Please introduce yourself.
I’m an Australian who grew up in suburban Sydney and studied Veterinary Science at Sydney University. Later I taught high school, and then spent over a decade in the public service involved with the regulation of veterinary medicines. My husband was an Air Force officer, so we lived in England, America and several Australian cities while we raised two lovely children. Now we live in beautiful Canberra, the national capital.
I love to spend time with family and friends, take long walks every day and travel overseas. Cruising has taken me to places I never thought that I would see, including the Panama Canal, Petra in Jordan and the Orkney Islands in Scotland.
- When did you start writing?
English was my best subject at school and I read many of the great classics in those early years. My love for writing developed throughout my adult life. One great training ground was a stint as a contract writer, producing plain English guides for farmers. Writing has been an important part of my life, a very obsessive hobby, for more than twenty years.
- What motivates you to write?
Writing seems to be that one thing that I feel constantly motivated to pursue, that I can work at all day without noticing the time. The world of indie publishing has captivated me because of the opportunities it provides for rapid turnover and control over every aspect of the creative process. The onus is on me to ensure that my work is edited and ready for publication, and then to do my own marketing.
- What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre?
I love reading high-octane adventure stories and thrillers. About eighteen months ago, I decided to take on the challenge of writing a page-turner. My priority was to ensure that the hero kept encountering no end of trouble, so that my readers would always want to know what happened next. I created a religious conspiracy, a subject that I’ve always found fascinating. There are dark secrets, mysteries, a hidden sect and a sinister Brotherhood that have all lasted for two thousand years. My hero is an Anglican priest who finds himself in trouble. In The Magus Covenant, he races from Italy to England and Sweden. In The Rock of Magus, he travels to Rome, Spain and England. That allows me to draw on my travel experiences.
- What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?
My goal is to keep my readers entertained and keen to find out what will happen next. I hope to develop a wide readership, and that people will take my stories with them on vacation or wherever they go to relax. I feel delighted when I read a good review or hear a positive comment from a fan.
- Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?
I have a personal antidote to writer’s block to help avoid the pain of staring at a blank screen, unable to proceed any further . I plan my stories in full and write a detailed story outline. That includes the creation of all my characters, with names, appearance, careers, motivations and background. I also do any other research and gather information about all the settings and locations. When I start to write each chapter, I know exactly where I am headed. Luckily, I’ve always been able to stay focused and write for hours. The greatest challenge for me is the initial conception and construction of the storyline.
- What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?
To be an author is a difficult and generally unrewarding road with rejection a normal part of life. If you are determined to take on the challenge of writing a novel, then learn all you can about fiction, including the conventions of your chosen genre, story structure and ways to improve your writing. There is a very support indie community online, and endless information available on how to develop your characters, write effective dialogue and plot your storylines. The only way to improve is to learn all you can, practice and never stop writing.
After you finish your first draft, it is then time for re-writing and editing. If you decide to follow the indie route, be sure that your book contains no typographical or spelling errors and is perfectly formatted. Be willing to listen to any advice or suggestions.
Having mastered your art and published that first novel, you will then need to market it. That is probably the most challenging aspect, unless you are already an expert. If possible, long before publishing your work, you should establish your own website and develop your own online identity.
- Please, tell us about your work.
The Magus Covenant was the first book in the Jotham Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series. The second book, The Rock of Magus, has just been released. They are non-stop action thrillers, but at their core is a religious conspiracy that has lasted for two millennia.
In The Magus Covenant, we meet Jotham Fletcher. He is in Rome to give a lecture but soon finds himself caught up in non-stop danger and drama. Here is the description:
The fate of the world is in the hands of one man and the covenant holds the key.
The Reverend Jotham Fletcher is in Rome to give a lecture on his PhD thesis about Simon Magus at the church where he fell to his death beside the Roman Forum. Magus was a cult leader mentioned in the Bible and his libertine sect disappeared by 400 AD.
But did it really die out?
A robed man is pushed from the bell tower of the church at midnight and Jotham becomes the prime suspect. His lover Antonella, an expert on ancient documents, has a shocking secret. Rumors fly about a papyrus scroll that mentions Magus. A ruthless Catholic Brotherhood will stop at nothing in their hunt for the Simonian Sect. And a reclusive billionaire has the chance of a lifetime to get his revenge.
The Rock of Magus has Jotham Fletcher is in peril once again, and this time he senses that there is trouble brewing inside the Vatican. Once again, the future of the church is in the hands of one man. Here is the description:
At last the Magus Covenant can be fulfilled.
Jotham Fletcher returns in another action-packed thriller that takes him to the heart of the Vatican. Cardinal Alpheus has ambitions far more sinister and explosive than anyone could imagine and the death of Pope Linus is only the beginning.
Jotham is now a billionaire, dedicated to finding the Simonian Sect that wants to destroy the Christian Church and he employs Madena, a former army officer, to help him. They rescue a televangelist in Seattle but find the photograph of a cardinal who is soon elected as the new Pope, with Alpheus as his chief advisor.
The deadly Brotherhood re-emerges with homicidal Father Dominic at the helm and the body count begins to rise as he flees to the Vatican to seek protection.
Jotham becomes the prime suspect in the murder of an archbishop in Spain and the unwitting hero after a devastating event in Rome. He has a secret that he dare not reveal and is on the run from the police once again. But nothing prepares him for the final confrontation at the Pope’s summer retreat in Castel Gandolfo.
Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!
Thank you so much, Aurora, for inviting me here today.
My website http://www.tonipike.com
My Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14736589.Toni_Pike
Twitter at @piketoni1 http://twitter.com/piketoni1
LINKS directly to the books:
THE MAGUS COVENANT
THE ROCK OF MAGUS