thing that could ever happen to her, but if the reader pays attention, they’ll notice that Bridget isn’t always as excited as they are about her situation. She’s a sweet, little girl with a big heart and is up against more than she might be ready to handle. She’s a little afraid of it. The parents don’t see this. Nor does Lindsey. Still, Bridget sucks it in and goes at it with the best attitude she can. It’d be a treat to be her friend.




Is there anything you’ve learned along your path to publication that you would like to share with new writers?

Editing is where the real magic happens, and don’t give up. Writing is not an easy path, and there isn’t a secret formula to make dreams come true. Personally, I’m still searching for that magical jar of pixie dust.

Where can we purchase your book?

Music Boxes is available as of March 5th, 2019 on the usual internet sites: Amazon, B&N & more. Visit the author's blog to learn more.

50 comments:

  1. Great to learn more about Tonja. That Etruscan pathway sounds fascinating. Good luck to Tonja with her new book! Have a great weekend, hugs, Valerie

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    1. Valerie- After reading about the Etruscan pathway I had to look it up and it looks amazing. So glad Tonja mentioned it and helped me learn something new. :)

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    2. Valerie - Thanks so much! And there are so many hidden gems in the world people know little about.

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  2. Editing as one goes sure can make it longer, but then less needed to be done, hopefully, when going to edit completely over and over again.

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    1. Pat- It does take long to get the writing done, but I imagine there is less editing later. :)

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    2. LOl! I'd like to think there's less editing later but considering how many rounds of editing happen before publishing, I can't be sure.

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  3. Came to you while pulling weeds. Not sure I'm that desperate for ideas!
    The Mouse and the Motorcycle was my favorite book as a kid.

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    1. Alex- I loved The Mouse and the Motorcycle too! I guess we never know when ideas will come to us. :)

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    2. Alex - If only the ideas always came while pulling weeds, I'd be out there every day. :)

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  4. Great interview. Makes one appreciate the weeds they have to pull if it inspires such great idea for a book!

    betty

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    1. Betty- Totally! Who knows what chore may cause us to be inspired. :)

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    2. Ones without thorns would be nice, though.

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  5. Pulling weeds can be a remarkably contemplative and therapeutic place for my mind. And silence IS golden.
    Congratulations to Tonja, and thank you both for an excellent interview.

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    1. EC- Glad you enjoyed the interview with Tonja. You're right- quiet contemplative work like weeding really give us time to think. :)

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    2. You're so right-it is therapeutic!

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  6. I doesn't matter where the ideas come to you as long as they do.

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  7. this is a great interview ! Congrats to Tonja and thanks for all

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  8. Interesting interview. When you find that magic jar of pixie dust, please let me know. Congratulations on a lovely book.

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    1. Beverly- I would like that magic jar of pixie dust, too. :)

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    2. If I find the jar, it better be big because I'd be willing to share with many of you.

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  9. Thank you for interviewing Tonja. I'd love to have a standing writing desk.

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    1. L. Diane Wolfe- I have a standing up drawing desk that I made and I love it. So glad we could interview Tonja. :) ~Jess

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  10. Great interview! I cannot imagine achieving so much behind the wheel of a car. Happy Writing!

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    1. Whatever kept the kids happy (that was the real goal) :)

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  11. Lovely interview! I always enjoy learning about other's process :)

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    1. Thanks! And it is interesting how it works differently for everyone.

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  12. Thank you so much for allowing me to appear here! It was a lot of fun :)

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    1. Tonja- We are so happy you had fun, and we loved sharing Music Boxes and the story behind the story with our readers. Thanks for being a part of our blog over the last two weeks. Wishing you the best of luck! :)
      ~Jess and Stephanie

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  13. Please let me know if you find the Pixie Dust:) Wishing you much success.

    Hello, Jess and Steph.

    Jess, enjoy your extended weekend:)

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    1. Sandra- I want the Pixie Dust too. :) Thanks for stopping in and I hope you had a great weekend too.

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  14. Hello and best of luck to Tonja! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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    1. The Armchair Squid- We wish Tonja the best of luck too! :)

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  15. Loved reading this post. Tonja you do so much like I do when I write. I write whenever and wherever and I also edit as I go. And the MG I am working on now has been in the works for about 10 years.And I think I am finally getting it right. Congratulations and good luck with Music Boxes.

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    1. Janet- I could relate to Tonja too. Writing takes much longer for me than it does for many writers. Thanks for stopping in. :)

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  16. Congrats, Tonya! I love that this story started out by being told to your kids. That's how the best kids' stories should start.

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    1. Nick- Isn't it amazing how the story got started! :)

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  17. Such a wonderful reminder on the importance of reading and telling stories to kids when they're young. I'll bet there's some more insider info on that camping trip to Italy, and I imagine that trip was quite fascinating. Dune was a great book, and the movie was good too. Congratulations Tonya on what looks to be a lovely read with Music Boxes! Hey there Jess and Steph! Hugs...RO

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    1. RO- Reading and telling stories to kids is so important. I agree- I would love to hear more about the Italy trip. Haven't seen the movie Dune- but I'll have to check it out. Thanks for visiting. :)

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  18. Great interview! You're right about publishing being a long process. It took ten years for me to see Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China published. Can't wait to read your book!

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    1. Sherry- Publishing definitely takes a long time! Thanks for stopping in. :)

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  19. Enjoyed the interview :)

    All the best Jan

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  20. Pulling weeds! LOL! Don't look in my backyard! I let them have their way! LOL! Great interview!!

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    1. Magic Love Crow- You are funny! Glad you enjoyed the interview. :)

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  21. Hi DMS and Tonja - drafting stories while driving the kids to school - could a tip to pass on to all inspiring authors before they leave school or uni - so they can get started straight away ... love the idea of the unhelpful music boxes - great idea - cheers Hilary

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  22. Hilary- I love that tip too! :)

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