From the Booking Desk:
I can trace my fandom for Toni L.P. Kelner back to her Laura Fleming and “Where Are They Now?” mysteries and I was fortunate to meet her at Malice Domestic fairly early in my days of attending. Seeing Toni at conventions like that one each year is always a highlight of those events for me.
Most recently, many readers will know her best as Leigh Perry, the pseudonym she uses when writing her Family Skeleton series of paranormal cozies featuring the lovable skeleton, Sid. Hopefully, you have seen the various cover reveals for this popular cozy series here at BOLO Books.
Regardless of which name you know her under, you’ve no doubt noticed that she is one of the smartest, funniest, and most caring members of our crime fiction tribe. And if by chance, you haven’t met Toni yet, today you will learn just what a special person she is and I hope that you will make a point to say hi to her the next time you attend a crime fiction convention.
Name: Leigh Perry / Toni L.P. Kelner
Location: Malden, MA
This person from my personal life is such an inspiration:
My older sister Brenda, who died six years ago, continues to be a huge inspiration. She never met a stranger, would drop everything to help a friend, and took so much joy in everything she did. Between one thing and another, she never got to travel as much as she dreamed of, but took enormous pleasure in hearing about my adventures. Once she called to tell me she’d had a heart attack, not realizing that I was in England. Then she nearly forgot to tell me about her health issues because she wanted to hear all about the trip. While she liked having something from everywhere I went, she didn’t want me to spend money. She just wanted me to pick up a nice rock for her to put in her yard. Brenda had such a joyful generous spirit, and I miss her every day.
One of the people I admire most in the crime fiction community is:
Two people immediately come to mind.
First is Charlaine Harris, and not just because of her enormous success or even her writing skill. (Though I’m totally in awe of her writing skill.) What I really admire is her bravery. When the Sookie Stackhouse books hit big, she could have kept writing that series ‘till the cows came home, but she wanted to stretch herself with other kinds of stories. So she started the much darker Harper Connolly series, alternating them with Sookie books. And when she felt that she’d written what she wanted to write about Sookie, she started the Midnight, Texas series. Not only was it a new series, but it was her first foray into a multiple-viewpoint book and a definite three-book story arc. Now she’s writing an alternate world, post-apocalyptic kind of Western series—another leap into the dark. Then there’s writing short fiction, editing anthologies, and collaborating graphic novels. In a profession that encourages us to do the same thing over and over, Charlaine is always brave enough to try something new, and good enough to succeed brilliantly.
Second is another excellent, brave writer. Despite her gifts and many publications, she’s going through a dry spell right now. I’m not going to name her because with luck, the dry spell will have ended before this is posted. But in the meantime, she perseveres. When I go through my own daunting and depressing dry spells—and all dry spells are daunting and depressing—I’m forever tempted to spend the day moping and playing computer games. Not this writer. She gets up and writes every single day. She’s written several short stories in a different genre, continues to promote her work, and keeps trying new things. On those days when I’m not feeling like writing, I think of her, and put my butt in my chair.
STALKER ALERT! If this fictional character were real, they would likely need to get a restraining order against me:
This is tricky because my favorite fictional characters are often in dangerous situations, but if I’m thinking about those quiet times between books, I’d love to hang around with Anton Schmidt from the Vicky Bliss books by Elizabeth Peters. He’s smart, he’s funny, he knows art and history, he’s got great gossip, and he knows where the best places to eat are. He’d be a perfect companion!
People are always surprised that I am a fan of this individual (singer, actor, or artist):
I have no clue as to how people see me, but my daughter says I look sweet and of course most of my work is pretty cozy, so people might not expect me to like Alice Cooper. I got Welcome to My Nightmare as a bridesmaid gift when my sister Brenda got married. People probably wouldn’t be surprised if I said my absolute #1 favorite singer is my daughter Valerie, and my absolute #1 favorite animator is my daughter Maggie.
My personal catch phase is (or should be):
Never give up, never surrender!