Author Spotlight Interview: Marla Monroe

Where are you from? A little Delta Town in Mississippi called Greenwood That sounds so nice. I’ve always wanted to checkout Mississippi.

How many books have you written? Between all my author names over 76 books published. 70 of them are under Marla Monroe with Siren Publishing at Bookstrand. I also have 10 short stories out under Mary Alice Pritchard Wow! That’s a lot.

Which is your favorite? You know better than to ask an author that. It’s like asking which is your favorite cat, um I mean kid. The protector series holds a special place in my heart. I put a lot of heart into those books. My first book, See How They Die under Mary Alice Pritchard was the first book I ever wrote, so it’s special to me, too. See, it maybe a little hard to admit but secretly we we do have a favorite kid…I mean cat. lol.

What does your writing process look like? I write on Thursdays through Sundays when I’m off work around chores, errands, and taking care of my parents who live with me. I don’t plot out my books. I usually have these characters yelling at me what they want, and I write it down. After the first chapter, I make a Character Sheet and describe what they look like to me and add things like their favorite food or something they hate. Once I have them down, I’ll write a little summary about the setting, like the name of the town or city and what time of year it is. After that, I write. When I sit down to write, I read over the last chapter I wrote and edit as I go then when I get to where I need to start writing again, I’m in my zone and just keep going.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? I normally don’t have any music or TV going on. My parents keep the TVs in the house all on and loud, so I close my door and put my phone where they can call me if they need me. I like quiet when I’m writing so I can hear the voices without them screaming at me.  Sometimes, if I’m not in a dark mood for writing a dark scene, I’ll turn on Pandora to some classical music that is dark sounding for that scene. Then I turn it off again.

How important are names to you in your books? Very important. If they aren’t given to me when I’m writing, I research what I think the book needs so that the names are memorable for something in the book.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Just not enough time to write everything screaming at me and narrowing what to write down so I can get it on paper.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Read! Lots of reading or listening to audiobooks when I can’t read. I love my cats and spend time with them and I love to travel, but am grounded for now.

What inspired you to write your first book? I’ve always written short stories or what I called books back then, but they were just for me. Then I went to an RT Booklover’s Convention to see Laurell K. Hamilton and everything changed with an encouraging word from an editor there at one of the panels. She said I had talent and should seriously pursue writing. I promptly returned home with a fire in my blood and wrote a 90,000 word romantic paranormal suspense in one month. I eventually had it published, too.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? All of my books have different themes, but the one thing that I hope rings through in all of them is that no matter what life sends you, you can get through it and there is a happy ending at the end for those who truly look for it. I can already hear someone out there scoffing at that, but I’m living proof. I’ve had to start completely from scratch in my life twice and may have to again one day, but I’ve lived a wonderful life so far. You make your life what it is through choices. Choose wisely. That and happiness takes different forms. What is happiness to one person may be tragic to someone else.

What books have most influenced your life most? Again, I’d have to say Laurell K Hamilton and Christeen Feehan’s books. They inspired me and taught me that voice is one of the most important parts of a book. Lora Leigh’s books taught me that erotic romance doesn’t have to be smutty or pornographic. It can tell a story and depict love just as much as a non erotic romance.

What book are you reading now? I’m actually re-reading Lora Leigh’s Elite Ops books in order. I’m on Wild Card now. I love those books.

What are your current projects? I’m presently working on the second Wounded Warriors book and a special super-duper secret project that I’m giving hints about in the forum on my website. It’s different than what I normally write under Marla Monroe. Oohh! Juicy, I’m going to have to run over there and find out what’s going on!

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I loved to read and as a child there weren’t a lot of books at the local library that I was allowed to read. By the time I was ten, I’d read everything there that I could manage to check out. I started writing my own stories to keep me company and found that I loved doing that almost as much as I loved reading.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? Actually there are two of these that are equal in my mind. One is having the time to write like I want to, and the other is narrowing down what I want to write to only two books at once. The voices in my head are always screaming in my head to get out and it makes it hard to concentrate on the book I’m working on. I suppose you could look at it as imagination on steroids. I know the feeling.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
The first and most important advice is to write. Write all the time, and write even when you don’t feel like it. Make it such a habit that if you don’t do it when you usually do it makes you feel bad. The second piece of advice is to write first for yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you what or how to write. It will only discourage you and knock you off your habit from above. Once you’ve written your first book or books, then you seek help on how to clean it up and polish it.

Do you ever experience writer’s block? No. I’ve never had it. I have a slightly similar problem of too many voices (or stories to make me sound a little more sane) crowding me to get out. It may take me a day or two to narrow them down, but I usually am still writing by getting down all the pieces parts of my characters’ personalities. Once I’ve done this, I can focus on one set and start writing their story.

What is one random thing about you? When I’m being me, my normal self, outside of writing, I’m painfully shy and reclusive. When I’m one of my writer personas like Marla, I’m very outgoing, a little naughty and a whole lot of crazy.

What is your preferred medium of writing? I only use a computer and word. I would never be able to read my writing otherwise. I can’t read my grocery lists half the time. I can write anywhere if I have my laptop.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future? Oh boy, did I ever! Don’t put out a lot of money on anything paper to send to conferences. They usually don’t accept paper anyway and everyone tosses it before they even head home for the most part. Stick to useful things that will last and might end up in other people’s hands like pens, rulers, those Band-Aid holders and things like that. Pens are wonderful! My pens have ended up in the strangest of places like highway patrol officers’ hands who stole a unit clerk’s pen off her desk. I give them to waitresses and store clerks because they never have one. The only thing paper that I do are book postcards where the cover is on the front and the blurb is on the back. I don’t do a lot but use them to hand to people who want to know more about what I write. The other thing I do that I’ve been told is wonderful is a long rack card with a background image that represents my books and a listing of all my websites and social media sights. On the back is a list of all my books by series and in order. Readers love to be able to check off what they already have so they know what to get next.

What is your favorite motivational phrase? “Ass in chair, hands on keyboard.” Or “Write the damn book!” LOL That’s about all I can think of.

What is your favorite positive saying? “Nothing is impossible.”

What is your favorite book and why? That’s a hard one. It’s between the first book in Christen Feehan’s Dark series and Laurell K. Hamilton’s first book in the Vampire Slayer series. Both of them compelled me to read more so that I was devastated when I finished one and there wasn’t another out to read next. Christine’s Carpathians ruined me on men. I will never find one to measure up now.

What is your favorite quote? “Bite me.” From J. D. Robb’s Eve Dallas and from Laurell’s Vampire Slayer books. I use it all the time much to my friends’ dismay.

What is your favorite film and why? Another hard one. I honestly don’t watch a lot of movies or TV. Really none. I buy the DVDs and watch only what would help with my writing. I think my favorite was Silence of the Lambs. Prior to writing for publication, my favorites were the Dirty Harry movies and the Die Hard movies. Oh! That brings to mind another favorite saying. “Yippee ki-yay, motherfucker!” from Die Hard. Sorry for the curse, you can always change it to trucker which is what most people do. Wouldn’t dream of changing a word of anything John McClane says! I just learned that there is a book, which the first movie is based on.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? Thomas Harris’ Silence of the Lambs. It was brilliantly put together with clues throughout the book and twists and turns with enough horror to have you shaking and enough emotion to have you on the edge of your seat debating on whether to turn the page or not.

Do you read your reviews? Not unless they are the ones on Bookstrand. Otherwise, I never look at them. A review is just one person’s opinion at a particular time of day on a particular day of the week in a good or bad month of their lives. They could have just gotten bad news or had a flat tire or won the lottery. Honestly, I don’t have time to read them. I need to be writing. I make time to answer emails from people and check Facebook in case someone has a question, but otherwise, writing is what is important to me. My avid readers tell me when they think I need to hear something.

Do you respond to them, good or bad? I don’t respond to them at all. I would feel as if I were singling out some when I just don’t have time to respond to all of them.

Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad? I ignore them unless they all say the same general things, like the characters are too one dimensional or it’s all too wordy. Then I stand back and take a look and maybe ask a fellow author what they think. If you try to please everyone, you’ll never get anything done. Only take a second look when you have more than two or three saying the same general thing. Otherwise, it is all just the opinion of one person who may have had a bad day, a headache, or any number of things. I only worry about them when my readers mention something to me that they think I need to know.

How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Probably from my website I keep it updated with all my books, when they are on pre-order, available at Bookstrand, and on Amazon. My forum has free reads, information about what I’m doing, and I have a Discover a “new to you” author forum post where I showcase two authors a month with what they write and where you can see them. There are blurbs, excerpts and much more there.

I write as Marla Monroe but I also write under Anna Riviera and Mary Alice Pritchard You can google me under those names or look at my Amazon Author pages for more on them.

The below links are all my Marla Monroe links.

Twitter: @MarlaMonroe1 or
Amazon Author Page: OR the long one
Book Links: Too many to list so go to my Amazon Author Page or My Bookstrand Author Page above.


Published by Courtney M. Wendleton

I'm an author with an associate's in psychology. Interested in a lot of different things, and love controversy. The more controversial the better, but that's not all I'm interested in. Can be a bit confusing at times, but that's normal!

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