Any Way You Plan It by Monique McDonell *Guest Post, Spotlight & Giveaway*
I'd like to introduce you to Monique McDonell, who is on tour with her latest novel, Any Way You Plan It. Here she is.
I am an Australian author who writes contemporary women's fiction including chick lit and romance.
I have written all my life especially as a child when I loved to write short stories and poetry. At University I studied Creative Writing as part of my Communication degree. Afterwards I was busy working in public relations I didn't write for pleasure for quite a few years although I wrote many media releases, brochures and newsletters. (And I still do in my day-job!)
When I began to write again I noticed a trend - writing dark unhappy stories made me unhappy. So I made a decision to write a novel with a happy ending and I have been writing happy stories ever since.
I am the author of five stand alone novels including Mr. Right and Other Mongrels and Hearts Afire and the Upper Crust Series. Many of my novels focus on an Australian characters meeting and visiting US characters.
I have been a member of the writing group The Writer’s Dozen for ten years. Our anthology Better Than Chocolate raised over $10,000 for the charity Room to Read and helped build a library in South East Asia. I am also a member of the Romance Writers of Australia. In 2015 had a piece on writing chicklit featured in the successful Australian non-fiction book Copyfight.
I live on Sydney's Northern Beaches with my husband and daughter where I run a boutique PR consultancy.
When I started out writing novels and short stories I thought that the hardest part would be finishing the novel and maybe keeping the ideas alive long enough to sustain a full book. I was very, very wrong about that. It turns out there were lots of things I didn’t even consider that were going to be difficult.
For example keeping track of characters and their names and what colour/color their eyes are is quite tricky and when you write a series you need to know for every single book. Making sure your timelines are synched up is pretty hard when you write a non-linear story. And let’s not even get started on book formatting or marketing. Lots to worry about for a professional worrier like me (seriously I could worry for Australia I’m that good at it).
One of the things I was not worried about was spelling. No, that was not going to be a problem because I was already a writer. I have worked in PR since what feels like the beginning of time and is in fact nearly 30 years. I spend my days writing media releases, scripts and brochures. People got me to check their spelling. Spelling I had under control.
Then I published my first book Mr. Right and Other Mongrels via Amazon. Most of my readers, it turned out were American, and as far as they were concerned I couldn’t spell. It wasn’t just things like mum/mom that were different either or that a jumper is a type of dress over there. No it was far more complicated than that. You have no idea how many words are different until you find yourself having to check though 60,000 of them.
And what about my Australian readers? If I decided to use American spelling what happens to them? So I decided to use a caveat at the start of my novels explaining that I was using Australian English because the books were set in Australia. My American readers didn’t like it and I think the reason was there are so many words you just don’t realize/realise are different until, well you do.
When I wrote my novel Alphabet Dating it was actually set in New York, so even though the main character Serena was an Australian she was living in New York so I thought the spelling should be American. The caveat in that book says she uses some Australianisms like “mum” because she would. So that was a book with largely American spelling and a little bit of Australian thrown in
Confused yet? I am.
Fast forward to the Upper Crust Series. I have American editors now and all the spelling is American. Of course this doesn’t help my Australian readers and now when I write I honestly have no idea if the word is telling me a word is incorrect it’s because I’ve typed it wrong or I just have the wrong spelling.
So now I have books that are all traditional Australian spelling, all American spelling and hybrids.
What does this mean for me? I can no longer spell in any language, and even when I get a word right I’m never quite sure I have.
I guess I’m not heading off to The Great Australian Spelling Bee anytime soon, but I still think I might place in the Great Australian Worry-athon.
Ten years later and Marissa is well and truly stuck in Mike’s friend-zone and he’s made it very clear that’s where she’s staying. Her love-life isn’t the only part of her life that’s in a rut so when her elderly parents pack up and move South, Marissa admits it’s time to move on with her life.
With the encouragement of her friends Lucy and Cherie, the matchmaker, she updates her wardrobe and her attitude. Lucy’s engagement party is the perfect place to start fresh and find her old self again, the self that likes to dance until dawn. Mike wants Marissa to be happy and he’s convinced he’s not up to the job, but he doesn’t like watching her flirt with other men or worse, dating again. His twin brother, Todd, who is Marissa’s best friend warns him to back off, he’s had his chance.
Is this a case of not knowing what you’ve got till it’s gone? And if so what is Mike prepared to do to get Marissa back with the whole town there to offer him advice.
Will Marissa and Mike get their happily ever after or is it a case of too little too late?
Any Way You Plan It is Book 4 in The Upper Crust Series
Book 1 – Any Way You Slice It
Book 2 – Any Way You Dream It
Book 3 – Any Way You Fight It.