I first observed Toni in my favourite cafe bar as she laboured away scribbling sentences in a notepad or tapped rapidly on her laptop. I imagined she was a teacher preparing lessons for eager students. After a year or so we were introduced and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Toni was, in fact, an academic, lecturer, poet, author, songwriter and an accomplished musician. With many books and a range of musical CD’s to her name, Toni is a widely read and respected author and musician. I am pleased to welcome her to our blog this month. I hope that Toni’s experience of the writing world will inspire you and that you will choose to visit her web page and avail of her works.
What inspires you to write?
I am pretty much driven to write, having written songs since I was ten. Certain things catch my attention, and propel me into a new storyline.
What is a measure of success as a poet and author?
If the poems or stories that you write are enjoyed, provide an insight into a different world, and reach out and touch one person only, this is surely a measure of their success.
Who are some of your favourite poets?
Wordsworth, Byron, Tennyson, Coleridge.
The Supernatural appears in many of your books. What inspires you to write about it?
Since childhood I have tended to occupy a parallel world much of the time. This was generally referred to as ‘daydreaming’ and was greatly frowned upon, particularly as I tended to do this during school hours. Inspiration happens as and when, and I have no hard and fast answer as to why I write in this genre.
You are a singer/songwriter as well as a poet. What makes a poem or a song good?
If the words, and tune when portrayed as a song, engender the emotions in others that I felt when I wrote the song or poem, then I feel that I have achieved my goal. I tend to rely on feedback, when I perform my songs, regarding whether they are good are not. It is also useful to see if they stand the test of time.
What was the inspiration behind ‘The Nameless Children’? Could you say a bit about it?
With The Nameless Children, my gothic supernatural story, I happened to see a reference to ‘nameless children’ when visiting Howarth and the graveyard at the Brontë House. These two words conjured up a world of mystery and intrigue which drew me in, developing into a story that I would never have imagined in the cold light of day.
What advice would you give aspiring authors and poets?
Don’t waste time wondering about which genre you should write for, or what your intended audience might be, just write from the heart. In addition, don’t spend time developing a plotline, just because you think it is expected of you. This can often be distracting and might serve to suppress the creative spirit within you. Write because you want to.
I ran today with the feet of a deer
I ran in my mind so no-one would hear
The thud of my heart as it beat in my chest
Or my soul call out to the East and the West
I ran through the deserts where the seas ran dry
I ran where no-one would hear me cry
The wind was my only companion
And stayed by my side as I ran on and on
And why do you run the voice inside said?
Do you run from yourself, from the voice in your head?
Or do you try to keep pace with the winds of change
Moving forever with the wind and the rain
And an echo came back through the rustling leaves
Finding its way around rocks, around trees
It spoke to the voice that still lingered on
Saying ‘run, if you must; run on and on’
For you need to feel the sun on your face
The deep-sounding caves out of time and of space
To go beyond limits where the edges are blurred
For no sense can be made of this parallel world
Your spirit must find its own way now
Not stay with the others or run with the crowd
For staying apart is your one saving grace
And being alone will help you find your place
© Toni Bunnell 290112