Thursday, October 16, 2008

What's It All About Monica

Over at the GabWagon.com, my friend Natalie challenged us to fess up to some different writer questions. Here they are.

What's the last thing you wrote?


The Sheikh’s Courtesan

Was it any good?

My first reader says so, the jury (my agent) will have the final verdict and the judge (editors) will have final sentencing.

What's the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?

If we’re talking novels, that would be Sweet Shrew, which I wrote for HQ (rejected) and is a contemporary take off on The Taming of the Shrew

Favorite genre of writing?

Historical and paranormal.

I’ve tried contemporary, but I don’t think I have the voice for it, although I do have a couple of old stories that might work well for HQ’s line. It’s just finding the time to rewrite. Grrrr


Most fun character you ever wrote?

Simon Carton from A Bluestocking Christmas. He’s an arrogant, son-of-a-bitch in the first part of the story, but as the story progresses and Ivy brings him to his knees, he’s totally redeemed and I love him. He’s just so bold, charismatic and he has a wicked tongue.


Most annoying character you ever wrote?


My characters tend to be love ‘em or hate ‘em. I don’t know of any characters of mine that I found annoying. Now I’m sure that there are readers who would probably find some of mine objectionable, but I can’t name the characters.


How often do you get writer's block?

I don’t have writer’s block per se, more like “God, I’m so tired of this crap, I don’t want to write.”


How do you fix it?

I watch movies, tv, read, play video games. It’s amazing the number of ideas I get playing a video game with Baby

Do you type or write by hand?

I pretty much type, but when I’m editing I print off the book and I write new paras or rewrite paras on the back of the paper or on a notepad. I also carry a pad of paper in my purse (small spiral) and sometimes I use my PDA…I’ve even used the back of a medical form at the doc’s office. LOL

Do you save everything you write?

Yep, I’ll gut something, but I cut and paste it and then I put it in a file. I’m a digital pack rat. I often will go back into those files and review lines, because some lines that I have to cut are wonderful writing, but I can’t find a way to meld them into the current story, so maybe I can utilize the in a later story. I like to recycle. LOL

Do you ever go back to an old idea long after you abandoned it?

Yes, In fact, there are two books I want to rewrite as time permits because I love the story so much but the writing stinks.

What's your favorite thing that you've written?

Damn, I hate questions like this, because I love ALL my works for different reasons. If I had to choose one that means something special it would have to be Love’s Portrait because it’s about overcoming something terrible and learning to live again rather than shutting oneself from life. It’s truly a personal story for me.

What's your favorite setting for your characters?

Call me crazy (because personally I can’t take the heat and I’m terrified of snakes), but there’s something incredibly romantic about the desert. In particular the Sahara and Egypt. If you look at the dunes in the Sahara, there’s some exquisite scenery that tells me God loves the raw, primal vitality of the land, despite its lack of water. Maybe it’s the challenge it requires to live in the desert that I like, because I love challenges.

How many projects are you working on right now?

Well, I just finished a book and I’m working on the synop…but I’m also planning out the next paranormal novella, and two historicals are burning up the stove in the back of my head, plus the possibility of a sale with my Master of Sin book subsequent series. Lots popping, which makes life hectic.

Have you ever written something for a magazine or newspaper?

Yes, I’ve been published in the Beta Sigma Phi magazine, and I’ve had a photo used by a Biker’s magazine. I also wrote a number of articles for Virginia Business Magazine on technology.

Have you ever won an award for your writing?

Well, I’ve finaled in RWA’s Golden Heart, the Eppie’s, and the Passionate Plume and the Red River Contests. I don’t consider 2nd or 3rd places or finals anything of substance. If my work isn’t first place, it’s not an award as far as I’m concerned. Truthfully, the only reason I do contests is to hope I final so I can gain a little exposure for a few bucks. It's amazing what a final in the Eppie's or GH or etc. can garner you in the online community. It does have it's advantages in terms of publicity, but rarely translates to sales.

Ever written something in script or play format?

No, although I did explore the idea. My nephew is studying at the UNC’s film school, and we’ve talked about me writing something and him directing it. THAT would be sooooo cool for me!

What are your five favorite words?

that’s a tough question, because I love words period, anything that I don’t get to use a lot of would be a favorite -- vitriolic, fragrant, epiphany, pithy, equanimity

What character that you've written most resembles yourself?

Lady Aurora Lyndham from Dangerous. I wanna be her when I get old. Tough, feisty and definitely the mistress of her domain. She’s the epitome of tough love

Where do you get ideas for your other characters?

It’s more of a what does the hero/heroine need in order to get to point B from point A

Do you ever write based on your dreams?

Some of my best stories have evolved plot wise and dialogue wise in my dreams. I specifically lay in bed and think about what I want to happen before I drift off to sleep, and then while I’m under the Muse does her work. I’ll wake up and while I won’t necessarily remember dialogue word for word, I do remember the gist of it, and when I write it, the words come back.

Do you favor happy endings, sad endings, or cliffhangers?

I think it depends on what type of book I’m reading. I want an ending that’s satisfying, but it doesn’t always have to be a happy ending. Although I do favor them more.

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

Nah, I’m good at both, and generally Word just ticks me off because it doesn’t want to cut me slack when I know I need to use a comma vs. a semi-colon. Yeah, BILL, the semi-colon might be correct, but it stops readers cold.


Quote something you've written.

“He stirred in his slumber, and a long, muscular leg thrust its way out from under the sheet to reveal the limb from foot to hip. The line of his thigh was beautiful. No artist could have created a shape so perfectly male. And there was nothing more dangerous than Morgan St. Claire and the unbelievable maleness of him.” Julia Westgard, Love’s Portrait

4 comments:

Rayne Forrest said...

I'm so glad to hear someone else admit to being a 'digital pack rat.' Every time I think I should purge some files, I get the shakes LOL!!

Rayne Forrest
www.rayneforrest.com

Caffey said...

Hi Monica! Found this blog today and thrilled I did! As you know, I've dearly enjoyed your books both this historical and paranormals. Those genres I don't like to miss! And there's just something so special and comforting when reading a historical and being taken away with it! I hope you do get to get THE SWEET SHREW out! I don't think I remember much about TAMING OF THE SHREW and I learn most now from reading ebooks! I so agree that its hard to pick a favorite. I think they are all special in their own way. I do think of the historicals that I read that I discovered your books with, so they remain special more in so that they were the first I had read of yours that introduced me to your books. Great to read your interview!

Susan Kelley said...

Thank the heavens for digital storage. I keep everything two, sometimes two or three different formats for a single novel. I'm sure it will all be very valuable someday. LOL

Monica Burns said...

Folks, sorry for taking so long to respond here. I've been swamped with a new book deal transaction and things have been WAY crazy.

Rayne and Susan, soooo glad I'm not alone in my hoarding

Caffey, thanks for posting, and I'm always, always thrilled to hear a reader enjoys my work. NCP was wonderful in giving me the opportunity to share my stories with readers, and I deeply appreciate their efforts in doing that.