Author Tonia Shares How She’s Learned to Walk in Her Purpose
Tonia is a woman who stands strong in her purpose. Unlike many other children, growing up Tonia fed her craving for creativity through reading and writing. Her mother often said that she was hard to punish because she found solace in reading and writing. And while life hasn’t always been a walk on easy street, her determination is what led to her become a self-published novelist.
In an exclusive interview, Tonia shares how she discovered her passion for writing and how she’s evolved over the years.
How has your childhood shaped the woman you are today?
I have always been extremely headstrong with a lust for life and success. And, while my mother would sometimes try to reign in my adventurous antics and blatant disregard for rules and following social norms, I was still given room to grow, to bump my head and learn life lessons, to "evolve" into the woman that I am today.
Life hasn't always been a crystal stair, but every day, I realize how much I love the woman that I am today: a woman that follows her dreams, that knows the value of being a blessing to others, a woman that has been broken and put back together to walk in purpose, and a woman that has learned to walk by faith knowing that everything eventually works out for your good.
Growing up did you struggle with insecurities?
Like many millennial women, I am and have always been my toughest critic, and even now, I still struggle with allowing myself to enjoy my moments and to celebrate my victories. I've always been a hard worker, dedicated, passionate, and ambitious. I’ve always been someone that strives to achieve all of her goals, but I still struggle with whether or not my accomplishments are "good" enough or whether I'm "good" enough and I question if I have met imaginary standards that are always set at a bar too high.
Many days I feel unfulfilled, with life, with relationships, with my career, but I am learning that sometimes I have to step back and remind myself to count my blessings, to celebrate the now, and to just breathe knowing that I am doing just fine.
When did you begin writing? What led you to pursue that as a career?
While other children were outside playing, I found my solace in reading and writing. My mother jokes that I was the type of child that was hard to punish, because all that I wanted to do was read, and when I had nothing to read, I would sit and write. Writing became a hobby and a way to allow the ideas from my active imagination to manifest themselves into creative stories. And although my short stories were winners of school literary awards and often led to exemplary grades, for years, writing remained just a hobby and my reprieve from the real world.
It was not until 5 years after penning Fashionably Deceptive, under the constant pushing of close friends and acquaintances, I began to actively consider publishing. A book that began as something entertaining for my college roommates to read would manifest itself into the start of a literary career that God willing will stretch over many years to come.
Who or what inspires your work the most?
While there have been many African American authors that notably paved the way, from Mary B. Morrison to E. Lynn Harris and countless others, it has been life that has inspired my work the most. As I have evolved as a woman, my novels have also evolved, and are an accurate testament to my growth in life.
What are your overall goals?
As I prepare to release my third novel, Punishment is Due, this fall, I am looking forward to solidifying my place in the literary world and on national bestselling lists for many years to come.
Tonia’s books, Fashionably Deceptive and A Fashionable Revelation can be found on Amazon.