Today on the blog I’m excited to have Monique Snyman, the author of Charming Incantations. If you haven’t checked out this series yet, I highly suggest you do! It’s a bit of new adult in an urban fantasy setting, and it is awesome 😀
Lillian: Thank you so much for being here today! Tell me a little about yourself.
Monique: My name’s Monique Snyman and I am a full-time author, part-time editor, and in-between reviewer of all things entertaining, that’s based in Pretoria, South Africa. I have an adorable Chihuahua, named Lilith that keeps me company and then there’s this bloodthirsty lawyer, who also happens to be my fiancé (poor guy drew the short straw on that one), that somehow keeps me sane. I’ve got numerous short fiction pieces published in a number of small press anthologies and online magazines, two novels are published through Rainstorm Press, and I’m working hard on a couple of other novels in my spare time. I also design websites and cover art when I’m in the mood to be creative, but other than that, I like to read when I’m not busy with all the other stuff.
Lillian: What inspired you to become a writer?
Monique: I’ve always been a writer at heart. I taught myself to read in both Afrikaans and English when I was three years old (my mom had a bookcase full of books with pretty covers that she didn’t want to read to me, and I am quite a rebel when it comes to stuff like that). When I was in primary school, I used to write poetry and songs (they weren’t exactly the stuff Pulitzers are awarded to). However, it was only in high school that I began to enjoy writing short stories. My English teacher, Mrs. Basson, gave us some or other assignment that really inspired me to go out and write. She must’ve enjoyed it, because she read it to the whole class then, and I think it was at that moment that my sixteen year old self was bitten by the writing bug. From there on, I graduated high school, put my writing on the backburner and hoped that I would get admission into the journalism course (I’d enrolled at the last minute). Alas, I didn’t get to study journalism, but I did get to study publishing at the University of Pretoria. After a year though, I realised it wasn’t my dream job. So, I hopped around from major to major the following year, before my younger sister asked me: “So, what is your dream job?” I told her I wanted to write a novel, and she responded with great enthusiasm: “Then go for it!” My sister never meant for me to be a university drop-out, I know that, but I finished Charming Incantations: Enticed when I was twenty years old, and honestly, I think it was the best advice anyone could’ve given me.
Lillian: Is there an author or book that influenced you?
Monique: Oh, heavens. I read so much that it’s difficult for me to really pinpoint which authors and books truly influenced me growing up. I think that a lot of non-fiction books contributed to my personality being what it is today. I love fiction, but back when I was a kid, our public library wasn’t that big and after I’d finished off with all the fiction titles that were available, I’d started to read a lot of mythology, paranormal, religious and conspiracy books. I’ve always been intrigued with mythology and religion, mostly because of my mom’s bookshelves (she is fascinated with everything Egyptian) and because I was raised in a Dutch Reformed household – think Church of England, just in Afrikaans – the Bible kind of played a big part in my life. That being said, I enjoy studying other sacred texts from various religions, and I’m actually minoring in Islamic Studies at the University of South Africa at the moment. Religion is absolutely fascinating … for me, at least.
Lillian: Charming Incantations takes a unique twist on urban fantasy. Where do you get your ideas?
Monique: Everywhere. Nature, books, music, personal experiences, you name it.
Lillian: Is there anything in your series based on real-life experience or is it purely imagination?
Monique: My main character – Lisa Richards – is actually based on my sister’s personality a bit. Her name is Mona-Lisa (I kid you not). As for the horrific circumstances that Lisa sometimes finds herself in, that’s made up, unless Mona recently met a werewolf that I don’t know about.
Lillian: 😀 I love that Lisa is real! She is an amazing character. One of my favorite parts in the series comes during book two and Lisa gets a look at Milosh’s past. What was your favorite part to write?
Monique: In the second book, Charming Incantations: Sanguine, is a chapter called: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT (I think it’s Chapter 14). The reason why I enjoyed writing it so much is because it’s such a raw and emotional chapter. There’s a lot of personal growth present, a lot of realizations are made, and a lot of inner- and outer-conflict occurs in a short timeframe. Basically, I like it because it’s so incredibly human.
Lillian: I loved that chapter. After Lisa has been so strong….sorry, I get carried away. Don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t read it yet 😉 If you could go back and do it all over again, is there anything you would change?
Monique: Ah, the: “Would you’ve tried to make it sound less like Twilight fan-fiction” question. In truth, I know now that I used many tropes in Enticed, but you have to remember that I was only twenty years old when I wrote that book. I hadn’t read Twilight at that point yet, so I had no idea what I was getting myself into. That being said, even though Enticed is a bit Twilight-ish at first glance, it’s only the first book in a series. I’ve had the whole series planned out in my head the moment I began my journey as a writer, and believe me, by the end of Sanguine you’ll see that this is not fan-fiction.
Lillian: I see the Twilight comparison, but only slightly. Like you said by the time Sanguine comes around, there is no comparison 😉 I really love Milosh and would love to see more of him! Is there a character or theme from your series you’d like to go back to?
Monique: Nuh-huh. I like my themes and characters as they are. My books may be flawed, I know, but the books are meant to showcase the importance of how humans are flawed and how that’s not always a bad thing.
Lillian: What project are you working on now?
Monique: I have three projects in the work right now. Bodies of Water is a young adult thriller that I’ve been working on for a few months now. Then there’s The Obscure, which is a horror novel set in South Africa. But I’m currently preoccupied with getting Charming Incantations: Labyrinth done.
Lillian: Now that you’re published, what has been some of the hardest criticism you’ve had to deal with? Best compliment?
Monique: The hardest thing I’ve had to deal with is the Twilight fan-fiction criticism. I mean, yes there are vampires and werewolves in the series, but 1.) Lisa is in a whole other league than Bella. 2.) There are other supernatural creatures present in the book, such as witches, banshees, shape-shifters and goblins. 3.) Dude, if I wanted to do fan-fiction, I’d be doing fan-fiction of Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
As for the best compliments, well … I think the best compliments I’ve gotten to date all revolve around my world-building skills. I tend to think big, even though it might seem small and irrelevant (and often wrong) in the beginning. So, just remember, that not everything is always as it seems in Charming Incantations. *wink*
Lillian: Oh yes, you do like to pull the rug out from under your readers. Though no complaints from me 😉 Do you have any advice you’d like to share with aspiring writers?
Monique: Firstly, stop calling yourselves “aspiring writers”. Call yourselves “unpublished writers” if you’ve written something, even though it might seem insignificant to others, it’s still something you wrote. Secondly, the first draft is never the best draft. Work on your pieces often; rewrite, redraft, rethink, redo everything. If you can’t put in the time to better your vocabulary, grammar and writing skills through reading and learning, then writing isn’t the vocation for you. Lastly, you should do your homework when it comes to what editors and publishers want. The market is always changing, and it’s really an unforgiving profession.
Lillian: Love that advice! Is there anything you would like to share with your fans?
Please, don’t be afraid to connect with the authors you like *coughs: “me”*. I’m quite a hoot at times, and I absolutely adore meeting new people.
Oh, and don’t forget to come visit me on the official Charming Incantations website. I have a blog with nonsense on it somewhere.
Lillian: Now for the hard questions….Favorite color?
Lillian: Favorite movie?
Monique: Gone with the Wind (Lillian, I’m a movie reviewer, how can you ask me to narrow it down to just one? :-P)
Lillian: Sorry, but great choice! My favorite too 😉 Favorite TV show?
Monique: At the moment? The Last Ship or Teen Wolf, but I also like Reign. Favourite TV show of all time, on the other hand, is a toss-up between Battlestar Galacticta (remake) and The X-Files. Oh, and let’s not forget Star-Trek and Stargate and The Twilight Zone and Mystery Science Theatre 3000, and all of those incredible anime shows like Fullmetal Alchemist and Blue Exorcist and Attack on Titan and Another and Ghost Hunt … I’m kind of a nerd. Sorry.
Lillian: Don’t apologize for nerdiness because you just names my two very favorite TV shows 😀 Favorite place to write?
Monique: These days, in the living room.
Lillian: If you had to choose just one book, what would it be and why?
Monique: Hmmm. That’s tough. I guess I’d go with Terry Pratchet’s The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents. It’s one of my favourite books of all time, and I kind of … well … um, stories about rats kind of makes me happy. I don’t know why, but no matter what genre it is, how evil or good the rats are, books with rats just makes me happy. *shrugs* I never said I was normal, Lillian.
Lillian: Last question and quite possibly the most important…What brand of cereal best describes you and why?
Monique: I don’t think you guys have the cereal in your country, but I’d go with Chocolate Flavoured Otees, because I’m your doctor-recommended daily intake of dietary fibre, deliciousness, and crazy, all in one go. *winks*
Charming Incantations is available now!
When Lisa Richards’ parents died, she never thought her life would change as drastically as it did. Now she has to take over her father’s seat on a secret supernatural council, lead troops into battle against the ferocious Goblin Lord, and try not to get herself killed in the process.
To make matters worse, Lisa thinks she may be falling in love with the socialite werewolf who was supposed to protect her.
Whoever said growing up was easy, clearly didn’t have to save the world every other week.
Sometimes You Can’t Fight Fate… After the Goblin Lord’s identity was revealed, Lisa didn’t think her life could get any worse. She was wrong. Not only does she have to deal with goblins, but now a civil war threatens to tear the vampire race apart, endangering humanity, and the efforts of The Alliance. To add insult to injury, there’s a traitor in their midst. Will Lisa ever catch a break, or is she doomed to live her life as a prisoner of her own bloodline?
Click to Buy: