Interview with Monica Shaughnessy

Published 2014-04-02.
Describe your desk
Whoever said "A clean desk is a sign of a cluttered mind," never met me. Most days, my brain is as scattered as the papers that litter the top. On the upside, whatever I work on gets 100% of my mental focus (to the detriment of all else). What? The house is burning down? Come back in fifteen minutes after I finish this chapter.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
It almost doesn't matter where I grew up because I have a mother who loves books. She could've raised me on the moon or under a rock, and I would've still developed a reverence for words. But since you're asking, Texas (country and city).
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, The Tell-Tail Heart, is a cat cozy. I adore mysteries, and I like talking animals (yes, I'm one of those people!), so I figured I'd combine the two together. In all, I've got three planned, and it should make a nice series.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It's one of the few activities where you can really turn your imagination loose, and mine runs pretty wild at times.
What are you working on next?
After I finish a trio of horror stories, I'm going to move on to the second book in my Cattarina Mysteries series. It's tentatively titled: The Blackest Cat.
Who are your favorite authors?
Hands down, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The contemporary writers I admire are Stephen King, Joanne Harris, and Laurie Halse Anderson - pretty diverse! They've each written a series that I adore.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Since writing is such a solitary activity that keeps me in front of my desk for hours at a time, I like to get out of the house and shake things up a bit when I can - go to festivals, eat at new restaurants, travel, visit the art museum. These things give me access to someone else's creativity for awhile and gives my own a break.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
If I don't have any book in mind, I can spend hours browsing the pages of an e-tailer's site. I'm very choosy!
What is your writing process?
Outline, outline, outline. If I don't know how the chapters are going to shape themselves, I don't even begin. I start with imagining the whole story from start to finish, usually from several different character perspectives. That way, I can get a handle on motivation, sequencing, and beats. Then, when I'm writing, I allow the characters to detour things a bit. I always leave room for surprises.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I ever read - by myself- was "A Monster at the End of This Book" by Jon Stone. I think it made more of an impact on my family because I read it to them about a hundred times. :-) All kidding aside, this new mastery of words opened up a world of books for me.
How do you approach cover design?
As if each were its own unique piece of art. Some authors do similar covers across all their works. And while I think this works for series, I don't think, emotionally or aesthetically, it works for stand alone books. A cat cozy should have a vastly different cover from a YA thriller.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author or publisher.

Books by This Author

First Last Forever
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 35,840. Language: English. Published: February 5, 2016 by Black Mare Books. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » Chick lit, Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - multi-author
First dates open the door to a new beginning. And sometimes you can’t slam the door fast enough. But once in a great while, a first date is the first glimpse of forever.
Space City 6: Houston Stories from the Weird to the Wonderful
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 37,020. Language: English. Published: October 8, 2014 by Black Mare Books. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - multi-author, Fiction » Women's fiction » General
Space City 6 is a collection of short stories from the Space City Scribes author collective. Meet merfolk, the Allen brothers, a WWII tank commander, and a whiskey-lovin', bloodthirsty jackalope. Survive an active shooter, face discrimination as a vampire, and explore the ruined tunnel system of Houston in the far future. Whether you like fantasy or realism, Space City 6 has a story for you