A Prepublished Novel in the Process of Revisions and Rewrites

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Author Spotlight: Barbara Monajem, Romance Author

Hello, Barbara!  Welcome to my humble patio garden.  Make yourself comfortable. Aren't the orchids beautiful this time of year?  I've made a special batch of Hibiscus/Green Iced Tea with a hint of mint from my own garden for us.  There are some wonderfully sinful double dark chocolate chip cookies as well.  Help yourself.

Tell me about yourself. What makes you angry, happy, sad, snoopy dance?

Angry and sad: People being mean and nasty to one another.

Happy and dancing: People being kind to one another.

It’s not complicated: never be mean and nasty, even if you’re hurt or upset. I’m not saying everything’s all sweetness and light; unfortunately, it’s not. Sometimes kindness backfires, and sometimes it’s misinterpreted, but as long as you mean well, that’s what matters.

I have to agree with your theory here, Barbara.  My basic rule of thumb is to treat people as I would want them to treat me.  I really strive hard to practice this no matter the situation as eventually it will come back in a positive light:) What inspired you to write your first book?

Reading. On my first day of school, I came back ecstatic, telling my parents, “I can read!!” In third grade I wrote my first story.

Wow! We've something in common. I began writing at a very young age as well. How many books have you written?

Long answer: One children’s book which was published long ago. One romance which is under the bed. I submitted it to Harlequin years ago, but they returned it saying to send it again later, as they were snowed under with submissions. Dummy me, I just put it under the bed and forgot about it. First paranormal, which I wrote twice and am now writing again. Hopefully this time it will be good! Then two more paranormals. Then three regency romances and a regency short story (which was released as an e-book by Harlequin in January).
Short answer: 8.25 or 9.25, depending on whether the same character’s story written twice counts. :)

What works best to keep you focused and on track?

A page count goal. It’s best if I have to report my progress to someone else. I first realized this when my local RWA chapter, Georgia Romance Writers, held a writing challenge. I promised 15 pages per week, and about killed myself to get there, because I didn’t want to confess to the coordinator that I hadn’t lived up to my pledge.

That's a very attainable goal and no stress! I like the way you think. Even I could do that if I put my mind to it:) You know? I'm think I may just work on utilizing that goal. Do you write to make money or for the love of writing?

Money would be useful, but I can’t help but write. It’s so much fun! (Oh, and it keeps me sane, more or less.)

What is your favorite holiday? And why?

Halloween. I love spooky stuff.

Something else we have in common *grin*  Everyone that knows me knows how I feel about Halloween. When do you write (daytime, nighttime, on your lunch hour, before the kids get up, after everyone is asleep? In large chunks of time or stolen snippets?)
Whenever, wherever. I get a lot done on road trips (with my husband driving) because there are no distractions. I’m a morning person, so I’m better at first drafts in the daytime. I can revise anytime.

Do you write every day? Or when the muse strikes?
Whenever I have time. Most days, I write something – original text, revision, blogs. The muse tends to wake up *after* I start writing. He (yes, my muse is male, and I adore him) shows up in mid-scene, being a pain in the butt sometimes, but he’s usually right. (I daren’t say always… can’t let him think he has control.)

Oh, I get that, LOL Are you someone who can write on demand? Or do you have to stew and coax an idea before you sit down and write? Or maybe you write when the muse knocks you upside your head, like me?
Both. If I have to write something right away, I do. However, once I’ve written something, I really *have* to let it stew for a while. A day, a week, maybe longer. I hope I never have a deadline that doesn’t account for “stew time.”

Me, too.  I once put a manuscript away for two years, pulled it out, blew the dust off and got to work again. Where do you go to think?

I have to go somewhere? LOL.

Maybe I should rephrase, LOL Where is your favorite place to mull over things?
I try to think all the time, but long walks are good.

How do you come up with your title and main characters’ names?

The title of my current release, Sunrise in a Garden of Love & Evil, came from my genius editor.
We brainstormed the next one, Tastes of Love & Evil. It was originally called Vamping the Chameleon, because I was entering a contest (this was several years ago) and needed a title, any title, right away. I really do need “stew time.” :)

Characters’ names tend to show up as I’m writing, so I guess my muse gets the credit, although sometimes I can’t stand his choices, so I change them.

What is your least favorite thing to do as an author? Allow me to clarify: query, write a synopsis, write a blurb, market, you get the picture:)

I loathe synopses. My muse deserts me, so they’re boring to write, a real chore. I can write a decent synopsis of a completed book, but as for writing one just on a concept – it’s torture. And it shows.

How long did it take you to get your first project sold? And was the project your first actual completed manuscript?

I don’t count the children’s book (because that was pure serendipity, and I wasn’t really trying to sell). Sunrise in a Garden of Love and Evil (my 5th finished manuscript, if you count the two versions of my first paranormal) finaled in the Daphne contest (under the title Love in a Twisted Garden). Chris Keeslar of Dorchester was one of the judges, and he requested the full. Three years after I sent it, he emailed to see if it was still available, and made me an offer the next day.

Wow!  that's quite a long time between.  You must have been estatic and pleasantly surprised. Do you have an upcoming release?
Sunrise in a Garden of Love and Evil was just released.

You do! Oh please tell us all about it.

 Here’s a short blurb:
Dark secrets abound in the town of Bayou Gavotte, Louisiana, from blackmail to fetish clubs to murder, and when blood-and-love starved vampire Ophelia Beliveau calls in the police to scare away whoever is desecrating her garden, Detective Gideon O'Toole unearths more than he ever dreamed...
It’s the first in the Bayou Gavotte series, and is available at the usual places for books: bookstores, online bookstores, Amazon.com, and of course from Dorchester Publishing (www.dorchesterpub.com). The second in the series, Tastes of Love and Evil, will be a September release.

Sounds like a very interesting read, Barbara. I may just have to put that one on my TBR list asap.
Tell us about your Hero. Do you have a favorite, if you’ve written multiple books?

My absolute favorite hero is the one I’m writing now. He’s a part-Native American rock star with telepathic abilities. He appears in the first two books of the series as a secondary character, but now he gets his own book. I’m working on it now, and I’m totally intimidated trying to write him. I need my muse’s full support for this one!!

Contest info:

One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of Sunrise in a Garden of Love & Evil, and will also be entered in the contest I’m holding all through the month of April. I’ll be giving away signed copies of Sunrise in a Garden of Love and Evil and various other prizes. (Including socks. If I have a fetish, it’s for socks. But there’s lots of other stuff, too.) You can get extra chances to win by signing up for my newsletter, or by posting links to any of the blogs I’m doing this month (see the list on the Events page of my site, http://www.barbaramonajem.com/) on Facebook, MySpace, and/or Twitter. Just fill out the form on the Contact page of my site to sign up or to let me know where you've posted links.

Bio: Barbara Monajem wrote her first story in third grade about apple tree gnomes. After dabbling in neighborhood musicals and teen melodrama, she published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. Now her kids are adults, and she writes paranormal and historical romance for grownups. She lives in Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays. Barbara can be contacted via her website at http://www.barbaramonajem.com/

Sunrise in a Garden of Love and Evil is available in your bookstore, or here:

www.tinyurl.com/sunriseingarden from Amazon
as well as directly from Dorchester Publishing: at http://www.dorchesterpub.com/

Notorious Eliza, a short regency historical e-book, is available here:
http://tinyurl.com/notoriouselizahhu from Harlequin,
or via Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble for various formats.


  1. Barbara congratulations on the release of Sunrise in a Garden of Love and Evil. I laughed when reading how Chris K. answered after three years. At least he answered!!! I can't wait to read this book after enjoying Notorious Eliza.

    Dayana you have a beautiful blog. Keep me in mind when I recover from my last trip.

  2. Thanks, Mona. I'm glad you enjoyed Notorious Eliza. Loved the pics from your trip. I hope you will go on many more fascinating trips so I can enjoy them vicariously afterward. :)

  3. Hi Barbara and Dayana,

    Great interview ladies. I think I'm going to help myself to one of those sinful double chocolate chip cookies.

    I can relate to your synopsis loathing...I can only write them after I've finished a book, which sometimes defeats the purpose. We use goal setting in my RWA chapter, too, and it does help me to be accountable for getting things written!

  4. Hi, Debra - I totally relate to the sheets of yellow paper with scribbles on them! (See Debra's Spotlight from last week.) I'm plotting my WIP right now, and I have a list of scenes plus notes on character arcs on my computer, as well as bits of paper everywhere with ideas that came to me when my computer wasn't at hand. What a mess. But it all comes together in the end, right?

  5. Love it! The Barbara and Dayana Show! I keep learning new things about you, Barbara.

    Exotic tea and sinful cookies? My kind of party.

  6. Hey Barbara! Congrats on the release of your fabulous book (yes...I've read it and recommend it to everyone!!!!). I'm also a goal oriented person. I try to do 30 pages a week when I'm in writing mode and I, too, have people I report my goals to. Funny, but they are willing to cut me more slack than I'm willing to cut myself.

  7. Mary - More than you ever wanted to know, I guess. Sorry! But the cookies and tea were great.

  8. Joelle - Thanks for reading my book, and I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

    I'm not accountable to anyone most of the time, and it's probably a good thing, because once I feel accountable, I go nuts not cutting myself any slack. ;~)

  9. Barbara you must be on cloud nine. I am so happy for you.
    I can't wait to read it. I love the premise!
    I really enjoyed your interview, As MM said what a show. Dayana always does great blogs so you are in good hands here!
    Hard work pays off for you Barbara and we reap the benefits as readers!

  10. Thank you, Mary. Isn't Dayana's blog beautiful? And she asks great questions, too. I had a lot of fun answering them.

  11. Great job, you two Pink Fuzzies! It's always fun to get to know you better and learn about your writing journey...Good luck!

  12. Well, Barbara, it's been great having you here. I wish you the best with your new release.

    Thank you all for stopping by and please do keep an eye to this blog.

    Happy Sunday!


  13. The winner of the signed copy of Sunrise in a Garden of Love & Evil is Debra St. John!

    Debra, please email me through the contact page of my website, www.BarbaraMonajem.com, to give me your mailing address.

  14. Hey Barbara,

    I'm so excited! I'll pop over and give you my info right away!

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