Tonya Lacy is an Army vet and the author of The Talented Twins’ Adventure series. In this interview, Tonya and I discuss her books, how to help kids deal with bullying, and her path to becoming a writer of books for kids.
Please note: I was monetarily compensated for this interview. Thank you for supporting the authors and brands that keep Reading Middle Grade free for all readers.
Hi Tonya, Welcome to Reading Middle Grade! Could you tell us a bit about you and your debut chapter book series, The Talented Twins’ Adventures?
I live in Denver, Colorado with my husband of 21 years, my twin teenagers (who’ll be 14 on 3/14!), and our two dogs. I’m an Army veteran currently working as a Program Assistant in the Cardiology division of the Colorado University (CU) Anschutz Medical campus. The Talented Twins’ Adventures set is my debut children’s book series!
What inspired you to create the series — and what inspired the first story?
I was inspired to create the series after observing different issues, emotional and social, that multiple siblings (i.e. twins, triplets, etc.) can experience, that other single children do not experience.
This first book, Forgiveness, is loosely based on an event that occurred while my twins were at the mall. My son was very upset about it for a few days and kept asking me “why did they do that?” That’s when I got the idea to write the story, in an effort to offer an answer to other children that may have the same question regarding bullying.
Bullying is an ever present issue, and these days it starts younger than ever. Is that something you experienced as a child?
Yes, I think it’s safe to say all children experience some type of bullying as a child. Being much taller than my peers, with large feet, and wearing very thick glasses, I was always teased! But I was very proud of my unique traits and used them to my advantage.
In this day and age of social media, and the world of being justified by your number of likes, I feel that bullying is ever present and much more harsh than what our generation experienced when we were children.
The theme of your first book is forgiveness. Why do you think that is something kids who are bullied or experiencing racial prejudice also need to do?
I think forgiving your oppressor will teach kindness and, in turn, hopefully make the bully feel silly or guilty if they do not get the reaction out of you that they initially expected. Being kind and forgiving will also show others how you expect to be treated and will, eventually, leave you feeling better about yourself.
When we withhold anger, it only makes us more angry, confused, and hurt. Hurt people then hurt other people and it becomes a revolving circle that we can’t get out of.
Have you always wanted to be a writer of books for kids? Do you have a day job in addition to writing? How do you find the balance?
No, I did not always want to be a children’s book writer, but the incident my children experienced gave me the idea to write the first book and I later realized there were other situations that other children like them may experience that could be shared as well. The manuscript actually collected dust until 2019 and it was first written in 2013!
As stated above, I’m currently working as a Program Assistant in the Cardiology division of the CU Anschutz Medical campus. I find balance by remembering to enjoy writing and publishing and not to make it another “job”; this allows me to stay eager about it and excited to continue with it!
Who are your favorite authors to read?
Ntozake Shange, Tayari Jones, Toni Morrison, Mary Torjussen, Stephen King, and any comedic memoir.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Dancing, trying out new recipes (eating them, not cooking them!), crafts and/or board games with my children, unique group activities
What can we expect next from you? Any forthcoming work you’d like to share?
The third installment of The Talented Twins Adventures: Same but Different will be launched soon, with illustrations by my daughter, Resa Lacy!
Thank you so much for stopping by, Tonya!
Buy The Talented Twins Adventures: Forgiveness
Meet Tonya Lacy
Tonya Lacy lives in Denver Colorado near the Rocky Mountains with her husband, nonidentical twin teenagers, a senile Boston Terrier, and an attack Rottweiller.
Tonya served 6 years in the United States Army as a Signals Analyst, was an Administrative Assistant to some really important people, and later obtained a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Graphic Design and Media Arts from Southern New Hampshire University. She is currently a Program Assistant at the University of Colorado Medical Campus in the Cardiology division. In between these milestones, she became a blessed mom to two gorgeous human beings, attempted to be a Zumba dancer, a Tap dancer, a craft maker of anything she sees on Pinterest, a zip-liner, a white-water rafter, an ax-thrower, a self-proclaimed foodie (as an eater, not a chef!), an avid book reader, and now a writer of children’s picture books! Within the latter, she attempts to showcase ways for juveniles to stand behind various morals and values while coping with emotional and societal experiences.
The Talented Twins’ Adventures is Tonya’s debut children’s book series, loosely inspired by events that happened to her children when they were younger.
If you want to know when Tonya’s next book will come out, please follow her at one of the sites below, where you can sign up to receive an email when she has her next release!: