Monday, April 24, 2006
FEATURED AUTHOR - Michelle Monkou
SORMAG: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.
Michelle Monkou: In 2002, I started my professional career as a writer with a two book contract from BET Books. My Arabesque book, Open Your Heart, earned me a nomination for Favorite New Author. So far I have five books in print and three more due to be released later in September 2006, January 2007 and another later in 2007. I also work as a manager in the compliance area on behalf of life insurance member companies in Washington, D.C.
SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?
MONKOU: My April release – Island Rendezvous – is the second installment of the Glen Knolls series which debuted with Finders Keepers, The Romantic Times Bookclub, Top Pick Award. An emotionally bruised Toni Kimball accepts her friend's - Nicole, offer for a much needed vacation in Nassau, Bahamas under one condition. Toni must find Derek Calverton and help Nicole with her plan to get her husband and his newly discovered brother, Derek, reunited. During one of their girlfriend bonding moments, this plan seemed air tight. However in the tropical heat, Toni doesn't count on falling for the romantic and sensual headiness that Derek delivers to her mind, body and heart. Past relationships, family history, and separate countries conspire to pull apart and destroy their love. Derek has to pull out all the stops to complete his circle of love with Toni at his side.
SORMAG: What would you like your readers to take away from your book?
MONKOU: My readers, I hope, would have an enjoyable read that makes them want to continue reading about all the friends in the Glen Knolls series. I hope that they fall in love with each character. And for anyone out there that may be feeling burdened by life, I hope that a message of love, acceptance, and forgiveness can fill their heart.
SORMAG: Tell us about your publishing experience?
MONKOU: Here is my current list on my journey to 100+ books:
KIMANI PRESS - ARABESQUE
Open Your Heart – November 2002
Finders Keepers – June 2003
Give Love (anthology) – October 2003
Making Promises – October 2004
Island Rendezvous – April 2006
KIMANI PRESS ROMANCE
Sweet Surrender – September 2006
Here and Now (contracted; work in progress)
SORMAG: How do you feel about critique groups?
MONKOU: I think critique groups are good if you find the right one and very bad if you don’t find the right one. My basic advice would be to treat it with the same attention as if you were picking a soulmate. Determine what you need from the group. Do you need a detailed critique, help with plotting ideas, a proof reader? Are all the members writing at the same or similar pace? Is the group too big and as a result, all the opinions become overwhelming? These are just some of things to consider. Sometimes, having a sole critique partner is just as helpful. Having said all of that, I do not work with a critique group.
SORMAG: What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
MONKOU: Sometimes those who are not writing may only see the glamorous side of the profession where the author appears at seminars, participates on panel discussions, or attends book signings. However, more than likely, they are very busy, balancing many hats since most of us are not fulltime writers. This might prevent them from developing one-on-one relationships with their readers.
SORMAG: Do you have any promotional tips for writers?
MONKOU: Combine efforts when able and when it’s logical. A shy writer can make it solely on her writing, but the realities of the business probably dictate otherwise. You have to promote your product in some form or fashion. Internet use will only get bigger as future generations come along. Today’s writer should become knowledgeable with what is out there: websites, blogs, review sites, online conferences, etc.
SORMAG: What is a favorite book from your childhood?
MONKOU: I read lots of series. Many of the books were by a British author, Enid Blyton. Growing up in the Caribbean exposed me to more British writers than American writers. Enid Blyton wrote several series about groups of kids who got into various adventures. I also imagined myself as one in the group off to find a clue to solve a made up puzzle.
SORMAG: What was the last book to keep you up at night reading it?
MONKOU: I’m currently reading L.E. Banks Minion – vampire huntress series. I absolutely love it and bought all the books in the series, so far.
SORMAG: What resources do you use on the net?
MONKOU: I go on eHarlequin.com frequently because my new publisher has an extensive Internet presence that has not only information about the authors, but online shopping, blogs, chat rooms, online novellas, and writing guidelines. It’s a great resource whether a brand new writer or an experienced pro.
SORMAG: How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
MONKOU: Mailbox: P.O. Box 2904, Laurel, MD 20709
Photograph by Tisara Photography, Inc.
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