Today I am so excited to post an interview with the uber-talented Monique O'Connor James, a fellow Astraea author. Her novel, The Keepers, is doing super well. And her charity novel, The Mulligan Man, is also out now with all proceeds going to Japan Tsunami Relief.
Tell me a little about yourself (including your favorite/recommended reads) and how you started writing.
Monique: I'm a wife and mother of two beautiful children. I married my highschool sweetheart who I started dating at sixteen. My parents were married for 35 years before the death of my mother and I'm a true romantic at heart, a believer in the notion that with a little hard work, love can last forever. After my own angel novel, The Keepers was published I read Hush, Hush and Cresendo by Becca Fitzpatrick and loved them. They are definitely on my must read lists. I also recently read a novel called A Demon Made me Do It by Penelope King and fell for it, so check those out for sure!
Tell me about The Keepers. Where did the idea come from?
Monique: Wow, the Keepers was a complex culmination of events. As I said, my mom died of breast cancer in 1998. I couldn't write for several years after, but when I did the heroine Jess evolved as a young woman who had lost her own mother to the disease. I knew I wanted my hero to be paranormal, but there were about a thousand vampire books coming out and I wanted to try something different. Justin and his brothers are a combination of all the men in my life that I adore; my husband, father, son, and several friends.
What upcoming releases do you have?
Monique: Oh I'm very excited. The first week of September Jamais Vu will be released. - Jamais Vu is about a girl who survives an accidental gun shot. She has a near-death experience and when she returns, she dreams of how certain people will die. It's a journey of understanding what happened the day of her accident, and helping the other souls avoid their deaths. It's dark at times, but filled with rocker boys and descriptions of St. Francisville, Louisiana and plantations :)
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Monique: I always say the same thing. The best advice I can give you, is don't give up. EVER. We all start writing because we are driven to do so. Somewhere along the way we decide we want to share our work and getting published can take away some of the raw joy that is derived from the writing process. I still struggle with this. Always go back to the core of why you write and then keep writing and keep trying. Find a good critique partner who will dole out tough love when you need it, and find a publisher who admires and loves your work as much as you do. If you do these things, you can't make a wrong decision.
Can you share something about one of the main characters in an upcoming release?
Monique: Kasey Kibodeaux is one of the main characters in Jamais Vu. He's the lead singer of an alternative rock band and addicted to pain pills. From the very start you can't help but like his laid back sweet demeanor and despite his obvious flaws you will fall for him.
Can you share a favorite quote from an upcoming release?
Monique: Here's a tiny excerpt:
My blonde hair grew and no longer swept my shoulders. The deep green in my eyes was shadowed by dark circles as if I hadn’t slept in days. My skin, once bronze from all the time I'd spent in the tanning bed, was pale now. The horror of the girl was not how fatigue made her look a bit older, but how her once perfect body was now disfigured. With a trembling finger, I traced the jagged line from my ear down between my breasts to its end at my navel.
It was still raised in a hard ridge which was thicker than my thumb. The fractured skin was no longer red but still dark pink and nausea swept over me. How would anyone ever love the girl who’d been haphazardly stitched from one end of her body to the other?
I didn’t recognize her. She was not the Darby who'd stood in the driveway packing for a vacation with her family. This girl was older, wiser, and held darker secrets. I picked the brush up from the Formica counter-top and ran it through my hair struggling to stay focused on my own image.
I wasn’t as pretty, not as confident and somehow incomplete. My fingers wrapped around the handle so firm they ached, and as though four months of rage erupted from them in a split second I hurled the thing at the mirror. Glass tumbled to the floor in pieces each sliver sending a likeness of the stranger back at me.
Where can people find you on the web?
Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Monique-OConnor-James-Author/151581321573144
Buy Links: http://www.astraeapress.com/#ecwid:category=662245&mode=product&product=4435578