Wednesday, 20 January 2016


The Flurries Unlimited team caught up with crime fiction author Toby Neal for a quick chat about her work and writing.  This is what we discussed:

FU:  There are so many different genres to choose from, what inspired you to write crime fiction?

TN:  It was kind of accidental! As a therapist, I was involved with emergency counseling for a high school where two young girls were drowned, the crime in my first book, Blood Orchids...and I wanted to solve what happened to them. One thing led to another, and next thing I knew, I was writing "police procedural" mysteries! But it turns out, there's a part of me that really wants justice and answers for victims. 

FU:  Having a background in social work must have given you a unique perspective on life.  What made you decide to leave it?  In what ways do you think this affects your writing?

TN: I still have a small private practice and do counseling/therapy one day a week. I never expected my books to sell like hotcakes and become my replacement career! I put twelve years into all my degrees and licenses. I'll never give it up. I love helping people.

FU:  You've written so many books.  Which is your favourite and why?

TN: My favorite is Unsound, a literary suspense about a psychologist who goes on a hike...and is taken captive by the client from hell. Its my favorite because the protagonist, Dr. Wilson, is kind of my "alter ego" in my series, and this is her book and written in a very personal style that's unique.

FU:  They say that every character has some of the author in him/her.  Which of your characters is most like you?  In what way?

TN:  As I said, Dr. Wilson is most like me probably. She's my age, and race, and does what I do in "real life." But I have a lot of Lei in me too--I'm physically brave, persistent, and terribly curious, and I love dogs and justice like she does. I also exercise to manage anxiety, and am married to a man who looks a good deal like Lei's love interest, Michael Stevens (they say write what you know, and I have an awesome husband.) But I'm not damaged or neurotic like she is. At least I don't think I am, ha ha!

FU:  So what is on the horizon?  What are your new projects? When is your next new release?

TN:  My newest release, coming at the end of this month, is Wired In, with Sophie Ang, an MMA-fighting tech specialist that appears in Book 4 of the Lei Crime Series, on Jan 30. This is a long-awaited book with a plot twistier than a bag of snakes!

FU: Sounds great!  Thank you for chatting with us.

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