Interview with author, Tonya Penrose

I’m super thrilled to welcome multi-published author, Tonya Penrose, to The Writing Jungle. Tonya’s newest release, Venetian Rhapsoday, a contemporary romance with a dash of fantasy, releases May 24th.

At what point in your life did you realize the writing bug had grabbed a hold of you? And which writers influenced you?

I’ve always had the call to hold a quill. I wrote my first book when I was six or seven. I fashioned it out of construction paper, complete with illustrations. Judging by my parent’s questions, I knew I’d better stick with words.

Mostly, I gravitate toward authors who write to inspire us to evolve and become a better version of ourselves. Eckhard Tolle is who I’d pick for today. I promise you that tomorrow it will be someone else. The other day I was all a flutter about how Rex Stout wrote such snappy dialogue. Agatha for her exquisite weaving. Austen for her ability to create clean, steamy romance. And science fiction writers for seeing into the future.

Besides writing, what else do you enjoy doing?

I love to escape and hike a mountain trail. I’ve never met a waterfall I didn’t love. 

I seek out labyrinths to walk. I always have amazing experiences inside them.

I’m forever on the hunt for the best frozen coffee drink. It’s proven quite the undertaking. I named my new chocolate point exotic shorthair kitten, Frappuccino to honor my odyssey.

What types of films and music do you enjoy?

I’m eclectic with music and film. I crave variety. On any given day I’m listening to rock, classical, light jazz, and ambient music when writing. With films, I might choose mystery, rom/com, classics, action, drama, but what I gravitate most to are British productions. It’s all based on my mood and a whim might get me into a fantasy.

Do you have a specific writing ritual (like listening to music) and/or schedule you stick with?

I’m definitely a Panster with a twist. My writing routine is atypical. I sit in my writing chair, gazing at a lake and the story comes in. It’s like I take dictation. I never know where the characters are taking me. They keep me engaged, which is good because I get bored with the speed of light. I’d probably not show up in my chair if I knew the story’s ending.

What inspired you to write your newest book, Venetian Rhapsody.

Venetian Rhapsody came to me in the most intriguing and highly emotionally charged way. It’s become much more than a book. It’s an initiative.

I’m super jazzed to share the genesis for the story. I was listening to a song by David Bazo, who’s an award-winning Composer/Producer/Performer, from Madrid. The song transported me to Venice, and I saw a young couple having an encounter. In that moment, the idea for Venetian Rhapsody, came calling and launched my gondola. Set in the City of Love, it’s a rom/com/timeslip with a few twists.

One twist I will give away. I’ve written into Eduardo and Sofia’s romantic encounters scenes where they’re listening/dancing to music.

I’m thrilled and honored that David Bazo is composing a companion album to release with the book. Find the album’s details on his website at: David BazoSitio Oficial | Autor, Intérprete & Productor

A reader can escape and follow the story into those special moments. David’s music is like no other. You’ll see.

Oh, if any producers/filmmakers are reading this, please give a squint at Venetian Rhapsody. Sofia and Eduardo would love to have their story on a screen. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

From all the characters you’ve written, which one is your favorite and why?

My characters are like children. I shouldn’t have a favorite. However, I need to give credit to Old Mountain Cassie. She gifted me with the secrets to take on my writing journey. My writing life and personal life changed after writing that book. I owe that mountain woman. 😊 My readers or seekers, as Cassie calls them, are waiting patiently for more of her secrets to how to live life amazing. So am I.

Do you allow your characters to dictate their paths or do you plot out everything?

My characters totally call the shots. I wouldn’t dare presume to know what they want to say or do. I learned early on to be the silent observer in each scene and write what they say. We all get along splendidly now that I know my place.

Does research play a big part in your writing schedule?

Usually no but when writing Venetian Rhapsody, I did rely on research to fill the gaps about Venice and Andalusia, Spain. Thankfully, I had an advantage with David Bazo giving me the proper Italian and Castellano words to use. He provided dashes of Venice’s and Granada’s local color which I enjoyed weaving into Eduardo and Sofia’s scenes. My wish is for the reader is to experience being where they are on each page, and maybe learn something about these fascinating and historical locales.

Are there any other works in progress that you’d like to hint about?

My agent has tasked me with writing a new humor laden cozy series about a real estate broker. I’ve sent the rough draft of A Shocking Murder to my daughter for editing. We’ll see if Lemon Barrington has a future. She’s more credentialed than a real estate agent. Yep, and I’m not telling.  I had fun getting to know her and the characters of Misty River. I look forward to spending more time with them and watching Lemon attract more mayhem.

What wise words of wisdom would you give up-and-coming new writers?

I would say honor your path and the stories that are given to you to write. To answer the call to create and paint a story with words is a gift to cherish. I don’t believe there’s one template to apply to how to write. Each author has a unique style and voice. I would invite a new writer to be devoted to their writing chair. Most of all, leave the inner editor and critic out of your writing day until you type The End.

Thank you, Tonya, for spending time with us today. And congratulations on your collaboration with David Bazo. What an ingenious idea to have a novelist and a composer join forces to offer a deeper connection to characters in Venetian Rhapsody.

For more information on Tonya Penrose’s newest release, please visit: