Friday, February 21, 2014

JT Toman, the Author........Joyce Oroz

As the hot seat passes from Lyla to JT Toman, we are reminded that Cozy Catters are amazing people, not just authors. J.T. Toman lives in Boulder, Colorado. She received her Ph.D. in economics from Yale University and has taught econometrics at the University of Sydney and the University of Colorado at Boulder. She also has a degree in zookeeping from Pikes Peak Community College and has cared for everything from butterflies to elephants. She now teaches math at Front Range Community College, and truly believes fractions are useful in everyday life.
In her spare time, J.T. Toman joins the rest of Colorado hiking, biking and skiing. However, much like her cats, she finds food more inspiring than scenery. J.T. particularly loves home- grown tomatoes, udon noodles and tall glasses of chocolate milk, but not at the same time.

JT has fun and interesting answers to my questions. Her mystery novel, PICKING LEMONS, shows off her skill at tight and precise prose. Throw in some laughs and JT's style will lure you in. Here is my new guest in her own words: 

JT, was there someone, something or an event in your life that set you on the road to being an author?

I wrote my first “book” titled “A Big Book of Bear Poetry” when I was in elementary school. It was a book of poems about my favorite stuffed bear toys, and I pestered my mother to take the photos of the bears (having tea parties, jogging, in bed asleep and so forth) to help illustrate it. My first “paid” piece of writing was in my junior year of high school when I won two tickets to the opera for a non-fiction essay I entered in a competition at the local library.
No one suggested I become an author. I would be unhappy not writing, hence I write!

Please tell us what do you like about writing and what bugs you about it?

I love entering the world that I create in my writing. I get immersed in my characters and their lives and can leave behind my day-to-day concerns while I am writing. I love the moment when the characters do or say something that surprises even me! They can cause me to laugh out loud when I am writing.
I am less in love with the process of editing. My sixteen-year-old step daughter writes fan fiction for the show Supernatural, and she and I lament over the need to edit.  We both agree that we love the creative process, but need plenty of chocolate milk to bribe ourselves to edit.

How long have you been writing books and what other writing do you do?
“Picking Lemons” is my first published book. I have a multitude of UFO’s (Unfinished Opuses) lying around ... a children’s book, a memoir about my days as a zookeeper... the usual assortment. I have also written in the field of creative non-fiction essays, and had an essay published in Skirt! magazine in 2009 titled “Punishingly Younger”.

 Tell us about your protagonist. Is she a lot like you? What are her assets and weaknesses?
I love C.J. Whitmore. She is who I wish I was. Smart and sassy. She says out loud all the things I vent in frustration to the bathroom mirror at the end of a day. Of course, she isn’t perfect. C.J. is a tenured economics professor at an elite university. You don’t get to a position like that by being nice. She is quite self-centered, and not what you would call emotionally intelligent.

JT, What is the most exciting thing that ever happened to you?

This is a fascinating question. If you had asked me when I was ten, I would have told you it was going to see CATS the musical. My mother, grandmother and I went as my tenth birthday present, and it was the most amazing evening. I didn't think I would ever come back to earth, and I certainly didn't stop singing the songs for months.

If you had asked me when I was twenty-three, it would have been getting into Yale to do my Ph.D. This meant moving 10,000 miles away from the small island of 200 people I lived on in Australia, and living in New Haven CT. I still remember landing in LAX and thinking "Oh My! There are a LOT of people here! And they are all walking very quickly."

I asked my husband this question this morning, and he said "Surely it was the day you met me." And, while a little sappy, I think he is right. Because when I married my husband, I became a stepmother of two elementary-aged children as well as a wife. And of all the things I have done (zookeeper, economist, author), being a wife and stepmother for the last ten years has been the most exciting, exhilarating ... at times terrifying (I taught both kids to drive!) ... but wonderful thing that has ever happened to me.

 Economic theories can predict many things--just not the death of a renowned Economics professor. When Professor Edmund de Beyer is found in his office strangled to death by his own PhD hood, the police don’t have to look any further than his colleagues in the Economics Department for suspects. After all, Edmund was the most despised faculty member in the department. CJ Whitmore, the department’s only tenured female (who also has a penchant for wearing pink-cowboy-boots to class), resolves to get to the bottom of the mystery using economic principles. Comparing tracking down murder suspects to selecting a used car, she attempts to discern the real deals from the “lemons.” That is, which suspects are really telling the truth and which are lying to protect their guilt? Will CJ be able to pick the lemon before her clever adversary strike again?

Where can we find your book, and a website or blog?

My first book is titled “Picking Lemons: A C.J. Whitmore Mystery.” It is published by Cozy Cat Press. It is available on Amazon in kindle format and paperback. I also have an author website, 

Thank you JT for taking the time to share your interesting life and book with us today. Good luck in all your ventures!
Happy writing everyone

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting concept for a cozy. Doesn't sound like a lemon at all! Good luck with your sales and future works, J.T.