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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Monica R. Sholar Interview

Well, hello there. It's been a while hasn't it? Only a year or so. But who needs an explanation of that? I have far more interesting information to share.

Who among you likes a good suspense thriller? Okay, I see some hands raised out there. Well, have you heard of Monica R. Sholar? You haven't? Then consider it my pleasure to introduce you. Monica is an all around beautiful, energetic, and inspiring woman that I've had the pleasure to meet and share this crazy writer journey with. She's written The 24th Letter and she literally JUST released her second book, Esoteric Truth. Take a look!

Me and Monica at the Brighton District Library
Local Author Showcase Sept. 2014 

The Restless Writer (RW) : When did you first get the spark of an idea for The 24th Letter? Do you remember what gave you that initial inspiration? 

Monica R. Sholar (MS): The idea for The 24th Letter 
came about because I had written two prior books and
 the genre's were different. I wanted to streamline 
everything since I felt that I was strongest in the 
Suspense-Thriller genre. So, The 24th Letter was 
essentially birthed from all of the best ideas from 
my prior works,as well as research I'd done on law 
enforcement and the X chromosome, which is the 
crux of the plot.

RW: How long did it take you to finish writing the first draft?

MS: There have been countless first drafts, so that's a hard one to answer!
I'd written and re-written it many times. I read an article once about Steven Spielberg. 
He said he reads the Jaws manuscript, which is a cult classic film, and even to this day
there are things in the script he wants to change. That's exactly how I feel and it's why
there are so many "first" drafts.

RW: The book is set in a fictional city, Belle Isle Heights, but modeled after Detroit's 
Belle Isle. Why did you decide to use this for your location?

MS: I love my home town! I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, so my choosing to 
create the storyworld of Belle Isle Heights was sort of a nod of my cap to my hometown. I 
knew that my local readers would appreciate the subtle references I made to Michigan culture, 
such as Coney Dogs and pop, and I wanted to share that culture with my readers who aren't 
located here in the mitten or U.P.

RW: You sure know how to pack on the suspenseful situations for your characters! 
Was it ever difficult for you, as you wrote, to keep putting them in such hard 

MS: It was incredibly difficult to put the characters in such gut-wrenching positions. 
To me, they are people and it was very emotional to experience certain things like death 
with them. I cried a few times! But I knew that it needed to happen. As a reader of 
Suspense-Thrillers myself, I like to be transported to a world that allows me the thrill of 
feeling the danger--from the safety of my sofa! That's what I want to give my readers. I 
want them to walk on the wild side and have their pulses pound with anticipation. 
It keeps them turning the pages to find out how in the world the character will 
survive--if they even do. See what I did there; even my response had to have a little 
suspense. LOL.

RW: You have a new book in your Belle Isle Heights 
series coming out this month, what can readers expect from 
this new adventure?

MS: Esoteric Truth is the newest member of the Belle Isle Heights 
family, and it was released on March, 1st. It's my favorite, (but don't 
tell The 24th Letter!) I think that as I write each book, each will 
become my favorite, because I grow each time.The readers can expect to see not
only my growth as a writer, but also the growth of the characters. They have been
through a lot, so we'll get to see what they do with the lessons they've learned. Also, I
really wanted to amp up the action! So there are gunfights, hand-to-hand combat and
thrills at every turn. You'll definitely need a seatbelt and hard-hat on when you read this one!

RW: Would you say it was harder, or easier, to write a second book?

MS: Writing the second book was much harder! I felt immense pressure to best myself and 
to not be redundant. I also felt a need to stay true to the characters and make sure that their 
stories were advanced. What I don't like is reading books in a series which tell the same 
stories over and over in a different sequence. So, I worked really hard to make sure I wasn't 
doing that. My readers deserve the effort.

RW: Will we see any of the same characters in Esoteric Truth or is it an entirely new cast? 

MS: Esoteric Truth is a mixed cast of old and new. And the newbies surely do not disappoint!

RW: Are there any authors, in particular, who've inspired your own writing style?

MS: I am inspired by so many people, not just authors. Anyone who has a passion for their 
craft, inspires me. I'd have to say my biggest inspirations were James Patterson with his older 
works, Elmore Leonard, Terry McMillan, and Michael Jackson. He's not a writer but he's a 
phenomenal storyteller in song and in dance. I'd love to be the MJ of Suspense-Thrillers.

RW: Do you listen to music while you write? If so, are there any songs in particular 
you associate with The 24th Letter and Esoteric Truth? 

MS: No music while writing. It's too distracting. I grew up singing in the choir when I 
was little. My mom was the choir director and was very strict in making sure we sang the 
right notes. If I listened to music while writing, I'd be too busy critiquing the pitches, or 
harmonizing with the singers. LOL. Sometimes I leave the television on super low volume,
just to have a little background noise. But for the most part, I write in complete silence so that I can
hear the voices in my head. I'm not crazy, the voices are just the characters telling me their life stories.

RW: Did you have to do any sort of research in order to write these books? Any 
memorable moments from your research you'd care to share?

MS: Yes, lots of research. I wanted to make sure that my information was sound. 
So I've done interviews with federal agents, police officers, nurses, etc… to make 
sure that the procedures and processes that I describe are true. I'd hate to have an 
agent read my story only to say, "That's not how that would happen!" I did my best 
to not get that response. The most memorable moment was interviewing my family 
member, who happens to be a federal agent!

RW: How can readers can get in touch with you and stay informed of your appearances 
and writing projects? 

MS: I love keeping in contact with my readers! The best places to find me are on my 
Facebook fan page as Monica R. Sholar Author, on Twitter as monicasholar, and via my 
website at: www.monicasholar.com. The site is always up-to-date with the schedule of my 
appearances, photos of signings, and of course, purchase information for the books!

Thank you so much, Monica for stopping by and answering some questions. I hope you'll 
reach a ton of new fans!