Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am so excited to bring you my friend Carol Moncado. Carol and I have been friends for years and see each other as often as the conferences we both attend will allow. She is so much fun to be around and is just genuine and nice to everyone she meets. I hope you learn to adore her as much as I do. And – she’s giving away a copy of her latest release It’s (Royally) Complicated to one of you! Read on to see how you can enter to win!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Hey, everyone! I’m Carol Moncado and I have voices in my head. Fortunately, they’re characters who tell me stories ;). I get paid to write them down and share them with others!
In the rest of my life, I’m a very active band mom and married to the booster president. I currently have three girls in the high school band at the moment. My senior plays tenor sax, but is currently a side drum major. My sophomore plays flute but her true love is color guard. My freshman plays trumpet and is really coming into her own. I also have a seventh grade son who plays trombone and loves improv (acting, not music).
Between the two, that takes up pretty much all of my time – but I wouldn’t trade either one for the world! I love spending time with my kids and their friends – until I basically have 150 kids all together ;). I’m only helping four with college though…
Tell us about your current release. My new release is It’s (Royally) Complicated. It’s book 9 in the Crowns & Courtships series, but can be read as a standalone (reading book 8, The (Elusive) Princess, first might not be a bad idea though).
Genevieve is the outgoing princess who’s feeling a bit shoved aside and unneeded as her older brother, the king, has married and his wife is expecting their first child. Her mother is happily remarried and doesn’t need Gen as much anymore. And Gen’s slightly younger twin sister has found the love of her life in a friend of Gen’s.
She just wants to escape her life for a few days, so she hops in the RV with Levi, who she’s known for several years.
But, of course, things can’t be that simple!
For starters… Levi has no idea she’s a princess. Can a relationship on the road find a way to work when it’s not just complicated, it’s royally complicated?
With all those characters in your head screaming to get out how do you write fast enough to get it all down? I don’t. /laugh/ Fortunately, they usually wait their turns.
Occasionally, one will tell me he or she isn’t ready to let me in yet. That’s what happened with the last two books. I was all set to write Gen’s story, but she refused to talk to me. Instead, Evie was like “Talk to me instead!” So I did. And then Gen told me hers.
Of course, I also had their aunt pop up and go “Why do you think I am the way I am?” I tried to tell her she was a minor character and I didn’t really care, but she told me anyway… So Aunt Louise will get her own story before too long.
Whats the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? I feel like I have vague recollections of Reagan getting shot, but the first one I really remember is the Challenger explosion. I was in upper elementary and my dad (who taught at my school and had been watching on TV during the teacher’s meeting) came out to get me so I could watch.
How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? I sought traditional publication for a number of years, but it was time, as the saying goes, to fish or cut bait.
I did sign with my agent about that time. We sent a book around, but no one was interested, so I went indie instead. It’s been an amazing almost five years! I would still love to be hybrid if the right opportunity came along, but until then I’ll keep talking to the voices in my head :).
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? Oh, this makes me laugh! I’m what they call a pantser, almost completely. I’ve started books with just a first sentence (“Throw him in the dungeon.”) or a title (Hand-Me-Down Princess) and then see where it goes. Usually it’s a bit more ironed out than that, but not always. See the questions below for more.
Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? Usually I have a pretty good idea and a goal word count in mind. I almost always come in within a couple of thousand words. I’ve always been a sequential writer until the last few books. Then I write from the beginning until I get stuck, then jump to the next thing I know is going to happen. Often this is the “beginning of the end” and I write through until the end. Once that’s done, I have a much better idea of how much middle I need to hit my word count and go back to add it in.
With It’s (Royally) Complicated, I took this to the next level. I wrote about 20K words (goal was 75K), then jumped to the beginning of the end. We’ll call those sections A and D. But “the ending” was only another 15K words – not nearly enough. So I went back and wrote before that beginning of the end section. We’ll call that section C. As I wrote it, I realized “the end” wasn’t actually the end. So I wrote section E (20K words). Then went back and filled in the middle (which wasn’t long, but I’m not sure how long really).
So I wrote the five sections like this: A, D, C, E, B.
Yeah. That was a hot mess and I don’t plan to do it again. OY!
I assume when you start a book, you pretty much have the plot laid out. Do you ever change your mind later on in the book, and go in a different direction? I’ve often described my writing process as a road trip.
You start in San Diego and have to drive to Portland, Maine, but you have like a month to get there.
You do need to be in Oklahoma City on a certain date. Then Indianapolis on a certain date. And you’ve got plans in Manhattan another day.
But beyond that, you’re free to do whatever you want. Grand Canyon and Painted Desert? Sure! Rather head north first and see some of those national parks? You can do that! Vegas? Go for it!
As long as you’re where you need to be on those specific dates.
Those stops are major points in the story. The inciting incident, the black moment, etc.
But in between, there’s so many options you can do whatever you want.
Of course… sometimes you get to St. Louis, see there’s a blizzard in Maine and decide to hit the Florida Keys instead.
That’s when you just hang on for the ride!
What is one thing that you “never saw yourself doing” and either do it now or have done? I never thought I’d be a sports mom – and I’m not. But I am a band mom. It was never a thing that remotely occurred to me. I don’t play an instrument. I play the radio.
And on a good day can get Pandora or Amazon music to cooperate.
But I misunderstood a paper that came home with my oldest in 5th grade. I thought it said sixth graders had to do either band or choir. I knew band was the better option for this particular kid, so I channeled her that direction. She started with clarinet then moved to tenor saxophone.
Turns out, the paper said band or music appreciation. I would have pushed for music, because it was free.
We all would have missed out on SO MUCH.
That first kid? She’s AMAZING. She’s taken solos to state three years so far. She’s cadet teaching sixth grade woodwinds with her director this year and has already been accepted to the local university where she plans to pursue music ed (and take over for him someday).
Because of her trailblazing, the others are following near her footsteps. Finding their own niches within the larger band family.
The hard work, dedication, time management, multitasking, and other skills are things that aren’t specifically taught in any class, but will serve my kids well in the future. And the relationships will last a lifetime.
I also never thought I’d get to stand on Sixth Avenue (on the coldest Thanksgiving in over a hundred years) and watch my 17yo march down the street with her saxophone in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
But I did.
And I wouldn’t change a bit of it!
Here is where you can find Carol online:
Carol is giving away an ebook copy of It’s (Royally) Complicated to a reader! See below how to enter to win:
a Rafflecopter giveaway