Name : JJ Toner

Age : 70

Where are you from : Ireland

A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc  

Studied Mathematics at university. Worked with computers in a variety of industries for 36 years. I was made redundant at 49 and started writing. I’ve been married 47 years. We have 3 children and 2 grandchildren.



Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I’m working on a space adventure. I’m probably most comfortable writing science fiction.



Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I always wrote stories. I have 5 stories in a copy book that I wrote in primary school. As a working adult I never had time. It was only when I was forced into early ‘retirement’ that I picked it up again.


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I can’t recall exactly when, but it was a Tuesday.



Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

The first book I wrote was a strange detective story with an amateur sleuth and a strong Scifi element. That book is in the garden compost heap. The first book that I published is a collection of fun Scifi short stories. Ovolution and Other Stories.



Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

If I do, I’m not aware of it. My stories tend to be densely packed with action, simply because I’m trying not to bore my readers. I’m trying to pace my stuff better.


Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I have 5 published thrillers. The best known is The Black Orchestra. The title was obvious, really, since the book is historical fiction and the Black Orchestra was the real WW2 German resistance organization. Finding a title for the sequel involved a lot of sleepless nights and candles burned at both ends. I finally came up with The Wings of the Eagle.



Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Perhaps that not all Germans were Nazis during the war and that Admiral Canaris and his team were all heroes, largely unrecognized and forgotten. Oh, and that the Allies were not all saints either.



How much of the book is realistic?

The timeline is totally based on the progress of the war. All of the German spies in England and Ireland were poorly trained incompetents, and the Black Orchestra did exist, but it wasn’t called that until after the war.


Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

No. I’m not that old, but I believe my father had some dealings with IRA members who negotiated with the Nazis before the war.



Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?

I read a lot. I suppose I would have to divide influences into 3 or 4 categories: Science fiction, starting with Asimov and finishing with the incomparable Douglas Adams, adventure and spy stories from John Buchan to Ken Follett, noir novels starting with Chandler and, most recently, Declan Burke, and comedy books of all sorts. I’ve read almost everything by Robert Harris and Philip Kerr, two writers who can write faster than I can read!

My editor, Lucille Redmond has to take most of the accolades as my mentor.



Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Right now, I’m reading Rayne Hall’s writing instructional books. I’m always learning, always improving my writing. I’m looking into Deep Point of View. I’m also reading Planetfall by Emma Newman.



Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Louise Phillips is the only new author that springs to mind.


Fiona: What are your current projects?

As I said, I’m switching genre, working on a space adventure.


Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Books Go Social have done a great job of promoting my books for 2 years.


Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Yes, although I started late in life.


Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

My last published book is a short story called UNCLE TOM. It needs a decent cover. Otherwise, it’s a perfect masterpiece. 😀



Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

At school. I wrote a short story and ran out of paper before I could finish it properly. The teacher loved it.



Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Here’s the short pitch for my WIP:

Carla Scott is a gifted android designer, transported to the molten mines of Luciflex, a harsh penal colony halfway across the galaxy. Carla’s only hope of escaping is with the help of an obnoxious pirate, a psychopathic killer, and a doe-eyed android. But she must try, for she carries a secret that could neutralize two android armies preparing for a war that will devastate the Earth.



Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

How long have you got? Fight sequences, and love sequences. I usually draw a veil over them of sex scenes and write about how everybody felt afterwards.


Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

It’s a toss up between Robert Harris and Douglas Adams. I’d have to give my vote to Douglas Adams as I’m addicted to humorous (ie satirical) science fiction. Harris is the finest living writer, in my view.


Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

No. I should but I’m too lazy. I let my fingers do the traveling.


Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Anya Kelleye. She’s brilliant and has infinite patience.


Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The last one – A Postcard from Hamburg – the rewrite after my editor, Lucille Redmond got her hands on it.



Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I’m always learning. I think I’m getting close to writing a good book.



Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Pay close attention to point of view.

Never publish without a professional edit.


Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?




Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Apart from The Cat Sat in the Hat? Probably The Grapes of Wrath or Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.



Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Everything. Honestly, I’m in tears of laughter most of the time and I embarrass myself and my wife every time we go to the movies.



Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?

I’m hoping to meet Robert Harris some day.



Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?

He Came, He Saw, He Wrote About It.



Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

Too many. I watch hours and hours of golf on TV. I tinker with music composition using a MIDI and my computer.



Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

At the moment: ‘FARGO’. I loved the French series ‘SPIRAL’. The BBC’s ‘LONDON SPY’ looks promising. We watch a lot of Scandinavian Crime.



Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Diet is a major problem. I have to fight to keep my weight down. My interests in music are as diverse as my reading.



Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?

Can’t think of anything. I wish I had started writing much earlier.



Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?


Amazon Authors Page


Thanks, Fiona. Maybe you’d like to answer your own questions and let me post them on my blog?