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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Off the Path Author Interview: Monique Martin!

Please join me in welcoming Monique Martin, author of Out of Time, to What Book is That?  As the inaugural star of Off the Path, she's been incredibly awesome in helping me get this spotlight up and running!  I hope you enjoy reading her interview answers as much as I enjoyed collecting them.

WBIT: First off, congratulations on writing such an excellent book! Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind it- what made you pick the time period you did for the setting, and how did the paranormal elements end up getting worked into the story?

MM: Thank you! It's funny, the inspiration for the time period and the paranormal aspects are entwined. I was watching a documentary about Al Capone and the mobsters of Chicago in the Twenties. They were so ruthless! These were bad, bad men. It almost felt like some of them didn't have souls. And the proverbial light bulb went off! What if the underworld of 1920's gangsters was actually run by the underworld of demons? That sounded like a great set-up for a book. And, my brain started percolating. The character of Simon had been rattling around in my head for some time and so it just felt like a natural. I love the idea of "fish out of water" adventures, so making it a time travel novel felt right.
WBIT:  Did the finished version of Out of Time differ from the original one and if so, in what ways?
MM: It's remarkably similar to what I set out to write. I think the character of King surprised me and his arc grew as I wrote. He still isn't a huge part of the novel, but his journey thematically blossomed as I got further into things. I'm a plotter, not a pantster (fly by the seat of your pants writer), so I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do before I wrote any pages. I did extensive research, character bios and beat sheets (step by step plotting) for the book. The final product always has some surprises in it, but overall Out of Time went according to plan.

WBIT:  Is there such a thing as a typical writing day for you, and if so, what does it look like?
MM: It starts with coffee. Lots of it. I'm a complete loss until I have a few cups. Once I've got my brain in gear, the day really starts. Because I do so much research and prep work, my writing days often don't have any actual writing in them. Once I get my groove on though, a typical day will be anywhere from 4-6 hours of complete bliss. I love to lose myself in my work. It's a dream. Remember when you were a kid and played "pretend"? Well, that's what I do when I write. I just play pretend. Now, when I'm rewriting, which is an awful lot of the work, it's not as much fun, but just as importat. It's about details and word choice and commas. The creation is the most fun, but actually takes the least time.

WBIT:  What are your favorite books, whether they be favorite books ever, or favorite books read recently?  What titles do you recommend to people most often?
MM: I love the classics. I go back to books like Les Miserables over and over again. I've been reading lots of non-fiction recently, some for research and some because I can read it in small doses. When I read a novel, I love to sit down and just read it. All in one sitting if I can, but I don't have the luxury of that much time these days. My dad is always sending me books to read and they're piled so high right now I actually fear for my safety. ;) A book that I've recommended recently is kind of an odd one. It's a children's book by Swedish author Maria Gripe called The Glassblower's Children. It's haunting and lovely.

WBIT:  2011 has just begun- what does the new year hold for you?
MM: It's hard to believe we're already in 2011! The new year will bring at least one new book. I'm well underway in writing the sequel to Out of Time. It's tentatively titled When the Walls Fell and I'm hoping for a Spring release. I plan on making Out of Time an extended series, but you never know where things will go. I've also got a young adult novel in progress and another non-romance underway. I've got a long list of short stories that want to be written, but the novel is taking all of my time. This is an exciting time. Right now, it feels like anything is possible in 2011!

Thanks again to Monique Martin for agreeing to be featured here today!  Check back later this week for more great insight from this other as a part of Off the Path!
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