Interview with Monique Rockliffe

Monique Rockliffe

Interview Date: 6/28/2012


Monique was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she currently resides with her husband.
Always the avid reader, she spent every available moment since childhood reading, which fuelled her already boundless imagination. She loved watching as many fantasy and science fiction films as possible, establishing her love and passion for story telling of the Otherworldly kind.
She became a dancer at age five which turned into a successful professional career, but she never lost her first passion. She began writing seriously in 2009 when her dancing career came to an end and her husband and greatest supporter urged her to finally make a start.

When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

If any specific event prompted me then I would have to say when my professional dancing career came to an end and I found I needed to continue creating one way or another or go insane from frustration. The love of books, comics, and movies I had when I was a kid never left me and writing was just such a natural path to take. The Sword Bearers series was born out of my love for Star Wars and every fantasy/sci-fi/horror/paranormal movie/book/comic that followed. I began writing seriously in 2009, and by 2010 I published my first novel in a four-part fantasy series called The Sword Bearers.

Kev's response: So ... you went insane, and THEN started writing? Is that what I'm getting here?

If you could have one superpower, what would it be? (Assuming said power would be reasonably "powerful.")

Nothing beats flying, but next favourites have to be Storm’s (X-men) powers – controlling the weather – Invisibility (Invisible Girl, Fantastic Four), or Phoenix’s (Jean Grey, X-men) powers – to control minds and telekinesis! What trumps all of them, though, would have to be Shape Shifting – Mystique (X-men) – so that’s my first choice!

Kev's response: Perhaps not insane, but definitely indecisive, sheesh! ;P Not that I would mind having any power(s) on that list. :)

Do you have a favorite superhero from novels, comics, or movies?

VERY hard to have one! I naturally love the old comic favs like Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Thor. But I think I’ll always choose the strong female superheroes like Black Canary, Elektra, Zatanna Zatara, and those mentioned above, to name but a few.

Where do you get your inspiration for writing? What motivates you?

I am inspired by the imaginations of others (writers, movie makers, artists from all fields, musicians) and the ability of the human mind to come up with the most awe-inspiring, breathtaking ideas. Knowing that nothing is impossible, that there are no limits to my imagination when I sit down to write, gives me the freedom and power to push the boundaries of reality and create anything! The challenge is to create something no one else has yet thought of or seen or read before.

Do you pre-plan your stories, or are you a by-the-seat-of-the-pants style writer?

For The Sword Bearers series I definitely planned it. The entire story was born in 1978 when I went to see the first Star Wars movie and has since morphed and grown into what is has become today! Saying that though, there are many times I see a film or read a book that instantly gives me an idea for a short story or novel. I write down the outline as soon as possible so that I don’t lose the emotional flow and excitement I feel the moment the idea comes to me. The magic is born in that moment and I do my best not to lose it when I begin turning it into a fully fledged story days later.

Kev's response: Sounds like a wise idea!

Do you write only when inspired, or do you have a set schedule where you sit down to write?

Unfortunately, if I don’t schedule time to write and stick to it then I very rarely find the time. I am, however, busy with more than one project, and sometimes I feel the need to put aside what I’ve chosen to work on that day and pick up one of my other stories. I love it when that happens because then I find the words and ideas come a lot more easily; the magic comes alive, as it were, as if the Universe (others may say it is their muse) is telling me that that particular story needs more attention now if it is to be fantastic when it’s finished! I always listen to The Voice!

Kev's response: Perhaps the Universal Muse? I can see a benefit of doing it that way, you are always writing what you are most inspired to do, and are likely to make the best progress on it as well, so long as you finish them all.

Do you have a favorite genre to write in? To read?

It is and always will be Fantasy for both! BUT sci-fi is a close second, followed by urban fantasy and paranormal. Additionally, I love reading horror (King rocks!), adventure stories (eg Clive Cussler) and thrillers – anything that is clever and engaging and fast moving!

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

Ah, that would be the creation process, those first few moments when your characters and the main storyline comes to you out of the ether, that place no has yet been able to visit and return from with the answer to the question: ‘Where do all your ideas come from?”. I love the way a scene is just born when you have no idea where it’s going to go as you sit down at your computer and start typing. This ‘magic’ never fails to amaze and astonish me (and it never fails to arrive, either!), and it is the most intoxicating, addictive thing in my life! I’ll never give it up for anything!

Kev's response: I'm thinking it's simpler to just answer "the crazy." E.g. "So, where do your ideas come from?" "The crazy."

Is there any part of writing that you don't enjoy?

While I’m creating and bashing out the story, no. But editing, spellchecking, proofreading – the boring bits – absolutely! They’re vital, yes, but I’d rather be able to write perfectly first time round. When I go through this process I have to make sure I don’t lose the emotion and power of the story. Editing is good, but not when it strips away the best part. There must be balance!

Can you tell me something odd about yourself?

Besides being nuts (hubby’s word)? Um, okay, this might be odd, and it has nothing to do with writing: I can’t eat more than one kind of food at the same time. For example, if there are three kinds of veggies, and potatoes and meat on my plate I have to eat them all separately; no mixing! Odd enough?

Kev's response: Not at all... Okay, maybe a little... Fine! A LOT! >:)

Do you write one story at a time, or do you have several novels in the works at one time?

I usually only work on one novel at a time to keep my focus, but I have also worked on a short story while writing a novel when I need a break to think more clearly. Just recently, in fact, I wrote a sci-fi short story, The Door, while finishing off my latest novel. Also, while I’m rewriting one book I usually start the next. For example, Book 3 of The Sword Bearers series is now finished and being edited, but I’ve already begun Book 4. It’s good to keep the storyline fresh for the next book in case I forget something. But saying that, I always keep a notebook handy in case new ideas come to me for future works.

In my evil plot to take over the world, do you advise I use highly intelligent, self-motivated minions, or simple ones, and why?

I firmly believe you have to have at least one clever minion who can continue to run things while you have a bath, eat a lavish meal, or relax in front of the fire and read a good book. Ruling the world can’t all be work and no play. So, yes, one clever dude needed for sure, but keep the rest stupid in case they get any ideas of grandeur.

Kev's response: Sounds good. I just need to keep them from running off a cliff one after another like lemmings.

Where do you see the future as far as paper books versus digital e-books?

Although I LOVE holding a paperback in my hand I do predict that digital books will soon be the dominant force (if they’re not already), although I just cannot imagine bookstores and ‘real’ books becoming obsolete. There are still too many of us that need the tactile feel of paper in our hands! Hope I’m right. And there’s just no alternative for children’s colourful picture books no matter how fancy your iPad gets!!!

What are your current projects?

I am about to self-publish that afore mentioned sci-fi short story straight to Kindle via Kindle Publishing. Around August/September I will be self-publishing the third book in my epic fantasy series titled: The Sword Bearer’s Awakening. It will be available as an ebook on Kindle, Nook and in other ebook stores.

Do you have any advice for others about self-publishing?

I always dreamed of having an agent and going the traditional route and getting paid thousands for my books by a big, fancy publisher. But the more I read about what’s going on the publishing world, like the economic difficulties and the battles for maintaining control of the way I want my stories to reach the public (ie creative and content control), the more grateful and happy I am that I chose self-publishing. It gives me a wonderful freedom. You might need to work harder to market yourself and get known in the big wide world, but I recommend that you learn as much as you can from those indie authors who have already made a success of themselves. Never give up; remain consistent and it will pay off! I highly recommend it.

Kev's response: I'm with you there. Plus, no publisher I'm aware of could put out books in the same timeline as I do. Poooookkkeeeeeyyyyyyy...

Do you have any online sites where readers can find out more about you (and your books)?

Yes. Please visit these links: (blog)

Kev's response: Monique, thanks for joining me! Thanks for the advice on the minion, I'm prepping IQ tests to find a smart one in the bunch now.... Good fortune on the Sword Bearers series!

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