19 April 2012

Interview with Monica Leonelle

 I interviewed Monica, author of Socialpunk, about her writing process and life in general.  This woman definitely has a lot going on in her life and you can tell she loves every minute of it!

(1) What inspired you to write this particular trilogy?

I was inspired by the city of Chicago, by social media issues in our current world, and by the cyberpunk genre. The book is a bit like the Terminator series and I reference that a couple times just for fun. James Cameron is basically my favorite director ever, and he really inspires me with his world-building and storytelling skills.

(2) You sound like a self-processed foodie like myself, what are your all-time favorites when it comes to food, wine, and cheese (since you list these three as your favorite types of consumables!)?

Hmm... Food: anything Mexican, especially burritos, Wine: Merlot! And a good white demi-sec when possible, and Cheese: I love brie and goat cheese and any cheese that crumbles. Really, I don't discriminate against cheese! So not great for you, but so delish.

(3) You say that you are training for the Chicago marathon, what are some other goals or things that are possibly on your bucket list?

Right now I'm so focused on writing and have very little room for more. I would love to learn the guitar someday, but it seems pretty far off at the moment.

(4) What are some quick tips for writers-to-be out there?  Is "writing an hour a day, every day" really the awesome advice everyone says it is?

I'm a "burst of energy" type of person rather than a "little every day" type of person. So I will write a whole book in a week or two, then go back and edit it all in a week or two. And then I won't write as much for the next few weeks. On an average day I probably write a couple thousand words, during a book writing session I write closer to 5000 words a day.

I'm also a huge outliner. I will outline my entire book by chapter, then by scene, then by paragraph. I think this is essential for writing an addictive book or a "page-turner." It's also essential for writing a ton of words very quickly. When I edit, I have a list of about 20 things I edit for that pertain to marketing psychology. For example, one of the things I edit for is tension, or whether I'm opening and closing plots in every scene. I think most writers would do better in the marketplace if they edited for marketability. Yes, line editing and beautiful prose can help, but really, The Hunger Games isn't exactly great writing. Yet the books are an international phenomenon. Because it's a great story with lots of marketability.

I'm an editor myself (specializing in the marketability of books) but I also run my book by an editor... it's just the right thing to do. You can't rely on self-editing alone.

I'm really big on creating fascinating hooks. If you are a writer you can find out if your first 1000 words are hooking here:http://proseonfire.com/post/20340477218/prose-on-fire-first-1000-free-email-consultation.

(5) Writing is definitely a skill or talent, much like oil painting, cooking, or horseshoes.  Is there anything else that you like to do in your spare time that you would say to which you are pretty talented?

Well, it's mostly writing, marketing, and editing for me. I'm pretty good at business as well and have an MBA. I used to be a software engineer so I'm decent at technology. I have a black belt in karate and can fight feistily if needed. And I'm training for a marathon! So hopefully someday I'll be good at that.

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