About Caleb Monroe:
My name is Caleb Monroe. I have been writing now for six years, and as of this moment, three of my books have been traditionally published. The decision to make the leap into the ever-changing and always evolving business of writing was not an easy one. I did not nor ever intend to become a writer. I graduated from college with a Biochemistry degree and then went on to be a High School Chemistry teacher. I only started writing about six years ago when I was so inspired by something that I simply had to put it down on paper. This one little act spawned 9 books which tell different stories that are connected through one of my favorite characters: Shadow. Shadow is one of the main characters of Breaking free which was the first book I got traditionally published. My writing may not be the most sophisticated, and I certainly don't use the biggest words I can find to show off my intellect, but I do write from the heart. Most of my inspiration for my books and characters come from my life experiences and the many random things that spark an idea in my mind. Comic books are my favorite medium to read. I love all things comic books. They are a big reason why I write in the way I do. They have helped me to develop my voice as an author. My writing is very easy to read, and I strive to make the dialogue sound as if my characters are everyday people you might overhear at the store. I hope you enjoy my stories and fall in love with my characters. They have made me write some great stories.
What inspires you to write?
I wish there was a simple answer to this question like I have always wanted to or dreamed of being a writer, but that just isn't me. I have always loved reading and falling in love with characters and their journeys. The idea of losing myself in a story to the point where I become a part of it is one of the best feelings in the world. When I came up with the idea for Breaking Free, my first traditionally published book, everything seemed to fall into place. The story, characters, and journey they were on kept me up at night as I started writing. Every page offered a new idea that my characters demanded to be addressed, and I simply couldn't say no to them. As I write this answer, I realize I found the answer, and it turns out that it is a pretty simple one. I write because my characters tell me to. They have a story that they want to be told, and I am here to do it for them.
Tell us about your writing process.
My writing process can be described as beautifully orchestrated chaos. When stories always start with something random that sparks an idea. Breaking Free, my first book, was conceptualized on two occasions. The first was when a bad storm threw a chair on my back porch where it slammed into my back door. The other main component of that story came later when I was walking my dog. This has become a recurring pastime where I come up with book ideas. After I figure out who my main characters are, how they act, talk, and look, I sit down and start typing. I prefer to map out each chapter as I go in about 1,000 words or less. It takes about two weeks to come up with the basic plot of the book. Once I finish with my basic outline, I go back to chapter 1 and let chaos take ahold of my story. I do adhere to the outline that I made up when I conceptualized the story, but when my characters decide to do something crazy and unexpected, I am forced to bend to their will. They know exactly what needs to be said or where they should go next. That is why I call my planning beautifully orchestrated chaos. There is much planning that goes into my books, but I am not afraid to take chances and trust that my characters know what is best for them.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My characters are the most important part of my writings. They are the ones whose life is in danger. They are the ones trying sway some else to love them back. They are even the ones who want to eat bacon at every meal they can. I always know who my characters are supposed to be, but often they tell me things about them I never knew. I think that every good author needs to talk to their characters every day. This is the key to making sure they make the right decisions or go the right direction in a story. I would be lost in my writing if my characters stayed silent. I am not a writer who tells his characters what they are going to do and what they are not going to do. That is foolish. Why argue with them when I know they are going to win every time.
What advice would you give other writers?
Be ready to be disappointed. Not everyone is going to like your story or your characters. People are going to say mean things about something you put your money, time, and soul into. Agents and companies will tell you over and over again that your work is simply something they are not looking for at this time. It is going to be very hard, and there will be times where you will wonder if all this work is worth the small amount of money you might earn from sales, but trust me. It is worth it. You have a story you want to tell. A story that means everything to you. A story that makes you proud. Tell it. Tell it for the whole world to read and be proud of it.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I have actually tried both the self-publishing and traditional route. I currently work with Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, and it has been the best decision of my life. The company is run by authors, and they are always helping me with anything I need. I am not going to say that self-publishing is bad or harder, but it was for me. I encourage you to find what fits you best.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
The future is a scary one in my opinion. Bookstores are no longer a large draw to people. I am a teacher, and I get to see firsthand how little reading kids and even adults do these days. This doesn't mean I believe reading is going away, but with the flood of millions of self-published books put out each year, it is getting hard and harder to find a foothold in the world. I will always write and never stop, but it is not going to be easy, and I am ready for the challenge.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Sci-fi, fantasy, young adult
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.