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Allow me to introduce you to Monica Bruno. It’s been two months since I last posted an author interview, and it’s high time I got back into the swing of things with a monthly author interview. I hope you’ll agree that this interview is worth the wait. It’s inspiring to see how much luck Monica has been having with her first book release.

1. Please provide a brief synopsis of your book.

Rachel’s Folly is my debut novel. It’s a story set in Austin, Texas that takes a serious, thoughtful look at the consequences of adultery. It begins with an assertive sexual seduction, develops into a psychological drama, morphs into a mystery, and finally ends up a fast-paced suspense-thriller.

Cover of Rachel's Folly by Monica Bruno

2. Tell us a little bit about what motivates or inspires your writing.

I’ve never considered myself a writer, but I’ve always been a pretty good story teller. Even at a very young age, I loved making up stories. So, one day, when I was 38 years old with the impending “four oh” lurking on the horizon, I decided to write a book. Not for monetary reasons or to gain notoriety, but solely as a personal goal. It took me four years, and many, many drafts, but I finally completed it.

I love writing because it’s a self discovering journey for me. I usually start at point A, with a general idea of where I want things to go, only to have my characters take the story in a different, often more interesting direction. Writing makes me more conscious and open to the world around me. I become very aware of my surroundings. I find myself eavesdropping on stranger’s conversations and listening to their language, tone and mannerisms.

It doesn’t come easy for me. I have to make writing part of my daily routine, with a minimum goal of 250 words per day. It can be laborious at times, but when it does come together, when the words come out effortlessly, like the characters are acting and speaking through me, it’s nothing short of magical. I can write thousands of words without thinking about it.

Plus, knowing a reader wandered through a world I created, and enjoyed it, is a total rush!

Photo of author Monica Bruno

3. It’s hard to pick just one, but what do you consider your favorite novel and why?

My knee jerk reaction would be to site Stephen King’s Misery, but, I would have to say, the novel I come back to the most is Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin. I absolutely love Levin’s style. He has a way of telling the story without drawing attention to the words. Without using overripe prose, he moves the tale forward effortlessly. I aspire to write in the same fashion.

4. What is the name of your blog and what can readers expect to find there?

I started my blog, Runner Girl, to share my experiences with writing, running and life in general. However, I admit, I don’t blog very well or very often. I prefer to use my author Facebook page to post pictures and information regarding Rachel’s Folly and my writing. I find Facebook more natural and easier to use to connect with readers.

Picture of BookPeople book display.

5. Are you traditionally published or self-published?

Because my book started out as a personal project, I never considered approaching a traditional publisher. I self-published via CreateSpace. I formatted and uploaded the text myself (it wasn’t hard, it just takes practice). I also took the pictures used for the book cover (with my iPhone) and had a graphic artist friend design and format them for me.

6. Can you offer one or two helpful tips for fellow writers when it comes to marketing and publicity?

The first thing I did when I decided to try and market Rachel’s Folly was to get legitimate reviews. I looked for book critics who were specifically interested in my genre and were open to reading independently published work.

I was terrified to read the first review I received. When I finally built up the courage to read it, and realized not only did the critic like my book, he actually loved it, I was literally brought to tears. Sometimes encouraging words from the right person is enough to motivate you to do anything.

Once I had some reviews under my belt, I planned and promoted my book launch through Facebook. We ended up with a packed house. I had five door prizes, each correlating with a different character in the book. We sold out of books before the night was over.

In addition to trying to build awareness and a fan base through Facebook, I try to attend book festivals and get into local independent bookstores. I also held a giveaway on Goodreads and had over 400 readers add Rachel’s Folly to their “to read” lists.

I try not to get too bogged down with the ups and downs of sales and focus on building one reader at a time.

Picture of SA Book Festival

7. Describe your writing background.

I have a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from St. Mary’s University. I have no formal training in creative writing. I do, however, attend writing workshops and writing groups.

8. What does your drafting and/or editing process entail?

I write the rough draft by myself. Once this is complete, I’ll work with an editor (sometimes two) to look for holes, check the tone and flow and make sure it is structurally correct. The pruning process begins and scenes are cut, I write new ones and slowly build a stronger story. When this is complete, I’ll have three or four beta readers (good friends who’ll give me their honest opinions) take a crack at it and give me their feedback. If any of their recommendations resonate with me, I make changes. Once all of that is done, my editor will do a final proofreading, and then it’s complete.

I know there are a lot of writers who do not like to use editors. But working with the right editor is an absolute must for me. An editor can’t write a novel for you, only you know the story in your head. But a good editor can help you tell your story in a better way. And a great editor can ask the right questions to help you uncover things you never knew you had in you. They can see your blind spots and can help you build the bones and expose the soul of your story.

Monica Bruno Book Launch

9. What future projects can we look forward to?

I never intended on writing another book, but because the response to Rachel’s Folly has been so positive; I’ve been inspired to write a sequel. The working title is called Reprisal, and I hope to complete it within the next two years.

10. Is there anything else you want your potential readers to know? 

Since the protagonist of Rachel’s Folly is a runner, a lot of people ask if Rachel is me. My answer is yes. But, I’m also her brother, her best friend, her husband, and her mother. I’m all the characters to some extent. I may not have had all their experiences, but I have felt all of their pains, their hopes, their insecurities and their fears.

Is there anything else you would like to know about Monica Bruno?

You can connect with Monica and her social media sites via her blog. Please follow the link below to explore the sample pages of her novel on Amazon.

The images in this post appear courtesy of the author.

Article by Jeri Walker-Bickett aka JeriWB

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