Today I am joined by the very awesome, Zee Monodee . . . .
EM: Welcome to My World, Zee. Thank you so much for stopping by to play twenty questions with me : )
Before we begin, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi Elizabeth, hey peeps! It's an amazing honor & pleasure to be here today – thanks for having me. J
A little about me... Let's see... I'm 28; married to a man I love to bits and want to throttle, in equal measure, half the time; mum to an 8-yr-old hellion; stepmum to a 12-yr-old video-game-crazy lad; a degree holder in communications science (and I wonder where I'll ever use that). I live on the beautiful tropical island of Mauritius, in the southern Indian Ocean.
I also cannot imagine my existence without some form of storytelling/imagining stories. Started writing 7 years ago, during a brush with breast cancer, and haven't looked back ever since – I found what I wanted to do, and been writing story after story. : )
EM: Are you ready to play 20 questions? *rubs hands together*
ZM: Lol, I cannot wait!
Which do you find harder to write?
1. First person POV or Third?
First person POV. I play a lot on the ping-pong style of alternating between hero and heroine POV in my writing; I thrive and build a lot on this interaction. Writing in First person is almost like chopping a limb off, because then I'd have only one character's POV to present the whole story through. : ) I'm also struck by a huge case of I-itis when I try First person, where all my sentences start with "I", and the read is drier than my only attempt at roasting a chicken – so far, I've steered clear of it (both 1st person and roasting a chicken!). But I might give it a try again later, when I'm more at ease into my writing skin (not sure about the bird though – I'm definitely not a gifted cook).
2. As a male or female?
Strangely, I find writing the male POV easier. Could be because I put a lot more prep work into my hero's characterization, because I want him to ring true as a man and as a hero. So I'm more at ease in his persona than the heroine.
Writing the female POV isn't exactly hard either – it's just that when I'm writing from a woman's viewpoint, I empathize in a different way and this makes me doubt/second-guess/ask myself a lot more questions than if I were in the hero's POV.
EM: Men are complex. Women analyse everything. I say you've hit the nail on the head, Hun ;-P
3. Beginning, middle or end of the story?
Middle. I always know exactly how a story should start – that scene will almost flash like the neons of Piccadilly Circus in my mind the minute I conceive a story. I also know the end, or how it should end, but that depends also a lot on the middle, and I'm, half the time, clueless about the middle when I start writing.
EM: The middle is a muddle, and I always get my boots stuck in it.
4. Fight scenes or smex scenes?
5. Synopsis or blurb?
Blurb, definitely! The synopsis is my nightmare! I write long-winded (just ask my poor editor! Lol) and to cram my story into 3-5 pages is just a total pain. I have lots more fun with the blurb, where I can tease and tempt, and don't need to give away the resolution either.
As a writer, do you prefer:
6. Writing in the morning, afternoon or evening?
I prefer at night, when everyone's asleep and the house is quiet, the street outside is quiet (I live one block into a big town, so there's always traffic just outside my office window).
But I can't always make this happen, because I'm already knackered by the time night comes and I want nothing more than to sleep. So I make the best of my situation – I write when no one's home, in the mornings (hubby at work, boys into school), when I'm sure I won't be interrupted and I'll have a free block of time without one kid threatening to bash the other, hubby needing something and cannot find it though it's right in front of him, etc.
EM: I get that. At about 11pm I'm suddenly in the mood to write, yet I'm exhausted. So I have to scribble down what I can, before I end up asleep at my desk, and then get back to it the next day. It's madness : S
7. Writing with music, or in peace?
Peace, mostly because nothing jars me out of "the zone" faster than an interruption where I have to engage my brain into answering questions (a favorite around my house is, "When we eating?"). I can write to music, to noise – believe me, I wrote through song-heavy Disney flicks and the totally noisy video games like Tekken and Need For Speed. After a few minutes, my brain will just blank out the sounds and I even lose track of time and space. But interruptions – no can do!
8. Planning, or Improvising?
Planning. I'm an anal planner. I don't like surprises, prefer to be prepared in all circumstances. That also applies to a story. Though the characters still surprise me from time to time, it's not the "need to overhaul the whole story" kind of surprise, and that adds depth to the characterization. But generally, I know what happens throughout the book; just don't know how exactly when I outline.
9. Juggling a few projects, or concentrating on one at a time?
For the actual writing, I prefer to concentrate on one at a time. My voice will adapt to each project differently; I need to be in tune to the characters, like, for example one of them has a specific way of talking, an accent. I don't want someone from another book to sound like this character, so that's why I stick to writing one project at a time.
But at the same time, I'm also juggling projects in my head, because I will keep thinking up twists and turns and details for the other projects, so in that way, I juggle stories too.
EM: I'm the same. I write down what I'm juggling in my head, and work on one project at a time. It's nice to have a stack of ideas to pick through though, once I'm done with zed project. Something to look forward too :-P
10. Sticking to one genre, or exploring many?
Exploring many, but once I have a good handle on the genre. Like I mentioned above, I write romantic suspense/espionage and sweet contemporary romance, such as my December 5 release with Noble, Calling Home (A Destiny's Child Book). Worlds apart, both in subject matter and pace and story elements. At the same time, I prefer to stick to these two genres for now (and in a way, I'm forced to do that because both are ongoing series *grin*), and branch out to something else when I'm done with one or both of them.
As a reader, do you prefer:
11. Story being told from female view or male?
Female. I'm gonna sound biased, but I find the male POV often too dry for my tastes. Few male writers also write in an emotionally engaging manner, and I'm into reading for the emotional journey, not just the story from start to middle to end. Still, the male POV can be done very well, but not every writer can do that.
12. Good guys or bad boys?
Bad boys. :-) I know, wicked. Guess it's the thrill and the rush with them; no two days are ever the same. Life is unpredictable with bad boys, and though I said I thrive on planning, I also cannot stand a staid, hum-drum routine. I know, I'm complicated (my husband reminds me of that every single day! Oh, and he's a bad boy. Hides an awesome heart, but so not a good guy *grin*)
EM: Bad boys are delicious! Haha. You lucky girl ;-D
13. Feisty females or fragile damsels?
Feisty females! I have no patience, in reading or real life, with people who don't pick themselves up and go out to master their own destinies. Life is meant to be lived to the fullest, not to wait for everyone else to do everything for you. :-) I guess that could be because I've had cancer twice – in a way, I know the meaning of being alive, of still being gifted with life, with another chance. I seize my chance wherever and whenever I can, and I want to see other people doing the same too.
14. Stand alone stories or series?
Stand alone stories. Though I do enjoy a series that consists of several stand-alone books too, like Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold series. I don't really enjoy books that arc a single storyline over 5-6-7 tomes, mostly because it's hard for me, where I live, to get series in strict order. Easier now with e-shopping and ebooks, but I've already grown into this aversion to single-story series. Yet, if I find a series I love, I might just continue to read the books, like it happened with the 666 Park Avenue series by Gabriella Pierce.
15. Quick reads or long stories?
Long stories! I love complexity, depth, and dimension, the more the better! Quick reads often leave me still hungry for more from the characters. :-)
16. Romance as a side dish or the main course?
Main course, preferably, but even as a side dish, I'll take it. I'm gonna sound like a totally fluffy airhead (which I suppose I am, coz my kids tell me I am so every single day!) but I have a hard time getting into a book if there's no romance in it. I don't go in with rose-colored goggles when reading non-fiction or biographies, etc, but if it's fiction, I wish for some romance at least. : )
EM: I'm the same. I love me some romance with my stories, even if it's only a slither, I will eat it up!
17. Erotica or soft romance or something in-between?
Depends on the author, really. I'm a huge fan of Megan Hart and I love reading her erotica as well as her sci-fi or softer romances, though I'm also a total goner for soft romances of Susan Mallery, Robyn Carr, and Susan Andersen. The right author takes any genre and turns it into something magical.
18. More action or humour?
Humor. Nothing gives me a good time like a good, hearty and humorous chick-lit read.
Just for fun:
19. Vampires or Angels?
Vampires. Still that bad boy fascination... : )
20. Werewolves or Demons?
Demons (showing my Supernatural fangirl roots here)
What are you currently working on?
I've just finished the draft of Book 2 of my Corpus Brides series, titled Before The Morning. The story is the prequel to Walking The Edge, and through the story of Rayne Cheltham, a clandestine agent/assassin who goes by the name of Kali, goes more in depth into the lives and work of the Corpus agency. Rayne however stumbles in her vocation as a secret agent though, the day she meets her childhood best friend and only love, Ashford Gilfoy, while she is undercover on a mission. Knowing she can no longer continue to manipulate and kill, she asks to go back to civilian life, back to Ash. No one knows she was ever a spy, and to hide this truth will take all her resources once she's back into her family fold. But secrets are the least of Rayne's problems – someone from inside the agency doesn't want her to give up her job, and will do everything to ensure she leaves the Corpus only as a dead body.
I just finished polishing this book, and sent it yesterday to my editor. : )
EM: *High Fives* Nothing better than finishing a project and submitting it. I love the feeling!
The other story I'm working on is Book 2 of the Destiny's Child series, titled Glory Days.
Stellan Elriksen is a Swedish shipping magnate in London; Kelsey Clegg is a successful crime author and the darling of London society. They don't know each other... or so everyone thinks. Nineteen years ago, they were teenage lovers, before Kelsey, who started out from the wrong side of the tracks, left Stellan and disappeared.
All these years, Kelsey hid a secret – she was pregnant with Stellan's child, and she gave the baby girl away for adoption at the birth.
Today, the past catches up with them. Their daughter grew into a beautiful young woman, but she died when giving birth to a premature baby. To prevent the baby from ending up in the clutches of her depraved, money-hungry father and his family, Kelsey and Stellan have to join hands to fight for the little girl's custody as her grandparents, together... But can they, when the past, and the shadow of their own daughter and the secrets Kelsey hid, hang between them?
Do you have any current release?
The first book in the Destiny's Child series, Calling Home, came out on December 5, with Noble Romance Publishing. The series is a sweet romance one, which focuses on fate using a child to bring an unlikely couple together. These two people can have little/no biological ties with the child, but together, they'll be responsible for him/her. These books are tender, old-fashioned romances, with a big emphasis on characters and the journey to falling in love, and creating a family unit.
It's the little things that keep us calling home...
Forensic pathologist Margo Nolan is described by colleagues as a cold, unemotional man hiding inside a woman's body. Clinical and rational, the Ice Queen persona is only a facade to protect herself after she lost the only thing she ever longed for: Emma, the daughter she was raising as her own.
When tragedy strikes Emma's life, Margo is the only one who can step in . . . to become the stand-in parent to the 11-year old! Clueless about children—especially tweens, family life, and anything that should involve her heart, Margo is at a loss.
But she need not worry: sexy and easygoing, and much younger, village doctor Jamie Gillespie is here to help the heart-thawing process.
Purchase link: https://www.nobleromance.com/Books/369/Calling-Home
Where can readers find you on the Internet?
I'm at my blog throughout the week http://zeemonodee.blogspot.com/
I'm also on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads, as Zee Monodee.
My inbox is also an email away - firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't hesitate to get in touch! I love making friends, meeting new people, and love to chat (too much so, I guess, lol). Looking forward to meeting lots of amazing peeps. : )
EM: Thank you so much for joining me, Zee!
ZM: Thanks for having me over, Elizabeth! It's been fantastic and I had a blast answering your questions. : ) XOXO