Interview with Monique Golay

What is your e-reading device of choice?
My computer. It's a wonderful slave, it does everything: it enables me to write, e-publish and download great books. But I am so scotch taped to my computer-screen that you may wonder if I may not have become the slave, and the machine the master. As J. R. R. Tolkien in a letter in 1944 to his son Christopher put it: "Labour-saving machinery only creates endless and worse labour." Oh well, as a caffeinated worker I love my white, caffeinating computer, and the coffees that go with it.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Holland and grew up in the USA, in New Jersey. My aunt who was living with my parents brought me up, so that I thought she was my mother. When in 1969 we left the USA for Switzerland, my aunt stayed in New Jersey and I started only then my relationship with my mother. I was almost six years old and underwent a migration trauma. What helped me was dictating letters which my mother typed and sent to my aunt. My greatest pleasure was to receive my aunt's letters from the USA. This episode influenced my writing in that I have two nasty, crazy aunts in my novel to exorcise my experience.
Describe your desk
My table is made of light, polished wood as is all the furniture of the tea-room where I often work. It is called "La Fleur de Pain" and is situated on a hill towering Lake Geneva, in Switzerland. Two super-large wall-windows offer a magnificent view on the huge, pale lake and the French mountains beyond. Oh, and on several tennis courts built in the form of terrasses. Speaking of tennis, no less than Stan Wawrinka came to this tea-room in person to sip a coffee. I saw him twice, once in summer, before he had won the Australian Grand Chelem, and once in the fall, after he had won his second one at Roland Garros. In his summer visit he sat just three yards away from me and came right near to me to pay his coffee at the counter next to which I was working. He looked at me as I was feverishly working on my texts. I was so deep in thought that I didn't say much. But I did tell him: "Beat them all, Stan!" He acquiesced, smiled and left. Then he did indeed take my advice, as he beat Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. The second time he came, in the fall, he already had won to grand chelems and was worldly famous. He very gentlemanly accepted a selfy with a lady who has an adorable shepherd dog. I love shepherd dogs. Once again, I was too feverishly writing to crowd around Stan the Man.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I get tired just thinking of having to do marketing for my books. I spend my time writing books, not marketing them.
When did you first start writing?
When I was seven years old, I dictated letters which my mother typed and sent to my aunt. In 1994, at age 30, the Order of the Solar Temple created a series of murders and mass suicides that claimed several dozen lives and that took place in Cheiry and Salvan, in Switzerland. This event was the sparkle to make me write a satire on sects, but I thought my book was not good enough. Then in 1998 I read "The Hobbit" which loved so much I was determined to become an author.
What's the story behind your latest book?
As an American, I didn't attend international schools but French speaking ones near Lutry, in Switzerland, because my father was Swiss-born. My main character Lite is loosely based on me at age 11. I earned a Masters in History and English literature at the University of Lausanne and in 1998 the reading of "The Hobbit" gave me the determination of becoming an author. In 2008 I first self-published "Incredible Mr. Lynx", the story of a smart lynx who, instead of eating mutton, invites himself to a cat's house to try some Whiskas. Its French version won the remark of the best Swiss Go player, Armel-David Wolf who said: "I loved Nobi Lynxu" which is the name of the lynx. Alone, unimployed, and living on state benefits, I wrote my second novel, writing in tea-rooms because I feel less lonely being among other café customers. Like my character "Lite" who time travels to escape from a horrible background, my writing enables me to forget about reality.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I got a compliment from the English literary agent Caroline Sheldon who said my novel "The Ghost World" was almost accepted. I changed the title to "The Funny Necromancer" and decided to become an indie author, the advantage being that I have no editor telling me: "More sex and more violence, please: your books will sell better."
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I am now only starting with Smashwords, so I'll see how it will go.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I write because I enjoy being so outrageous it's incredible.
What do your fans mean to you?
This question is like asking "What does recognition mean to you"? As a human, fans and recognition naturally mean a lot to an artist. I like to have a close relationship to them, listen to their critique and have interactivity with them.
What are you working on next?
On the third book of my second series, the first series being the saga of a lynx.
Who are your favorite authors?
J.R.R. Tolkien, Jules Vernes, Roald Dahl, Lewis Carroll , C. S. Lewis, Michael Ende, J.K. Rowling, J.M. Barrie, H. G. Wells and authors of Go books, the game of Go being a vaster game than Chess.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
During the night, I often think of my novels for which I jot down ideas. Putting those ideas on paper is what inspires me to get out of bed in the morning.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I go for walks, play with my cat and take care of my mother. I also play Go.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
From mouth to ear, with friends.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, I dictated a letter about life in Switzerland which my mother typed for my aunt.
What is your writing process?
I first write on paper, then type it and print it. Then I correct and rewrite from what I have printed on paper, and type it again. I repeat that process many times until I'm happy with what I've written. It can take months, sometimes years, until I think my passages are ready.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember my mother reading books to my brother who is a year older than me. I was a bit too young for those books and remember concentrating very hard on them. The first story I read was a French book about a horse, which I enjoyed very much. But I don't remember the title.
How do you approach cover design?
For "The Funny Necromancer," I drew my own cover for which I got the help of an art teacher. I also drew my own cover for "The Sly Phantom" for which I got the reaction of a friend who is a physicist: "dangerous!" he said.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
"The Hobbit" is my first favourite because of its humour and its imagination. "Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator" is my second favourite once again because of its humour. Jules Vernes' "Cinq semaines en ballon" is my third favourite. Then comes Michael Ende's Momo which I like for its idea of having time thieves. Last comes Harry Potter for its humour though the idea of the magic school really is Anthony Horowitz's - but JK Rowling has a great mastery of the English language.
What do you read for pleasure?
Roald Dahl's novels, the newspaper and Go books.
Write your own question here! Who is the most dubious character I have ever encountered?
Roald Dahl's Mr. Wonka, because he represents the best a mad scientist. The most striking passage is when Mr. Wonka in reciting a poem passes for an alien from Planet Mars.
What is the funniest passage you've ever read?
Roald Dahl's knids attack of the Space Hotel owned by the President of the USA.
Published 2016-02-17.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

How Did J.K. Rowling Make Harry Potter?
Price: $2.00 USD. Words: 16,960. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2016. Categories: Essay » Literature
"How Did J.K. Rowling Make Harry Potter?" is a 69-page literary comparison Between "The Philosopher's Stone" by J.K. Rowling, published in 1997, and a book written by Anthony Horowitz called "Groosham Grange", also a school of magic, published in 1988.
The Sly Phantom
Price: $2.00 USD. Words: 41,910. Language: English. Published: February 10, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Dark, Fiction » Children’s books » Entertainment
Lite Yeer is a funny necromancer, because she brings people back to life by travelling to the past. By that way, she helps her seventeenth century ancestor put London afire so that he may become as famous as Julius Caesar. Little does she know that her jumping the years will be very eventful.
The Funny Necromancer
Price: $2.00 USD. Words: 39,590. Language: English. Published: February 10, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Dark, Fiction » Children’s books » Entertainment
Do you believe in astromagic? It’s an art that governs stars and planets and, therefore, enables you to time travel. One morning Lite Yeer fries bacon when out of her watch streams a ghost, and so begins an adventure to the past with the knight Roger and the evil elf Moyo who wants to destroy the entire visible and invisible Universe. "The Funny Necromancer" is the first of a series of 8 books.