Saturday, December 31, 2011

Just for Fun - Interview with Author Monica O'Brien

I recently came across this new author, Monica O'Brien.  She has just completed her first novel, Silver Smoke.  As some of you know, I am a avid reader and a lover of entertaining book series.  Check out the interview that I conducted with Monica below.  And at the bottom of this blog, you'll find a link to Monica's web site which tells you how to take part in a contest she is running, in celebration of her new novel.

What is your all-time favorite “classic” book?

I really love Emma by Jane Austen. I think I saw the movie first, with Gwyneth Paltrow, then read the book. It was my first Jane Austen book. I moved on to the other greats, like Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Persuasion.

How did you come up with your novel’s character’s names?

Well, I just thought about how celebrities always give their kids dumb names like Apple (I just referenced Gwyneth twice in this interview) and then copied that idea. Pilot's name just came to me out of thin air (no pun intended). Then came Breeze, which was later changed to Brie because Pilot and Breeze is just too comical. So then I decided that Brie is short for Gabriella and that her mother named her after one of the archangels, Gabrielle. And Rykken is a derived from the word reich, which is German for rich empire or kingdom.
Were you an avid reader or a creative writer (or both) as a kid?

I read 2 to 3 books a day when I was between 7 and 13 years old. I'm assuming I didn't have a ton of friends or a social life! I did write a couple stories but nothing of substance until I wrote this novel.
What is your favorite “beach read?”

I like the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries. I won't typically keep up with her series as the books come out, but when I'm on vacation in Mexico I'll bring two or three of her novels with me to read on the beach.
Who would play Brie in the movie adaptation of Silver Smoke?
Well, I have my eye on Vanessa Hudgens--but let me explain! Brie is one of those characters that just has a sparkle about her. She's popular and people look up to her and she doesn't know why, and she doesn't really care or notice because it's been like that her whole life. She hasn't done anything to earn that--she's not talented, and she's not particularly nice, and she's not always easy to like. I would equate her with the popular girl at school who isn't a bully, isn't outwardly mean but also isn't outwardly friendly, doesn't actually do anything of note, but manages to steal attention because there is just something about her, that X factor, that you can't stop watching. I can see Vanessa Hudgens playing that well, for whatever reason.

Regarding Brie, I should mention that I was not that person at all in high school! I knew a lot of girls like her though, and I found myself wanting to be accepted by those girls even though I couldn't come up with any logical reason I should be friends with them. They were the girls you hated mostly because you were jealous. Brie's fairly vacant and glassy-eyed at the beginning of the book, but eventually you see what really motivates her and she becomes more of a human being by the end.
What is the first step to getting a novel published?

Deciding whether you want to go the traditional route or do things on your own. There are advantages to both. I think a lot of people would say that the first step is to write the novel. You honestly can't get a sense of whether the novel will generate any interest until you write it. There are so many factors to consider.
What has been your favorite Halloween costume (as an adult and as a kid?)

I've always wanted to be Snow White, but for some reason I never did it! I guess my favorite costume is from when I was a kid. I had waited until the last minute to make something, so I found this huge box and wrapped it in birthday wrapping. I cut out two holes for my arms and went as a present. It was pretty tough to navigate in that thing.
To celebrate the release of a new novel to the Seven Halos series, Monica is doing a Kindle Fire giveaway for Silver Smoke, the first novel in the series! 
Check out the contest details here and enjoy this very informative web site.