Interview with M. M. Koenig

How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I've discovered ebooks in a variety of ways. I have gotten recommendations from friends and blogs. I have a few bloggers that I follow and tend to add their books for reading based on other books that are similar to genres I follow. I also tend to go off the recommendations that pop up from other books that pop up when I'm looking on Amazon.
What is your writing process?
I would say I'm a phase writer. I tend to approach a scene in my main characters perspective solely focusing on her/him before going back and flushing out all the details on the other characters in the scene. As each phase changes, I'll go back with a different focus (i.e. physical reactions, clothes, background, etc.) I'm usually really long-winded on the first go around with a scene and as I edit and come back in phases down the road the content will become more concise and trimmed. A must have for me while I write is music. I cannot write without having music playing. It inspires me 100% while I write.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. I was probably around four years old with Grandma Joyce. We wrote a story that she ended up recording on a cassette tape. It was funny little tale about being on bus and all the different people that hopped on and off. She always encouraged me to use my imagination so the longer we talked about it the sillier the story became but I would say that is probably the first time I wrote a story.
How do you approach cover design?
The original cover I had for Conflicted was good but I wanted something that represented my characters in a better way. In February, I began working with LJ at Mayhem Cover Creations. She blew me away with her design. It truly speaks to the story and the lead characters. I'm beyond satisfied with it and cannot wait to work on the cover for Complicated with her.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I can't really pick five favorite books so I'll give you my five favorite series.

1. The Breathing Series by Rebecca Donovan (Reason to Breathe, Barely Breathing, Out of Breath) - This series took me on a rollercoaster. It made me feel every ounce of emotion from the first word to the very last one. I enjoy any book that makes me passionate. My book club STILL talks about this series because that was how much it got us thinking and feeling by reading it.

2. Hopeless and Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover - These books were fantastic. It had twist and turns that kept me on edge along with a wonderful couple that really made you think and feel right there with them.

3. Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire - I absolutely loved these books because it brought me back to my own time in college. It was raw and true to that time period in college. It made me laugh and I love books that make me laugh

4. Thoughtless, Effortless and Reckless by S. C. Stephens - I loved and hated these characters. They drove me up the wall at times but the point is that they made me feel right there with them whether it was jealous or angst or love or hate. I was right there with them. This is another series my book club talked about for months simply because that was how much those characters got to us. I love books that pull that our of the readers.

5. The Fifty Shades trilogy by E. L. James - Christian and Ana - Enough said. This series blew open the door for me and reading. I started reading like a madwoman after this series. It made me crave reading again and eventually led me back to writing.

Honorable mentions - The Love Series by Tina Reber - Loved Taryn and Ryan. The Marriage Series by Jennifer Probst - Loved all the couples within that series.
What do you read for pleasure?
I enjoy stories that really bring out an emotion in me. I tend to gravitate towards books that have a great couple with an awesome group of friends.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I'm a mac person but I do love my Kindle. It goes with me everywhere be it on my phone, computer or my actual Kindle.
Describe your desk
It's my recliner. Conflicted and Complicated were wrote from my living room with my 50 pound dog at my side. If I'm not at home, I made do with whatever is available to me so that could be a Caribou, Starbucks, or my office. I don't have a true desk that I sit down and write at.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town in southern Minnesota. Growing up in a small town allowed me to establish very deep-rooted friendships that I've tried to maintain into adulthood. It made me dream bigger than the confines of the small area I was in. It spawned my desire to travel to as many places as possible to absorb what I could in other people and cultures. It pushed me to want to succeed in a bigger metro area. I believe all of those things fall back to growing up in a small town.
When did you first start writing?
I've wrote on and off throughout the years for a variety of different reasons. It has always been something I've enjoyed. I didn't get back into really writing with a purpose until this last year and it has been the best year of my life.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I inadvertently ended up writing Conflicted and nearly all of Complicated together. It was roughly between April and September of 2013. The main character (Mia Ryan) had been in my head in one form or another for the better half of the last decade. It’s a story about a young woman that has really lost her way in the world. Everything that she thought her life was going to be vanished and she was left to pick up the pieces. The story begins and it’s quite obvious from the very first chapter that Mia really isn’t sure about anything anymore. I wouldn’t say that she’s damaged but she just doesn’t have a lot of faith in humanity, which ultimately contributes to some pretty questionable choices that we see her make. She meets Ethan, a man she can’t be with in any way, and he starts to make her believe in things again. He makes her want to become a better person.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My best friend. She gave me a wonderful piece of advice - "We are our own genie". To me, it meant that the power to make our wishes and dreams come true lies with in us. No one is going to do it for you. If you want to be something, go out there and be it. I've always wanted to write and delve into that creative side of myself. She gave me a friendly shove in the right direction to get back on the horse and do it. I was also very inspired by many other indie writers that wrote such beautiful books. It inspired me to go out there and do something with the characters in my head - to tell my own story.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It has been so wonderful. I've learned how to format from it. I've learned how to build marketing tools. Smashwords has become my default setting on my road to self-publishing. Whenever I am in doubt, I pull up all the resources available here.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I like stirring peoples emotions. I would say the greatest joy that writing has gave me thus far has been the reactions my beta readers have given me. It brought me more happiness than I could ever describe to receive phone calls and texts from them as they hit certain parts. I loved their reactions and knowing that it was my words that brought it out of them. If they are feeling it, I felt I did something right.
What are you working on next?
I just finished Complicated and have passed it along to my editor. Once Complicated is published, I will begin working on the third book in the series. I've had ideas for stand-alones as well. I also have another series in mind that I want to start as well that is very different than the Secrets and Lies that I'm very excited to get out there. It's very different than what I have written thus far but very important to me on a personal level.
Who are your favorite authors?
I've been reading on and off for many years so it's across the board. In recent years, I have gravitated towards the work of Suzanne Collins, J. K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, E. L. James, S. C. Stephens, Colleen Hoover, Rebecca Donovan, Jamie McGuire, Samantha Towle, Samantha Young, Tina Reber, M. Leighton, J. Sterling, Jennifer Probst, Tammara Webber, and R. L. Mathewson.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My friends and family are loads of inspiration. My little people inspire me to be a better person with each breath I take.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing, I'm trying to catch up on the piles of books that I've bought on my Kindle but haven't read yet. I'm constantly trying to stay caught up with the TV shows and movies I enjoy. I also try to spend as much time with my friends and family. They are spread out so that is a challenge at times but that is how I prefer to fill any free time.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I'm don't recall the first story I ever read. I do remember the first series that really sparked my love for reading. I became obsessed and read that series until I outgrew it. It was The Babysitters Club series and it was supremely fitting for that time period between 10 and 13. It chronicled all the changes that we experience as we enter our teenage years in a very realistic way.
What do your fans mean to you?
I'm just getting fans and my first set of reviews. I cannot say how much it means to me to have someone take the time to write me a review. I LOVE reading what people thought of my story. I also become just as elated when someone choses to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads. I truly appreciate it more than I can possibly say. I am a reader at heart so when I began writing again, it was my goal to put out a story that entertained anyone that picked it up. I love reading every review I get as those that aren't entirely satisfied with the story push me harder to make sure I get it right the next time. So, I would say that I adore my fans more than they could understand. I also wouldn't be able to do this without my beta-readers. Those gals are by far what has gotten Conflicted out to the public and have paved the way for Complicated to follow. Their support, thoughts, suggestions, and countless hours of listening to me mull over ideas of the story means the world to me and I love each of them for it!
Published 2014-05-04.
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