Today on Beyond My Writing Space I'm joined by the wonderfully talented Monique McDonell, author of Mr Right and Other Mongrels and Hearts Afire and the new release Alphabet Dating.Monique is an Australian contemporary women's fiction, chick lit and romance Author. Currently, she lives on Sydney's Nothern Beaches with my husband and daughter, and despite a phobia of dogs she has a dog called Skip.
Monique's debut novel, Mr Right and Other Mongrels, was released in May 2012 swiftly followed by Hearts Afire in October 2012 and Alphabet Dating is coming soon!
What inspired you to write Mr Right and Other Mongrels and Hearts Afire?
My books always start with an image and that tends to be the first image of the characters when both the readers and I meet them. Mr Right and other Mongrels started because I had a vision of Allegra being chased by a dog and in Hearts Afire I could see a soaked and bedraggled bride – that bride became Cassie Callaghan. In general I set out to write fun, flirty books that you would enjoy reading on a beach or on the bus to work.
Will we meet these characters again?
I don’t have any plans to write Cassie or any of the Hearts Afire characters into any other books but I am working on a sequel to Mr Right and Other Mongrels. I have a research trip to L.A planned for the middle of the year and hopefully the book will be ready this time next year.
You’ve been writing since childhood and were first published in 6th grade. Can you remember what the poem was about?
I think its amazing! and they're beautiful birds.Actually I can! It was a poem about a kookaburra. That’s a very Australian beginning isn’t it?
You say you have something in common with each of your characters. Do you think it’s important to draw on life experiences when writing fiction?
I don’t know if it’s important but it comes naturally to me it seems. I think the more books I write the less I have in common with the characters but I think there’s a few elements that link us together. I suppose it just helps me to empathise with the characters.
Do you draw inspiration from music and art? If so, what kind?
I don’t really draw inspiration from music or art but I do create a soundtrack for each book I write. Personally a trip to the art gallery is my favourite escape so referring to question 4…I think you’ll find more art in upcoming books.
Do you use Google maps and other research tools or do you travel to the destinations where your books are set?
Thus far I’ve written about places I’ve experiences or visited. Mr Right and Other Mongrels is set in Manly which is close to where I live and Hearts Afire is set in Sydney and on the Barrier Reef which I have been lucky enough to visit several times.
Do you believe in plotting and outlining or would you rather ‘fly by the seat of your pants’?
I tend to write the first third of the book on the fly. I take all the images that come to me and dive into the story. After that I start plotting to make sure the book gets where it needs to go and I hope doesn’t go flat in the middle.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
Keep your eyes peeled guys! Alphabet Dating will be out very shortly.Right now I am working on a few things. My third book Alphabet Dating will be out in a matter of weeks so there is editing and polishing going on there, I have a fourth book that I hope will be out in June that I’m about to dive into a big rewrite on and I’m researching and plotting for the sequel to Alphabet Dating.
If you have three wishes, what would they be?
Really? Me too!Three wishes – you have to say world peace don’t you? I would love to one day make my living from writing (It’d be nice to ditch the day job) and on a frivolous note I really, really want to go on The Orient-Express one day.
Do you have a personal motto?
Not really – mainly I believe you should be the friend you’d like to have…it’s not a motto exactly but I do try to live by it.
That is a great personal ethic to have Monique! Thank you for joining me at Beyond My Writing Space today. I've loved getting to know you and your writing a little better.
|Available at Amazon|
Alphabet DatingSerena’s friends have a plan to get her dating again - 26 dates in a month - one for every letter in the alphabet. What could possibly go wrong?
When Serena Sanders reluctantly agrees to participate in the Alphabet Dating Plan she knows it will be tough but there’s so much she hadn’t factored in. Who knew men were so complicated? Not Serena.
As she begins dating her way through the alphabet she starts to learn more about herself and her friends than she ever expected as secrets and hidden agendas are revealed. Alphabet Dating is a love story – a tale of lost love, unrequited love, platonic love and ultimately it’s about learning to love again.
Blissfully happy in her own universe Allegra (Ally) Johnson is the sweet best friend everyone wants to have. Quietly and independently wealthy she runs a charming second-hand bookshop in beachside Manly. Heck, sometimes she even goes downstairs from her flat to run the shop in her Chinese silk pyjamas. It sounds like bliss. But is it enough?
When dog-phobic Allegra is rescued from an exuberant canine by the chivalrous Teddy Green, Australia’s hottest TV celebrity and garden make-over guru, her life begins to change. Dramatically!
Unaware of Teddy’s fame Allegra finds herself falling for him, despite her best attempts to resist his charm. Supported by her eccentric family and her fabulous gay friend Justin, Allegra embarks on an on-again off-again romance with Teddy, complicated by his jealous ex-girlfriend, fashionista Louisa and her own narcissistic hippy mother Moonbeam.
Will Ally be able to overcome her insecurities and find happiness with this possible Mr Right or will Teddy’s celebrity lifestyle prove to be too much? Mr Right and Other Mongrels is a light-hearted story about how one chance encounter can change your life.
Available at Amazon
Hearts AfireHearts Afire A jilted bride, a sexy fireman, a tropical island, a fear of the ocean, a fear of commitment, a new neighbour, an old flame, a secret identity – this is the story of HEARTS AFIRE.
Cassie Callahan is not having a great day. First her fiancé jilts her hours before the wedding and then her sister sets off the alarm and sprinklers at her catering business, flooding the premises, soaking the wedding banquet and bringing the fire department.
When Jack Urquhart the cute fireman offers her a shoulder to cry on they both feel an instant attraction but they each know the other is not what they are looking for. She isn’t looking for a player and he is definitely not looking for the marrying kind.
Hearts Afire takes them on a journey from Sydney’s inner-west to Tropical North Queensland, and back, in search of and avoidance of love. Will either of them realise that there is no risk at all in trusting your heart to the right person?
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