How would it feel knowing that your hard work, your passion and your time has finally resulted in something that you only dreamed about: a novel? What if, before your eyes, you felt the excitement of your future fans and saw your words being bound within covers and printed online?
All those feelings and more are exactly what Monica Leonelle’s heart and mind overflows with, and she stopped by at A Novel Place to share her thoughts, feelings, challenges and favourites — and to preview her first trilogy Socialpunk. In the first novel in the trilogy, social media and technology take a whole new turn when lives become trapped in a virtual reality.
About the Book: Socialpunk
Ima would give anything to escape The Dome and learn what’s beyond its barriers, but the Chicago government has kept all its citizens on lockdown ever since the Scorched Years left most of the world a desert wasteland. When a mysterious group of hooded figures enters the city unexpectedly, Ima uncovers a plot to destroy The Dome and is given the choice between escaping to a new, dangerous city or staying behind and fighting a battle she can never win.
About the Author: Monica Leonelle
Monica Leonelle is a well-known digital media strategist and the author of three novels. She blogs at Prose on Fire and shares her writing and social media knowledge with other bloggers and authors through her Free Writer Toolkit.
10 Not-Always-Serious Questions For This Seriously Talented Author:
1) Let’s start at the very beginning… where were you when came up with the idea that formed your Socialpunk trilogy?
I was inspired by the city of Chicago, by social media issues in our current world, and by the cyberpunk genre. The book is a bit like the Terminator series and I reference that a couple times just for fun. James Cameron is basically my favorite director ever, and he really inspires me with his world-building and storytelling skills.
2) When you began planning your first novel, what were the reactions like from your friends and family? Did they encourage you? Hinder you? What were your initial thoughts when you officially decided to write the novel?
I’ve been writing forever, so a new book came as no surprise to anyone. My friends and family always encourage me with whatever my endeavors are. When I first start a new novel I’m excited to get my ideas down on the screen.
3) Inspiration comes in many forms, and it would be impossible to believe authors aren’t inspired by the world and those around them… in that case, what inspired you? Events? People? Places?
I wouldn’t say any one person or thing is my inspiration, because that doesn’t create anything new. You create new things by combining inspirations from all sorts of different sources and then adding your own touch or twist. But if you want to be inspired, you should expose yourself to all sorts of media—books, television, movies, radio, art museums, you name it. If you are writing one book you should consume at least ten books, ten movies, ten TV shows, ten songs, etc. to prepare. It doesn’t matter if they are related or not—in fact, the more diverse, the better. And how much fun is it that I just told you to watch TV in order to do work? You’re welcome for that.
4) When you began to write, what challenges did you face? Did anything come easier than you expected?
Since I’d written a novel before, I didn’t face as many challenges as with the first one. There was one point after I’d written the first half of the book where I thought, “the rest of this is so wrong.” So I re-plotted the entire second half of the book.
5) As with many authors, did you have a writing routine that you stuck to? What did a typical writing day look like?
I’m a “burst of energy” type of person rather than a “little every day” type of person. So I will write a whole book in a week or two, then go back and edit it all in a week or two. And then I won’t write as much for the next few weeks. On an average day I probably write a couple thousand words, during a book writing session I write closer to 5000 words a day.
6) What did your writing space look like? Did you have a particular playlist you listened to? Drink? Food?
I mostly just write on my couch and often with the television on! It’s really bizarre. If I’m writing fiction I typically need quiet, so I’ll write in the dead hours of the night. All I need is typically my computer, and sometimes my Spotify account. Writing is one of those lucky professions that you can do anywhere.
7) Who do you owe most for your novels?
Myself. I wrote them :)
8) If there’s one thing you learned most from your experience, what was it?
Just keep writing. Good writing comes with practice, and you do just get better and better. But it takes awhile. Patience! It’s the worst thing to tell a writer. I hate hearing it too, which is why I’m saying it now. To remind myself to have patience with writing. It’s not easy to make a living at it. A lot of people advise that if you can see yourself doing anything besides writing, you should do that instead.
9) What would you tell other aspiring authors out there who are fearful about starting that first novel and publishing it?
That they can combat fear by hiring a good editor. Writers should also learn marketing because they are either going the indie route or they are under fire to sell through on their advance with a traditional publisher. You can learn more about marketing your writing with my Free Writer Toolkit here: proseonfire.com/the-free-writer-toolkit
More importantly, writers should inject their marketing directly into their manuscripts. Writers often think of marketing as this separate thing from writing, but it’s not at all. 80-90% of books are sold through word-of-mouth and most of the marketability of a book is right there in the manuscript. So even if you are going the traditional route, if you are serious about getting published you should hire an editor to go through your book and see how marketable it is. Traditional publishers are looking for marketable books. It’s a business and they need to make money.
10) For fun, tell me about your five favourites: book/author, musical artist, city, language and historical event – and why?
Book/author: I have tons. But my favorite book from the last year is Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. It’s so romantic and lovely and sweet. It’s actually the second book in the Infernal Devices, so start with the first one, Clockwork Angel.
Musical Artist: I’m loving Jessie J right now
City: Chicago, easily.
Language: English, I guess! I don’t know any others well enough.
Historical event: The signing of the US Bill of Rights. I recently visited DC and went to the National Archives to view these documents. And I’m in amazement at how relevant they are today. I genuinely believe too many Americans are ungrateful for how the country was formed and who the men were who put the systems into place.