Today I have a special guest on the blog! The lovely and talented author Monica Leonelle has just released the first book in her Socialpunk trilogy. I’m so excited to be a part of her blog tour because her novel sounds very interesting and RIGHT up my alley, as it reminds me so much of a bunch of my other favorite dystopian reads. Below you’ll find out more about Monica and much more about her novel, Social Punk!
First, Monica took some time to answer a few questions in an interview with me about her series, her inspirations, and her career as a writer. Check it out!
1. Why did you start writing, and what inspired you to write the Socialpunk trilogy?
I started a Gen Y blog in 2007 called Twenty Set. It actually gained quite a bit of steam early on, but eventually I moved away from Gen Y topics. The reason I started that blog, though, is because I couldn’t clear my mind! I literally just needed to get things out of my system. So I wrote that blog 4-5 times a week for about six months until my ideas stop churning so quickly. My love for writing as an adult grew out of that experience.
Socialpunk is inspired by Chicago winters, technology and digital media, and the Terminator series.
2. Do you ever use real-life people or moments in your novels? Why/why not?
Almost everything I write is inspired from my personal experiences, so I use a lot of real-life people and moments. You just have to be smart and disguise them, and then never admit to it even if someone questions you
3. What are some of your favorite books both current and classic?
I love Jane Austen books. And CS Lewis. Favorite books right now are the Hunger Games series. Sometimes I think Socialpunk may be one of my favorite books, but I’ve technically never read it.
4. Which authors inspire you in your writing, and particularly in your book series?
CS Lewis inspired my other book series (the first one, Silver Smoke, is available now). He’s also inspiring my next series, which I hope is a serialized fiction series. James Cameron was my biggest inspiration for Socialpunk, mostly because of the Terminator. Silicon City, with bionics, would have the same color treatments as Avatar if I were to make a movie about it.
5. What is the most important piece of advice you would give to other writers?
Patience! Also, writers should inject their marketing directly into their manuscripts. Writers often think of marketing as this separate thing from writing, but it’s not at all. 80-90% of books are sold through word-of-mouth and most of the marketability of a book is right there in the manuscript. So even if you are going the traditional route, if you are serious about getting published you should hire an editor to go through your book and see how marketable it is. Traditional publishers are looking for marketable books. It’s a business and they need to make money.
Then, you launch your book by asking people to read it. If it’s any good you’ll start getting word-of-mouth for your book. My goal is to give away one thousand copies of the book during its launch. I’m maybe a fifth of the way there so far? It’s a lot of work, more than most people realize. I write about this stuff constantly on my Prose on Fire newsletter, so if these concepts interest you, you can check it out here:proseonfire.com/free-writer-toolkit
6. As a blogger AND a writer, what are some of your must-read blogs?
Penelope Trunk (blog.penelopetrunk.com). We’ve worked together a lot though, so I feel like it’s different because I know her.
7. And finally, what is a day in the life of Monica-the-writer like?
I’m a “burst of energy” type of person rather than a “little every day” type of person. So I will write a whole book in a week or two, then go back and edit it all in a week or two. And then I won’t write as much for the next few weeks. On an average day I probably write a couple thousand words, during a book writing session I write closer to 5000 words a day.
On the breaks, I do a lot of marketing. I work almost every day, unless I’m on vacation. I just prefer it that way.
Here’s what the story is about:
“Ima would give anything to escape The Dome and learn what’s beyond its barriers, but the Chicago government has kept all its citizens on lockdown ever since the Scorched Years left most of the world a desert wasteland. When a mysterious group of hooded figures enters the city unexpectedly, Ima uncovers a plot to destroy The Dome and is given the choice between escaping to a new, dangerous city or staying behind and fighting a battle she can never win.”
Intrigued, but not sure if you want to buy the book yet? Read the excerpt below from the prologue. Not only is it extremely mysterious, but it made ME want to read the book and find out what happens. Which I fully plan on doing, but, you know, school and things have prevented me from doing it so far.
“After playing God for six years with the world he created, he couldn’t control any of his subjects, none at all. Over the years, he had watched them evolve and become the sum of their own choices rather than the sum of his; and for that, he regretted ever giving them life.
A small, blinking red light from just inside his eyelid reminded him of the news they sent him earlier that morning. The company had cancelled his funding and would shut down his project within three months. According to them, the project cost too much and took up too much space, and the inconclusive results couldn’t be published reputably, now or in the future.
Six years of his work, tens of thousands of lives at stake—and he could do nothing to save any of it. He bowed his head, letting his chin rest on the rim of his breakfast smoothie. The smoothie reeked of powder—crushed pills—but he supposed he had better get used to it. He wouldn’t be able to afford the luxury of real food after they canned him.
He closed his eyes and called up the camera view of one of his favorites, number 3281. She fascinated him; he couldn’t deny it. When he had designed her, her pre-teen rebelliousness lit fire in her eyes. A survivor, he’d thought. He’d meant for her to have it all—to grow up, to get married to the love of her life, and to have a beautiful family of her own someday.
But he had only given her sadness so far. Instead of creating a strict father, he had given her an abusive one. Instead of creating a loving boyfriend, he had given her a friend who could never love her. And instead of creating a strong, proud mother, he had given her a meek one, who watched the whole thing unfold and did nothing about it.”
Thanks for taking the time to read about this new, fun series of books. I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy of Socialpunk today, and checking out Monica’s personal blog, Prose on Fire.