Toby K. Davis

Toby K. Davis

Advice From IR Approved Author Toby K. Davis: "Just Keep Writing, Don't Give Up."

The Ever Part of Always—Keely Tucker’s First Adventure received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Toby K. Davis.
What is the name of the book and when was it published?
Let me introduce myself, Toby K. Davis, and my book, The Ever Part of Always—Keely Tucker’s First Adventure, which was first published in 2012 and now again in March 2023. It’s that special adventure that will touch your heart. Let Keely breathe. She wants to believe, and so will you.
What’s the book’s first line?
“The gold dust trickled in a slow, steady stream through the cupped, gritty palm of Keely Rosalie Tucker.”
What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.
Keely is the ten-year-old heroine that jumps off the page immediately and grabs ahold of you… she doesn’t release you as she travels to the outermost parts of the universe searching for the secret elixir to cure Crea, a mystical beast that never should have been born, and almost wasn’t.

Keely tackles the insurmountable obstacles and finds the courage to solve and uncover mysteries of time, languages of fantastical beasts, and slippery clues that slide across her path. Her steadfast companions, Meowcher, a giant, black-faced calico cat who speaks with a ‘S-ou-th-er-n dr-aw-l’, and ‘sa=shays’ instead of walks; and Growler, the scruffy, long-haired, mongrel dachshund, are constantly beside her. Telepathy is a tool they discover to expand the world around them. Their world is set in Appalachia, Eastern Tennessee to be exact; it’s a tough place, the local mine is closed, businesses are leaving the area and few people have work.  Keely’s dad is a salesman and is out of town more than he’s home, and Keely’s mom drinks too much and yells at Keely to ease her sadness.

Keely’s grandmother gives her coping techniques to build up her self- confidence and to deal with the verbal and physical abuse from her mom and the neighborhood bully, and even her teacher who ridicules her about having difficulty keeping her numbers straight and words in the right order. But her grandmother dies suddenly, and their magical fantasy world opens with the reading of her will. Her grandmother leaves her an aging horse and after much persuading her mom allows her to keep it. The horse’s name is Mariah, who communicates via telepathy to inform Keely that her name ‘means the wind…the howling winds of beyond the rainbows’. Mariah has a huge secret that changes everything; and her name is Crea, the last one of her line of telepathic unicorns. Crea whispers truth to Keely “My name means ‘Believe’.”

Keely has no idea what the world has in store for her but as she learns to trust herself and her friends (Meowcher and Growler) her courage, steadfastness, empathy shine through as she faces dangers from every corner of the universe and must succeed or her friend will not survive.
What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

I had the idea for my book for over thirty years, and knew it was unique. I was born in Appalachia which gave me access to the place and the sorrows. I started out with a few poems about some of the themes in the book, which were lauded by my tenth=grade teacher. She encouraged me to continue writing and inspired me to keep a file of my book or poem ideas, so I could remember them and develop them into complete stories/books if I desired.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

My main reason to write this book is to introduce Keely to kids all over the world and have them fall in love with her. She will inspire them, and they will stand by her side as she wipes her tears and grits her teeth. Hugging rainbowed clouds as she battles the demonic beasts that steal kids hopes, dreams and wishes, and bury them in cavernous holes under the Mother of Rainbows, where all rainbows are born. Her indomitable spirit, buoyed by her grandmother’s faith in her and her growing ‘inkle sense’ of what’s to come, Keely’s imagination ignites the riddle ‘IM-POSSIBLE’ ‘IS-POSSIBLE’?.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?
Keely reminds me of the sun that has not yet seen a sunrise, it’s on the horizon bumping the bottom of the sky, bubbling in the clouds, promising something with slivered silvers of light that dance under the dark…. Waiting to be called.

Keely is definitely a modern-day knight with no armor, always ready to fight to save her friends, whether inside, outside, or in between universes. She never refuses, but finds a way, with magic or without, and always with imagination.
When did you first decide to become an author?
Writing was always a passion, whether it was poems, stories or articles. Use of lyrical, unusual phrasing is important as it challenges the reader to utilize imagination to uncover meaning and seek deeper context. I began writing when I was ten years old and kept notebooks filled with my passions, my loneliness, my anger, my sadness, my hopes, dreams and loves. Life interferes with dreams along the way, but the funny thing about life, my dreams slid on detoured routes and took a bit longer to reach that ultimate dream come true.

And here we are.
Is this the first book you’ve written?

The Ever Part of Always—Keely Tucker’s First Adventure is my first published book, not counting short stories, poems, speeches, articles.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I am retired and love to travel to exotic places we have not yet visited. COVID slowed us down, but there are still places to explore and uncover new worlds to describe.

I like to write in the mornings, and I enjoy listening to ENYA, her soothing melodic tones inspire me, and words just flow from my mind to the page. If I am alone, I can write for 4-6 hours without a break, and if I am really in the mood, I can write for up to 10-12 hours. I love watching the words pop up on the page.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

When I’m not writing I am involved with my two adult children, three grandchildren, garden club, and our new puppy, Bailey, who keeps me and my husband very busy.

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

My best piece of advice to Indie writers is to just keep writing, don’t give up. If you write something and you love it, keep it, leave it alone for a few months, come back to it with fresh eyes, read it and see if you still love it. Does it make you feel the same as when you wrote it? Or do you see that it needs ‘tweaking’…then ‘tweak’ it, but always, always, always…did I say always? Keep the original version, as you may decide the first version is the best and you don’t want to have to try to remember it verbatim.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling? If so, why?
If a traditional publisher came calling, I would be interested in hearing their proposal. Certain books lend themselves more easily to this path, and the biggest difference is the level of funding they may have to bring your book to the screen, as in movie or tv production.

It is very difficult for Indie writers to get noticed. My recommendation is to go down the path with a company that can help you obtain professional reviews (Like INDIE Review). I did not do this when I first published my book, and even though my book had only favorable ‘five=star’ ratings and lots of superlative praise for being a book that was beautifully written with intricate illustrations, had a positive message and helped people dealing with personal crisis, it was not that successful. I did not get ‘discovered’.

With the recent publication of my book, I chose a company that submitted my book for these professional reviews, and all four of the new reviews were outstanding and it is those reviews that increased buzz about my book and brought it to new heights in the publishing world.
Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)
I was a teacher for over ten years and taught both gifted and challenged kids all over the world. My goal in teaching, tutoring and writing is to intrinsically motivate kids to believe in themselves, to trust their own uniqueness and imagine the possible. This is what I live for and what I hope my books will inspire, believe you can do it, and you can.

One of the most important positive effects of my book is to encourage kids to read, and read everything…signs, cartoons, magazines, joke books, labels, make up games that involve riddles, mysteries. The more a child reads, the more they experience, and they will discover how their own uniqueness factors in and expands to the ever part of always.
Which book do you wish you could have written?
A book that I wish I wrote is Dorp Dead, by Julia Cunningham. It is a slightly dark book about an eleven-year-old orphan boy, Gilly and it was first published in 1965. It was the first young adult book that I read in college for a teaching course that seemed to champion a boy’s survival on using his wits and imagination, and it made me think I too, could write a novel with a realistic, relatable, character with real world dangers and problems. I read it and thought again that I needed to tell Keely and Crea’s story and share them with the world.

I believe The Ever Part of Always – Keely Tucker’s First Adventure, could be destined to be a classic. Feel Keely’s goosebumps. Shiver with her and join the adventure.