Monday, November 5, 2012


How Much of You is in Your Book?
by Monique McDonell

When you write a novel, people often ask how much of the character is you and writers usually say, “It’s creative writing, it’s not about me.”
That’s true but I can’t help but think that elements of ourselves do end up in our characters. I know for me anyway, that’s certainly true. When you start writing you’re advised to write what you know – what can you know more about than your own hopes, dreams and aspirations? You know what makes you laugh, what holds your interest and what you like to read. Those things must surely come through in your writing.
My second novel, Hearts Afire, has just been released. I think there is less of ‘me’ in this book than my first. The main characters do find themselves on a tropical island and I did meet my own husband on a tropical island. The circumstances were entirely different but the setting is very familiar.
Still the rest of the book is pure imagination – I’ve never dated a fireman, I’m not a caterer and I’m happy to report no one ever stood me up on my wedding day (Sure I was stood up on a date but that’s hardly the same thing.) Jack and Cassie’s world is their world, just their world seen through my eyes.
Mr Right and Other Mongrels definitely has a bit more of ‘me’ in it. Allegra, the lovely main character, does talk a little bit like me and unluckily for her she does also have a rampant dog phobia, just like me. (For the record we don’t dislike dogs, we’re just very, very scared of them and we do work very hard to overcome that.) Again there are so many things different about us it’s crazy – my folks were never hippies, I don’t run a second-hand bookshop (sadly), I never lived with my grandmother, and I’m fifteen years older than Allegra (sadly again.)
I think authors draw on their own experience because it gives their writing a layer of authenticity. Writing about places you don’t know and people who you have nothing in common with removes you from the story whereas writing about places you know well allows you to use the details in your characters' descriptions and day to day life which draws readers into your story. That’s the writer’s hope, anyway.

Many thanks to Aussie author, Monique McDonell, for stopping by Books by Banister and sharing this post with us. Be sure to check out her fun, romantic Chick Lit novels, Hearts Afire and Mr Right and Other Mongrels - they're a steal on Amazon at $2.99 each!

Book blurb:  A jilted bride, a sexy fireman, a tropical island, a fear of the ocean, a fear of commitment, a new neighbour, an old flame, a secret identity – this is the story of Hearts Afire.

Cassie Callahan is not having a great day. First her fiancé jilts her hours before the wedding and then her sister sets off the alarm and sprinklers at her catering business, flooding the premises, soaking the wedding banquet and bringing the fire department.

When Jack Urquhart the cute fireman offers her a shoulder to cry on they both feel an instant attraction but they each know the other is not what they are looking for. She isn’t looking for a player and he is definitely not looking for the marrying kind.

Hearts Afire takes them on a journey from Sydney’s inner-west to Tropical North Queensland, and back, in search of and avoidance of love.

Will either of them realise that there is no risk at all in trusting your heart to the right person?

Buy Hearts Afire:  Amazon

Book blurb:  Blissfully happy in her own universe Allegra (Ally) Johnson is the sweet best friend everyone wants to have. Quietly and independently wealthy she runs a charming second-hand bookshop in beachside Manly. Heck, sometimes she even goes downstairs from her flat to run the shop in her Chinese silk pyjamas. It sounds like bliss. But is it enough? 
When dog-phobic Allegra is rescued from an exuberant canine by the chivalrous Teddy Green, Australia’s hottest TV celebrity and garden make-over guru, her life begins to change. Dramatically! 

Unaware of Teddy’s fame Allegra finds herself falling for him, despite her best attempts to resist his charm. Supported by her eccentric family and her fabulous gay friend Justin, Allegra embarks on an on-again off-again romance with Teddy, complicated by his jealous ex-girlfriend, fashionista Louisa and her own narcissistic hippy mother Moonbeam.

Will Ally be able to overcome her insecurities and find happiness with this possible Mr Right or will Teddy’s celebrity lifestyle prove to be too much? Mr Right and Other Mongrels is a light-hearted story about how one chance encounter can change your life.

Buy Mr Right and Other Mongrels:  Amazon

Where you can find Monique McDonell:


  1. Interesting to read about Monique's books. I have been on Monique's blog before, but must have had her mixed up with someone else,as I didn't realise her first book was released and now she has two! Welcome to the two book club! Love the cover for Hearts Afire and sounds like a great tale. Also agree, difficult to remove yourself entirely from your novels. I think there is more of myself in my new book than in the first! Good luck! Sooz

  2. I really enjoyed this post, and it got me wondering how much of myself do I put in--consciously and unconsciously. That's the thing about writing, when people recognize some part (I also met my husband on a tropical island), they think the other parts are true, as well. (Really, I wasn't a pole dancer!) Writing is revelatory--is that good or bad? ;-)

  3. There's always something of every author in his or her work ... that's what makes it so real and personal :)

    Thanks for the interview with Monique!