June 01, 2018
Author Tonja Michelle made her debut in 2016 with the release of her first novel, Blue Magic. Blue Magic is a romance novel that tells the story of Tichelle, an African American Probation Officer and her new relationship with Chase, a Caucasian Police Commissioner.
With the release of her latest addition to the series, Blue Magic Forever, Tonja Michelle sat down with Aislin Magazine to discuss how the series came about and her beginnings as a writer.
Written & Photographed
by Jasmine Jones
Tell me a little bit about your first two books and how they came about.
I always wanted to write a book, but I didn’t know how I was going to start it, or what it was going to be about. I didn’t know anything about it. One day I was sitting at work, on some down time, and I just started writing. And once you start writing, everything just flows easily. It really does. So what really inspired it further was a co-worker who just happened to pick it up. She read a few lines and just started laughing. I asked, “You didn’t think it was slow," and she said, “No I thought it was funny." The same thing happened with another friend who read it just as I finished it. It all went from there. So, when people gave me good feedback, it just made me want to write more.
Is this a story that has sat with you for a long time, or were you able to start writing it as soon as you had the premise?
It just came out of nowhere. It really did, that day I started writing. Again, once you start writing everything just flows. I’m impressed with myself with the stuff I came up with [laughs].
You’ve mentioned that you’re currently working on the third volume of the series. What should readers expect?
I had a cliffhanger in the second one, and it was originally only supposed to be two volumes. But by popular demand, the way I ended it, people wanted more. It took me more time doing this one because I wanted it to be perfect, and I wanted it to be longer. The first two were quick reads so this next one is a lot longer.
The second volume, Steel Blue Magic, ended with a cliffhanger. Any hints as to how the third volume will end?
You have to read it.
Will this be the last of the series or are there more volumes to come?
That’s a good question, because I’ve asked myself the same thing. I’d have to go by my fans.
Did you always have an interest in writing?
It came to me years ago, but again I didn’t know how to start it or what to write about. One day it hit me in 2016, and it went from there.
Is that when you wanted to start writing, in 2016, or is that when you actually started to write?
That’s when I finally started doing it. Because you know, you can talk about doing things all the time but eventually you have to actually start it.
Did you want to write when you were younger, or did it come later in life?
It came later in life, I’d say my 40s.
You’ve spent some time as a Correctional Officer. Is that where some of the inspiration for Blue Magic came from?
No, absolutely not [laughs].
What makes a story interesting?
For me as a writer, I like that I can make the characters do or say whatever I want. What interests me about this story is that it’s comical, it’s serious, and it focuses on things that happen in real life. You have an interracial relationship and the problems that can occur with that. You have harassment by officers. Tichelle, one of the main characters, her son is harassed by an officer in one scene. I try to stay with current events, current at that time. This book was based in 2012 through 2014. What makes a story interesting is when it has something I can relate to, whether it’s some place I hang out at, or people that I hang out with. It has to have something relatable.
Is there any one book that you’ve read that has always stuck with you?
One that really got to me was Push [by Sapphire]. I couldn’t even watch the movie because the book affected me so much. No child should go through that.
What is your most useful habit?
I’m OCD with time, and I have a habit of expecting people to be as responsible as I am.
What is your worst habit?
Probably trusting people.
Do you have any particular process for when you write?
No. What I do do, if I’m shopping or just walking around, if I hear something that inspires me I have to write it down right then. So I have plenty of notes because inspiration can come from anywhere. But to have to prepare myself, to have to be in a room with the door closed… no.
How often do you write? Is it a daily thing or is it sporadic?
I don’t think there was a day that I didn’t write. Now I’m not, because I’ve finished the latest book, but when I was writing it was every day.
What is one feeling you hope to leave your readers with after reading one of your books?
One feeling after reading my book… saying, “that was a great author”. [laughs]
With the release of your third book, do you have any big plans for the summer? Are you taking some time off to relax or are you jumping right back into writing?
I don’t know, I haven’t decided yet.