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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Interview and giveaway with author Monique O'Connor James

Hello, everyone! Help me welcome the lovely author Monique O'Connor James to my blog! Monique is the author of the fabulous book The Keepers. Everyone should get a copy It's wonderful! Here's my review:  And now, the interview!!!!

Tell me a little bit more about yourself?
I'm the mom to two beautiful kids. My son is 14, and my daughter 9. I married my high school sweetheart. We met when we were 12!! at a party, started dating at 16 and married at 21. I tend to attract the most wonderful people into my life. I always seem surrounded by loyal and supportive friends and family. I absolutely adore meeting wonderful, creative souls. I sell insurance by day full time! (ICK!!) And at night I'm momma, wife, and novelist :):). I've been through my share of heartaches in life, and some of that comes out in my writing, but I aspire to touch people with my stories, both real and fiction, and hope they bring a bit of hope and inspirations to others.

Insurance! How fun! *sarcasm!* What age did you start writing?
I first started writing at about eight I guess. I've told the story before, but my mom bought me a journal and suggested I write. She said write I did and a love affair began. I saw my mother writing at different times in her life. However, I never knew until recently how much she wanted to publish her own book and it has been a dream come true to realize this for myself and her. My dad recently gave me some of her writings and ironically, we wrote about similar subjects and had similar voices. It was an amazing moment, because I'd never seen any of this stuff before. I think maybe she found away to tell me how proud she was from the other side...who knows :)

What a sweet story about your mom! I'm sure she's very proud of you! You wrote several years before publishing the keepers. How many books did you write in that time period and will we eventually see them all?
Yes! I wrote for roughly three years before trying to get published. I wrote seven novels before I really decided to get going. I have 8 total now (the last one is my WIP). Yes, you will see them all because each story deserves in it's own right to be told! The Keepers was the first. Then I wrote the Jamais Vu Series, which probably isn't complete. I also have several stand alone novels, or at least they stand alone now. I won't mention the names just yet, in case something changes, but they all have paranormal elements, and most are just creepy fun.

I realize The Keepers was highly emotional. I do carry some emotion with all of my writing, but I like to transfer that emotion to fear, suspense, anger, etc. So, I really hope that each story evokes a different response from my readers.

Out of your three stories The Keepers (out now), Jamias Vu (out in September) and The Mulligan Man (a short coming this month) which is your favorite and why?
OH I forgot about Mulligan Man! Yes, I have that short coming out too! This one is loads of Fun! I can't believe you want me to pick a favorite? Instead, I'm going to say they all have a bit of my heart for different reasons. The Keepers was the first thing I wrote - 9 years after the death of my mother. A lot of the raw emotion in this book came from a very real place. For that reason it will always be special to me.

Jamais Vu - Ah okay I'm sharing here and this is new information! When I was two, my mother accidentially shot herself while playing with a loaded gun. She told me her story many times over the years. When she passed away of breast cancer, I really wanted to use some of the details, but I was terrified of injuring my mom's memory. I wrote the first three chapters and sent them off to my dad. I sent a note saying...Dad, please tell me if this is okay. Do you think mom would approve? He wrote back two words. Keep Writing. Need I say more?

The Mulligan Man has been fun because I sat down with my son and planned the characters and the plot. He really engaged in the process and we had a great time doing it. I will never forget that!

Can't wait to read The Mulligan Man and Jamias Vu! Which of your characters are you most like?
Which of my characters? HA! Well I'll tell you this, for weeks after my dad first read The Keepers, he refused to call me anything but Jess. :)

Are your characters based on people you know?
I think that I take personality traits from people I know or have met to craft characters, but I don't all out say, this is so-and-so and he's going to be just like my friend such-and-such. For example, Rory (In The Keepers), The name came from a guy I went to high school with who is one of my customers now. I've just always adored the name.

When I was writing his character I knew exactly how I wanted him to be and there were two people in my life that fit the bill, my dad and my son. A lot of his personality traits come from aspects of their character, but he is not them. Get it? :)
Do you listen to music while you write? If so, do you have playlists for the books?

I do! I love alternative rock and some country. Usually you will hear Seether, Foo Fighters, Chili Peppers, Staind, Rise Against, something like that playing quietly while I write.

I haven't done any playlists, but it would be fun to put together a sound track for The Keepers and Jamais Vu - we should do that ;)
You have great taste when it comes to music! Count me it! :) Where do you like to write? Do you have a certain time you write, or whenever you have free time?
I usually write in my garage which I have dubbed The Dungeon. With working full time, and being wife and momma, I write whenever I have time! Mostly that means between 10 PM and 2AM!
Do you need anything special to write?
Eh, A Coke, my laptop and that's about it. Or Actually, I've started writing long hand lately, so I don't even need my laptop really.

What do you do when you're not writing?
Well there isn't much time, but I love the beach and hanging out with my kids. I have the funniest kids ever. Our house is full of sarcasm and they can hold their own.

How much has your fanbase grown since you first published The Keepers? How does it feel seeing fans so actively advertising your book?
This just makes me smile. Gosh I can't even say how much my fan base has grown. It has multiplied 10 fold! The wonderful thing that has happened is that when people are fans they are rabid fans. I have the most devoted people behind me. Everytime I get on social media and see how many people are supporting me, I want to cry. It's truly a wonderful feeling to know that people get you, and connect with what you want to share.

Do you read all reviews about your books?
Yes, I do. I haven't gotten any terrible reviews yet. However, I tend to pick them all apart and read too much into them. If someone makes one remark about something needing to be improved, you can bet I've filed it in my brain for future use!
What's the weirdest thing you've ever been asked by a fan?
If I could introduce her to Justin. She was serious. I'll leave it at that :D
If Justin was real, I'd want to meet him too! ;) Hehe. Do you have time to read? Who's your favorite author?
I try to read!!! I put books on my Nook and everytime i get in the tub I read. It's hard though! I just recently read Becca Fitzpatric's Hush Hush Series, and I loved it. I grew up reading Anne Rice of course, and I like James Lee Burke. He is a Louisiana Author also, and my dad turned me on to him. I've just recently jumped on the YA band wagon so ask me this again next year :D:D Also, there are some indie authors that rock Crystal D. Ward is coming out with a book in August called Supernova. I got the priveledge of critiquing this novel for her, and I love it! It's a series also and I wait for new chapters with bated breath!

What are you currently working on?
I'm writing The Watchers - which is the follow up to The Keepers! It has taken me longer than any other novel, because i'm marketing and editing other projects :)
Tell us about how you got published?
A friend of mine told me about Astraea Press. I looked them up and it seemed like a good fit. It was only January of this year that i decided to put an effort into getting published. I sent The Keepers in and prayed! I was shocked when I was offered a contract, because The Keepers was literally three years in the making. It had been edited and rewritten until it hardly resembled what i first wrote!

Any advice for aspiring authors like myself?
Yes! Don't stop. Never say never. It's a roller coaster ride, even after you get published. It takes a ton of dedication and hard work, but if you are driven to write and this is your dream push forward until they can't ignore you anymore.
Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you! I learned a lot and had a lot of fun! Anything else before I tie the interview up in a big red ribbon and post it to my blog?
Hmm let me think....nope guess not but um The Keepers is on sale today and tomorrow for $1.99 at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Astraea Press and it will go back to $6.99! :D
Monique is giving away a PDF copy of The Mulligan Man to one lucky person.
In order to win the PDF copy, you must:
1.) Follow my blog
2.) Go like Monique's author page and thank her for giving away the PDF! (I will check!)
3.) Leave a comment including your email address incase you win!
The contest will run through July 17th. The winner will be notified on the 18th, which is the day the short is released. I will pick the winner using
Happy Reading,


  1. Wow Thanks Kristina What a fun blog. I look forward to giving that PDF to somone :<)

  2. wow what a great interview i loved it, thanks for the chance, love meeting new authors to read :)
    i follow alice priday
    i commented

  3. LOved the interview ladies !!! Loved The Keepers and cant wait to read this one !! Ill already follow Monique ;) and you ... Ps love the shirt !! lol..


    Ps Was wandering if we can do negotions on the giveaway !! Horse n cart ride with Justin !!! :) grins !!!

  4. argh this blog is fighing me... I'm sure Justin would love that have to throw me out the cart first....nom nom nom

  5. Great interview! I thought I was the only person who still wrote longhand :) I find it often helps me focus better!