Toni Shiloh wears many hats—wife, mom, and author. But her real mission, she says, is even broader—she writes to bring God glory and to learn more about His goodness. “Once I understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, I was moved to honor my Savior,” says Toni.
Her novels include Grace Restored, a 2019 Holt Medallion finalist, Risking Love, a 2020 Selah Award finalist, The Truth About Fame, a 2021 Holt Medallion finalist, and The Price of Dreams, a 2021 Maggie Award finalist.
A member of the Virginia Chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Toni seeks to encourage authors in the writing industry. She loves connecting with readers and authors alike via social media.
You’ll love getting to know Toni. Our conversation with this down-to-earth author got deep fast as she shares her advice to aspiring authors and discusses her writing process and upcoming release, In Search of a Prince. You’ll be glad you added this to your TBR pile.
The inspiration to write
Toni is a multi-published Christian contemporary romance author who has twenty-two books with four more to be published in 2022.
“Being able to write and glorify God in my storytelling is one of the best things that has happened to me. From the first book to my current one, I’m constantly aware that I’m blessed doing something I love. I love taking two characters on a romantic journey and having them discover love in romance and love from the Lord. Sharing about the Lord is what inspires me to write and what fuels each story. I hope that in itself is something that will inspire someone who reads my books.”
“Writing isn’t a solitary endeavor,” Toni responded when we asked about the most important lesson she learned since becoming an author. “There are many people who helped along the way.”
When it comes to her writing process, Toni is “a pantser so I don’t plot or outline. Instead, I fly by the seat of my pants and let the characters take me on the journey. I will usually do character development, discover who they are, what they’re afraid of, and what their backstory is. Once I know those things, I sit down and write their story.
My critique partners get a chapter at a time and once I’m finished with the first draft, I’ll read their suggestions and flesh out the story during the second round. Then it’ll either go to my editor at the traditional publishing houses I’m contracted with or my beta readers if I’m independently publishing the story. There will be rewrites, weeping, chocolate therapy, and finally a finished product.”
Faith, romance, and food are three elements that are always present in Toni’s writing. We anticipate that these factors will also be included in her upcoming release, In Search of a Prince, which will be available February 1, 2022. “I was inspired by the idea of an African American princess. I haven’t read any book like it in the Christian fiction market, so I set out to write one.”
The hardest part about writing In Search of a Prince were the revisions. “This was the first time I had major revisions and it was a little overwhelming at first. There might have been a lot of chocolate therapy.”
Toni took a moment to consider the Scripture verse that would best fit this novel. “It would be St. John 14:27,” she states. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” She selected that Scripture because one of the characters, Brielle Adebayo, had to learn that “no matter what, God is with her, and therefore, she can be at peace.”
While writing In Search of a Prince, Toni was reminded that “God is good, and He has plans for us. He wants us to step out on faith and assuredness of His direction.” The message she hopes readers will take away after reading this book is “That no matter what you’re facing, God can see you through it. Trust in Him!”
Good to know
So, what is something readers would be surprised to know about Toni? “Good question!” she says smiling. “I’m pretty sure most readers know I’m a rabid Dallas Cowboys fan. But I’m not sure they know I’ve been seen in New Orleans Saints gear when I went to cheer at a game they played against the Washington Football team. My husband is a huge Saints fan.”
Advice for aspiring authors
“I feel like this changes every time someone asks me. The advice I’d give an aspiring author is to make friends in the writing community. Find someone who can offer you feedback on your writing, someone who can help you understand the ins and outs of publishing, and someone who will champion and encourage you.”
On the horizon
Toni says she felt confident about the future of her writing career—not just because of decisions she is making today, but because of the groundwork which she laid in her earlier years and the skills and knowledge she has acquired. “I have a few books releasing this year so I’m sure I’ll be alternating between marketing, editing, and writing new stories.”
Click & Visit: http://tonishiloh.com
Book Link: Amazon