Sunday, January 14, 2007

Spotlight Sunday on Michelle Monkou

This week at The Pink Heart Society we are proud to bring you a very special guest in the form of Kimani Romance author Michelle Monkou!!!

About Michelle:

Michelle Monkou became a world traveller at the age of three when she left her birthplace of London, England to her new home in Guyana, South America. As a pre-teen, she then moved to the U.S. where she presently resides in Maryland. After marriage, a Masters in International Business, and two children, she penned her first novel, which was published in November 2002. Her character-driven, emotionally intense stories have earned her loyal readers who enjoy the family sagas told through the various series. Her January release - Here and Now - is her second book to be part of the launch year of the Harlequin's Kimani Press romance imprint and also is the sequel to Sweet Surrender, released in September 2006. Michelle is hard at work on the third story, which happens to be her eighth book, slated for September '07.

Spotlight Interview:

Where do you get the inspiration for your books from?

I get my inspiration from studying the human psyche. People are full of contradictions and these contradictions are what make great conflicts as we grow and develop into hopefully better people and capable of loving someone.

What makes you mad?

Abuses against the vulnerable makes my blood boil. Sexually exploiting children, battering a spouse and ultimately killing her, and dehumanizing the elderly anger me.

What’s the most romantic thing that has ever happened to you?

When my college sweetheart (now my husband that I’ve known for over 23 years) used his friend’s townhouse to cook a steak dinner, present me with my first color TV, and other stuff that will go unmentioned ;-).

What characteristics in a hero makes you drool?

I like a hero who shows a tender side to the people and things close to his heart. He can play the strong, kick-butt type, but then to see him watch his kid’s kindergarten performance with an unshed tear would make me say “You had me at hello.”

If you weren’t a writer what would you be?

I’m not a full-time writer. My day job is working for a trade association for life insurance companies for whom we lobby on Capitol Hill and at the state legislative houses. My dream job was to be a professor of Literature (and it still calls to me, so who knows).

What do you do to relax and wind down?

I didn’t realize there was such a thing as relaxing and winding down. I find that when I go on family vacations, I’m running around like a chicken without a head preparing for the trip. Then, while on the trip, I don’t stop hearing – Mom, what’s for dinner. Mom, he’s breathing on me. Mom, I’m bored. But, call me stubborn because I keep taking trips with the family.

How do you get out of a writing rut?

I have various helpful methods. I get a writing pad and pen and get to work. I find that actually writing/forming the words can get the creative juices flowing. Or I might get my O (Oprah) magazine to read a few inspiring articles. Or I might go back to my characters’ bios and refine them. Most times, the problem is there.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

I have lived on three continents and I feel most at home in the West Indies. But there are places that I want to see in my lifetime: South Africa, the slavery sites in West Africa, and the old Moorish sites in Spain.

Who would you most like to give a hug to for a fabulous book you’ve read?

I’m going to cheat on this one because I’m going to pick a book from several genres.

Romance: A group hug for Donna Hill, Gwynne Forester, and Francis Ray (pioneers of African American romance genre) for their body of work
Urban Horror: L.A. Banks for her Vampire Huntress series
Literary: Toni Morrison for Beloved.

What music do you listen to when writing?

I’m a moody person. So I have an eclectic collection of CD’s and can listen to any of them to write. In order of frequency of playtime (and this is by no means my entire list, but gives an idea of my range): Bon Jovi, Ricky Martin, Janet Jackson, Prince, Shania Twain, Beethoven, Missy Elliott, Nelly, Sean Paul.

Tell us a secret nobody knows about you?

I’m pretty good at keeping my secrets because I trust no one. But I will share a secret about me that I recently discovered – I’m adopted. My birth mother and her family live in England. In addition to my adopted family, I have a half-sister and four half-brothers.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

My most embarrassing moment will be taken to the grave. So let’s find something that I’m willing to part with. Close to my college years, I participated in an ill-fated sorority step show where the costumes were so atrocious that we were booed as soon as the lights came up and the crowd saw our outfits.

What have you had to celebrate in the last year?

I celebrate each book because I believe in not putting off celebrating my accomplishments. Tomorrow isn’t promised. I also celebrated my big 4-0 party with friends and family and had a blast.

What’s beside your computer when you’re writing?

When I’m writing, I usually have a Starbucks latte within reach, along with the remote control. I have the TV or a DVD playing in the background.

If you could kiss anyone in the world who would it be?

Got caught on a question like this before and I shouted out a celebrity’s name. Then the next author came up and said, quite lovingly that it could only be her husband. So in my best good girl image – that person could and would only be my husband.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the third story in a family saga that is slated for release in September 2007. The title isn’t determined. I also plan to work on a young adult novel in the near future.

Michelle's latest release is for the Kimani Press Romance line, a follow up to her first book - Here And Now is out in North America and Canada now and is available to orer online at eharlequin and Amazon!!

To learn more why not visit Michelle's website

Thanks Michelle!!!!!


  1. Ah, yes, "Mom, he's breathing on me." I remember it well!

    Great to "meet" you here on the Pink Heart blog, Michelle. And I completely agree about a hero with a tender side.

  2. Welcome to the PHS; enjoyed the refreshing interview and went to your website and joined your mailing list.

  3. Thanks for the welcome on PHS.

    I'm planning to take the kiddies to England this year, so I can only imagine how frazzled I'll be as the time gets closer.

    Robyn, thanks for joining my mail list.


  4. Thanks for playing Michelle! Congrats on all your success, and how exciting to be a launch author. Woohoo.


  5. just stopping in and giving Michelle praise on her success and a great interview.

    Blessings for more to come!


  6. Great interview! I can't wait to read Here and Now.

  7. Thanks Sylvia and Gwyneth,

    Here's hoping we all have propserous years. Bring out the multi-book deals, movie deals, even modeling deals - LOL


  8. Hi Michelle! Like the new look. Looking forward to reading Here and Now.

  9. Hey Michelle,

    Loved the interview... now... about the fella on the cover of Here and Now... is he like... single? LOL


  10. Hi Patricia,

    My new look is when the planets are aligned and I actually have time to style my hair and put on make-up. Otherwise, I'm a happy, undressed bum.


  11. Dee

    See, I didn't think he was cute. I've seen him on another cover and it's a better shot. But his profile makes his nose look soooo big. LOL But it could have been worse.