January 24, 2011

[CLOSED] Interview + Giveaway with Toni LoTempio

About the Author

 Born in New York City, Toni began writing at an early age.  In 1995, she joined the staff of SUSABELLA PASSENGERS AND FRIENDS, where she has been a staff reporter for 10 years, winning their Margaret Sutton Award for Distinguished Writing in 1998.  In 2000, two of her novels were e-published.  A Spy in the Hand from PublishAmerica followed in 2004, and 2006 saw the release of Murder is Relative from PA and Nom de Plume from Chippewa Publishing.  Two more thrillers, BOUND BY BLOOD and EBONY will be released from Whiskey Creek Press in 2007. Toni lives in Clifton, NJ with her three cats and is working on two more novels in addition to a screenplay of MR. AND MRS. SPY!

 Author bio courtesy of T.C. LoTempio

About the Novel

Communing with the dead is an everyday occurrence for PI Morgan Hawkes. A half-Wiccan witch who can commune with spirits of those caught between worlds, Morgan uses her talents to exorcise the trapped ghost or demon as part of the Paranormal Investigation Squad – until a string of murders with a voodoo slant prompts the Special Forces Agency to ask for her assistance.

Someone’s killing pureblood witches- and the SFA’s convinced Morgan’s heritage (her father was a voodoo priest) could be instrumental in solving the mystery. Teamed with dashing SF agent Cole St. John – an Inheritor Vampire that sets her blood racing – the two of them fight their attraction for each other as they race to stop a madman from unleashing a demonic force upon the world.

 Read my review of 'No Rest for the Wicca' here.

Welcome to Black Lagoon Reviews, Toni!

BLR: To begin, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your newest novel ‘No Rest for the Wicca’?

TCL: No Rest is a novel about a girl, Morgan Hawkes, who has both wiccan and voodoo heritage. Saddled with guilt over the death of her partner years before, she left homicide and became a “ghost whisperer” – someone who helps trapped spirits travel over to the next plane. But when a string of murders with a decidedly voodoo slant begin occurring, the PSFU (Paranormal Special Forces Unit) enlists her aid to solve the murders, and she finds herself teamed with a hunky Inheritor Vampire – Cole St. John – who sets her mixed blood racing!

BLR: Your novel has a unique take on witchcraft and voodoo, what inspired you to write a novel focused on these aspects?

TCL: I’ve always been fascinated by both – and after I saw the movie THE SKELETON KEY it inspired me to write another voodoo-related novel, EBONY, which is available from Whiskey Creek Press. Wicca was written after another novel of mine was turned down by the editorial board at NAL as sort of a catharsis

'No Rest of the Wicca’ has a large assortment of supernatural and paranormal creatures; could you tell us a little bit about a few of your favorite types and how you developed their lore?

Trolls are always fun to do – I keep remembering those little dolls that were available when I was a kid with the different color hair (I guess I’m dating myself, LOL) Vampires have always fascinated me – I did an article on it for SUBURBAN VAMPIRE a few weeks ago – and I actually found some websites on them! So the premise is borrowed from actual fact – with a few embellishments.

BLR: ‘No Rest for the Wicca’ has a very unique feeling in a genre full of paranormal investigators and supernatural/paranormal realms. In your own opinion what do you think makes this novel so different and engaging to readers?

TCL: I think the blend of half-wiccan and half-voodoo in the main character – both are actually religions, but wicca’s main premise, do no harm,contrasts sharply with what most people associate voodoo with – dark magic.

Could you explain a bit about the world building you did within the novel? For instance, how you developed the various paranormal agencies, their relationship to the world you created and how this ties in with the supernatural creatures that inhabit the world?

Well, I’m a big true crime fan, so I just strung those words together to develop the PSFU – Paranormal Special Forces Unit. It’s an agency that keeps the peace between Others and humanity.

BLR: The aspects of Wicca and Voodoo involved within the story are very well developed, what sort of research did you do to prepare for it?

TCL: A ton, although I know some people think it wasn’t well researched – trust me, it was. Some liberties were taken, of course for story purposes, but 90% of the facts in there have a legitimate source. I have books on Wicca and Voodoo on my bookshelf, and I went through more Internet sites than I can count. I never knew there were so many!

This novel follows an enjoyable cast of characters; will we be seeing more of them in your future novels? If so is there anything that you can tell us about what we can expect to see happen to them in the future?

I do have a sequel outlined for NO REST, which I hope to get to soon, in between my other projects. We’ll explore more about Morgan and Cole’s individual pasts, as well as Morgan confronting the villain who killed her partner and got away.

BLR: Do you have any upcoming projects we can look forward to reading soon?

TCL: Yes: In March I have a YA fantasy coming out on Amazon and B&N, or, as I like to put it, :”Flying into your digital bookstores: MY SUPERHERO SISTER , A YA FANTASY: March 2011.”

After that I have another paranormal romance, RAVEN’S KISS, about a shapeshifting detective and parallel time, which will debut in late April.

I also have three more novels that I’ve almost completed, (including a complete rework of the NAL turn down) which I hope to interest an agent with. If not – they’ll be self-pubbed as well.

BLR: What are some of your must read books/authors?

TCL: Oh, gosh! Anything by J.D. Robb! I love her! and I also read Carol Higgins Clark, Victoria Laurie, Jill Myles, and Rita Mae Brown, anything by John Saul and the king of suspense, James Patterson religiously. Lately I’ve also become a big fan of Alex Kava and Tess Gerritson. I love both the paranormal and the suspense/thriller/cozy mystery genres.

BLR: If you could be any supernatural creature/being, what would you be and why?

TCL: hat’s easy – ever since I was hooked on DARK SHADOWS as a teen, I’ve always wanted to be Angelique – a sexy witch! I’d kill for those big, big, blue eyes! I always liked the way Elizabeth Montgomery twitched her nose on Bewitched and could conjure up just about anything! And, as we all know, all supernaturals are susceptible to magic.

BLR: Now that we know a bit about your writing, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

TCL: Well, I work full time during the day and I write at night and on the weekends. I live in beautiful New Jersey (LOL) with my four cats for inspiration. I’ve been a contributing writer for a magazine devoted to antique children’s literature, SUSABELLA PASSENGERS, since 1995, and I’ve recently joined the staff of NIGHT OWL REVIEWS as a contributing suspense columnist (debut article February issue). So my life is pretty much writing and working at this point LOL.

I appreciate your taking the time to interview me, and I also appreciate anyone who’s read my books. I love hearing from fans, so feel free to drop me a line at tlotempio@aol.com. You can also find me at my website (which is in bad need of an overhaul) at www.freewebs.com/toni1953, and also feel free to friend me on FACEBOOK!

Thank you, Toni!

For more information you can find Toni at:



Toni has been kind enough to offer up a copy of 'No Rest for the Wicca' to one lucky commenter! The winner will have receive an eBook copy of her novel. Because this is an eBook, this contest will be open internationally!

Good luck to all!
  • Contest ends Feb. 4, 2011
  • You do not have to be a follower of this blog to enter this contest.
  • To enter comment with a valid email address.
  • Winner will be chosen via Random.Org

Extra Entries:

+1 Spreading the word (please provide the links of where you posted about this contest)
+1 Being a follower of this blog (new or existing)
+1 Signing up to receive updates via email


Anne said...

HI, Toni-

Congratulations on your newest release. I'm a native of New Jersey, the "Armpit of America" as my mother (from IL, "The Land of Corrupt Politicians" and Lincoln") calls it. My three siblings (all born in NJ) just give her the look.

I love the play on words in the title and definitely look forward to reading a novel with a little voodoo in it. I've read several series set in Nola, but few really incorporate voodoo into the story line.

(follower and subscriber)

Anonymous said...

I love the book's cover and the interview has definitely got me interested! Lindadao2060@yahoo.com
I'm a follower and subscriber.

Wenj said...

This contest is now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated!