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Interview: The Arsenic Eater's Wife author, Tonya Mitchell

Author Tonya Mitchell

Tonya Mitchell was one of my first author site clients when I started focusing on designing for authors. Her site has remained one of my favorites. You can check out her first historical fiction novel, A Feigned Madness, and her recent release, The Arsenic Eater's Wife at

Tonya's recent novel has gotten so many reviews right out of the gate, that I decided to ask her specific questions that might help you, writers, who are wondering how to sell a book in today's world.

What did you do before becoming an author? 

I was a brand/marketing manager for consumer packaged goods companies in

the food, toy, and juvenile products industries. I liked marketing products,

designing packaging, and creating promotions, but none of it was anywhere

near as fulfilling as writing is to me now.

How did you first get interested in gothic historical fiction?

I was an avid reader from a young age. My first gothic (though I didn’t know it

was called gothic at the time) was Jane Eyre. That book started me on a quest

for more books like it, so I discovered Edgar Alan Poe, Bram Stoker, Shirley

Jackson, all those classics that would eventually lead me to writing books with

the tropes found in those type books (creepy place, isolated protagonist,

what’s-really-going-on-here? vibes).

How has being published changed your life?

Honestly, not much. Being an author was a dream I’d had since I was eight, so

that was a huge win. But as far as the day-to-day, there’s not much glamour.

Launch day and book signings are cool, but most days it’s me at a laptop, head

down, spinning words that hopefully don’t suck. The best thing are the readers

who find you, give your book a stellar review, and tell everyone about it. That’s

the authorship trifecta for me and it’s why I do this.

What is your favorite thing to do aside from writing?

Seriously? Eat!

How did you get over 1000 reviews (Amazon/Goodreads combined)

within the first few weeks of publication?

My publisher, Bloodhound Books, positions books for the market very, very


The Arsenic Eater's Wife has been a top seller in historical fiction for

weeks, correct? Is that on Amazon?

Currently, it’s high in the rankings for historical mystery and gothic fiction in the

US and remains #1 in its category in the UK. This makes me happy, but it’s

ephemeral too, so I try to focus on what readers are saying and, of course, the

next book!

How much marketing does your publisher do and how much marketing

do you do?

It’s a joint effort and should be. Bloodhound got it noticed with a Bookbub New

Release for Less promotion and doing ongoing Amazon and Facebook ads.

They also ran a promotion on the reader app, Fable, where 500 people signed

up for The Arsenic Eater’s Wife book club and got access to my in-app author

notes. All of this helped the book’s exposure. On my end, I’m doing podcasts,

book festivals, bookstore signings, and my personal favorite—book clubs.

The Arsenic Eater's Wife

How important do you think cover design and title are now adays with the scrolling mentality?

Extremely. Most books are sold online, so there’s less in-store browsing. Cover and title have to work instantly to get any traction.

Anything else that you would like to add to authors starting out?

Writing books is a long game. It takes time to hone your craft, find your

audience, and develop a backlist. If you’re in it for quick money or fame, you

should consider something else. But if you love to write, stay the course. Writer

groups are great for motivation and accountability and can save you lots of

angst when the days are hard.

Where do you live and what is your favorite restaurant there?

Southeastern Ohio in the Midwest. I love Indian food and Ambar India is my

favorite, but it also holds a special place in my heart. It’s where my husband

and I had our first date.


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