Name: Thonie Hevron
Age: I’m 62.
Where are you from: San Francisco, raised in Mill Valley, Northern California
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc:
My father was career Army and a US Marshal so we travelled a lot when I was a kid. I was educated at Catholic schools in Marin County. College was also Catholic, Lone Mountain College. I got into law enforcement at the age of 21 and retired in 2011 after 35 years. I’m married and have three grown kids.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Thonie: I found out today that my book, Intent to Hold has been selected as one of the Fall 2015 offerings in the Copperfield’s—Redwood Writers Book Club. This is a partnership between the Sonoma County writer community and Copperfield’s, a local indie bookstore with 7 stores in Sonoma, Napa, and Marin. I’m very excited.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Thonie: In the 5th grade, I had an assignment to write a fable. My story, “How the Leopard Got His Spots” was the beginning.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Thonie: In the 5th grade. I knew it was something I was good at. My parents, teacher, and classmates laughed at the story. I got a taste of entertaining people and loved it.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Thonie: I was reading romances in those days. I was in my mid-twenties and knew I could do a better job than some of the trash I was reading. I never could finish the romance.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Thonie: I like to write action and dialog, so my sentences come out concise. Many years in law enforcement make me a “bottom line” kind of person. My style is much like I talk; only I get to go back for “do overs.”
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Thonie: Glad you asked! My two titles are taken from the California Penal Code sections that describe the main crime in the story. For instance, my first book cites the code for stalking. An element of the crime must be “By Force or Fear.” “Intent to Hold” refers to kidnapping. My third book is tentatively titled, With Malice Aforethought from the murder statute.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Thonie: If there’s a message, it is “do the right thing.” I write suspenseful thrillers but they are thoughtful, too. I present the complexities of life behind the badge-the professional and private lives. Choices aren’t as simple as TV and movies portray. Over the years, I learned to live with my mistakes and make smarter choices. I try to reflect that in my stories.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Thonie: The settings are real. The first book is set in Sonoma County, mostly the Russian River area. The second set in a small town north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The characters are mosaics of people I worked with—mostly my perception of them. No character is actually a real person.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Thonie: While I was never a sworn officer, I spent a lot of time in patrol cars with my officers. The agencies I worked for were pro-active in getting support staff out with the troops to learn how to make the work flow and morale better. Some of that is idealized because “ride-alongs” didn’t always have the intended results.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Thonie: My favorite classic is Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. I love the noble spirit that shines through Sidney Carton’s dissolute and manipulative nature at his end.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Thonie: I wouldn’t consider him a mentor but Paul Bishop inadvertently gave me permission to use my voice. In the 1990’s he wrote a series featuring a female LAPD detective. Paul was an LAPD detective so he had the creds to write the stories. His voice was unique and it struck me that mine should be, too. That was a huge breakthrough for me.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Thonie: I have several going at any given time. For reference, I Love a Cop by Ellen Kirschman, PhD about cop families, In the Shadow of Lies by local author M.A. Adler is a fabulous debut novel set in Richmond, California during WWII. It explores the underside of patriotism and prejudice in a deftly crafted mystery.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Thonie: M. A. Adler as I mentioned above. I’m active in the local writers’ scene and have found a deep well of talent: Arletta Dawdy, Helen Sedwick and Amanda McTigue. Others include PJ Parrish, Robert Crais, JA Konrath and T. Jefferson Parker.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Thonie: I’m working on the third Nick and Meredith Mystery—a series featuring two Sonoma County Sheriff’s Violent Crimes Investigators. I’m also researching a series of posts for PoliceOne.com on cop retirement and re-invention.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Thonie: Hands down—Redwood Writers. This is my local chapter of the California Writers Club. It’s an awesome resource for propelling yourself forward. I would recommend it to any writer. I refined craft, publication, and marketing skills. That sounds like I’ve mastered them all but that’s not it—the club offers craft workshops, practice reading opportunities, public reading events, and much more. I see myself as a Redwood Writer forever.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Thonie: Yes. I retired from law enforcement and my husband and I have geared my writing as a second career. He shoulders much of the business part of my career. I owe it all to him.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Thonie: Yes. I’d present a more polished product to my publisher. We worked against a deadline and some boo-boos slipped through. They’ve been corrected but it was with much gnashing of teeth. That said, my publisher is a superwoman.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Thonie: As a youngster, I loved creating stories. During my life, even when I wasn’t writing creatively, I journaled. I’m convinced it was my best therapy.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Thonie: With Malice Aforethought brings my series heroes, Nick and Meredith, to the remote hills of Sonoma County to investigate a homicide. What they find is more chilling than either could imagine.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Thonie: Research is always a challenge but I love it. I have to put the brakes on sometimes because I get so involved. Editing is tough. Killing my darlings and/or giving them a make-over hurts. The marketing which is part and parcel of “writing” these days is the biggest challenge. I’ve never liked to speak in front of crowds. Now, I read, speak and hock my books shamelessly.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Thonie: Larry McMurtry because he weaves so much humanity into his creations. Lonesome Dove is one of the few books I can read over and over.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Thonie: I traveled to Mexico for my second book but I didn’t have enough time to see all the areas I needed. Thank God for Google Earth! I’d plot the story, then during the writing process, the characters would go off to an unfamiliar area I had to describe. Sheesh. Google Earth saved me.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Thonie: My publisher tweaked both covers from photos I submitted. The By Force or Fear cover is of the redwoods, a stock photo to which the silhouette of a man and a woman’s hand holding a gun was added. We later deleted the woman’s hand because it was too distracting. The second, Intent to Hold, is from a photo I took in 2011 on a trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Billie Johnson, my publisher polished it up for publication.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Thonie: Deciding when the manuscript was finished. Even now, I look at some sentences and think, “Oh this could be way better!”
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Thonie: I learned lots of lessons. For instance, be professional. If you have a commitment scheduled, be there on time or before, looking polished and know your content. Listen to readers. I learned humility when I had to cut pages that weren’t working anymore. Traipsing out of my comfort zone became a daily challenge. I am not the center of the universe. I’ll only succeed if I’m genuine.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Thonie: Yes, two things: learn your craft and never give up.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thonie: My purpose is to entertain with my books. I have a short attention span and this reflects in my writing. My books are action-filled but thoughtful enough to learn something. I hope my readers enjoy my work.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Thonie: Yes, my mother and I read Aesop’s Fables together. I’m sure her agenda was different than mine, but I loved the stories and still use some of the ideas in my stories.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Thonie: Oh, all kinds of things. Slapstick humor is very funny to me as is British humor. My husband makes me laugh because he has such an intelligent sense of humor. My best friend, Jan, and my sisters make me cackle like an old hen. I cry when people I love are hurt. Any kind of animal cruelty makes me very sad. I think the worst is euthanizing my pets. I lost two dogs and a horse this year and all made me cry like a baby.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Thonie: My biological father. He died at age 32 when I was an infant. His (our) family speaks of him like he was a saint. I would like to have known him.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
Thonie: Wow, tough question. How about, “She knew how to love life.”
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Thonie: I ride dressage. I lost my last horse this summer and won’t replace him but I have access to some good horses and a great trainer whenever I want. My husband and I have kayaks and are able to use them often in this lovely North Bay Area. I used to garden more than I do—I had to give up something to make time to write. We travel—we are between trailers at the moment, but we cruise and spend time with our daughter in San Luis Obispo.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Thonie: I like “Elementary” because it’s thoughtful. I like British dramas, particularly “Inspector Lewis.” I’m a sucker for a powerful woman premise so “Madame Secretary” is right up my alley. I used to love the old 60’s series, “The Avengers” with Diana Rigg.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Thonie: I’ll eat just about anything but organ meats and lima beans. Love chocolate and desserts, but like salty too—like French Fries. I love Mexican food, too. Colors? I’m all over the map on that one. I like purple sweaters but purple cars not so much. I like pastels and earth tones, depending where they are. I sound indecisive but it depends. Ditto for music. I like eighties rock and roll, classics from Verdi, Taylor Swift, and Beyoncé—each at their appropriate time.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Thonie: I would have liked to have been a competitive equestrian, probably either jumping or dressage. I love horses and could easily spend all day, every day with them.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Both! My new website is http://www.thoniehevron.com/. I love the site but the blog component doesn’t have some of the necessary features, like the ability to schedule posts. So for now, I’m happier using WordPress for my blog. The link is: Just the Facts, Ma’am. The blog focuses on law enforcement. I feature a retired LAPD sergeant who has a knack for telling stories on Sundays and I post other articles or my own on Wednesday.
Amazon Page http://www.amazon.com/Thonie-Hevron/e/B008E6S6R6/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1
Marilyn Meredith said:
Loved this, Thonie. I learned a lot about you that I didn’t know.
Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.
Michelle Wing said:
Thonie, really fun interview. Loved the questions, and learning more about not only your writing background and process, but about you in general!