Author’s Lounge: Toni Kief

by | Feb 26, 2024 | ReadersMagnet Authors' Lounge | 1 comment

I’m very excited to be a part of this interview with the Author’s Lounge. It is a great opportunity to talk about my surprise writing career with you.

What is your book all about? 

Mildred In Disguise with Diamonds is about an older woman who was widowed. At that time of his death, she learned that her husband, a police officer, had lost all of their money and retirement. She was in a desperate situation. She then walks over to the Ivory Winds Casino and applies for anything. They hire her for undercover security. Mildred Petrie’s life changes as she patrols the gaming floor.

What inspired me to write the book?

I noticed that as I aged, I was becoming more and more invisible and not getting noticed any longer, no matter how tight my jeans or how low my blouse was. This inspired me to turn that invisibility into a superpower (kind of). I had worked investigating insurance claims for the local casinos and realized the last people noticed were single, older women.

My initial target audience was older women, but I was wrong. Men, women, of multiple ages have enjoyed and reviewed my book. I was even recognized in the Dollar Store last month. This book is full of surprises, crime, twists and humor, which is enjoyed by many

I never thought about being a writer, but life sometimes has plans we haven’t been warned of. I want to prove that life doesn’t end at retirement and to be open-minded. To open up minds to the possibility of new creative careers, and challenges is an exciting possibility. I was 67 when I published my first book, Old Baggage. We all have another adventure on the way, filled with surprises, laughter, and challenges. Also, we can now enjoy the bounty of buffets to the maximum when not worrying about our weight.

I laugh at the question regarding plans for this book. Mildred in Disguise with Diamonds was a stand-alone, but Mildred won’t stop. I have released five follow up Mildred books, and I may have to get a restraining order to prevent her constant inspiration.

About the author

Toni K. Kief, was named after a stripper in the 1940s, or at least that is what my dad told me   I’m a small-town Midwesterner from a family of high spirits and laughter. I’m the oldest of four children, and everyone of inherited our father’s sense of humor and inability to sensor ourselves. I often joke that I left Illinois in my high school cap and gown.

I am single, but left a couple husbands behind. Some years ago, I left Florida and moved to Marysville, WA, with my sisters. This is our mother’s hometown and we knew she was going to return for her last years. The plan now is to stay for the view, family, and friends. 

 I was the first woman outside casualty insurance adjuster in Florida, and I continued my work in Washington. I was also a long-time civil rights activist. I am the rare extroverted writer. I have no secrets, and if I did, I’d tell you. I often share stories about lunches with politicians and famous writers. Frequently, I’ll brag about my FBI file. It is probably a paper file in a basement rusty, metal cabinet.

When I was 60, a group I belonged to was breaking up, and one of the members, James Johnson, dared me to write. Together, we authored a cookbook that was never published, Dangerous Dishes and the Food the Inspire, which moved us both into the writing business.

My genre is OA –old adult, aka Matron and Boomer fiction. I also have a historical novel based on a ten-time great-grandmother, Saints, Strangers, and Rosehip Tea. Most recently *more than a footnote, a collection of short bios of women neglected by history.

Today, I’m working on another Mildred Unchained book in the unexpected series. I continue to gather stories prime for embellishment.

One more thing: I founded the Writers Cooperative of the Pacific Northwest with  the author Susan Brown.

For more short stories and updates on new projects visit,

I can be found on Amazon at

There is aways my Facebook author page, Writers Co-op

1 Comment

  1. Amy

    Amazing Toni! I loved reading this and learning more about your story.


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