Holly: Can you tell us a little bit about your book Mr Right and Other Mongrels?
Holly: Which came first for you, the characters or the plot?
Monique McDonell: I don’t think there is much of me in this novel, although the main character and I do both have dog phobias, but people who have read the book who know me say they can definitely hear my voice. The character of Justin in Mr Right and the Mongrels is loosely based on a good friend of mine who moved to London. I missed him so I wrote his personality, not his life, into the novel.
Holly: Do you think you will have a follow up book to this novel or is it just a stand-alone novel?
Monique McDonell: A few people who have read the novel have asked me what happens next to Allegra and Teddy. I can see myself writing a sequel though it would require quite a bit of travel for research, but that’s not a bad thing!
Holly: Can you tell us a little about what attracted you to this genre?
Monique McDonell: I write short stories as well as novels and my short stories are much darker but when I began writing darker novels I found that mid-way through the characters depressed me and I wanted to get away from them. I decided to write a book filled with people who I would like to spend time with (even if the exasperated me a bit). The voice and style of chick lit suits me and my personality and I enjoy reading them so chick lit was the obvious choice.
Holly: Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers?
Monique McDonell: I wrote Mr Right and Other Mongrels as a fun light hearted read. I hope people get to the end and feel the way they do after a visit with a fun girlfriend. When I started to write I really wanted to writes stories that bring people a little joy.
Holly: What is your take on editing your work (pre-edits I suppose before it gets passed to an editor)—do you hate it? Is it a strong point for you?
Monique McDonell: I really don’t like editing but it is such a big step important step that you do just have to put on your big girl panties and do it. I much, much prefer building a world than cleaning it up but that’s how I am in life as well…I may have thrown a few things out to avoid washing them from time to time. That’s not really an option with a book; you have to do the tidying up.
Holly: Witches or Zombies?
Monique McDonell: Witches
Holly: Favorite color?
Monique McDonell: Yellow
Holly: Pepsi or Coke?
Monique McDonell: Coke
Holly: Favorite movie?
Monique McDonell: When Harry Met Sally
Holly: Swimming pool or ocean/lake?
My mother however was going nowhere. Worse than that she kept leering at Teddy, which simply made me uncomfortable.
I really didn’t know what was going on with Teddy and me but I surely didn’t want anything going on between Teddy and Moonbeam.
“Teddy, do you want to help me get some dinner together?”
“No Allegra, he can stay and keep me company.” She was good.
“How about we both help Ally out.” What a guy.
So we piled into my small kitchen with her standing a bit too close to Teddy for my liking.
“So what are we having?”
“Potato gnocchi with tomato sauce and a salad.”
“Cool, what can I do?’
I had already cooked the potatoes so I put Teddy to work mashing them. And I pulled down a jar of sauce I had made from organic tomatoes earlier in the summer and put it on to simmer.
Teddy looked at me quizzically “You jar your own sauce?”
“Uhmm yes”. I was always kind of embarrassed by my love of cooking. It makes me seem like a possessed potential housewife or something. I mean I know you don’t go to a club and discuss organic cooking; it doesn’t get the men flocking. Ultimately though I just like to cook and eat well.
“Well, Allegra, that being the case I may have to marry you.” He winked just so I’d know he wasn’t serious. “I’ll grow the veggies and you can make the sauce.”
I noticed Moonbeams dark eyes got a tad darker and flashed a bit wilder.
“I don’t know that there is room for a veggie patch in my flat or your designer terrace either for that matter,” I laughed.
“Well, we’ll just have to move to the country.”
“Sorry can’t leave the shop.”
“I’m heartbroken,” he feigned distress as he mashed. “I offer to give up my lucrative TV career and to grow veggies and marry you and you won’t leave the bookshop!”
I am an Australian author who writes contemporary women's fiction including chick lit and romance. I live on Sydney's Northern Beaches with my husband and daughter, and despite my dog phobia, with a dog called Skip.
I have written all my life especially as a child when I loved to write short stories and poetry. At University I studied Creative Writing as part of my Communication degree. Afterwards I was busy working in public relations. I didn't write for pleasure for quite a few years although I wrote many media releases, brochures and newsletters. (And I still do in my day-job!)
When I began to write again I noticed a trend - writing dark unhappy stories made me unhappy. So I made a decision to write a novel with a happy ending and I have been writing happy stories ever since. I began a year-long writing course at the NSW Writers Centre and (thank goodness) its members morphed into a writing group known as The Writer's Dozen. We published a highly successful anthology, Better than Chocolate, in 2008.
In 2008 I was also selected for the QWC/Hachette Livre Manuscript Development Course for my novel Mr Right and Other Mongrels. In 2009 I received a Highly Commended in the Romance Writers of Australia's Valerie Parv Awards for my novel Hearts Afire.
These are the first two books I will be e-publishing in 2012 along with a third novel, A Fair Exchange. I'm not really like the characters in my books at all although I do share something in common with each of them - Allegra (Mr Right and Other Mongrels) has a dog phobia like me, Cassie (Hearts Afire) falls in love on a tropical island and I met my husband that way and Amelia (A Fair Exchange) was an exchange student who is now all grown up.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MoniqueMcDonell or @MoniqueMcDonell
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