I'm thrilled to welcome a fab Aussie author and all around book lover to the blog today who's had a long and varied career in publishing.
Here we go...
Monique Mulligan is an author, interviewer, and founder of the Stories on Stage program in Perth. A former journalist, news editor and publisher, she combines part-time work at an arts centre with freelance editing and novel writing. Monique's debut contemporary fiction novel Wherever You Go will be released in late 2020 and her third picture book, Alexandra Rose and her Icy-Cold Toes will be released in May. As well as two other picture books, Monique has had a number of short romances published in anthologies. When she's not working you will usually find Monique a) writing b) reading c) cooking and d) taking photos for her cat's Instagram page. When she's socialising, she's usually behind a camera or in a corner hanging out with other introverts and making mental notes for stories.
Who are you and what do you write?
I’m Monique Mulligan and I’m currently writing contemporary women’s fiction (but I’ve also written short romances and picture books).
Where and when and how did the writing life begin for you?
That’s a great question and one I asked many times early on, but more in that ‘Am I a writer?’ way. In a sense, my career path always involved writing of a sort – from writing training programs for the public service and educational curriculum to journalism and news editing. At times there was creative writing involved. But I didn’t start my book publishing journey until I was in my 40s. I kept putting it off, thinking I couldn’t possibly fit any more into a life jam-packed with the needs of four teenagers! The book How to Write Your Blockbuster by Fiona McIntosh gave me a kick up the butt and somehow, I managed to create space. I started with short stories. Since then that space has become more and more precious. I’m quite protective of it now!
How has the journey to this point been? Can you give us a basic rundown?
All over the place! After writing a short story and placing in a comp, I found the confidence to write some short romances for anthologies. And then came the picture books, which were fun. But writing long-form has really stretched me. It’s what I want to write, but I’ve had to learn a great deal about the structure and conflict of novels. It’s all very well to “write beautifully” but there are essential ingredients that can’t be overlooked. And patience – I’ve had to learn a lot about that. Things don’t happen fast in the publishing world unless you skip steps, and that’s not for me. I want to learn about the craft and that makes it a slower process.
What's been the hardest part of your writing/publishing experience so far? And the most enjoyable?
“Breaking up” with my novel to restructure it was really tough. I wanted to pack it in so many times … but I got through it. Most enjoyable … I worked as a publisher for a few years and as part of that, I co-hosted a writing retreat in Ireland and attended the London Book Fair. The Book Fair was an incredible learning experience – I felt very much like a tadpole in a vast ocean.
Would you go back and change anything?
No. You learn through experience, through life, through challenges.
Where would you like to be in 5 years time? And 10?
I want to write foodie fiction … and my husband thinks this is a great idea because he wants to be part of the research! So, in 5, 10, however many years, I hope I’ve managed to write a few. I’d also like to move away from the suburbs, to somewhere quieter with a vibrant arty community. And travel more. For research, obviously.
What's one piece of advice you'd give to new writers just starting out?
Rather than comparing yourself to others, find your own path and enjoy your unique journey.
And most importantly...
Ketchup or Mayo? Mayo (rather partial to Kewpie)
Night or Day? Day
Inside or Outside? Inside
Dogs or Cats? Cats
Twitter or Facebook? I use both.
Ebook or Paperback? Paperback (though I tend to read on my iPad when travelling).
Walk or Drive? Walk
Sun or Rain? Rain
Keyboard or Pencil & Notebook? Keyboard
Comedy or Drama? Drama ... with a side of laughter.
Chips or Chocolate? Chips. Sometimes chocolate.
Want to guest blog or be interviewed? Got a cover reveal or book coming out?
Get in touch today!