Where do you hail from and what do you love most about your hometown? I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I now live a little suburb just outside of Baton Rouge. I have a huge love for my entire state. Louisiana is rich in heritage, music, good food and wonderful people. The diversity of the people and culture has made Louisiana a wonderful place to live.
Tell us about your latest book. Becoming Jolie is about a small, fictional town in Louisiana were several children have gone missing. The town’s people are haunted by the ghosts of their children and Jolie thinks they are all crazy. However, she’s pulled into Follett’s story via her dreams and ties to the place she didn’t know existed. Throw in a love triangle and the story is really creepy and exciting!
Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it? I have another book available July 5th called, The Watchers. It is the follow up to my novel The Keepers about fallen angels in New Orleans.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing? Editing is always challenging. Not because the editing itself is hard, but because I really want each story to be great and I worry about every single sentence until I finally make peace with them.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out? My advice is always the same, DON’T GIVE UP! Keep writing and keep sending your stories out. Find a publisher who feels as passionate about your work as you do and you will be happy with the outcome!
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? Most of the time I find when I get writers block, it’s because I’m trying to do too many things at once. If I have a book coming out, I’m editing another novel, and trying to get my ideas down about three other stories that are in my head, sometimes my brain just shuts down. When that happens, I have to just step back and work on one or two things at a time. In time, my muse will come back if I’m patient enough. (Which I never am!)
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers? I think one of the best tools a writer can have is a critique partner that is brutally honest. Lots of times when you send a manuscript to your friends and family, they are so enthralled that they can’t be objective. If you can find someone that can truly help you find your errors, POV changes, passive wording, etc., then it will making submitting and editing your work much easier! You just have to be prepared for the honesty and take it in the context in which it is meant – which is generally to help you!
Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content? HA! This one is hard for me. Becoming Jolie was the first book that I ever wrote a sex scene for. I don’t write erotica, so if there is sex in a story then I really felt it was warranted. I still blush every time I read that scene! It’s ridiculous! I suppose as time goes on, I’ll get better at drawing those lines.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research? I don’t know about the weirdest thing, but I do always say that if the FBI or CIA ever gets a hold to my hard drive, I’m going down! Just for Becoming Jolie, I researched black market babies, kidnappings, murder weapons, ghosts. That’s only one book! Can you imagine if they saw everything I research? I’ll keep writing from prison!
Don’t forget to give us links to your website etc.
Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Moniqueoconnorjamesauthor
Monique O’Connor James
Jolie Bourque is trying to finish her thesis and get on with her life. She wanders into Folette, Louisiana, a place plagued by ghost sightings, convinced they are all crazy. No one wants to help her, no one except Hutch Landry and his brother Tucker.
Will she find the monster that is preying on the town’s children? Can she stay sane surrounded by madness?
What are her ties to the small town? How will she choose between the brothers?
This is the nightmare that is her life and all just a part of Becoming Jolie.
About the Author:
Monique is the mother of two beautiful children and lives in a small community outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She currently works full time as an insurance agent, but her favorite jobs are mother, wife, and author. On her ninth birthday, her mother bought her a journal and said, “Write whatever you want. Just write”. And so, a love affair with words was born.
She wrote poetry and short stories in high school and college, until 1993 when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. After her mother’s death in 1998, deep in depression, she found herself unable to write. Nine years passed, and only on rare occasion did she attempt to write. Finally, in 2007, under the urging of friends, she sat down and pecked out her first novel. It was raw and unpolished, but the process had been unquestionably cathartic.
The next three years were spent filling her hard drive with seven complete manuscripts. At the beginning of 2011, Monique decided it was time to edit the work and share it with the world. She hopes you enjoy the ramblings of a truly southern girl raised in a state rich with heritage and love.
In June of 2011 her first book, The Keepers, was published by Astraea Press and it has been a world wind of excitement ever since. Please check out her website and feel free to contact her at any time via her email, facebook, or twitter.