Toneye’s one of the nicest Aussies I’ve met in the publishing industry, hitting it off in Facebook groups and eventually working with him in JEA. While his typing is different from most writers, he started early to establish his style.
So, without further ado, I present to you Toneye Eyenot, writer and editor of JEA.
Hi Toneye, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
TONEYE: Hails n howls! If we are to talk about my writing, my background extends back to the late ‘80’s – ’88 to be precise. This was before eye began to write, but is where my influence began. Eye was 18 and had just helped to form my first band, Nomenclature Diablerie. It was my guitarist who came up with the name, roughly translated as ‘Baptised in Sorcery’. He was the chief music and lyric writer and it was these lyrics which inspired me to begin writing my own, soon after the band broke up sometime in ’89. Wrote my first song in 1990 called Thou Art Named A Witch. Eye had planned to form another band, but that didn’t eventuate, so eye continued to write lyrics for a few more years then stopped for quite some time. In 2001, eye met a bloke in the Blue Mountains where eye have been living for the past 21 years or so, who happened to have a copy of the 2 song demo Nomenclature Diablerie recorded in ’88. He was in the process of reviving his old band from the mid ‘90’s called Chaotic Impurity and asked me if eye wanted to join as vokiller. That’s when my lyric writing resumed with a vengeance and eye went on to pen many more over the next decade. It was some of these lyrics which opened the door for me to the world of indie horror writing. Eye submitted some of my lyrics as poetry in 2014 to J Ellington Ashton Press for the first Rejected For Content anthology. At that point, eye had just completed the 3 year journey of writing my first novella, The Scarlett Curse (yeah, 3 years! Eye know, right? Haha)
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
TONEYE: To earn enough from my books to make a modest living out of writing.
Which writers inspire you?
TONEYE: Writers who never give up, despite the odds, inspire me. Also, writers who support other writers instead of trying to compete or tear others down for whatever reasons. So, basically, about 99% of the writers who eye have come across in the indie publishing world are very inspirational to me.
So, what have you written? What genre do you typically write? What genres are your books?
TONEYE: In terms of books, eye am onto the third in a Dark Fantasy/Horror series called The Sacred Blade of Profanity series. The first 2, a novella, The Scarlett Curse, and a short novel, Joshua’s Folly have been released through J. Ellington Ashton Press. A novella called Blood Moon Big Top-a Werewolf/Clown Horror-just released with JEA. Then there’s a stack of short stories, flash fiction and poetry, too numerous to mention, scattered through several anthologies. My biggest preference is to write Horror and that’s what you will find in pretty much all of my short stories.
Where can we buy or see them?
TONEYE: You can find all of my published work on my Amazon page, due very soon for an update, as there are a handful of anthologies containing several more short stories, which are due for release, both imminently and over the coming moons.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
TONEYE: The main character which The Sacred Blade of Profanity series revolves around is Scarlett. She is nearing 300 years old and is the bearer of The Sacred Blade Of Profanity, a cursed dagger which keeps its host immune to the ravages of linear time and allows the host to travel unhindered through both Time and Space.
Give us a summary of what your book is about.
TONEYE: This is the blurb from book 1 which gives you the basic introductory rundown on the story:
Scarlett, bearer of The Sacred Blade of Profanity for nigh on three hundred years, untouched by linear time, unhindered by the confines of space, nevertheless has grown weary. The ancient dagger, crafted in sorcery over eight thousand years ago, requires the blood of the profane to sustain its power. Scarlett has killed scores over the centuries and will continue for as long as she possesses The Blade.
Her chance meeting with young Dera, an 11 year old mute from the outskirts of town, throws both of their worlds into chaos, as Scarlett returns to the busy town of Mills Wall, to complete a failed attempt on her most elusive target to date. Could this child be the downfall of Scarlett? The demise of The Sacred Blade of Profanity? Dark and troubled times are all that is foreseeable for both Scarlett and the mysterious little girl. Indeed for all of Mills Wall.
If you had to choose a favorite character that you’ve written, who would it be and why?
TONEYE: The above mentioned 11 year old mute girl, Dera Harke. She’s my little warrior, but she doesn’t know it yet. Of all the characters in all of my stories, eye have put this poor child through the most grueling of trials and obstacles. Eye am grooming her for a fantastic showdown with the insidious Blade in what’s to come of the series. At this point, she is only just beginning to realise her true purpose, but at the same time, she has no idea of what lies ahead for her.
What are you working on right now?
TONEYE: Several stories and projects are in the works right now. Eye have my series above, as well as many short stories being written for upcoming anthos. Also editing books for JEA between all that. The project eye am most excited about is my anthology editing debut, Full Moon Slaughter, which just released through JEA. The theme is werewolves and lycanthropy, and eye have been very fortunate to amass a huge list of incredible authors for this! Our feature authors for Full Moon Slaughter are the fantastic twin sister-writing duo, Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason (aka The Sisters of Slaughter). The book clocks in at around 100k words and eye am blown away, both by the response to this submissions call as well as the quality of the work submitted. It promises to be ten hells of an anthology! JEA cover artist, Michael ‘Fish’ Fisher did a killer job designing the cover for this.
When did you decide to become a writer?
TONEYE: In 2011, after a friend read my poetry and convinced me to write a book.
Why do you write?
TONEYE: To release my demons.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
TONEYE: The excitement of the ideas my friend and eye were throwing around, which began to form some kind of a plot. Eye wanted to turn it into something. That became The Scarlett Curse.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
TONEYE: Writing and editing is pretty much all eye do these days, so without any particular routine, eye would still say full time.
How do you structure your day, by word count, hours or by pages?
TONEYE: No routine and no structure. Eye just write as the ideas come. Even if it’s nothing more than a few sentences.
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
TONEYE: Everything is done on my computer.
Where do your ideas come from?
TONEYE: From the darkest recesses of my mind.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
TONEYE: Eye just let the stories write themselves and hang on for the ride.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
TONEYE: Very well, thank you. Hahaha 😛 Too many factors to consider, really. From my beginnings as a fan of Metal and Horror, to being a participant in both, to now. Learning from others as eye go and always honing my skills.
What are your greatest challenges in writing and how have you adapted to them?
TONEYE: Beginning a new story is always the hardest for me. It’s a lot easier with many of the anthologies eye have written for, as they normally have a theme, but starting one without knowing what it should be about, eye will just start writing whatever and hope for the best. Eye have many story beginnings that haven’t made it past the first few sentences. The most recent story eye wrote was for a “battle” antho, where two teams were set up to compete against eachother. The anthology is called “Crossing Lines” and that was the theme, which is vague and could be interpreted in any number of ways. Eye looked through my pile of failed beginnings and found something eye could use. It turned into a story eye am very happy with. Another challenge for me is with my series. Now eye am into the third book, making sure everything remains consistent with the preceding two books and there is nothing to contradict what eye have already written is proving to be much more challenging as the series progresses and becomes much more complex. Until very recently, eye never took notes, but eye am finding it necessary now to keep things from falling out of sync.
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
TONEYE: Eye edit my stories as eye go, quite obsessively actually. That makes writing them a much slower process, as eye am constantly going back over and rereading what has just been written. That said, self-editing is one of the most difficult aspects of writing to master, eye think. You tend to miss what a fresh set of eyes will pick up. Eye do try to make sure my short stories are as clean and readable as possible before submitting them. 99% of my anthology stories are in JEA anthos and they always go through edits before being released. The same with novels/novellas. Each book goes through two editors before moving on to the next step.
What process do you use to proofread or edit your books?
TONEYE: As stated earlier, eye edit/proofread as eye go, followed by an overall read through once the story is complete.
Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
TONEYE: JEA editors are assigned to my books.
Did anyone line proof your book separately? If so, how did you come to choose them?
TONEYE: All the work done once submitted is taken care of by assigned staff at JEA.
Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.
TONEYE: Eye gave the cover artists a brief outline of what eye wanted in the artwork and left them to work their magic.
Who designed your book cover/s?
TONEYE: David McGlumphy did the cover for The Scarlett Curse and Michael ‘Fish’ Fisher did Joshua’s Folly. Fish also did the cover for Full Moon Slaughter and Stephen Cooney has painted the cover for my novella, Blood Moon Big Top. All JEA cover artists.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
TONEYE: Absolutely. They say “never judge a book by its cover” but people are visual creatures. If a cover is bland or poorly done, at first glance, it would generally give the impression that what’s inside isn’t going to be too flash either.
How are you publishing this book and why?
TONEYE: All my books are with JEA Press. Everything is done for me prior to and including the release. All eye have to do is write and submit. Then after it’s released, obviously, it’s in my best interests to promote the hells out of it.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
TONEYE: Never self-pubbed before so can’t speak from experience. The disadvantages, eye imagine, would be that you have to pay for and do all the work yourself, or pay someone to do it for you. Being a “struggling artist” makes that a daunting prospect. The obvious advantage would be that all money from sales go to the author.
How do you market your books?
TONEYE: Being a writer and not a businessman, social media is my main source of promotion. Not the most effective way, but eye am not really business minded. The best way eye know how is just to be as visible as possible and help and support as many people as possible in promoting their work. One thing that eye see is that authors in the indie world are always happy and willing to help each other out in this way.
Do you have any advice for those who want to do Indie publishing, such as social media, marketing, giveaways and promoting sales?
TONEYE: Release parties are a fun way to draw attention to your book. Giveaways help to an extent but don’t always result in a sales increase. It’s a hard slog trying to make a living as an indie author. A very hard slog. There are literally thousands of us out there, all trying to sell our work. Reviews are great, when you can get them. Eye just don’t like pressuring people, so while my 2 releases have received several excellent reviews each, there are those who magically seem to have reviews pouring in. That’s a secret eye would love to learn haha.
How do you relax?
TONEYE: Writing relaxes me, when the words flow at least haha.
What is your favorite book and why?
TONEYE: That’s near impossible to answer. There are so many that are excellent. Carlos Castaneda’s books have always been among my favourite to read. A skillful blend of fantastic storytelling and practical methods of looking at the nature of reality in a more effective manner. My favourite book this year by far is Mayan Blue by the Sisters of Slaughter, Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason. Eye have been a huge fan of their short stories for some time now and this being their debut novel had me blown away.
For one, to read it, if you weren’t to know who wrote it, you’d never guess it was a collaborative effort. The writing is seamless as though it were written by a single entity. Being twin sisters, that is essentially the case anyhow 😉 And two: You would never guess this was a debut novel either. Their writing is brilliant and it shines in this book. Brutal, visually mindblowing and highly original Horror.
How do you get inspired to write?
TONEYE: Eye have a maddening addiction to anthologies and can’t help myself when a new call opens. So, what inspires me to write is the sheer amount of work eye agree to take on while attempting to complete the third book in my Sacred Blade series. It’s an ongoing battle hahaha.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
TONEYE: To quote Mr. Garrison from South park…”Drugs are bad, m’kay” 😛
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
TONEYE: Write for yourself. Write what you want to read. That’s where you’re most likely to produce your best work. Accept criticism, when constructive, and brush off any that is just an attempt to put you down. Not everyone will like your work and you need to accept that to stay in the game.
Where do you see publishing going in the future?
Indie publishing is becoming quite a driving force in the industry. So is self-publishing. It’d be nice to see both take over from the mainstream big publishing houses. That’s a possibility.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Only to say fangs so much for giving me this opportunity to share such an extensive part of my interests here. This has been a massive interview that eye have really enjoyed taking part in! And hails n howls to all you readers and fellow authors out there who have taken the time to read this and in turn, read my work! Hell appreciated!
THE SCARLETT CURSE
You can also find Toneye on Goodreads.0