02 March 2019

Saturday Spotlight | Music Boxes By Tonja Drecker

In addition to the usual blog posts every Monday and Wednesday about our travel adventures and day-to-day life living aboard a sailboat, I also occasionally post on Saturdays, focusing on things related to writing such as cover reveals, book launches, reviews, interviews with authors etc. So if you're a bit of a book nerd like I am, check in on Saturdays - you never know what might pop up.

Today, I'm featuring an interview with Tonja Drecker to celebrate the release of her middle grade fantasy novel, Music Boxes. Tonja is one of the lovely writers I've met through the Insecure Writer's Support Group and it's a pleasure to have her on the blog today. So scroll on down and find out what Tonja has to say about writing, penguins, and cookies.

Interview with Tonja

1 - What inspired you to write this book?

This is the one question I don’t like answering because I simply don’t know. I was pulling weeds in the garden—nasty blackberry shoots with horrible thorns—and suddenly the thought of an evil ballet teacher collecting music boxes popped into my head and stuck. Since I was driving the kids to and from three different schools at that time, I used the idea for Car Story Time. And so, the plot was developed.   

2 - Do you have any writing rituals?

No, I don’t. When I wake up in the morning, I’m never sure what the day will bring. So, my writing is just as flexible. Although I usually write at the dining room table or on a standing desk with wheels in front of my fireplace (I get chilly so easily), I write everywhere and anywhere. I usually have a cup of tea next to me, but that’s more due to my tea addiction than writing.

3 - What's more important - character or plot?

Both are equally important. Without a well-developed plot, even the deepest and most relatable character can’t go anywhere. And a plot without a character to give it heart and depth is nothing more than a passing wind. A good story needs both.

4 - What do you like best about being an author? What do you like the least?

The flexibility is exactly what I need. I can write anywhere and at any time. Even if I don’t have a writing tool around (laptop, paper or pen), the story plays in the mind. My other favorite aspect is that I can be distracted or act a little strangely, and my family simply assumes my mind is drifting in another one of my new worlds…it’s a great cover-up to my actual moments of insanity or forgetfulness.

My least favorite part of being an author is the marketing. While I love to visit with children and enjoy every second interacting with them, the whole idea of discovering ways to get my book out into the world is sometimes a little overwhelming. After all, I love nothing more than hiding out on our little farm in our secluded valley and avoiding crowds. But I think this a problem many writers face.

5 - What's your favorite cookie? If you don't like cookies, what's wrong with you? Oops, sorry scratch that. My follow-up question was meant to be more polite - "Why don't you like cookies?"

Whoa! There are people who don’t like cookies??? I have a love for anything chocolate…well, most anything. Strange mixtures like with bacon or chili or those horribly sweet creamy surprises scare me away. But I’d never say no to a peanut butter cookie or one with nuts or one with cinnamon or one with caramel or one with…   I need a cookie.

6 - A penguin walks through your front door wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why did he come visit you?

“Hola! “ And that’s all he’d get out because my overly friendly and attention deficient (in his opinion) dog would be trying to give him hugs and demanding attention. Yes, my dog does try to hug. And if the dog isn’t enough, my two youngest children would be extremely excited and vying for attention too. I hope the penguin visits with the intention of wanting us to join him on a journey…almost anywhere would be fine. We’re always ready for an adventure.

Thanks for stopping by, Tonja! You've got great taste in cookies...I'm craving one now too. I really enjoyed reading Music Boxes (you can read my review on Goodreads here.) I'm glad my ballet classes weren't like Madame Destinee's!

About Music Boxes


“I only desire your talent...”

Twelve-year-old Lindsey McKay's biggest dream is to be a famous ballerina. But after moving to New York, she ends up at the Community Center with a teacher who’s a burly bear in tights.

When she meets Madame DestinĂ©e, the teacher of a top dance school who offers her classes for free, Lindsey can't believe her luck. In exchange, she must perform in the school’s exclusive midnight shows, ones sure to make her a star. But something’s not right...

One by one, the other dancers disappear. Each time they do, a music box with a figurine just like the missing ballerina joins Madame DestinĂ©e’s growing collection. If Lindsey doesn’t discover the truth about the dance school, she might end up a tiny figurine herself.


About Tonja

Tonja Drecker is a writer, blogger, children’s book reviewer and freelance translator. After spending years in Germany exploring forgotten castles, she currently resides in the Ozarks with her family of six. When she’s not tending her chickens and cows, she’s discovering new adventures, nibbling chocolate and sipping a cup of tea. Connect with Tonja on her author website, her review blog, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi!
The latest Mollie McGhie cozy sailing mystery is now available! Pick up a copy of >>Bodies in the Boatyard<< at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (CA) | Amazon (UK) | Amazon (AU) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks | Google Play

Paperback & large print available at: Amazon

Find out more at ellenjacobsonauthor.com 


  1. Thank you for featuring Tonja today.

    Marketing is overwhelming, but once you start getting in front of people and children, you'll find you love it.

    Chilly? I'm sitting here with a space heater running on me right now!

  2. Thanks so much for presenting Music Boxes here. It was a fun interview...except now I have a constant crave for cookies.

  3. A talking penguin walks through my door and I'm having myself committed.
    Congratulations, Tonja!

  4. What a great idea for a book, a mystery, a bit of danger, i like it!

  5. This book sounds so awesomely creepy. I wish it was targeted to adults, but I still really want to read it!


We LOVE when people leave comments. It's so much more fun hearing what you have to say. If you have a blog, make sure you leave a link and I'll be sure to pop on by.