Author Spotlight: Monica Knightley

One of the coolest things about being a writer are the awesome peeps I get to meet! Not only are they willing to share their experience, but on occasion they offer to come do your work for you – SSHHH. Please don’t tell! 😉 Monicas birthday 2013 018 - Version 4Soooo. . .. This week’s post comes from the lovely and talented Monica Knightley. Her debut novel, THE VAMPIRE’S PASSION, is hot off the press from Soul Mate Publishing.

Melia: Welcome, Monica!

Monica: Thank you for having me as a guest on your blog, Melia.

Melia: As a writer, if you could spend the day with one of the sexy heroes you’d created, who would it be and what would you do (besides the awesome sex part)? What part of his world would he share with you (besides the awesome sex part!).

Monica: I would spend my day with my brilliant, smoldering vampire, Gabriel Augustine, from The Vampire’s Passion. Once we came up for air from all the awesome sex, we would explore the English countryside. Gabriel is a professor at Oxford University and has called England home for over 200 years, so he would have plenty of romantic places to show me. Perhaps tea in an English garden, or a day exploring a castle. Then a relaxing weekend at his home in Scotland, overlooking the sea, and more awesome sex.

Melia: Love the premise for your debut book, THE VAMPIRE’S PASSION! Was there any one thing that inspired you to write it?

Monica: Ha ha!! Yes, indeed. A few years ago, my dear husband discovered that there are summer term classes that anyone with the $$$ can take at Oxford University on a variety of topics, including classes on my favorite author, Jane Austen. He wanted to send me, still does, but I always begged off due to the cost. One day I started fantasizing about such a class, and that’s when my smexy vampire, Gabriel, was created. One day I do plan to take one of these classes, but I have to first come to grips with the sad reality that it won’t be taught by a gorgeous vampire.

Melia: How do you balance writing with all the other things you have to do?

Monica: I wrote this book while teaching grade school full-time, so it was a clever balancing act. My typical day was: teach and all the after school classroom chores, workout, make/eat dinner, write for an hour, and collapse. There were days, however, when I was just too emotionally exhausted to be creative once I got home. That wasn’t fun. I also spent part of every weekend writing. I’m no longer teaching full-time, and sad to say, I am not nearly as disciplined with my schedule—it’s something I’m working on.

Melia: What advice would you give to writers just starting down the road towards publication?

Monica: Believe in yourself. Believe in your talent. Believe in your story.

My best answer to this question is to share a story from my own road to publishing. I originally sent the manuscript for The Vampire’s Passion to two small publishers. Both times it made its way through all the hoops and the editors both sent encouraging rejections—one more so than the other. The slightly less encouraging editor told me that since Ann Rice wrote her vampire books, authors have to create very different vampires and raise the stakes ever higher. I loved my vampire, Gabriel, and was disappointed by her comment. Less than a week later, Ann Rice posted on Twitter a link to a video she had made of advice to new writers. {Insert spooky music here} At minute 8:16, she said, “Any editor who rejects your book, doesn’t get it.” The irony that this was coming from the very author that the editor had used as an example seemed to me like a message from above. Really. I could hear the celestial choirs. Her 12 minutes of advice are excellent and VERY encouraging, and all new writers should watch it.

Melia: Tell us about “the call.” What was it like?

Monica: There was a lot of screaming and crying. My husband just kept nodding his head and saying, “I’m not surprised. I knew this was going to be the one.” After the two rejections mentioned above I sent it to one more publisher, Soul Mate, and they offered the contract. My enigmatic vampire, Gabriel Augustine, would have the chance to atone for his greatest sin and learn to love again. My heroine, Claire Seymour, would get to mend her broken heart after that nasty break up with her faithless fiancé. There would be a HEA!!

Melia: Please, tell us a bit about THE VAMPIRE’S PASSION! VampiresPassion400

Monica: Here’s the blurb – The enigmatic, ethereally handsome, aristocratic Gabriel Augustine, professor of Nineteenth Century English Literature at St. Giles College in Oxford, England, is a man with many secrets. And it is not his vampiric nature that is his most deeply held secret. Though few know he is vampire, not human, none know the horror that has haunted him throughout his long existence. He has spent centuries attempting to atone for his greatest sin.

Claire Seymour needs to forget her past. She is ready to embark on any journey that will move her away from the pain that has been her constant companion since discovering her fiancé with her best friend. Four weeks at the University of Oxford, in a class on her favorite author, Jane Austen, seems like a good place to start.

Neither is prepared for the other.

Melia: Thank you, Monica!

There you have it, peeps! Click on over to Amazon for your copy of THE VAMPIRE’S PASSION today!

Happy reading,



The Fine Art of Letting Go

I am a clothes horse.  There.  I’ve admitted it.  And not at a private, closed-door, members only meeting.  Oh, no.  I’ve shouted my admission out to the entire universe!  Well, the blogosphere, anyway, which is pretty much the universe.

Part of the closet - specifically, the side I don't have to share!
Part of the closet – specifically, the part I don’t have to share!

A few weeks ago, author friend Jamie Brazil issued a harder than hard challenge, one that I wasn’t sure I was up to taking on.  (Gulp. Thanks, Jamie.  I owe you.)  But it was either accept it or run the risk of being labeled a wuss the next time she laid eyes on me.  And no way was that happening!

The challenge: pare down my closet just like she did, and then write a blog post about it.  In Jamie’s case, her goal was to have no more than 100 pieces of clothing.  And while she was successful, I’m not going there.  *Snort*  As. If.  But I did manage to justify parting with a few things: 2 pairs of jeans, 2 blouses, and 4 sweaters.  And a dress. . .. Maybe.  Still not sure about that one. . ..

Even Alex objected to donating this sweater!  I took that as a sign. . ..
Even Alex objected to donating this sweater! I took that as a sign. . ..

I have to admit, a week later, regret runs deep, even with the clothes still neatly folded in a donation box in the garage and not actually out of the house.  Yet.

I mean, what if I need that polka-dot blouse again?  What if it’s the only thing that would go with a particular pair of pants?  Or skirt?  Or maybe *gasp* it’s the perfect match to a pair of shoes I’d forgotten about but will eventually unearth?  Then what?  It’s not like I can go hunt it down again.  So I haven’t worn it in awhile.  Big deal!  It’s not like it’s the only piece to have that distinction.  *innocently looks up at ceiling and whistles while she snatches a price tag off a dress she’d forgotten about*  Is it my fault I have choices?

Never mind, don’t answer that.  Especially if you’re a dude.  Specifically, the dude I woke up with this morning.  (Hi, honey!)

I have to admit that the process of sorting through my closet has forced me to think about story – what it is that’s essential, what’s too much, and what has to be given away cut from the pages.  It’s made me think about how tight and clean a manuscript is once all the extras are gone.  And it’s definitely made me think about making every sweater word count.  This is what my readers expect, and this is what I aim to deliver.

And honestly?  I think I do a better job paring down a story and should leave my closet alone.  Which means I should grab that box out of the garage and put my clothes back where they belong.  Right?  🙂