2023: Prose Colored Glasses Author John Toles

My interview this week is with Prose Colored Glasses author (https://www.amazon.com/Prose-Colored-Glasses-Enid-Writers/dp/B0BD2BK1T9/ref=sr_1_1?crid=EBTS740MRFRG&keywords=prose+colored+glasses+book+enid+writers+club&qid=1675273242&sprefix=Prose+Colored+Glasses%2Caps%2C509&sr=8-1 ), The Rev. Dr. John Toles. John has been a member of our club for less than a year and he’s become invaluable to us. He is multitalented and has three published books besides our anthology and I find his writing refreshing. https://www.amazon.com/stores/John-F-Toles/author/B07Z9WWL9V?ref=ap_rdr&store_ref=ap_rdr&isDramIntegrated=true&shoppingPortalEnabled=true  I had a few questions for him. Please welcome John Toles.

PC: What drives you to write?

JT: The ability to express and create are driving factors. I don’t do small talk very well, but there is plenty I want to say. Writing provides that opportunity. Having a character say something I might think but not necessarily speak is very freeing. In addition, I love stories. Reading them. Hearing them. Telling them. Stories allow us the opportunity to use our imagination and intellect to fill in the background, setting, appearance, etc. As we read/hear, our minds paint these glorious masterpieces of what the author did not (intentionally) say. For me, a well-written story is something you see.

PC: What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day?

JT: I am always in the process of writing, preparing to write (study, research, etc.), or thinking of writing, but this mainly pertains to crafting sermons. Most every week, I write two sermons. The Wednesday sermon (500-650 words) and the Sunday sermon (1,300 1,650 words) are always percolating somewhere in my mind. I discovered many years ago that if I wait to “think on it” the day I want to write it… nothing. Zip. Nada. But if I allow it to simmer for several days, I can sit down and communicate the message. My other writing is essentially the same process but over a longer timeframe. I make lots of notes (most of which occur to me while standing in the shower, so I have to shout, “Hey, Siri…,” and then dictate a message to my electronic secretary.) When I sit down to write on one of the novels, I may put down 10,000 words in a week, barely coming up for nourishment. I love that process and the intensity of that time. Nothing else really exists.

PC:Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? 

JT: I have my writing desk in my bedroom, but when I write, the desk and the computer screen are all I can see. The black-out shades are drawn, and the only light emanates from the monitor and a desk lamp, so I am blind to the other surroundings. The desk itself is a clutter of papers, rosaries, books, watercolors (mostly bad), small notebooks with notes, pens, pencils (I found some ‘Black Beauties’ similar to those used by Thad Beaumont—The Dark Half by Stephen King), empty coffee cups, and a glass with the remnants of some scotch. It may sound depressing, but it is glorious. When writing, all I see is the blinking cursor and the words that trail behind.

PC: How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?

JT: I’m working on something a little different, both new and old. I grew up in Springhill, Louisiana, on the border of Louisiana and Arkansas (throw a rock hard enough, and you’ll hit Hope, Arkansas—and maybe even Bill.) The project, Five Hours in Springhill, is a novella (40,000 words) that I originally wrote in 1993. I wanted to do something a little different than the Father Savel mysteries, so I pulled this one out of the box—thank goodness for OCR because there was no surviving digital copy, but the printing shop was able to provide a great Word file. Where did the idea come from… I’ve honestly no idea. I do remember that The Bridges of Madison County was popular at the time, and I had read it. Something in the back of my mind connects Springhill with reading it. Heaven forbid that a priest read such things!

PC: Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing!

JT: They are not related to writing, but they are intimately connected: I love to cook and make wine. Both, like writing, involve creating, and the result is as unique (Q: Do you know how you catch a unique rabbit? A: You-nique up on him.) as one author to the next. Perhaps it is not true with all writers, but I never know exactly how a story will unfold—characters do and say what they want with little input from me!—and the same is true with food and wine. Add garlic salt instead of salt, and you’ve got something new (and probably better). If the wine’s fermentation occurs at 72° instead of 68°, you’ve got an entirely different wine. I enjoy the process of creating in all its many forms.

Thank you, John, for answering my questions and letting us get to know you.

What are you reading/writing this week?


About peggylchambers

Peggy Chambers calls Enid, Oklahoma home. She has been writing for several years and is an award winning, published author, always working on another. She spends her days, nights, and weekends making up stories. She attended Phillips University, the University of Central Oklahoma and is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. She is a member of the Enid Writers’ Club, and Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. There is always another story weaving itself around in her brain trying to come out. There aren’t enough hours in the day!
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2 Responses to 2023: Prose Colored Glasses Author John Toles

  1. Fr. John says:

    Reblogged this on Candle in a Cave and commented:
    I had the opportunity to answer a few of Peggy Chambers’ questions for her blog and thought I would pass it along. Thank you, Peggy!


  2. Bobbi Jean Bell says:

    Enjoyed the interview!
    What am I reading now? Two books by Carol Van Den Hende, award-winning author of the “Goodbye, Orchid Series.” Highly recommend “Goodbye, Orchid” and “Orchid Blooming.”
    Bobbi Jean Bell – Host “Rendezvous With A Writer” on LA Talk Radio


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