Tonya Kappes has written more than 80 southern cozy mysteries, all of which have graced numerous bestseller lists, including USA Today and Woman’s World Book Club pick twice. Best known for stories charged with southern charm, emotion and humor and filled with flawed characters, her novels have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews. She lives with her husband in northern Kentucky. Now that her four boys have flown out of the nest, Tonya writes full-time in her camper!
WOW! Doesn’t that bio sound awesome? Don’t let all the awards fool you.
Y’all want the truth? The real truth that’s been swept under the rug? Truth be told, secrets don’t say under that rug for long. I hated reading. Yes! I didn’t read until I was well into my thirties.
This (below) is my fourth grade report card. Yep, you read what my teacher wrote correctly. I didn’t turn in TWO of the THREE required book reports. Mmmhmmm. It didn’t end there. As the years progressed, if it wasn’t a party invitation, I wasn’t reading it.
Fast forward to when I had joined a book club because they had wine, chocolate and it got me out of the house while raising four very rambunctious boys. One particular book club meeting I was telling them a story. All of them told me I should write a book about it. What they didn’t know was that two hours previous, my husband told me I should write a book.
I got home around midnight from book club and woke my husband up. I asked him if he really thought I could write a book that would make a person escape from their daily life and make them laugh like books had done for me. He agreed, then told me to go to bed.
The next day, I went to the local drug store and bought a spiral notebook and pencil. That night while I was sitting under an oak tree at two of my boys pee-wee football practice, I started writing my very first book.
(Now those little boys of mine are all grown up! And this is our usual family pose.)
That book ended up selling to a publisher, which is very very rare. From there I never looked back. I have won several awards for mystery including mystery of the year, author of the year, Women’s World Book Club pick twice, and USA Today Bestseller list a few times, but those things do not matter to me. What matters to me is meeting readers. Hearing their stories and knowing I have a hand in helping them escape from their daily life by reading one of my southern cozy mysteries.
I travel to various reader events where I give a keynote speech on how reading saved my life and those morphed into a yearly reader event I host called Two Dames on a Mystery Train.
Two Dames on a Mystery Train went from one night to a full weekend of fun with readers. The mystery weekend event is located in a different city every year. I can’t wait to see you there!
With every word I write and book I finish, I keep my purpose in life in the forefront: help readers escape their life with a good southern mystery and plenty of southern hospitality to make them laugh.