Tonya McQuade

Tonya McQuade is an English Teacher and Department Chair at Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos, California, and is a member of South Bay Writers, Poetry Center San Jose, and the National League of American Pen Women. She is a great lover of both history and nature, frequently visiting museums, state and national parks, and historical sites with her husband and children, as well as reading and teaching historical texts, literature, and primary source documents. In many cases, her reading of historical fiction has driven her to dig more deeply into the historical figures and events being portrayed, leading her to new discoveries and areas of interest.

After acquiring 50 family Civil War letters in 2022, Tonya began researching the American Civil War in Missouri and began posting about her writing journey on a personal blog, Chasing History: Exploring My Ancestral Roots, as well as writing articles for the Emerging Civil War website. She is currently working on a book that incorporates the letters with historical commentary, titled A State Divided: The Civil War Letters of James Calaway Hale and Benjamin Petree of Andrew County, Missouri. She is also especially interested in the role women played in the Civil War, the history of slavery and abolition, and the ways the Civil War has been depicted in literature, film, poetry, and song.

Tonya earned B.A. degrees in English and Communication Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and served there as a writer and editor for the student newspaper, the Daily Nexus, for four years. She also earned her Single Subject Teaching Credential in English at UCSB and later her M.A. in Educational Leadership from San Jose State University.