JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Monica Marie Jones, author of SWAG
(The Literary Loft )
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Noelle Dresden stepped out on faith and left her full-time job to pursue her passion: singing. Six months later, her singing career hasn’t gone much of anywhere and neither has her relationship with her charismatic, yet sneaky boyfriend, Jonah.
Her pursuit leads her to accept an invitation to be a house guest on the popular, hit reality show, House of Swag, produced by entertainment industry mogul, Monroe “Paper” Chase. As Noelle rises toward super stardom, she has some difficult choices to make. What lies ahead of her looks so much better than what she has left behind.
Will she work to keep the love that she and Jonah shares alive, or will she choose fame, fortune and a man who can make all of her dreams come true?
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write SWAG?
Monica Marie Jones: I have a not so secret power crush on P. Diddy (Sean Combs). I call it a power crush because I often find myself drawn to men who are making major moves. After watching his reality show Making the Band one night, I had a dream that I was on one of his reality shows. When I woke up I began writing.
JP: With reality TV going strong for nearly two decades, it’s natural for other forms of media to incorporate this phenomenon. What research was required to make sure your readers get an authentic reality TV show experience with SWAG?
MMJ: To be completely honest, once I got cable I became addicted to reality television. I must admit that I couldn’t tear my eyes away from even the most silly and degrading shows. Having planned my schedule around watching an array of reality television shows over the years was more than enough research for the book.
JP: What have you learned from your previous publications that make SWAG a better product?
MMJ: After publishing my last novel FLOSS, I made it a point to ask literary industry professionals for honest feedback. Once I received that feedback, I actually made the suggested changes.
It’s hard to hear the truth about what you might need to improve upon, but it only makes you better. I also studied the reviews that I received for my previous titles and took some of the suggestions that I got from readers and book clubs that I’ve visited.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take for you to start and finish SWAG?
MMJ: It took me less than a year to finish SWAG. If I’d actually sat down, created a schedule, and worked on it every day, I probably would have finished it in less than three months.
But my process is that sometimes I have to walk away and leave a manuscript alone for a while. Then an idea will come to me, or something will happen to motivate me to go back and write. I never want to force a story. I allow time for scenes to unfold in my mind.
JP: What’s next for Monica Marie Jones?
MMJ: Well, I have already begun outlining the third installment of the FLOSS series (SWAG is the second installment) called INTRIGUE. I plan to take a little writer’s retreat to really dig in and get started on the writing of that. I also have an ambitious goal of releasing two more books before the year is over…A poetry book called Sweet Soliloquy and a resource book called Book Marketing on A Budget.
In 2010, my work will be published in two anthologies: Bedtime Stories 3 by Hollygrove Publishing and The Souls of My Young Sisters by Kensington Publishing.
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Monica Marie Jones is an author whose published works include The Ups and Downs of Being Round (Fiction/Self-Help), Taste My Soul (Poetry) and FLOSS (Urban Fiction). She is a contributing author in Chicken Soup for the Girls Soul, New Directions for Youth Development, and 44th (A full color coffee table book about President Barack Obama that is a compilation of front page reprints of actual African-American published newspapers and poetry.)
She has also contributed to several publications and youth development training materials for the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation. She has worked as a columnist and freelance writer for various publications and websites including the Michigan Front Page Newspaper and is an active member of the Motown Writer’s Network where she is the host of her own show, â€œMarketing and Motivation Mondays with Monica Marie Jonesâ€ on the Michigan Literary Network Radio.
Monica is a youth development expert that does training and consultation for the Center for Youth Program Quality (a joint venture of the Forum for Youth Investment and The High/Scope Educational Research Foundation.) She is a professionally trained dancer and dance instructor that has danced with Gospel recording artists such as Dorinda Clark-Cole, in several venues around the United States, and a three-city tour in Japan with Kierra ‘Ki-Ki’ Sheard.
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