Straight Talk with Stephanie Monahan

smonahanpicDo you usually begin a book with a character or a plot?

Character, 99.9% of the time. They usually start talking to me and won’t leave me alone until I get started on telling their story. (It’s totally normal to hear voices, right?!)

Who would play your hero/heroine in the tv or film version of your book?

I’d love to see a blonde Rachel McAdams as Sophie. And James Mardsen (yum) would make a great Sam. Oh—and Ian Somerholder as Dylan, and Norah Jones as Megan, of course.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Make writing a priority in your life. Write as much as you can, even if it’s only a little bit, every day. That way you keep your momentum going and stay interested in your story. I love the advice to leave off in the middle of a sentence so that you won’t worry so much about the blank page when you go back the next day. I do this all the time now.

Did you have any interesting experiences when you were researching your book, or getting it published?

Something funny happened when I was finishing up my final edits. The boiler in my house stopped working. It was freezing cold and I was typing away in my Snuggie (yes, I own a Snuggie. Actually, I own two Snuggies). I couldn’t help but think Sophie was paying me back for having her spend almost the entire book in an apartment without heat.

Who are your favorite authors? What authors have influenced your book?

I love contemporary women’s fiction writers, like Lean Stewart and Amanda Eyre Ward. I’ve read everything by Margaret Atwood—she’s a genius. I also absolutely love Young Adult books, whether paranormal like Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout or contemporary, like Jandy Nelson’s The Sky is Everywhere. I’m also a huge fan of the YA author Sarah Dessen. I’ve always wanted to write a book with a similar feel (character-driven romance, strong setting, and family elements), but for the adult market.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?

I start out as a panster. I’ll usually jump right in, since I find beginnings the easiest part of writing. Eventually, though, I’ll sit down and write the outline. I never stick to it religiously, but having that guide makes writing a book less intimidating and overwhelming.

Aside from writing, what do you do in your free time? 

I always have my nose in a book. I also love traveling around New England—there’s so much do here and I love taking road trips with my husband. We have a brown dog, William, who I’m pretty much obsessed with. He’s so cute and always so happy to see me. Is there anything better than that?

Do you prefer print books or eBooks?

I love any and all kinds of books. E-books are great for traveling, and for reading before bed (I don’t have to get up to turn off the light, which is a huge plus when I’m all cozy). I still buy paper books, because I love the actual object, the cover art, etc. It probably drives my husband crazy that when we travel, I have to find a bookstore in whatever town we’re in.  I’m also a huge fan of my local library.

What’s in the works for you?

I’m currently working on a project that I am loving. The one-line synopsis: A former mean girl’s past comes back to haunt her in the form of a Top Forty hit.



All Sophie wants for her thirty-third year is a calendar without a February—and without a Valentine’s Day. The unlucky month haunts her with regrets, loss, and missteps she can never take back. But this year, she’s determined to make a change— and she’s going to start with telling her best friend, Sam, how she feels about him.

But February isn’t making it easy for her. Sam’s got a date with his dream girl, and Sophie finds herself in the hospital. Then there’s her father, who has a surprise that’s about to turn her world upside-down, and her little brother, who doesn’t seem to have any room for her in his life. While everyone else seems to be living life, Sophie is stuck in neutral.

Now, Sophie must come to terms with everything that’s holding her back in order to fight for what she wants before she loses the chance to turn her luck around.


Title: 33 Valentines
Author: Stephanie Monahan
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Contemporary Romance
Length: 264 pages
Release Date: January 2013
ISBN: 978-1-62266-960-8
Imprint: Entangled Edge

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