Today, I’m hosting my friend, author Carol Moncado. When she’s not writing about her imaginary friends, Carol Moncado is hanging out with her husband, four kids, and a dog who weighs less than most hard cover books. She prefers watching NCIS to just about anything, except maybe watching Castle. She believes peanut butter M&Ms are the perfect food and Dr. Pepper should come in an IV. When not watching her kids – and the dog – race around her big backyard in Southwest Missouri, she’s teaching American Government at a local community college. She’s a founding member and President of MozArks ACFW, category coordinator for First Impressions, blogger at InspyRomance, and represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency.
Carol is here to chat about her new book, Finding Mr. Write. She’s also doing a RELEASE EXTRAVAGANZA giveaway on her website, so after you read all about her book, hop on over to her site. The link will be at the end of this interview.
Jeremiah Jacobs moved to the Ozarks for a fresh start. He knows no one and has no plans to get romantically involved with anyone. Ever. He’s already had his heart ripped out once and once is enough. Besides he has contractual obligations that prevent him from talking about work – and what woman would want to be involved with a man who has to keep his job a secret? When he attends his first local writers’ group meeting, he finds the leader so intriguing, his instant attraction to her threatens to complicate his currently uncomplicated life.
Dorrie Miller has never been good enough. Not for her father or any of the guys she’s dated in the past. She’s pushed beyond her father’s disapproval to have a good career while pursuing her dream of becoming a published novelist. The Christian Authors Network – Dedicated to Inspirational Distinction, or CANDID, is hosting their annual conference in Indianapolis and who’s rumored to be in attendance? The super reclusive, super-star author, Mya Elizabeth Linscott.
Carol, where did the inspiration for Finding Mr. Write come from?
The inspiration came from a conversation I had with Casey Herringshaw in the comments on Seekerville one day in mid-2011. We were planning for our first ACFW conference and debated whether or not we should stalk Julie Lessman while there. It turns out we didn’t need to, but the idea had taken root. The original concept had a much more Lucy-Ethel tone to it, but I love the way it turned out.
So why Mya Elizabeth Linscott? Mya… well, the reason is implied in the book so I won’t spoil it here. I don’t remember the inspiration for Elizabeth, but likely just looking for something with an “E” to make it MEL. Linscott comes from my favorite Mary Connealy hero, Tom Linscott in Sharpshooter in Petticoats.
Where did the inspiration for Dorrie come from? What about the skin cancer on Dorrie’s nose?
Dorrie embodies pretty much every author I know, myself included. The insecurities. The fears. The rejection. But with all of that comes friendships that transcend writing. Camaraderie. Growth. And I do know of at least one couple that met at a conference and married later. Her journey mirrors mine in many ways [though not the contest final/win – or the random conference wedding ;)].
As for the skin cancer… as I was working on a round of edits for this book, I was diagnosed with exactly what she was. Her experience there also very much mirrors my own – from the nickel-sized crater to the second surgery and the lasering. And yes – my eyelids were numb at one point ;).
Where did the inspiration for Jeremiah come from?
My husband isn’t a writer, but he’s a lot like Jeremiah in a lot of ways. He’s incredibly supportive and I couldn’t do this writer thing without him. I don’t know where the whole “Prince Caspian” thing came from, but came it did. And I loved it!
Where did the inspiration for some of the other characters come from? Will they ever get their own stories?
Many of Dorrie’s writer friends were inspired by my own.
* Stephanie Jamison morphed out Casey Herringshaw. Her story, Finally Mr. Write, is the second book in this series and releases November 24, 2014.
* Anise Taylor came from my dear friend Pepper Basham [who recently signed her first book contract!!!!] – her story is slated for Grace to Forgive, which takes place in 2018 [why yes, I have some stories planned that far out ;)]. I have about 1500 words of that story written, from right smack in the middle, and every time I reread it I cry. I don’t think I’m a good enough writer to do that story justice just yet so I’m glad I’ve got a bit of time ;). However, Anise will pop in and out of stories here and there in the meantime!
* Julie Harders was initially inspired by Julie Lessman. Her son, Travis Harders, gets a story in Grace to Save [which comes right before Anise’s story]. Travis’s daughter’s last name is Connealy-Harders – names stolen from Mary Connealy and Audra Harders.
*Gavin Parmigianno is introduced at the CANDID conference. Dorrie and Jeremiah babysit for Bethany Sheer’s twin daughters. Gavin and Bethany meet in Falling for Mr. Write, book 3 in this series, slated for release in December 2014. That story was written long before I realized how well it fit in this series – with just a few tweaks ;).
* The Watchers blog group is based on the real life Seekerville – who meet every night of conference in the bar to hang out, encourage, commiserate with, love on all of the Seekervillagers.
*The NovelSistas are mentioned as a shout out my very own Jessica Keller Koschnitzky and Kristy Cambron. They’re both also part of BritCrits – which includes Jen Cvelbar (writing as Jennifer A. Davids), Joanna Davidson Politano, and Stacey Zink.
What fun, real-life, stories about writers ended up in Finding Mr. Write?
When Jeremiah talks about worshiping in a room with several hundred other people who get it, that’s very much a real experience for me and many others. I cry during the first worship session at ACFW – Every. Year.
But my favorite story is about Dorrie and the writer she was talking to in the elevator. At ACFW 2012 in Dallas, a woman walked into the elevator. We greeted each other like long lost friends. About halfway through the elevator ride, we realized we didn’t know each other, but neither of us wanted to admit it. To this day, I can’t tell you who I thought she was. And vice-versa. We ran into each other constantly that year. In Indianapolis in 2013, we hung out a lot on purpose and she joined my critique group [though she fails to see the wisdom in adding dinosaurs to a WWII epic – sigh]. This year, in St. Louis, we were roommates with plans for Dallas again next year. I thank God for the best “oops you’re not who I thought you were” ever! Jen Cvelbar is a true blessing!
What is NaNoWriMo and what role did it play in Finding Mr. Write?
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it takes place every November. Hundreds of thousands of people world-wide commit to writing a fifty thousand word rough draft of a novel [for comparison purposes, a Love Inspired book runs about 55 thousand words]. The “fast draft” is how I write best anyway so it suits me. I’ve “competed” and won every year since 2007, though many of those will never see the light of day.
Because of the six releases planned between now and the end of the year, I’m not officially doing NaNoWriMo this year – and I really am mourning that. I know it seems odd, but that’s how much I love it.
Finding Mr. Write started as my 2011 project, though it’s undergone some fairly major revisions since. Good Enough for a Princess [releases 11/17/2014] was from 2012. Queen of His Heart [working title; releases Spring 2015] was the 2013 project.
What is the toughest thing about being a writer?
The rejection. The feelings of failure and inadequacy. Those can be difficult to overcome and why many authors, myself included, keep a “sunshine file” to pull out and reread on those “rainy days.”
I totally agree! What is the best thing about being a writer?
I would imagine letters from readers about how your book… fill-in-the-blank 😀 . But since, I don’t have any of those just yet… The creating. The fast drafting. Writing without really knowing what’s going to happen next until it jumps out on you from the screen.
It is a joy to receive great feedback from readers. Tell us more about CANDID. How do ACFW and CANDID compare?
CANDID is very loosely inspired by ACFW. The ACFW conferences are only 3.5 days long, though many of us wish they could last all month! You never get to see all of the people you’d hoped to, much less actually spend time with them! There’s lots of other differences in how the conferences work, but some is the same. The appointments, for instance. At my first conference, I had the chance to sit with Robin Carroll [conference director] and Casey Miller [appointments coordinator and her husband] and hear about how it all works. They really do pray over every appointment as they make them and others, like friend and mentor Cheryl Wyatt spend those appointments walking up and down the halls praying over them.
I have yet to attend an ACFW conference. But I have attended the Christian Writers Guild conference and a few smaller ones. It’s always so great being with other writers. Now back to your book for a second–Where exactly is Serenity Landing?
Serenity Landing is a fictionalized version of Republic, Missouri – about 12 miles southwest of Springfield. I’ve lived in this area for over 20 years now and wouldn’t trade it for anything! Look for a Serenity Landing website, coming soon! Most [all?] of the books I have planned are connected to this town in one way or another, so you’ll learn a lot more about it as they go on :).
This is the beginning of my “grand opening” as an author! Six books are releasing this year and I’m working to finish them up right now.
* Finally Mr. Write: CANDID Romance book 2; November 24, 2014
* Falling for Mr. Write: CANDID Romance book 3; December 2014
*Good Enough for a Princess: The Montevaro Monarchy book 1; November 17, 2014
*Along Came a Prince: The Montevaro Monarchy book 2; December 2014
*More Than a Princess: The Montevaro Monarchy book 3; December 2014
Spring 2014 will see the release of the next series – The Brides of Bellas Montagnes. When I have the time, I’m working on book 3 in that series, Prince from her Past. The first two are mostly done – Hand-me-down Princess and Queen of His Heart [working title].
Now let’s learn a little bit about Carol!
If you could travel anywhere in the world, without worrying about how to pay for it, where would it be? Why?
It would be to southern Switzerland, northwestern Italy, Corsica, and Sardina. Why? Because the three countries that comprise the fictional Royal Commonwealth of Bellas Montagnes are chopped out of those areas :). I would LOVE to visit them anyway, but thi way I can call it “research.” 😉
Why indie? Why now? How does that process work?
Why indie? Because I’ve been doing this for a long time and most of my books are just a bit too outside “the box” for traditional publishers to take a chance on. I completely get that. Plus the number of fiction slots available each year with a traditional publisher has shrunk several times through the closure of fiction lines in the last couple of years.
Your story is exactly mine!!! For writers who may not know much about the Indie process, tell us how it works?
Write a book. Rewrite the book. Edit. Edit. Edit. Critique partners. Edit. Edit. Proofreaders. Design a cover. Format the ebook. Format the paperback. Format the paperback cover. Submit the ebook to Kindle Direct Publishing. Submit the paperback files to CreateSpace and wait for a proof copy. Pray the proof copy arrives in time to sync the paperback and ebooks by the release date [that didn’t happen for Finding Mr. Write and is unlikely to for Good Enough for a Princess, but they’re both coming]. Anything but the writing [and some of the editing] can be hired out – either in exchange for money [paying an editor or cover designer or formatter, for instance] or as a barter [like with critique partners]. A long, daunting – but rewarding – process!
What is your favorite time of day to write?
If I didn’t have four young[ish] kids at home, it would probably 9-10pm to 1-2am. That’s when I write the best and am the most creative – when I’m not up at 6 in the morning to get a 13yo to jazz band practice. :p That tends to zap any late-night creativity. Instead, I get most of it done on the days I don’t work [most MWF off] or when I hole up in the recliner in the office of my sister’s house for 10-12 hours a day on weekends.
I’m a night writer too! But I’ve had to adjust because of work and family schedules. Who else is in the household? Are they supportive?
My husband, Matt, and I have four kids. Three girls – 13, 11, 9 – and a boy, age 7. They are all incredibly supportive!!! The 5.5lb Shorkie? He doesn’t like his snuggle spot in my lap taken up by the laptop or external keyboard ;).
My Chihuahua doesn’t like being crowded out by the computer either. Are you dog person or cat person?
Dog! I like cats, too, I suppose, but I’m allergic – so makes that easy! My 5.5lb Shorkie, rescued from the woods last spring, will be making an appearance in a book sometimes soon!
Have I ever talked about fictional characters as real people?
Can I plead the 5th?! No? Seriously?! Fine. Yes. I have. Do you have a problem with that?! 😉
I do it too! What are your top five favorite books of all time?
To quote one of my favorite people, Ruth Logan Herne: Oh! My! Stars! How to choose just five???? Let’s see:
1. Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer
2. Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
3. Anything by Becky Wade [but especially Meant to be Mine. Or My Stubborn Heart.]
4. Any of Janice Thompson’s rom coms – starting with the Weddings by Bella series
5. Anything by Mary Connealy
So it’s more than five… it’s the best I could do ;).
Short-straw Bride is at the top of my list too! What are your favorite TV shows – and how do they relate to writing?
Too many to mention, I’m sure! I love TV. That’s pretty much all there is to it. My favorite drama of all time is NCIS, followed closely by Castle. And who can forget LOST! My favorite current sit-com is Big Bang Theory and of all-time is Friends. I’ve spent HOURS [usually hot summer hours or cold, cold winter ones] watching I Love Lucy with my kids. We watched [most of] Boy Meets World in preparation for last summer’s premiere of Girl Meets World, and we watch that every Monday with the neighbor kids I babysit [it’s on on Friday nights on Disney Channel]. The Voice is a family favorite as is Amazing Race. And, yes, Survivor. This season I’m also watching new shows Scorpion, Forever, and A to Z. Returning shows include CSI and Criminal Minds. On my DVR you’ll find episodes of 48 Hours and Dateline and similar, along with Married at First Sight [it’s research! Honest!] and Secret Princes [so is that!] and 19 Kids and Counting, Gator Boys, and COPS [that one’s not mine]. There’s also pretty much every 9/11 special ever because… never, ever forget. [And research for my Tuesdays of Grace series.] You can usually find other news programs like The Five [which I don’t always watch] or other specials [like ones on Benghazi, Sgt. Tahmooresi, etc.]. Some of this is work-related [I teach American Government and Politics] but also because I want to be informed. Do I actually sit and watch all of those? Of course not. Usually I have them on in the background while I’m working on stuff like writing this interview ;).
Okay, you do like a lot of TV shows! Haha! Well, thank you for stopping by and filling my readers in on who you are. I wish you much success with your books!
You can find out more about Carol here!