Winners' Circle - Tonya Coffey

May 6, 2017

Welcome to the Winner's Circle where we celebrate the success of our ICL students. Help us celebrate published author Tonya Coffey!

What is the name of your book? Who is the publisher?
My first book is Harvest Moon (A New World Book 1) then Snow Moon (A New World Book 2) and so far, Pink Moon (A New World Book 3).

They are published by Saguaro Books

Tell us a bit about your path to publishing, from idea to submission to published book.
Harvest Moon was my last assignment of the course. When I finished it, I was proud. I had written a book and my teacher thought it was good. So I went about looking for a publisher. I used all the tools I learned from The Institute and after many months, I found a new publisher who was as excited about the story as me. A few months later and it was published. Now I am writing book 4 of my series and I can't wait to write more.

How long have you been writing?
I have always loved telling stories. Ever since I was big enough to come up with a tale, I made sure to tell it to my family. However, I didn't start writing them down until my senior year in high school. I had to write a bunch of essays and I had the opportunity to write fiction so I took advantage of it.

What's your favorite genre to write and why?
Fantasy! You can create a place that exists only in your head.

What ICL courses have your taken?
Writing for Children and Teens

How has taking our course helped your writing and/or career?
I didn't know anything about how to write a book. I knew what a story needed but the course showed me how to do it properly. They taught me to look beyond what was normal and to write a sentence better. :) I'm still learning that one.

Have any of your class assignments been published? Yes, the last one!

Do you have a favorite writing tip you'd like to share?
Read, read and re-read it again.

If you could travel back in time and give yourself one piece of writing advice, how far back would you go, and what would you tell yourself?
I would go back to high school. I would tell myself to take this
creative writing course sooner and to focus on one story at a time.

Tell us about your favorite place to write and what time of day you are most productive in your writing.
I write in my kitchen in the morning. I'm a stay at home mom so I take advantage of the time I get alone. When the kids are off to school and my husband is at work, I grab a cup of coffee and sit down with a notebook and a pencil.

Please tell us the best or most valuable thing you learned from your experience with ICL.

They taught me to focus on the senses. I never knew to look at each chapter with them in mind. When I write, I make sure to add some of each: touch, smell, taste, hear and see. By doing this, you make the reader feel the scene so they relate more.

Why write for middle grade?
I'm a big kid. I see the world with rose colored glasses and I wanted to write for kids who needed to see only the beauty.


Tonya Coffey lives in Stearns, Kentucky with her husband and two boys. If she isn't reading or writing a fantasy novel, you will find her sitting in front of a canvas with a paintbrush in hand.


To start your own path to the Winners' Circle, show us a sample of work and let us help you become the writer you want to be. Click here.

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Great Read!

By Mara Kim Amazon review, Verified Purchase

"This is another great read from [ICL]... When I saw this particular one, I grabbed it immediately ... This book is a great addition to a writer's (whether published or not) shelf ... I highly recommend their writing courses. You receive feedback on your work from published authors. You will be encouraged but also pushed to make your story from good to great."