Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sunday's Author Spotlight: Camilla Monk

Today I’m excited to have author Camilla Monk on the Sunday’s Author Spotlight. Camilla is the author of ‘Spotless’, a contemporary romance/ mystery novel that was published on May 12th by Montlake Romance. ‘Spotless’ has received a stunning 4.20 average rating on Goodreads, and 156 people rated it. Sounds exciting right?!

About 'Spotless':
Island Chaptal—nerdy IT engineer by day, romance novel junkie by night—just walked into her messy New York apartment to find Mr. Right waiting for her. No, wait… Mr. Clean..

A gentleman professional killer with a bad case of OCD and zero tolerance for unsorted laundry, March isn’t there to kill her…yet. He wants the diamond her late mother stole for a sinister criminal organization. Island agrees to help him find it, facing the kind of adversaries who dismember first and ask questions later. Good thing she’s got March to show her the ropes. And the guns. And the knives.

The buttoned-up Island is soon having a blast racing from Paris to Tokyo following the clues in her mother’s will, and for the first time, she’s ready to get close to someone. But falling for a hit man may be the very definition of loving dangerously.…

This book is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indigo, Half/Ebay and Alibris

Interview with Camilla Monk:

Tell us a little more about who Camille Monk is?

So ... I'm French, turned 32 a few months ago, live in Paris. I grew up in a Franco-American family, where many cultures collided, which certainly nourished my imagination. I've traveled a bit in my life, lived in Japan for a while, and now I work in a digital agency, doing all sorts of things related to web projects: conception, design, development, advertising, that kind of thing. I'm a proud nerd, and have an amazing husband who's a hardcore engineer, like Island. He gives me tons of great ideas, helps me discover things I never knew even existed (Like Vegan Black Metal Chef!) and certainly inspires my writing a lot.

What made you start writing? And who are your inspirations?

I'm a dreamer, always have been. I love drawing, imagining stories. I ended up doing serious adult things because that's how life is, but I never really lost that need to lock myself in my little bubble, a world where everything is possible and thank God, nothing makes sense. I guess it won't come as a surprise if I say that one of my favorite stories ever is Alice in wonderland.
I've dabbled in writing over the years, never writing more than 15k, 20k before life got in the way and I'd leave my projects to sleep. Then in August 2013, I got the idea for Spotless, and I decided that I had to finish at least one book to let my ideas flow out. I felt I needed to do it for myself, that it was something I needed to accomplish or else I'd regret it. So I wrote every day after work, on weekends, and ta~da!

 Where do you get your inspiration from? Do you use your own experiences?

Everything inspires me: travels, books, movies, video games, people in the streets, news, magazines, paintings, scents, my husband's mad nerdy tales. I'm a bit of a sponge and love to just learn new things and absorb what goes on around me. And, of course, my own experiences color my writing. This is especially true in Spotless; because it's written in first person, and I wanted it to be a candid, honest account of what Island experiences. 

Some Authors say they heard there characters inside their head for years before they started writing. How did your characters in ‘Spotless’ come to life?

Mmmhh, hard to tell. Island's character probably took shape around 2011, in one of my unfinished bits. March's character, I'm not sure: I think he kind of popped up during the summer of 2013. I always get flashes of dialogues and scenes first, in which a character emerges, than I know I want to further explore. It's the same for another secret project I have: it started with a few silly scenes, and now it's a book that's halfway finished.

Can you describe your writing process? Do you have any sort of ritual you follow?

No particular ritual. I'm a beginner, so I don't know what's right or not. I like to have scented candles in the room when I write, does that count as a writing process? ;) I also listen to music. Often, a song or a piece will inspire me for a scene. For example, I remember I loved listening to The Antwoord's "Cookie Thumper" when I was writing Spotless, because it fits the book's whacky atmosphere so perfectly.
When I have a scene in mind and I want it out quickly, I write it in notepad, because if I'm working in my Word manuscript, I tend to edit over and over and work super slowly. So I'll drop a thousand words bothering with punctuation, spelling, or even speech tags, I'll copy-paste it in Word, and start refining it.
I also use Google and online tools a lot. When I'm writing, there's always at least a dozen windows open, with a thesaurus, the Merriam Webster, tones of Google searches ... 

 What do you love most about being an author?

I got paid actual money to write about ostriches, a Twitter bazooka and killer platypuses (watch out for those in Beating Ruby ...).

What is your favorite book(s)?

One book that I absolutely worship is a fairly unknown German children's book called: Schlechte Zeiten für Gespenster (Bad Times for Ghosts). It might seem random, but it's been with me for more than twenty years, and its voice/approach to its subject certainly influenced me heavily (like focusing on everyday life aspects of an extra-ordinary situation--in that book, the fact that they're a family of ghosts, in Spotless' the criminal world). I also loved the illustrations and "technical notices" in this book. I think it influenced Beating Ruby as well--the next book in the Spotless series. All I have to say, is: find it if you can, it's a gem!
Also, to give credit where it's due, I think March's character, his disorder and his mannerisms, were unconsciously inspired by my favorite text from French humorist Pierre Desproges, "Le Maniaque". That guy is  a monument, and he deserves every bit of his fame!

What are your future plans in writing?

I just finished writing Beating Ruby, the next installment in the Spotless series, and developmental editing is starting. It should be released in the 1st quarter of 2016 .
I have two secrets projects. One is a rather ambitious sc-fi/thriller/historical that I'll finish, one day! Hint: it's got to do with one of the subjects Island discusses with March during their date.
The other is a crazy romantic comedy, exploring the darkest and funniest of BDSM ... and bad sex.

Praise for 'Spotless':

Polish those bookshelves, Spotless is a must read!

Spotless is the first in a series by newcomer Camilla Monk and is a fabulous debut; the writing is topnotch. The story was suspenseful, intriguing, humorous, and most importantly interesting.

Humor, suspense, emotions, and a dash of heat, Spotless has it all.

If you are a fan of some sweet romance, and some creepy torture, this book has all you need! It is a great balance between the 007 fans, and the lover of a good romantic comedy. Each character has their quirks, and you learn to love them all in spite of it.  Take a chance, like I did, and pick it up for a fun read this summer!

About the Author:

Camilla Monk is a French native who grew up in a Franco-American family. After finishing her studies, she taught English and French in Tokyo before returning to France to work in advertising. Today, she's a managing partner in a small ad agency, where her job is to handle all things web-related and make silly drawings on the whiteboard when no one is looking.

Her writing credits include the English resumes and cover letters of a great many French friends, and some essays as well. She's also the critically acclaimed author of a few passive-aggressive notes pasted in her building's elevator.

To learn more about Camilla's writing projects, you can visit [the blog] she doesn't update enough.

For more information about Camilla monk and the Spotless series please visit her website, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.



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