Author Monica Exley – I write best when I’m writing two of more books at the same time.
A brief about Author Monica Exley.
Monica Exley has been a teacher, journalist, educator, reporter, public health official, magazine article writer, author, illustrator, child development interventionist, among many other things. She loves to explore, travel, expand her creative horizons, and try new foods. She is living her dreams by writing books and birthing them into the world. Her motivation for writing is that she is changing the world, one book at a time. She is making a difference. Her voice matters.
THE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
How long did it take to get your first novel / book published?
My first two published novels collided at one point on the plane of time. I was writing two books during the same time frame. However, one of the books (SHADOWS) took me 18 years to complete and the one (Letters to Alexander) took me only 3 months to finish writing. Further, I ended up publishing “Letters to Alexander” first. In conclusion, this experience has taught that I write best when I’m writing two of more books at the same time.
What mistakes did you make with the publishing of your first book which you try not to repeat?
I wouldn’t call any of my past choices mistakes in regards to publishing so much as stepping stones on a learning journey of the publishing process/world. In fact, the publishing aspect of the process went really smoothly for me once I had my final product/manuscript complete. Once my book was completely written and edited it was just downhill to the finish line from there.
Can you focus on working on two books or stories at the same time?
As a writer, I thrive when I am busy with writing multiple books at once. When I need to take a break from one book, it is so refreshing to redirect my energy to another book of a completely different topic and or story.
Is there a modus operandi you follow and formulate before you actually start writing your next book?
Honestly, no. I don’t follow a rule book when it comes to my creative inner energy animal. In fact, my best work has been achieved when there weren’t any strict programs on the agenda. My creative ideas flow fluidly on each page like dripping honey.
That said, I never really had any trouble writing because the words just come so naturally to me. You can say that I have been blessed with the gift of words in that matter. Writing is one of my many talents. The challenge for me has always just been finding the time to write because I usually have a lot going on at all once. Sometimes, I wish there was more time in a day to accomplish it all.
Does the writer’s block actually exist? Any tips you would give to come out of it.
Yes, I think it exists to a degree. However, I think it is more in people’s mind than an actuality. For example, from my journey I’ve discovered that 99.9 percent of the time it is all a mental perceptive and a mental battle field. In other words, if you convince yourself that you have chronic writer’s block then you are probably going to go through a certain degree of that self-fulfilling prophesy.
However, if your perspective shifts a little, you know I think I have done enough writing for today – I’m starting to get tired. I will come back and write again tomorrow. In order words, don’t force it. If you are stuck and the words are frozen then just come back and try again later.
Reset your mind and thoughts by refreshing your brain, take a break, and then try again later. Two tricks that I do that helps out a ton when writing is wearing different hats. I know it sounds silly but it actually really works for me. I like to wear a hat that is in resemblance of a character I am writing about. For example, if I am writing about a princess on Christmas day than I wear a Princess hat with something on it that triggers my Christmas memories. Also, I speak 3 languages (English, Spanish, and Romanian) so if I’m stuck writing in one language I just switch to writing in a different language.
What was the book that most influenced your life, and why?
I cannot pick just one book because every book I read as had an impact on me in one form or another depending on what I’m going through in that season in my life. However, if I absolutely had to pick a book or two then it would have to be the following two: “Don’t Look For Me.” By Wendy Walker. Also, “Dead West.” By Matt Goldman.
How often do you read other novels? Who are your favourite authors?
I’m an avid reader so I would say about 50 plus books per year. I also enjoy doing book reviews on some of them. Look for me on Instagram at Monica’s Book Reviews if you need a book review. Instagram.com/Monicasbookreviews. I do these out of the kindness of my heart and free of charge to help out my fellow authors.
Monica’s books are:
1.) Rainbow Dots: This children’s book is about a purple misfit octopus. He is different. He struggles with his identity. However, in an effort to fit in he wears socks everywhere. He is bullied and made fun of until he makes an important discovery that he is enough. The message of the book: It’s okay to just be yourself. It’s also okay to be different.
2.) Now I Explore My ABC: A fun children’s book exploring the alphabet with animals. Perfect for the early learning beginners.
3.) Letters to Alexander: This book relays a mother’s love for her son in heaven. It is a deeply touching memoir filled with emotions and it is based on a true story. It was written immediately following the loss of a child. The pages within are filled with love, faith, anger, grief, tears, and remembrance of those we hold forever in our hearts. It will pull on the strings of your heart. The letters are addressed to Alexander, the angel that grew his wings too soon.
4.) Shadows: The book brings awareness and education to many levels of abuse. It gives a voice to the voiceless. This book took the longest to write, specifically 18 years. The main character experiences many sorts of injustices yet in the end she finds strength and peace. Her journey in this book is just the beginning.