DUCK CHAT: Getting to Know Monica McCarty

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 10:00

Duck ChatWelcome to our very first Duck Chat!

I’ve been wanting to do author interviews for a while now, but for one reason or another life never wanted to let me get started working on the idea.  I’m happy to say things have changed and you’ll be chatting with some terrific authors every now and then from here on out.  So whenever you see our new spiked-do friends over there, you know you’re going to be in for a fun surprise and lots of chatting!

Our first Duck Chat interviewee is historical romance author Monica McCarty.  Monica has been in a constant whirlwind since her first book was released back in 2007. Read on to learn more about Monica, her life, and her books.

Monica McCartyMonica lives in California with her family. Her husband Dave is a former professional baseball player and was part of the 2004 World Series Red Sox team. She’s a former copyright litigation attorney.  After practicing law a few years, Monica decided to take her love of research and writing in a new direction, which has been a huge gain for romance readers.  The MacLeods of Skye trilogy was Monica’s supersonic entry into romance publication.  Highlander Untamed, Highlander Unmasked, and Highlander Unchained were all hits and led to her second trilogy featuring Clan Campbell, Highland Warrior, Highland Outlaw, and Highland ScoundrelWarrior hits the shelves today. So after reading Syb’s review and saying hello to Monica, hop on over to Amazon.com or Borders and grab your copy hot off the presses.

Let’s chat!

Highland Warrior

Duck Chat:  If you could retire any question and never, ever have it asked again, what would it be? Feel free to answer it.

Monica McCarty:  LOL, I don’t think I’ve been doing this long enough to be tired of any question. But the hardest question for me to answer is the quick “what’s your book about.” You think it would be so easy, but trying to condense a 100k word book into a couple of lines in the most intriguing way isn’t easy.

DC:  I’ve heard writers often say their stories take them in surprising directions or dialogue flows from some unknown place. Is it the same with you? Do your characters surprise you sometimes?

MM:  Definitely. I write from a pretty well-thought-through synopsis, but it’s more like a roadmap for me. I like to know the major turning points in the story and the black moment, but I always leave room for the story to unfold on its own. I also always keep a notepad with me (especially by the bed and shower) so I can write down the scenes that come to me—it’s almost always dialogue.

DC:  Do you ever argue with your characters while you’re writing?

MM: It’s no use arguing: the characters are always right.

Highland Outlaw

DC:  Tell us about your new trilogy featuring the bad boys of the Highlands, Clan Campbell.

MM:  The Campbell trilogy starts off with Jamie Campbell, a secondary character from Highlander Unmasked. Book #2 belongs to his sister Lizzie (also introduced in Highlander Unmasked) and the third to their half-brother Duncan. The Campbells usually get the role of the “bad guy” in romances (and in history), so I thought it would be fun to let them play hero for once. They also had a ton of enemies, which provides great fodder for an author. One of the best-known feuds with the MacGregors takes center stage in the first two books, the third is with the Gordons. Like my first series, you’ll find plenty of strapping lads in plaid and “ripped from the headlines” history (i.e. Law and Order).

DC:  Do you have a favorite bad boy?

MM:  Bad boy in romance: Kenny from Lady Be Good by SEP. Bad boy on TV: Sawyer from Lost.

DC:  What is sure to distract you from sitting down and working/writing?

MM:  I suspect I’m like most writers, if I’m in the mood to be distracted just about anything will do it. The main culprits are email, the internet, and my kids (not necessarily in that order!). On the other hand, if I’m on a roll, only having to pick up the kids from school or get dinner on the table distracts me.

DC:  How do you feel your writing has evolved since your first book? Do you think you write your male or female differently now than you did when you started writing?

MM:  I hope it’s improved, LOL, not only at storytelling but with the craft of writing. I’ve learned so much through RWA it’s amazing. As far as the male/female characters…hmm. I’m not sure. I think there are probably subtle differences. For example, with the men, I’m always asking myself, “Would a guy really do (or say) that?” to try to create as authentic male characters as possible.

DC:  We know the historical genre is your forte, but is there another genre you’d like to try your hand at some day?

MM:  I’d love to do some kind of contemporary “history mystery” along the lines of The DaVinci Code or The Last Templar, but alas I don’t have any brilliant ideas.

DC:  What advice would you give to your younger self?

MM:  Try to relax a little—I’m a definite “type A” personality, LOL. For writing it would be to try to not take rejection so personally. As I’ve learned more about the industry, I realize there are so many business reasons that come into the decision about whether to buy a book.

Highland Scoundrel

DC:  Okay, these are the usual questions asked of authors in most every interview, but inquiring minds want to know:

MM:  Favorite Historical Author: I’ll narrow it down to authors currently writing historicals: either Lisa Kleypas or Liz Carlyle
Favorite Historical Book: Toughest question of all time, LOL. Probably either Judith McNaught’s Almost Heaven or Julie Garwood’s The Bride.
Favorite Contemporary Author: Susan Elizabeth Philips
Favorite Contemporary Book: Lady Be Good
Favorite Paranormal Author Does Time Travel count? Karen Marie Moning (I don’t read much Paranormal.)
Favorite Paranormal Book: Kiss of the Highlander
Can I do romantic suspense, too? I love Shannon McKenna . Extreme Danger has one of my all time favorite heroes ever.

DC:  If you had never become an author, what do you think you would be doing right now?

MM:  Probably practicing law in some fashion.

Gwen’s Lightning Round:

- dark or milk chocolate?   milk (but I’m not much of a chocolate fan…seriously)
- smooth or chunky peanut butter?   chunky
- heels or flats?    heels
- coffee or tea?    both daily (addict anyone?)
- summer or winter?   winter
- mountains or beach?   mountains
- mustard or mayonnaise?   mustard
- flowers or candy?   candy
- pockets or purse?   purse (I have a bit of a handbag “problem” as my husband calls it)
- Pepsi or Coke?   Pepsi
- print or ebook?    print (but I love my Kindle!)

Last-minute fun stuff:

What is your favorite word? Bedtime
What is your least favorite word? “Mom…!”
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Watching a good movie or reading a good book
What sound or noise do you love? Water (i.e. streams, brooks, waterfalls)
What sound or noise do you hate? Fingernails on the chalkboard
What is your favorite curse word? I don’t curse! (Right, probably the “f” word)
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Broadway singer (unfortunately I have no voice)
What profession would you not like to do? Maid, cook, nurse and psychologist (Wait! I already do those.)
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “Welcome, you sure took a long time in getting here!”

Thank you, Monica!

For those of you who have any questions or comments for Monica, she’ll be stopping by throughout the day, so this is your chance!

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