Toby Neal Drops by the Beach for an Interview!

This weekend we welcome a true Beach Girl to the Beach, Ms. Toby Neal. We asked BESTSELLING CRIME and mystery author, Toby, a few questions about her writing process and she even threw in some advice for new authors!
As well as her hugely successful Lei Crime Series (It has its own Kindle World!!) Toby is releasing a romance line this fall and we're excited to read. As a Hawaii resident and someone who grew up in the islands, who better to write about love surrounded by beaches and palm trees? And one of them is free right this weekend! Read on...

You are an extremely successful Mystery/Suspense/Police Procedural Author with your Lei Crime Series. Why write a romance series?
Well, as time went on I found writing the romantic scenes within my mysteries became the thing I looked forward to most in writing the books, so to corral that a little I decided to write a separate line of romance. That way, I could put all that "gooshy stuff" readers had begun to notice cropping up all around the murder investigations in one place where it was expected! 
Each of my romances are very different from each other, but they are united as a "take me away" immersive emotional experience to exotic locales with character-driven plots and fabulous lovers. Somewhere on Maui was inspired by friends and clients I knew from my home on Maui who were trying internet dating. It has a fun "accidental matchmaker" situation that could easily happen, and It's FREE from 9/4 to 9/8, so I hope you'll grab a copy and get away to Hawaii for one of the last weekends of the summer!
With 4.7 stars on 91 reviews, Somewhere on Maui is a steal for free!

Plotter or Pantser?
 As a mystery writer, you have to plot. There are clues, and subplots, and red herrings. It’s a lot of organizing. And then, there’s the research. Half the time I’m writing about something I’ve never heard of before, so there are experts to consult, and Google searches on things like bomb deactivation, arson, and the best blade to dismember a body with.
Not so these stories. I’m a “plotter” going “pantsing” and the freedom and fun are dizzying! I start with the female character. I see her clearly, and her wounds and hopes. I develop her on the page. And then, dear reader, her love appears, and he’s just absolutely right for her. I’m bedazzled by him too. And then complicated stuff begins happening that I never planned or imagined.
It’s kind of like being a magical bartender. I decide on a main liquor, and turn on the blender, and suddenly ingredients start hopping in, and the drink takes on a life of its own as the story emerges. Organic. Emotional. Mystical, almost. 

Do characters from your other series flow into this new one?
Not at this time, but it's a great, fun idea!

How long does it take you to write a book, from conception to publishing?
 I shoot for 65,000 words and 2,000 words a day, so it's conceivable I can get a book done in a month. The romances I can! Mysteries always take longer due to the planning, organizing, experts, etc. Another reason I love writing romance!

Advice for new authors wanting to self-publish?
I wrote a detailed blog post on this, so I'd just prefer to direct folks to that, there's no short answer!
That said, here are some additional nuggets that may not be in there: 

  • Focus on writing a great book, and then two more. Don't try to promote yourself if you're self pubbing until you have at least three books. Then the discounting and other strategies and can work to get you attention.
  • Write a series. Can be any genre, but series do a heck of a lot better at hooking readers than standalones.
  • Download my free author platform building book from my website if you want more.

Find Toby Neal by heading over to her free book on Amazon:

Somewhere on Maui 
FREE September 4-8

Sometimes only an accidental matchmaker can make lighting strike the people who need it most.

Zoe moves to Maui to live her dream of being an independent journalist walking the beaches of paradise every day—but she never expected to be doing it with just her dog Sylvester. Divorced and heartbroken, and she ends up in therapy. 
Adam’s born and bred on Maui, a true “local” who surfs to stay in shape and deal with his many sources of stress: care of his mother, a busy contracting business, and a custody fight for his beloved stepkids. A workplace confrontation sends him to anger management counseling. 
Adam and Zoe happen to share a therapist who gives them the same advice: try Internet dating. And though their Crazy Blind Date match-up ignites sparks neither have felt since high school, finding love is complicated. Can Adam and Zoe find a way to live a deeper dream on Maui? 
"Heartfelt, rich, inspiring—Neal’s fans will instantly fall in love with the charming cast of Somewhere on Maui." --Christine Nolfi, author of Treasure Me

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