I know I’ve told you how lucky I am that I get to meet all these great indy authors. Well, today is no exception. Monica Marlow, author of Finding Felicity is here answering all my probing questions about her book, her writing, and writing in general. I know, right? So hold your applause until the last question has been answered. Are you ready? Here’s Monica…
Where did the story idea come from/how did it come about?
A good friend of mine told me he was meeting with the CEO of a major lingerie company. I found myself wondering what kind of a life she led, what she was like, what she cared about. Before I knew it, Madeline O’Connor was born! Once I flushed out her character, putting her in an unlikely situation like falling in love with a monk let the story and the ideas flow. I happen to be one of those writers who believes that character drives plot, so once I had my characters created, the story virtually wrote itself.
One thing you want the reader to walk away with after reading this book.
My hope is that readers will look at their own lives and reach the conclusion that no matter what, it all really is perfect, just the way it is.
Why did you choose your genre?
I’ve always read women’s fiction, romance, and chick lit, so I just wrote the story the characters wanted to tell. I didn’t make a conscious decision to write a particular genre. In fact, categorizing Finding Felicity was difficult because it didn’t seem to fit neatly into a specific genre, which was why bigger New York publishers did not publish it. Literary publishers thought it was too commercial, and commercial publishers found it too literary. Years after it was finished, a small press decided to publish it, calling it a “romance”, a decision with which some readers have vehemently disagreed.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
Mostly, finding or creating the time. With a full-time day job that has a 90-minute round trip commute, and a horse, I sometimes just don’t have the energy to write at the end of the day. When I was writing Finding Felicity, I got up at 4am to write before going into the office. I’m finding that the older I get, the less energy I have, so it’s harder to sit down for a four-hour stretch to write.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Write every single day, and keep writing. Don’t ever give up on your dream of being published.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
I do suffer from writer’s block. After I finished Finding Felicity, I went for years without writing. I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to write next. I had an idea for a story about a woman and her horse, but it just wasn’t flowing the way Finding Felicity did. Finally, I moved across the country from Los Angeles to North Carolina, bought a horse, and now, I’m writing a memoir about my first year with him. Of course, that flies in the face of the advice marketing pros would give an author since I’m not really branding myself. But what can I say? I write because I want to make a difference in people’s lives, to share a message, not necessarily to have a career as an author.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
Friends who write. Writing can be a lonely endeavor, and having friends who understand that, and can sit down and brainstorm with you or even just ask, “How are the pages coming?” are worth their weight in gold. I know … not exactly.
When Madeline O’Connor learns that her estranged sister is gravely ill, she leaves behind her life in Manhattan to be at her sister’s side in Italy. There, she discovers an ancient Benedictine monastery that accommodates travelers, and she decides to stay there, among the monks. Everything in her life turns upside down when she falls for Brother Anthony Lamberti, a soft-spoken Italian completely different from the men she knows in New York. Together Madeline and Anthony find love for the first time, and learn that life and love always find a way. When her sister dies, a new life for Madeline begins. A new life that she would never have imagined and yet is perfect for her in every way.
Monica Marlowe was born in Toronto and later moved to Los Angeles. While in LA, Monica studied the craft of novel writing and participated in the Noel Hynd Workshop. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Spiritual Psychology. Now, Monica makes her home in North Carolina and divides her time between the East and West Coasts. Monica is currently writing a memoir, The Gift Horse, about acquiring her first horse and finding herself on a most unexpected path. Monica writes stories about heroes and heroines who follow their heart, wherever the path may lead, knowing that the heart has reasons of its own.
~*~*~*~Connect With Monica~*~*~*~
~*~*~*~Monica’s Tour ~*~*~*~
And Monica will be appearing again June 6th, when I’ll share my thoughts on Finding Felicity. Hope you can come back. Thanks for stopping by today!
Lots of <3–Amie