Friday, October 21, 2011

Blog Tour: Spectre of Intention by Tonya Macalino (Giveaway too!)

This virtual book tour is being presented by Bewitching Book Tours.
Please click HERE to see the entire tour schedule.

Welcome to The Wormhole and my day on the tour!
It is my pleasure to feature:
Tonya Macalino!
Tonya Macalino lives in Hillsboro, Oregon with her husband and two children. She is an avid collector of folklore and folk history, far too many to fit comfortably within the pages of any given book. When not working on her latest novel, she runs a handcrafted lotion, cosmetics, and bath company. To read more of the little gems she unearthed during her research, please visit her blog at

? When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I think I was born knowing that. Interestingly enough when I came to that great crossroads in life called high school graduation, I did waver between electrical engineering and creative writing. But I ultimately decided if I went into creative writing, I could learn about anything that interested me—not just circuit boards. Of course, in my teenage wisdom I did not take seriously the fact that circuit boards pay a heck of a lot better!!!

? How many jobs did you have before you became a writer?
Well, having graduated with degrees in Creative Writing, English Literature, Foreign Language, and Philosophy, I was uniquely qualified for quite a number of different occupations. Let’s see, where to start? There was sandwich artist, construction site secretary, English language tutor, English language program director, data entryist, office assistant, manager of events and association member benefits, and then finally owner/operator of a lotion and bath products company.
Remember that comment about circuit boards?

 ? How long does it take you to write a book?
About three months, depending on what life is dishing out at the time. I spend about one month outlining and researching. (I hate big interruptions when I get down to the business of writing, so I try to get all of the noncreative work out of the way before I start.) Then for two months I mentally and physically attach myself to the keyboard, leaving my very frustrated friends and family to hate me. So, naturally, while the manuscript is going through the critiquing/editing process, I spend a lot of time trying to make it up to them!!!

? What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Hmm. I’m not sure it’s a quirk exactly, but given that my forte is interleaving folk history and upcoming technology with action plots, I generally enter a scene with this huge pile of data teetering precariously in my brain and with absolutely no idea how it is all going to come together into a coherent and moving sequence of events.
And when I leave the scene, I really have no idea how I managed to get it all to fit together, but there it is so something must have gone right!

? Do you have a routine that you use to get into the right frame of mind to write?
I do. Although it is about to become a bit of a luxury as my life becomes increasingly mobile. (read: as I become more of a chauffeur for my kids and their activities!) But my most effective writing is done when I can close the door, dim the lights, and put a moody piece of music on continuous loop. It works the magic of instantly shutting off the chatty part of my brain and I can get right into the story and right to work.
Working in the dance studio lobby or at the train station in the snow, not quite as effective!

? Where do you get your ideas or inspiration for your characters?
My main characters are a conglomeration of character traits and physical features that I’ve collected along the way. My secondary characters tend to have their physical features follow their personalities. For my series work, I actually go through magazines and cut out pictures of people who look at least a little like my characters. I paste them into a notebook to help me hold onto their identities a little more clearly. When you work on a project that spans several years, the memory can rewrite your character files in really amazing ways! I find that using pictures helps keep the whole character pinned down a little better.

? How do you decide what you want to write about?
I don’t really “decide” exactly. If I get fixated on an idea or an image, that becomes the next project as long as I’m between pieces. That fixation tendency of mine can’t overcome my finish-what-you’ve started compulsion, though, so I do have a TON of ideas clamoring for their turn on the front burner!

? What books have most influenced your life?
As a kid, my biggest influences were WIZARD OF EARTHSEA, THE DARK IS RISING, and THE BLACK CAULDRON series. Those series (plus a rural upbringing) really laid the foundation for working relentlessly until the job is done, striding forward despite what might seem impossible odds, and holding fast to your ethics and personal integrity regardless of the fact that the other path seems so much easier.
    As an adult, most recently, I’ve had my cage rattled by THE FOUR HOUR WORKWEEK. An enormously misleading title (but brilliant marketing). That book was a good reminder that life is something you live right now and if the corporate hamster wheel isn’t right for you, there are other profitable and successful ways to live—you can walk away.

? What is the first book you remember reading by yourself?
I started reading very young, so I really don’t remember the first book I read by myself. I do remember one of the first books I wrote by myself: THE FIFTY CUDDLY BUNNIES AND THE FOUR CUTE KITTENS. Immediately followed up by THE MYSTERY OF THE DEAD HORSE. Destined for greatness right there!

? What are you reading right now?
SOULLESS by Gail Carriger. Steampunked Victorian era England with vampires and werewolves. It is great. Absolutely hysterical. Also read JUST THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE by Julie James. Ms. James is a former lawyer and screenwriter and she takes what should have been a cliché—Brad Pitt meets Chicago lawyer—and turns it into a smart, funny battle of the wits. Wonderful. THE DIAMOND AGE by Neal Stephenson is up next on my reading pile.

? What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Between the kids, the writing, and Rustling Sage—the small lotion and bath products company I run, I don’t have a lot of time for additional hobbies. I guess you could say that singing at the top of my lungs with Great Big Sea while I cook supper and do the dishes is my “fun” time!

? What is your favorite comfort food?
Heh, well, don’t die of disgust, but I could clean out an entire bag of Guittard chocolate chips over the course of a week. I guess I’m the sort of person who needs a lot of comfort!!!

? What do you think makes a good story?
I’ve always said that if a writer can make me both laugh and cry in the same book, then they’ve made it onto my “I hate you” list. I think it takes true talent to pull off both.

? Who would you consider your favorite author and why?
That changes as time goes by, but right now my favorite author would have to be Charlaine Harris. I love how artfully she has combined the fantasy and mystery genres and how she was brave enough to do it before it was vogue. I love how she teases out the little details about small town life like the social/political warfare involved in potluck parties. And of course, I love how she can make me laugh and cry over characters I’ve come to love well—all in the same book.

? What book, if any, do you read over and over again?
I’m not much of one for rereading books, but if I am suffering from a terrible case of cabin fever or homesickness, then I often will drift back to any of Nora Roberts’ Ireland series for a little sip of tight-knit community and the powerful kick of loyalty between friends and family I can always find there.

Fun random questions: 
  • Dogs or cats?
Cats. If a cat bites you, it is painful and annoying. If a dog bites you, you’ve got a problem.
  • Coffee or tea?
Tea. Herbal. I eat too much chocolate to be messing around with other forms of caffeine!
  • Dark or milk chocolate?
Blasphemy! Although sometimes I pay for my indiscriminate piety with a good cracking migraine!
  • Rocks or flowers?
Both. I grew up with folks who were both inveterate rock hounds as well as intrepid gardeners which definitely left me with an appreciation for both the bones of the earth as well as her bounty.
  • Night or day?
Night. I love the silver shine of the moon and the stars, the stories of the constellations, the natural peace of the dark.
  • Favorite color?
Black. It really makes all the other colors pop. And it doesn’t make me look like I’m auditioning for an upcoming zombie movie like some other colors I know!
  • Crayons or markers?
Colored pencils. Hate the waxy crumbs from crayons. Hate the oversaturation of markers.
  • Pens or pencils?
Pens. Love the smooth glide across the paper. Unless I’m critiquing, then it’s pencils—sometimes a girls changes her attitude a couple paragraphs later and needs that eraser to save face!

Thanks so much for having me over! If you have questions or comments after the tour is over, I can also be reached on my Facebook page at or via my website at Be sure to drop on by!

2 prize packs are being given away to 2 lucky winners Open to US and Canada Shipping Only Please.  
The Space Elevator Gift Pak includes:
Liftport Retro Print
Clarke City Retro Print
LIFTPORT: OPENING SPACE TO EVERYONE - an anthology of science fiction short stories and technical articles on space elevator technology.  Liftport products Courtesy of Liftport Group.

The Spa Gift Pak includes:
Chamomile Soap
Rose Lip Dew Wand
Cornflower Petals in Honeyed Oats Bath Bomb
Rouge of Last Light Shimmer Bar
Grapefruit Sea Breeze Bath Salts
Spa products courtesy of Rustling Sage
To enter please fill out the form!

Thanks for stopping by The Wormhole!
Happy Reading!