It is sometimes hard to find clean romance so whenever I find some I love to share the love. Today we are speaking with Kameo Monson who is about to put out her first book in Clean Contemporary Romance.
Tell us about your latest novel or project:
I just finished publishing my first book, When Love Is Lost, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped writing. My current project, a novel titled I Not David, fits solidly within the women’s fiction genre. As I considered what I might like to write next, several ideas came to mind, but my heart pulled me to write a story about a mother doing her best to raise a son with autism and finding love along the way. This project tugs at my own heartstrings as the boy, Joey, loosely resembles my own son. However, the relationship situations his mother, Kat, finds herself in are nothing like my own.
What got you started writing?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, even when teachers assigned reports in school. I started journaling when I was twelve. I still have it, and the spellings and scribbles across mistakes, not to mention the subject choices are as hilarious as you’d expect. By the time I was fifteen, I had three different pen pals who I often wrote several times a week. In my late thirties, I started writing product reviews for a blog. Until the idea of When Love Is Lost floated into my mind, I’d never considered writing fiction, despite my love of reading. Now, I can’t imagine my life without writing it.
What challenges did you face when you first started writing?
My children often tell me they are writing a book. Then when they get a few thousand words into their story, they realize they have no idea what else to write. When I started writing When Love Is Lost, I quickly wrote ten-thousand words. Then I found myself stuck. Plot points arranged themselves in my mind, but I couldn’t figure out how to get from one to the other while keeping readers’ interest. That difficulty took me some time to work out. Truth be told, I set the manuscript aside several times and re-visited it when I felt creative. Sometimes that period lasted almost a year. My biggest push happened during a week-long summer vacation to my in-laws—my goal that week was to make progress. By the time we visited for Thanksgiving, I’d finished my first draft and had started editing.
Who in your life is your greatest cheerleader or support in your writing?
I kept When Love Is Lost to myself for a long time. A L-O-N-G time. When I finally told my husband, I thought he might laugh, but he didn’t. He asked questions. What kind of book was it? Would there be aliens? What about swords? Well, he doesn’t read what I write, and I’m okay with that, but he’s still my biggest cheerleader (maybe without the ponytails and pom-poms). When I struggled with rewrites, he told me I could do it. Not once has he questioned the amount of money I’ve spent on a cover designer or a professional editor. One day, he came home and told me he’d told his boss about my book. That nonchalant comment kept me soaring for quite some time. So, even though he hasn’t and won’t read my work, I know he’s still my biggest fan.
What was the first thing you did after your first book was published?
I called my husband to tell him the minute my book appeared on Amazon. I may have stared at the page for a while, too. When I received my paperback proof, I took pictures and quickly sent them to my husband and two of my closest friends. In celebration of the publish date (August 14, 2018), I have a giveaway in the works.
It seems like everything has Easter Eggs (surprise reference to your other work) do you have any Easter Eggs in your books?
I haven’t referenced When Love Is Lost in I Not David… yet. However, I do include bits and pieces about myself and my family in my books. For instance, in When Love Is Lost, a young character not only loves reading, but she loves dragons. I did this to honor my daughter. I also named an imaginary canyon after my ancestors.
How long does it take you to write a book? Do you have any secrets to productivity?
I take longer to write a book than I want it to, that’s for sure. I’m always amazed by authors who release a book every three or even six months. Me? I’m not fast. When Love Is Lost took several years. I Not David will take at least eighteen months, I think.
I try to aim for a thousand words a day. Some days I don’t accomplish that. This week I’ve managed five thousand words total—but I wrote them on the same day. So, if anyone has any tips for me, I’m up for hearing them!
Where did you get the idea for your first or latest book?
I love the story behind coming up with When Love Is Lost, but I can’t share it all or it will contain spoilers. I will say it started with me reading a romance and deciding romance was likely the best place to start when writing a first book. It seemed easy to me. It’s not, by the way. Notice how I wrote women’s fiction and not romance? That was accidental. Still, I wanted to write about a woman struggling in her marriage, and I managed that.
How important do you think marketing is for authors today?
Marketing leads readers to your book. So many incredible books exist, but readers can’t read books they don’t know about. Word of mouth works wonders once people know about the book, but we authors have to make that happen. As much as I dislike saying “Read my book, read my book” if I don’t only a handful of people would find it, making marketing a necessary… evil?
Do you have any book you have written that won’t ever see the light of day and why?
Years ago I frequented a Baby Center forum. A group of women thought writing a fan fiction ending to the Harry Potter series would be fun. I participated. I have a copy saved. No one will ever see it. Never. I think the reason why is obvious.
Many authors have a word or a phrase they automatically use too often. Do you have one?
Yes. Several. Luckily search engines help me weed them out. My least favorite is “no other option existed.”
Often writers get to approach some serious subjects. Which serious subject are you most proud to have written about or was the hardest to write about?
When Love Is Lost deals with several difficult subjects. The most difficult one I subject has been domestic abuse. So many women have suffered, and I’m blessed to not be one of them. I wanted to handle the subject respectfully and in a way that wouldn’t be too triggering. The subject required research, and I found my heart wrenching a billion different ways for these women. Reading the statistics of various situations made me realize how many women suffer. The number is much higher than I first suspected and the protections available to them are too limited.
That is fantastic. If you want to check out the book then click on the image below. The author photo will take you to Kameo's site.
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