Tonya was born and grew up in Ohio, the daughter of a school teacher and a computer engineer who worked on the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo computer systems. Her father’s love of science and the fact Tonya could see Wright-Patterson Air Force base from her bedroom window led to her life-long devotion to Asimov’s and Fantasy and Science Fiction magazines. So, of course, she fell in love with Star Trek!
Tonya has always been an entrepreneur. When she was in fifth grade, she began writing comic strips, taking five cents per comic subscription and hand copying the comics which she distributed each morning. When her subscriber list got too big, her mother should Tonya how to use a mimeograph machine. Other companies she started included at dish washing service (quite popular in a neighborhood where no one had a dishwasher) and cleaning the Rifle Club at Wright-Patterson.
When Tonya was in high school, she read Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography and took to heart Franklin’s advice everyone should have a career they could fall back on if they lost their job. Franklin learned to be a printer; Tonya did the modern day equivalent by learning to touch type, practicing until she could type 100 words a minute with no mistakes. From that day on she was always able to make money. First, as a secretary, then as a computer programmer, then as internet content provider. And today writes fiction and non-fiction.
According to her mother, Tonya was two years old when she demanded (remember, she was two years old,) that her mother grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down a story Tonya had made up for herself. By the time Tonya was ten, she was writing her first novel. Unfortunately, it was a horror story, and after having two weeks of nightmares and no sleep, she put the manuscript aside.
In 1972 Tonya was a foreign exchange student with AFS. On her way to live with her host family in Grossburgwedel, Germany, she met a fellow exchange student on the same program. Kent Jones was the most handsome, the smartest, and the kindest boy she had ever known.
Kent lived with an AFS host family in Austria, and at the end of the year, he and Tonya met for the second time and discovered they were both attending Oberlin College and would be living in German House dormitory. Within two weeks of arriving on campus, people rarely saw Tonya without Kent by her side. They returned to live in Europe where Kent received his doctorate in Economics from the University of Geneva, in Switzerland. Tonya worked for the World Health Organization and gathered a host of memories for her future international thrillers.
If a girl was allowed to play a sport, Tonya played it from the ages of 8 until she was 40. Sports remain a lifelong passion that continues to this day. In 1976 she and Kent moved to Boston, Massachusetts, which for a sports fan is like living in the promised land. Tonya loves the mountain and walking beside the ocean, and Kent loves classical music and museums, so Boston has been a great home for them.
Tonya has studied writing with Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Katherine Rusch since 1998. Through their workshops, she has met and gotten to know wonderful writers from around the world, as well as her writing buddy who lives in neighboring Cape Cod. Tonya is a member of Hal’s Pals writing group where she continues to indulge her love of science fiction.
In March 2016, Tonya retired as Director of the Project Management Office at Suffolk University to start Magnolia Lane Press, where she writes, project manages, publishes and markets her fiction and non-fiction! When she isn’t working, she hangs out with Alma, her eight-year-old red Doberman Pincher, who everyone describes as “the best dog ever.” Of course, they are correct.