Welcome! Today, I'd like to introduce to you Monique O'Connor James, author of Becoming Joliee. Monique has so graciously answered my interview questions, and I'd love to share this with you today.
Monique, I'm so glad you're here today and thanks for answering my inquiring questions!
First off, tell me about yourself, and your writing. I’m the mom of two beautiful children who married my high school sweetheart. I work full time in insurance, but I love to write! Currently, all of my stories are YA and Adult Paranormal fiction/romance.
How long have you been writing? How many published books do you have, and what genres? I started writing in elementary school, but I didn’t decide to try to get published until January, 2011. As of July 9, when Becoming Jolie is published I will have five novels and a short story published.
Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, do you ever consider straying outside your genre? I’ve pretty much stuck with paranormal fiction, but I’m by no means stuck in that genre. I’m sure eventually, I will write something else. I’ve thought about it, but I am obsessed with people who have powers, bringing back the dead, and the like, so all my stories have, up to this point, been paranormal.
Are you a plotter or do you write from the seat of your pants? I completely write by the seat of my pants. When I try to plot, my characters take over and demand that the story go in the opposite direction from where I thought it was going. I wish I was a plotter! I would love to have the stories outlined and have an idea of where I’m going, because I’m OCD like that. However, it NEVER works! As soon as my characters get the opportunity the sabotage whatever work I put into planning the story!
What is a typical writing day like for you? Well, I work full time, so I typically get up at 6AM – during school - I get the kids off to school and then work until 4:30. Unfortunately, my commute is over an hour. I usually write between 10 PM and 2AM, once everyone is asleep. I guess what I find the most difficult is fitting in marketing and promoting. When you write new novels constantly, you are always editing and going through the publication process on top of writing. It’s hard to find the time to promote books when you are trying to fit it all in! Maybe I could cut out those four hours of sleep?
Who do you love to read? Favorite authors, favorite books? I just love to read period. I will read anything, anywhere, anytime. Of course, the only time I really get to read is when I sneak off to the tub and lock myself the bathroom!
What is something you'd like to accomplish in your writing career next year? Well, my first novel, The Keepers hit number 1 on Amazon. I’d really love for another one of my novels to hit #1. My ultimate goal is to write full time and quit working. I’d love if that happened within the next year!
If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be? OH! That’s a hard one – You know that movie Jumper? Where the guy can just jump from one place to another? I think that would be cool. I really wouldn’t want to read thoughts or know the future. Sometimes it’s just best if I don’t know what’s going to happen!
If you could keep a mythical/ paranormal creature as a pet, what would you have? Can I have a unicorn? Is that cheesy? I know my little girl would love to have a unicorn!
Tell us a little about your latest release. Becoming Jolie is about a small, fictional town in Louisiana were several children have gone missing. The town’s people are haunted by the ghosts of their children and Jolie thinks they are all crazy. However, she’s pulled into Follett’s story via her dreams and ties to the place she didn’t know existed. Throw in a love triangle and the story is really creepy and exciting!
What is something that you absolutely can't live without? (Other than family members) – my I phone. I do everything on that thing! I have the kindle app so I read on it, it has all my contacts, calendar, text messages, pictures, music! This just reminds me that I need to back it up!!!
Could you ever co author a book with someone? If so, who would you choose, and what would you write? I’ve talked about coauthoring with a couple of different people - my cousin, Ashley Godeaux, and my friend, Kimberly Callegan. We would definitely write something dark and paranormal. I think if you cowrite with someone there has to be a lot of trust and you both have to believe in each other’s talent. I’m sure regardless there would be personality conflicts, but it might be fun!
If you could spend a day with anyone from history, dead or alive, who would it be, and what would you do? What would you ask them? I’m obsessed with outlaws, so maybe John Dillinger or Jesse James? I’m too chicken to rob something with them, but I think it would be interesting to pick their brains and know what drove them to live outside of the law.
What are some of your other hobbies outside of writing? I like to swim and hang out with my kids. I never miss an episode of True Blood or The Walking Dead! That’s about my only TV time!
If you were on the staff to have a book adapted to movie, what would you pick? Uh, is it wrong to pick one of my own books? I wish Jamais Vu/Déjà vu would be adapted…no, I wish any of them would be adapted!
What is a talent you wish you had, but don't? I wish I’d learned to play the piano! And my dad speaks French – is that a talent?? I wish I knew how to speak French!
Favorite color? Pink, black
Weather: Hot or cold? HOT!!!
Favorite place to read? Bathtub
Favorite meal – Gumbo, boiled crawfish, seafood of any sort.
Favorite non-alcoholic drink. Coke!
If you could travel anywhere and do anything, no limits or money holding you back, where would you go? Somewhere beachy!!!! I have no Imagination about these things….okay let’s say Bora Bora – have you seen the pictures of that place?
Monique O’Connor James
Jolie Bourque is trying to finish her thesis and get on with her life. She wanders into Folette, Louisiana, a place plagued by ghost sightings, convinced they are all crazy. No one wants to help her, no one except Hutch Landry and his brother Tucker.
Will she find the monster that is preying on the town's children? Can she stay sane surrounded by madness?
This is the nightmare that is her life and all just a part of Becoming Jolie.
About the Author:
Monique is the mother of two beautiful children and lives in a small community outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She currently works full time as an insurance agent, but her favorite jobs are mother, wife, and author. On her ninth birthday, her mother bought her a journal and said, "Write whatever you want. Just write". And so, a love affair with words was born.
She wrote poetry and short stories in high school and college, until 1993 when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. After her mother's death in 1998, deep in depression, she found herself unable to write. Nine years passed, and only on rare occasion did she attempt to write. Finally, in 2007, under the urging of friends, she sat down and pecked out her first novel. It was raw and unpolished, but the process had been unquestionably cathartic.
The next three years were spent filling her hard drive with seven complete manuscripts. At the beginning of 2011, Monique decided it was time to edit the work and share it with the world. She hopes you enjoy the ramblings of a truly southern girl raised in a state rich with heritage and love.
In June of 2011 her first book, The Keepers, was published by Astraea Press and it has been a world wind of excitement ever since. Please check out her website and feel free to contact her at any time via her email, facebook, or twitter.