Interview With Monica Leonelle + Kindle Fire Giveaway

When I was younger and had all the time in the world, I was a serious reader...I devoured books by authors like Stephen King, Piers Anthony, and Anne McCaffrey. Yeah, I was all into sci-fi, fantasy and horror back in the day. But I also loved Erma Bombeck, which helped to mix up the darkness a little.

So imagine my delight when Monica Leonelle, author of the Seven Halos young adult (YA) fantasy series, invited me to join her blog tour to promote her 12 Days Of Fire Contest celebrating the release of  Tin Soldier, second in the series. She's having a giveaway for Silver Smoke, the first novel in the series, which includes a Kindle Fire giveaway.

Silver Smoke is the highly-rated (4.8 stars on Amazon) first in a series about the Hallows and the Nephilim, the descendants of archangels and humans. See why I'm already interested in reading it?

I got the chance to ask her a few questions, I mean, how often does one get to interview an author?

Please tell my readers a little about Monica Leonelle...
ML - I'm a young adult fantasy and science fiction writer living in Chicago. I started out as a computer programmer and made a career shift to marketing several years ago. I consult companies on their digital strategy as I work to build a fan base for my books. I've been blogging since about 2007 and have always enjoyed sharing my ideas through writing. I have wanted to be an author since I was a little kid.

To go from reading young adult fantasy and science fiction novels to writing them is a big leap. What challenges did you face in becoming an author and how did you overcome those challenges?
ML - I'm still facing challenges, certainly! One of the biggest challenges was writing the first novel. It was a very different type of writing than I was used to. I'm accustomed to writing a lot of words quickly, but novel structure is its own beast. Another big challenge was learning how to publish books. Now, my biggest challenge is finding readers, or the marketing aspect of the process. I know how to market things, but again, marketing a novel is quite different from the other work I've done.

What draws me to Silver Smoke, the first in your series about the Hallows and the Nephilim, the descendants of archangels and humans, is the similar mythology found in Many Waters, a novel by Madeleine L'Engle, one of my favorite authors. Who are your favorite authors and how do you feel you draw inspiration from them?
ML - Some of my favorite authors include Cassandra Clare and Holly Black. Both have been in the biz awhile and have had wild success with their YA and middle grade work, respectively. I definitely draw inspiration from them in terms of how they structure their stories, how they develop their characters, and how they describe their worlds. I consider both the best of the best.

You've got a great website to inspire others on becoming authors. What is your go-to resource? Do you have favorite blogs and/or websites you like to visit when you have a moment?
ML - My go-to resources for How To Be An Author are my own experiences and books about writing. I love books about writing. I have a stack of about 50 of them sitting in my living room.

My favorite, must-read blogs are Seth Godin and Penelope Trunk.

Tell us in one sentence why we should read your book.
ML - The book has everything you could want in a YA novel--friendship, romance, a struggle between good and evil, and an interesting world that the book barely scratches the surface of. What's not to love?

And just for fun, you are stranded on a desert island and can take one item and one meal. What would they be?
ML - I guess my one item would have to be a Kindle due to its long battery life and potential to find WiFi no matter where I go. My one meal would probably be some sort of Mexican dish. I could basically eat Mexican 2-taco dinner with rice and beans every day for the rest of my life.

Thank you so much Monica for sharing your passion with my readers! Get a look at Silver Smoke online and if you would like more of her wisdom, follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Want to enter the contest? Visit her site, How To Be An Author, for details. And you better skedaddle, it ends December 31st.

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