Wednesday, June 29, 2011

She's A Keeper: Meet Author Monique O'Connor James

Welcome our newest Book Boost author Monique O'Connor James and win a copy of The Keepers!

We recently chatted with her and here's what she had to say...

TBB: Tell us your latest news.

MOJ: My second book will be coming out on September 6, 2011. The name is Jamais Vu and it’s about a girl who believes she has accidentally shot herself. She suffers a near-death experience and is sent back before she fully understands her mission. She dreams of demons and other people who need saving and she had to discern what is real and what is dream.

TBB: When and why did you begin writing?

MOJ: I started writing at about 8 or 9 when my mother gave me a journal as a gift for Christmas.

TBB: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

MOJ: I think the first time I completed a manuscript. Even though it was really raw, I felt like I’d accomplished something that most people only talk about doing.

TBB: What are your current projects?

MOJ: I’m currently writing the follow up to The Keepers and editing the follow up to Jamais Vu. I have a habit of starting more than one project at a time, because I like to switch between editing and writing.

TBB: Do you have any advice for other writers?

MOJ: A lot of writers are trying to decide right now if they should stick it out and try to get an agent or go directly to a publisher who offers e-pub/print. I think each person is different and you have to listen to what you heart tells you. Whatever decision you make, there is the opportunity to be very successful, so once you’ve made up your mind, don’t waste your time second guessing. Also, find a publisher/agent who is as excited as you are about your work. You won’t be happy unless you work with someone who shares your enthusiasm and sees your talent.

TBB: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

MOJ: I write in my garage…which is odd. I call it the dungeon.

TBB: What does your family think of your writing?

MOJ: My family is very supportive. My kids think it’s the greatest thing ever. My husband handles my website, etc, and my dad is my biggest fan.

TBB: What was your first reaction when you found out that you were going to be published?

MOJ: I ran outside and threw my cell phone at my husband because I was crying too hard to read him the email.

TBB: How did you come up with the idea for this book?

MOJ: This book was the product of the grief I suffered when my mother died from breast cancer. She also collected angels, and I thought it would be cool if my MC was an angel, to honor her.

TBB: If you had to describe this book using ONLY ONE word, what would it be?

MOJ: Emotional

TBB: What has been your biggest reward as an author thus far in your career?

MOJ: My kids have both started to write. Seeing them express themselves and feel good about it has been the best thing for me.

TBB: If someone wrote a biography about you, what should the title be?

MOJ: Dream Big!

TBB: Any final words for your readers?

MOJ: Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read my interview today. The Keepers is my first published novel and the outpouring of support from fans has been tremendous.

TBB: Thanks for joining us today, Monique. Please share a blurb and excerpt before you go.


Jess denies God. In his infinite wisdom, he’s taken everyone she’s ever loved. Moving to the French Quarter was a ploy to erase the guilt she felt for rebuking her faith. Perhaps, if she hadn’t met Justin, an angel preoccupied with getting back into God’s good graces, and drowning in his hatred for humanity, her plan would have worked.

Justin’s general disdain for the human race makes him difficult to like, but some higher power has appointed him her keeper. Justin’s convinced he can mend her broken relationship with her maker, but in the process he learns a thing or two about his own humanity.

Never mind, falling in love, that’s not supposed to happen. In fact, it may even be forbidden. Jess just wants Justin to understand her plight, and he wants to protect her from a world she doesn’t know.

If neither is equipped to save the other, then whose soul lives and whose will perish?


He hadn’t heard her name - not yet. She'd wandered in from the rain shaking an umbrella and trying to look aloof. It had taken Vi less than ten minutes to engage her in conversation, and once Vi hooked the girl, they sat together for the rest of the evening. Vi had been his friend for years, and she could be counted on in these matters. They often found the same people intriguing, and he knew she would befriend the newcomer.

New Orleans was a sea of appealing women with pleasing accents flowing from pretty lips, but there was something about this girl’s beauty, something that kept Justin’s eyes planted on her. She caught him gawking at her, and he didn’t bother to look away. Humiliation was just another useless human emotion he wouldn't even pretend to possess.

Rory wanted to introduce himself, but Justin vetoed the plan with a look of warning. His brother seemed more interested in Vi, anyway and sat down with an easy grin. Justin was relaxed, until Dawson placed himself at their table begging for a fight. Dawson could always be relied on to kill a good mood. His Mohawk was tapered into precise points atop his head, and that alone made Justin want to punch him.

“What’s the matter Justin? Rory baggin’ all the babes or did someone shoot your dog?” The smell of tobacco and, wet hair gel, clung to Dawson like a disease. Just the fact that he had lost the ability to stave off the odor of humanity, made him less annoying.

Justin didn’t respond. Maybe if he ignored the moron he would take the hint and buzz off. Besides, he couldn’t take his eyes off the beauty with Vi, and Dawson’s gaze followed his.

“Ah, I see. You know she’s off limits.” Dawson leaned in closer, and used his foot to jolt Justin’s boot from the chair next to him.

"Don’t touch me again, Dawson. And drop it. She’s human for God’s sake.”

“A human I bet I’ll take home tonight.” Dawson’s sardonic grin dripped with conceit and punctuated the dramatic wink he granted Justin.

Justin slid his palms together as the skin over his knuckles hardened into stone. He allowed Dawson to gloat long enough to take a sip from his drink, and then laid him out with one colossal blow. He didn’t bend over to say all the things he was thinking; he figured the black eye would say it all. The girl was watching, and Justin nearly felt ashamed, but she was just another human, and he wasn’t going to concern himself with what bothered her, not now anyway.

Want More Monique?

Visit her website here:
Visit her blog here:

Pick up a copy of her book today! Click here.

Contest Time:

Leave a question or comment for Monique to be entered to win a copy The Keepers.

**Winners for Book Boost prizes are drawn the first week of the following month and posted in the Recent Winners box in the right hand side of the blog. Check back to see if you are a winner and to claim your prize! Please leave your contact information in your blog post!**


Na said...

I love emotional books, and these are the books I connect with most. They are most memorable and stay in mind long after it has been read. I think the fact that you wrote the book as a product of grief will really show. Thank you for the excerpt.

Your second book, Jamais Vu sounds great as well. I really like the idea of who dreams of demons and people to save. It'll be interesting to see how she deals.


Monique James said...

As much as I love The Keepers, and yes my grief and love and fight all show...but I'll tell you a secret about Jamais Vu ...well my mom accidentally shot herself when I was two playing with a loaded gun. Even to the day she died she told one story and my dad told another. It was an accident either way , but it made me question it as a teenager and that's where the premises from Jamais Vu came from. I love that novel! Hope you get a chance to read them!

hernameisavril said...

I would love to win a copy of this book :D What motivates you to write? Thanks for this chance

Unknown said...

This is a great story and I wish you much success with it. I will definitely be looking for it and adding it to my must read list.

Linda Andrews said...

Wonderful excerpt. What made you choose the French Quarter of NO?

Monique James said...

@hernameisavril - Thats a great question. I'm motivated by something I can't really explain. I've always said that writers have no choice, there is something inside them that drives them to write. I've always had a bunch of characters rattling their stories off and they won't leave me alone until I write! So that's a pretty good motivation! They are like children.

@Linda - I chose the French Quarter for several reasons - I'm from Southern Louisiana and love it her. There are so many mysterious and beautiful places in my home State and I just happen to love The French Quarter.

Also, I lived in New Orleans until I was about 6 years old and some of my fondest memories of my mother came from that time :) Thanks guys for the comments!