INTERVIEW | Toni V. Lee

Toni, describe yourself for our visitors.

I have a BSBA degree from the University of Central Florida and live in Central Florida with my family. I’m a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association, and I’m a member of the leadership team of the CIC (Complete in Christ) Singles’ Ministry of my church.

In addition to writing, I’m a Coordinator of Computer Applications. I analyze, design, implement, and maintain computer applications systems.

Besides being an avid reader, I also enjoy watching romantic-comedy movies and Bollywood/Hindu films. I’m a fan of Tyler Perry’s works, and listening to Urban/Black Gospel and Christian alternative music is a big part of my daily routine.

I absolutely love recreational travel.

How do you find time to connect with God?

It’s so easy to get caught up in life and become too busy to have one-on-one time with the Lord. It’s easy, but it’s also harmful. It is absolutely necessary to remain intimate with the Lord. That intimacy is maintained through reading/hearing His Word and through worship. My day begins with time in the Word. I also attend church regularly.

I am so glad that we don’t have to stand on ceremony with the Lord and can worship Him anywhere and at anytime.

Tell us about your journey to publication.

I have been writing for about 4 years.

Expectations is my first novel. I chose to self-publish. I did the submission-rejection-revision merry-go-round with a few traditional publishing houses until last year.

The last rejection I received was awesome. I was grinnin’ from ear to ear. Why? Because it gave me affirmation. The editor liked my story, voice, and writing skills, but turned down my manuscript because it didn’t fit their house at that time.

My minute of patience was exhausted by then, so I decided to self-publish.

Self-publishing is not for wimps. It’s a lot of hard work. However, it has been very rewarding.

Tell us about your current book?

Expectations is a romantic comedy-drama about a woman who prays for a husband and receives more than one unexpected answer.

When Michael Greer barges into Daria Simpson’s home to avoid a belligerent ex-girlfriend, Daria is not impressed. Then Michael renews his relationship with Christ and begins attending her church. Suddenly, the atmosphere becomes electric, and despite her best intentions, Daria can’t get her mind off that man. Soon they’re having monster alerts that have nothing to do with ogres or dragons. Hilarious encounters, eccentric aunties, and a persistent ex-girlfriend give them plenty of action, but nothing prepares them for the arrival of a secret baby who reveals an awful secret.

It’s a fresh look at the struggle for pre-marital purity and the power of forgiveness. Using recognizable characters, situations, and comedy, this novel addresses the impact of self-discovery, physical intimacy, and spiritual renewal on the Christian single man and woman.

How did you come up with ideas for your current release?

I didn’t have a great epiphany. I just simply felt compelled to relay the following messages in a novel:

  • We have expectations, but God has a plan.
  • The truth that God loves them and is concerned about every facet of their lives.
  • Sometimes the answer we expect from God is not the answer we receive, but it will be the right answer for us. The timing of that answer will be perfect.
  • Unforgiveness is a destructive force.
  • Time for us here on earth is finite. Don’t put off having an honest and intimate relationship with Christ until tomorrow, because tomorrow may never come.
  • It’s important to stay pure before God in thought and deed.

List your most recent books.

Just prior to my work on Expectations, I published my first play, The Crown Mystery.

What’s next for you?

I am currently working on my second novel, Even Then (working title). It contains some of the lovable and hilarious characters from Expectations. Even Then is a romantic comedy-drama about two women whose hearts are sent into a tailspin when they’re broadsided by the love of men they thought they knew very well.

If you like Aunt Lenore and Aunt Euvinia in Expectations, you’re going to love ‘em in Even Then.

Where can visitors find you online?

Readers can find me at the following locations:
www.tonivlee.com
www.tonivlee.blogspot.com
www.shoutlife.com/tonivlee
www.24hrchristian.com/tonivlee
www.facebook.com/tonivlee
www.myspace.com/tonivlee