Today’s Author Interview is with Australian Women’s Fiction Writer Monique McDonell. If you love romance, relationship dramas and sexy heroes then you’ll love Monique’s books. Her current book, Hearts Afire, is available on Amazon along with her debut novel Mr Right and Other MongrelsAlphabet Dating will be released in March.

Thanks for visiting Flying Pony, Monique!

Mon Headshot

Hearts Afire

 A jilted bride, a sexy fireman, a tropical island, a fear of the ocean, a fear of commitment, a new neighbour, an old flame, a secret identity – this is the story of HEARTS AFIRE.

Mon Hearts Afire Cover

Cassie Callahan is not having a great day. First her fiancé jilts her hours before the wedding and then her sister sets off the alarm and sprinklers at her catering business, flooding the premises, soaking the wedding banquet and bringing the fire department.

When Jack Urquhart the cute fireman offers her a shoulder to cry on they both feel an instant attraction but they each know the other is not what they are looking for. She isn’t looking for a player and he is definitely not looking for the marrying kind.

Hearts Afire takes them on a journey from Sydney’s inner-west to Tropical North Queensland, and back, in search of and avoidance of love.

Will either of them realise that there is no risk at all in trusting your heart to the right person?



1. What activities (other than writing) get your creative juices flowing?

I find baking often helps me get creative. I like that at the end of baking something I have something to show for my efforts. My day job and my writing often leave me hanging for a result…baking is more tangible. I also find a catch-up and a laugh with friends often inspires me.

2. What sort of writing routine do you have – disciplined or undisciplined, regular or erratic, focused or easily distracted?
Routine? I’m supposed to have a routine? That explains my problems! I kind of have a very loose routine. I write best from about 10-12 when the caffeine has kicked in and from 3-6pm. I try and allocate some time in each of those periods of the day for my writing. It doesn’t always work because I also write for my regular job and I need some creativity for that. I knock over blogging and social media in my less creative periods. Obviously that’s assuming it’s not school holidays or my social and family life aren’t intervening…I’m easily distracted and I hate to miss out!

3. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if so what do you do about it?
I do suffer from writer’s block and I definitely suffer from the much less commonly discussed ‘re-writers block.’ I love that writing of a first draft and coming up with a story and meeting new characters – to me that’s like making new friends so I don’t get blocked with that so much as I do with making myself do the necessary rewriting and editing that comes with getting a book ready to meet the world.

4. Which aspects of the writing life do you most love?
I love it when I’m lost in a story. When the characters speak to me and their world is coming together it’s such a wonderful feeling. I also like the fact that I’ve met so many amazing people through my writing. It’s added a depth to my life that I definitely was missing before.

5. Which aspects do least love (or detest!)?
See my answer to question three…I hate editing. It’s funny because I like editing other people’s work just not my own.

6. What books and writers have most influenced your own writing?
That’s a tricky question for me. The books that I most remember reading and being swept up in tend to be books I read when I was younger, maybe because the styles of the stories were new to me then. So books that stand out in my memory are Little Women, To Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy, Kane and Able by Jeffrey Archer and A Woman of Substance by Barbra Taylor-Bradford. They’re all books that really weave a good story that sucks you in so I hope I have some of that in my own writing. My favourite writers now are Kate Atkinson and Meg Cabot. They’re very different writers but again they both have the ability to draw you into a story.

7. Can you describe for us your writing process, from getting the original idea to completed manuscript?
My books all start with an image of a character in a situation, usually that’s the situation the character finds themselves in at the start of the book. It comes to me like a movie montage and I start from there. I tend to write about a third of the novel and then do a scene map to get me to the end, it helps me get through that mid-way slump. Then there’s the re-writing and the editing. Every book’s journey has been a little bit different beyond that but that’s common to all of them.

8. Describe your path to publication.
In a word – fraught! That sounds a little bit depressing doesn’t it? Sorry! I submitted my manuscript for Mr Right and Other Mongrels everywhere. It was my first book and it was taken off slush piles all over the world, which was exciting until the inevitable rejections came. In the end I couldn’t get it over the line in traditional publishing so I decided to go indie. Partly because I am a bit outcome driven and I needed to see a tangible result for my efforts and also because opportunities for independent authors are expanding so quickly I thought it made more sense to explore them than leave my book in a drawer.

9. What advice would you give to writers who are working towards publication?

I think the best advice is still that classic write what you like to read. My other advice is to surround yourself with people who will support you when the journey is tough but will give you honest and constructive feedback as well.


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Thanks again Monique and all the best with your writing and publishing projects for 2013.

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