Posted on July 10, 2018 at 12:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

No one, including Tonya Kappes herself, would've predicted that she would become a bestselling author.

Kappes didn’t even become a reader until she was in her early thirties, when a grad school classmate lured her out of post-divorce seclusion to a book club ... with promises of wine and chocolate.

It still took her a few weeks to even bother picking up the book, but once she did, she was hooked.

A few years later, when Kappes had remarried, her new husband wasn’t as impressed with the book club offerings, though.

He told her she could tell a story better than the published author could. So she put that claim to the test, spinning a tale in front of her book club.

They too were entranced. They suggested that she write a novel.

Kappes put that advice to work as well, and in her words, she’s never looked back. (Nor did she ever stop working, judging from this interview!)

Today, she’s a USA Today bestseller, with several mystery series to her two pen names and tons of adoring fans — one of whom recommended we reach out to her.

SADYE: You were known as a storyteller, but not as a writer or reader. How did you refine your technical skills?

TONYA: I went to a lot of writing conference and joined writer groups. I also have had very good editors ­— that has really taught me a lot.

SADYE: And then how did people, beyond your husband and book club, react to your decision to write?

TONYA: At first people would look at me like I was crazy when I told them I was writing.

But when I quit my child therapist job to write full time was when I really got their attention.

SADYE: When did you realize that you’d actually made it as a writer?

TONYA: It wasn't even making the USA Today list with TWO books in one week —and it wasn't in a box set with other authors; it was just my book.

That's amazing in itself, but it was when the Kenni Lowry mystery series was sold to Dreamscape in a ten-book audio deal (books hadn't even been written) and my dream narrator auditioned.

When she walked in to audition, my heart dropped and I immediately said that we didn't need to audition the rest. I'm still starstruck over her.

SADYE: You were originally self-published but have, in the past few years, signed some trad-pub contracts. What’s the perk of each?

TONYA: Honestly, to me it's about my eggs not being in one basket.

I like the traditional arena because I can go to book festivals and sign, since some of them don't let self-published authors in.

Self-publishing is my favorite because I'm in control of my entire process and I believe I know what my readers like better than anyone.

SADYE: What prompted you to launch another pen name?

TONYA: When I took the contract from Crooked Lane for the Southern Cake Baker Mystery Series — it is a straight cozy.

There’s no paranormal in it, which is what I’ve written for so long in my cozies.

My granny’s name is Mamie, and I love that name. It was in her honor that I decided to use a variation of her name as my pen name (Maymee Bell).

Now I look back and think that I probably didn’t need to do that.

SADYE: Have you seen any ghosts or otherworldly creatures?

TONYA: I've never seen a ghost, but I did live in a haunted house with a spirit by the name of Martha Meyers.

I was even on a ghost hunter’s radio broadcast for it! She lived with me for five years.

A few things she liked to do: turn on all the faucets in the house at 3 a.m. and steal items like my hair dryer/clothes iron/camera and put them in my dish cabinet in the kitchen.

* * *

Learn more about Tonya Kappes on her website, where her books can also be purchased; like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Know an author you'd like to see featured? Email us with a recommendation!

Categories: Author Interview

If you want a great author and great book it's Tonya Kappes. The books she writes has had me hooked from the beginning. The books has great characters and a storyline that will have you ready for the next book. Plus the book covers are awesome.
Penny Harper | 7/13/18 at 8:07 PM
Love the books but I don't know if I could live in a haunted house
Lori Shore | 7/12/18 at 7:08 PM
Interesting interview. I love your books!
Randi Robinson | 7/12/18 at 3:12 PM
Thank you for a wonderful interview. I especially enjoyed reading about Martha.. I dont know how you did it.. I would of freaked out if all that happened.. when I was little, we lived in a very old farm house that my sister insisted was haunted. She called the ghost Sabastian, and we would have the lights flicker, and hear knocking on the walls.. yep every time that happened my sister would say "Sabastian was bored and wanted attention" LOL
Lily-Ann Gill | 7/12/18 at 7:14 AM
Love your books
Shannon | 7/12/18 at 5:10 AM
Love 💕 you books!! Keep them coming!!! ❤️
Donna | 7/11/18 at 6:40 PM
I love everything that Tonya Kappes writes!!!
Debi | 7/11/18 at 5:52 PM
I love to read interviews like this, helps me understand where the author is coming from with the characters. Keep writing - good reading.
Jodi Skeen | 7/11/18 at 5:34 PM
Love this happy author!
Antonette Nyman | 7/11/18 at 5:23 PM
The Tonya Kappes interview was fascinating! I thoroughly enjoy her books and was surprised to learn such interesting facts about both her writing and her life. Thank you!
Betsy Pauzauskie | 7/11/18 at 4:53 PM
Add Comment

* Indicates a required field