Carolyn Moncel is the author of three books: Encounters in Paris – A Collection of Short Stories and 5 Reasons to Leave a Lover – A Novella and Other Short Stories and Railway Confessions: A Collection of Short Stories. After moving from Chicago, her hometown, in 2002, she spent five years living in Paris. She currently resides in Lausanne, Switzerland with her husband and two daughters. Her next project, tentatively entitled Nearly Lost You will be a young adult novel co-written with her daughter and will debut in fall 2013.
What inspires you to write?
I take my writing inspiration from everywhere; from real life, conversation snippets, movies, songs. Nothing is off limits. Take for example, 5 Reasons to Leave a Lover. One day I was walking down the street in Lausanne when I heard Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave a Lover” piping out of the sound system of a passing car. The title for my own book came next, but I spent a great dealing time thinking about all the reasons why people would leave a relationship. When I finished I concluded there were really only five reasons and I wanted to explore them in my book.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am trying to become a more disciplined writer. I have tried writing outlines, but honestly it doesn’t work for me yet. However, this doesn’t mean that I don’t have a writing process. LOL After I complete a work, I send it to press in order to receive a proof. I do this because it allows me to distance myself from the work and become an ordinary reader again. From there I start editing the proof, rearranging paragraphs, shifting chapters. I read the work aloud so that I can concentrate on the flow of words. In my head there is a deliberate flow to my work. I am never satisfied with the work until the delivery is smooth. From there, I send the work to my editor for more reworking. After a few drafts, I send the work to beta readers in order to get more feedback. I make changes and finalize the work. If everything is fine, we send to press again in order to general a final proof. If everything is good then we publish. It’s really that simple
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Actually, they do! It’s one of the weirder elements of being a writer. The first time it happened to me, I hadn’t returned to writing yet so I thought I was losing my mind. LOL I just heard this woman’s voice and she said, ‘You know, the thing of it is, I simply hate when he patronizes me.’ My first thought was, ‘Who the heck are you and what do you want?’ Well, that character later became Ellery Roulet, one of the main characters in 5 Reasons to Leave a Lover. My characters wake me up during the night. They decide to speak at the most inappropriate times like when I’m in a meeting at work. They also get angry and refuse to talk after being ignored. LOL I have learned that my characters are most active either very early morning or very late at night. As a result these are the times when I choose to write so I can capture their wants and desires more accurately. I found great consolation in learning that the author James Baldwin said that his characters used to speak to him as well. He likened them to restless spirits who were only happy once their stories had been told to their satisfaction.
What advice would you give other writers?
Never give up and trust your instincts. If you have always enjoyed reading and writing, then give it a try. If you are afraid to self publish, then remember that you are equipped with more skills then you have ever imagined. Last, promoting books is difficult so be prepared to work really hard. Don’t forget to plan for marketing and publicity.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I didn’t even bother sending out query letters to publishers or agents simply because through my research, I knew that most would not be interested in a collection of short stories. I purposely decided to self-publish because I wanted to have more control over my work.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Honestly, I really don’t know. The business seems to be changing daily. I think things will settle down eventually but right now, it’s a tremendous time to be a writer. Yes, writers are asked to handle much more of their marketing activities, press and social media, but I don’t mind this at all. Having been a business owner for so long, I’d already come to expect this level of commitment. Now, I’m promoting my work in different way and I love it.
What do you use?
Co-writer, Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Women’s Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction, International Fiction, African American Fiction, ChickLit
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
Your Social Media Links