- GUEST AUTHOR, MOTHER
AND ACTIVIST FOR AUTISM -
I've interviewed hundreds of authors in the past eight years, but this lady is certainly worth listening to. Monique has a personal passion, and good for her.
Welcome, Monique ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I am a mother of 2 children diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). After initial struggles with my daughter Madi, requests from teachers of how they could understand her better and comments from another child that “Madi is dumb” and “Madi doesn’t know anything”, I started writing the now published ‘The Everyday Autism Series’. The series includes 5 illustrated children’s books, Madi, Madi at Kinder, Madi Starts School, Madi Goes Shopping and I Am Thomas. They are written in simple rhyming language, yet informative for both children and adults to gain valuable knowledge. I gave my children and others a voice, using our family’s true experiences to help provide understanding and raise more awareness. I also blog about my 2 children to give hope, support and inspiration to other children and families living with autism. I am currently in the process of publishing a short novel for parents, families etc. titled 'Never Give Up', Riding the Emotional Roller Coaster of an Autism Parent.
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
Over the years, I have written bits and pieces but I officially became a serious writer approximately 5 years ago after initially wanting to help my daughter and as a true form of therapy for myself.
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
I just write all of my thoughts and feeling down and then edit and put it all together as I go along.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Being able to tell my/our story and having others appreciate my words, knowledge and experience.
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Having complete confidence in putting myself, my family and my inner most personal thoughts and feelings out there on such a public scale to be judged...
6. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
I still maintain a variety of different hats including becoming a writer. A mother, wife, friend, daughter, dance teacher, office worker, exerciser and socializer.
7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
Creating my own brand and business and writing, publishing and selling books Australia and worldwide!
8. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
A short novel for parents, families etc. titled 'Never Give Up, Riding the Emotional Roller coaster of an Autism Parent'.
9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
My children and the thought of being able to help others by telling my story and sharing our experiences.
10. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
Autobiographical and children's at this stage...
11. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Write... put all your thoughts and feelings on paper and see where it leads you...?
12. DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
I have days when the words and thoughts don't come or flow as easy as others, depending on how I feel or what is happening in our life...?
13. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
Mostly nights but whenever I have a fleeting thought, I write it down or repeat it in my mind to produce later that night.
14. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
On the couch in the lounge room, lap top on my lap or paper and pen in hand in front of the TV or in my bed the same way.
15. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
The therapeutic release I feel putting my feelings on paper, giving my children a voice and being able to help others. I am also so proud to have set goals and achieved them!
16. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
I am not much of a reader myself, so I don't actually have a favourite author?
17. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
There have been many but receiving positive feedback from other Autism parents, from exactly what the books were designed for are the best...! Such as, “These books have changed the way kids see my son. His transition into kinder has been made a lot easier by these books being read to the class.”
18. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
I don't believe I have really received any negative feedback to be honest?
19. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Yes! Absolutely and completely!
20. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
My children, husband, family, friends, shopping, exercising, sports, watching a movie, diner and drinks, holidays, basically living and enjoying life!
21. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
22. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Exercise, shop, sun, beach, write, sales, friends, eat, drink, a movie, cuddling my family throughout and seeing them happy!
23. IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
My husband, my soul mate, the love of my life. We have experienced everything together in life and we can enjoy each others company whatever scenario...
24. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
It should be compulsory for every school, kinder, daycare centre and house hold to have a set of 'The Everyday Autism Series'! LOL!
Everyone needs to be more kind, friendly and understanding to all people, especially those who may act a bit differently. Spend less money on political campaigns, roads, celebrities etc. and more emphasis on cures, causes, health and well-being.
25. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
To see what happens, you never know what's around the corner...? Enjoy life and appreciate all the little things...
26. WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON BOOK TRAILERS? DO THEY SELL BOOKS?
27. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
Yes, all of them...!
28. DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
Yes! It is a very long, uncertain process, so I ended up taking it upon myself... It is hard to establish yourself and sell books.
29. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
No, 'Never Give Up!'
30. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
All of them. They are all great senses of achievement, progress and important messages. The short novel has been a much bigger project...
31. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.
Receiving positive feedback and praise, selling books Australia and worldwide with regular/repeat wholesales, publishing a number of books and achieving goals I set.
32. WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
They should become more Autism aware, more kind, friendly, understanding, knowledgeable, hopeful and inspired.
33. WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE YOUR BOOKS MADE INTO MOVIES? EVER WRITTEN A SCREENPLAY?
Yes! Even a cartoon series on ABC for kids!
34. HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
I had an illustrator draw a character version of pictures/ideas I had, obviously relating to the books. I wanted them to tell the story in itself. They need to be inviting, interesting, unique and worthy of picking up of the shelf.
35. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
To build a worldwide recognized brand and business with additional books, and various Autism resources and products (sensory clothing range, cartoon etc.) To be a role model, continuing to raise Autism awareness, promote inclusion, give hope and inspire others.
36. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
It is very time consuming! I use a lot of social media to blog about our daily life and pass on other helpful and relevant information as well as promoting my brand and books.
37. ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
Yes! I didn't hear back from anyone I sent drafts to and had an important, pressing message to convey... So, I couldn't wait and found a team of people to help me bring it all to life.
38. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
Passionate, inspirational, hardworking, relentless, hopeful
39. WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
40. WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
Dynamic Direct Response Copywriting. The proven way to build relationships and grow your business.
41. WHAT WOULD BE THE VERY LAST SENTENCE YOU’D WRITE?
Never Give Up!
42. WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
Knowing that my children will be okay and looked after, when my husband and I are no longer around...!
43. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
Please check out my website social media pages and books and pass on to anyone else you think may benefit from them and our story. Follow your dreams and 'Never Give Up!'
Clancy's comment: Go, Monique! Your gorgeous kids have provided you with an extraordinary purpose and passion. Go for it.
You've won me, and I'd encourage everyone to check out your website.
Love ya work!