Monique Sorgen was born and raised in San Francisco, spending summers and winter holidays in Paris, with her mom’s side of the family. Sorgen is half-French. She wrote her first chapter of a book in 5th Grade, based on the adventures, drama, and goings-on of her classmates at her French-American grade school. She sent her writings to Judy Blume, and in return became the proud recipient of a printed form letter and autographed picture, thanking her for being a fan. Sorgen moved to Los Angeles, shortly before her 18th birthday, to attend UCLA’s school of Theater, Film, and Television, where she studied directing for theater and film. Her directing pursuits lead her to writing screenplays, that she hoped to direct. Her screenplays lead to jobs writing for television, and later lead to jobs writing movies which have yet to be made. Her desire to share her stories without having to wait for a studio’s “green light” lead her to writing novels. The use of the plural in the word “novels” is slightly exaggerated, since this is her first one. Or maybe it’s premonitory, since she plans to write more. Her debut novel, “How Long You Should Wait to Have Sex”, is based on Sorgen’s true mind-wonderings about how great it would be to get a do-over when a seemingly perfect guy disappears after sex.
What inspires you to write?
The only inspiration I need to write is seeing how down in the dumps I become when I’m not writing. I meditate and exercise every day. I do yoga once a week. I eat good food and drink nice wine. But none of it makes me feel good unless I have also gotten some writing in for the day. I think that I have a borderline embarrassing need to feel that my voice is being heard and that my thoughts matter. That’s not my favorite thing about myself. I wish I didn’t care if people knew or liked what I have to say. But if I’m honest with myself, I do care. The good news is that I’ve spent years learning how to hide all my thoughts and opinions in stories that are commercial and accessible. I hope that makes reading them enjoyable for everyone!
Tell us about your writing process.
This is pretty unconventional, but since I’ve been groomed as a screenwriter, I write screenplays for my stories first, and then use the screenplays as outlines for the novel. I figure I may as well outline in the form I know best, and it’s also an advantage because screenplays are much shorter than novels, so you can really tighten the plot in that format, before coloring it all in during the novel writing process.
As far as my day to day process goes, I like to write first thing in the morning because that’s when my mind is still in a dream state, and I don’t judge myself or censor myself as much when I’m in that state. If the morning goes well, it all sits in my head, working itself out, and I can write all day, (taking a break for lunch). If I’m on a real roll, and I don’t have any night plans, I’ll just keep going after my exercise and dinner snack. That doesn’t happen very often. Usually I burn out my brain before my exercise, and give it a rest for the remainder of the day. Basically, I treat it like a regular job with regular hours.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I listen to the characters talk to each other. They usually know what they would say next better than I do. I’m just the secretary, transcribing the events as they unfold. I’m glad my mom forced me to take typing in high school, because otherwise I could never keep up with the scenes those characters are showing me.
Also, very luckily, I took some improvisation classes in college. Those classes have greatly influenced my dialogue writing.
What advice would you give other writers?
Just write whatever comes to mind. Don’t judge it as you write. You can always re-write it later if it sucks.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I did a lot of research and asked everyone I could find who was doing it. I looked at the direction of technology and traditional publishing and decided that no matter what, I had to own my digital rights in perpetuity. I also found out that big publishers don’t invest their marketing dollars or time into first time scribes, so I would have to do all the marketing myself, whether I went traditional or indy. From there, indy-publishing became the only option… In fact, I’m repped at an agency that has a great literary department in New York, and I didn’t even submit the manuscript to them. I really wanted to try being a part of the future. Let me tell you, the future is exhausting!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think traditional publishers will basically have to become marketing houses if they want to stay in the business of collecting a cut on novels. Unless you’re lazy, you really don’t need them anymore to get your book legitimized.
That said, if I was doing a cookbook or some other kind of fancy hard covered coffee table book with lots of graphs and/or images, I’d probably want to leave that formatting to an old-timer. I probably wouldn’t self-publish that kind of book.
What do you use?
Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Romance, Chick Lit, Women’s Fiction
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print