(Pushing aside mountains of unpacked moving boxes, piles of crushed wrapping paper, and carefully stepping over discarded packing tape) Excuse the mess as we finish tidying up the new Swamp Shack. You’d think I’d have things a bit more together, but when the rampaging, over-sized iguana squashed our old shack, we were hard pressed to find a suitable replacement.
(Waving a hand) Nevermind that, you’re not here to listen to my tales of moving woe. Today, we have the lovely creative genius behind the awesome MY KILLER, MY LOVE and TEACH ME TO FORGET—Mona Karel. She even brought those gorgeous Faerie Hounds of hers.
Stick around and tell us what was your first occupational aspiration was and you could win an e-copy of her MY KILLER, MY LOVE–a heart pounding story of the unearthly guardian, Mykhael and the intriguing survivor, Kendra, as they face down evil while discovering their own, beautiful connection. Might as well let someone new fall in love with Mykhael, and she thought that would be better than genuine, high desert tumble weeds… Remember, we need your email to ensure you get your copy.
For now, I give you, Lady Mona…
As children we tend to have an idea of what we want to be by the time we’re ten. Before you decided to pursue the artistic dream of being a writer, what did you want to be and why?
I absolutely knew I was going to be an Olympic equestrian, from the time I read Pat Smythe’s book Jump For Joy. Never mind that I only rode horses once a week, and no one in my family had the least idea how to support such a goal. When the high school yearbook staff asked what I planned to do with my life, I stated categorically I would ride jumping horses. Well, we can all dream, can’t we?
–I’m going to guess you also read BLACK BEAUTY and did you happen to have all the Black Stallion novels? Not that I would know anything about that or being a prize winning jockey….
Many writers have that first novel which will never see the light of day. Out of curiosity, do you have one stashed somewhere? Inquiring minds want to know: what was your first attempt at writing and how old were you?
I was such a fan of gothic romance for a while, and I wrote a full gothic novel, set in a manor house in Scotland. Complete with a white nightgown in the gallery scene. That would have to be when I was about sixteen since it was before my father did a tour of duty in Japan. All the ‘excess’ was tossed out, including my Beatles fan fiction (shaking my head in wonder) where we were in a plane crash and marooned on a desert island. My lead character, who bore a sad resemblance to me, helped save the day while the rest of the females sat around and whined. Back in civilization, Paul showed up one day to declare unremitting love. Hey, gimme a break, I think I was fifteen.
–Mmmm, Paul always was the pretty one…
The first ‘real’ novel might still have a chance at resurrection since I’ve ended up using one of the male characters in another book. The female protagonist rides jumping horses. As an aside, isn’t it more fun to call her the heroine?
Growing up, what was your favorite book, comic, game or movie and did you create a character/player that might resemble you?
Man From U.N.C.L.E. absolutely. I had it bad for Illya Kuryakin (not so much Napoleon Solo until I learned years later that Robert Vaughn had Scottish Deerhounds) That fascination carried forward when Dr. Mallard showed up on NCIS.
Personally, I tend to be a bit on the introverted side so the thought of being in the actual presence of one of my favorite writers makes my heart race, my knees shake and tangles my tongue (yes classic fan girl behavior). Who could reduce you to such a level and how do you imagine your initial meeting?
I actually did meet some of my favorite writers when I helped the Programs chair for Orange County. At that time I was pretty cool about it all, even when it was Elizabeth Lowell or Eileen Dreyer. Now I think I’d be a fluttering fool if I met Patricia Briggs or Jim Butcher. I had no problem with one of my very favorite authors I met through dogs long before I knew she had written Dun’s Lady Jess. Dogs are a great leveler.
–Then you and your hounds can come rescue me when I fall into a drooling mass at the feet of Patricia Briggs…as for Jim, he at least, didn’t mind the drool…
And now, for our favorite list–The Bullet List…
Blades, guns, fists or feet?
Hand Grenades or Stink Bombs
Favorite Fairy Tale of all time?
Oh gaaa, that one’s difficult. I wasn’t a fan of happily ever after especially not after I learned the story behind the story of so many fairy tales. Like those nursery songs: “A Tisket a Tasket…Ashes Ashes All Fall Down.” Yikes. There was the modern fairy tale that canned and frozen prepared meals are every bit as good as fresh. No, wait, that’s more of a horror story. Hmmm. Probably the swan one, where the sister couldn’t speak until she’d saved her eleven brothers from a curse. Let me see…oh, never mind that one’s also pretty stupid.
But wait, there’s the Town Musicians of Bremen. No vapid virginal heroine, no evil stepmother, no waiting to be rescued by the prince. Yup, liked that one. Which reminds me of a favorite line…
Three titles and their authors sitting on your nightstand/bookcase/table/floor waiting to be read?
On the Kindle actually. I’m indulging in Kodiak Unchained, one of Doranna Durgin’s Sentinel stories. What a fascinating take on shifters and unrelenting enmity, and yes she also wrote Dun’s Lady Jess. Greta Van Der Rol has asked me to do a beta read on her sequel to Morgan’s Return, great space opera and such an honor. I’d be saying Eileen Dreyer and her Drake’s Rakes except I’ve read them until I could quote them waiting for the next one.
Greatest one liner of all time?
‘No more kitchen scraps for the widows and orphans’ Favorite villain, one of my favorite actors.
But also, from Pretty Woman: “What happens after the Prince rescues the Princess?” “She rescues him right back.” Gurrrl power!
Sarcastic witticism, Southern sweetness or Geeky disdain?
Sarcastic witticism, all too often misunderstood, go figure.
Strangest item currently taking up space in your writing cave?
Actually I moved the writing set up to a high counter in the large main room. It was a way to stay connected to my life: the high desert, the dogs, the wind blowing tumbleweeds into the fences. From the point of view of ‘ordinary’ people most everything would be strange. Probably the silver serving spoon that used to have a lovely ceramic dragon handle. Now it’s just a stub. I was trying to figure out the hallmarks on the back…
Favorite supernatural creature?
Obviously I love Mykhael Alastor, from My Killer My Love. And his brother Gabriel who redeems himself by helping rescue a lovely plus size woman while falling madly in love with her. But someone else’s, hmmm. It would be cheating to mention one of the writers I’ve already named, wouldn’t it?
Now, if it was Science Fiction, then Andromeda‘s captain, and also the hot guy with the dreads…Tyr Anasazi. But you’re looking for supernatural creatures, not characters. Well, of course, it would be dragons. Except they exist, we just can’t quite see them.
You want to know about the ‘real’ me or the writer me?
Mona Karel is the writing alter ego of Monica Stoner, who moved around a lot with her Navy family and continued that nomadic existence for a while on her own. Her first two books: the paranormal romance My Killer My Love and contemporary romance Teach Me To Forget, are published by Black Opal Books. She’s madly typing away on her next stories, in between doing battle with rapacious tumbleweeds and playing with her herd of Salukis.
My Killer My Love is available through the usual sources:
Teach Me To Forget as well:
Both titles available through my publisher, Black Opal Books