I am a woman on a journey to discover all God has for me, whichever avenues and paths this journey may take me.
I am not one of those writers who fell in love with writing before I could hold a pen; because I didn’t. I am not one of those writers whose teachers encouraged to enter into writing contests; because that never happened. I am not one of those writers who adored English; because I hated it. I am simply a woman who was stuck in a boring job and had exhausted all possibilities of entertainment. It was like the Universe sensed my desperation as an unfamiliar voice called out to me, scaring away my sanity: “Monica Brown, that’s my name. Ask me again and I’ll tell you the same.” I’ve been stuck with characters whispering their stories to me every since.
I am a Storyteller. I’ve been a lot of other things in my thirty-something years. Spent half of my life growing up in the military. After watching my dad jump under the bed every time he heard a siren or alarm go off, I knew that was not the career for me. Shortly after graduating high school, working dead-end retail jobs, and spending a semester in college, I found myself raising my right hand swearing to protect my country from all enemies foreign and domestic. It didn’t take long for me to realize I wasn’t cut out for the Air Force. Once I laced up my combat boots for the last time, I ventured into temp work, spent a couple of years working behind bars at a county jail, and screened passengers and luggage for the government until a back injury changed the course of my life.
Ever since I began writing, it was a goal of mine to write full time. I had no idea how I would be able to do so. But one day, I look a leap of faith and haven’t been able to look back. Now, a published author of two books, Parallel Pasts and The Last Exhale, I know every pack of Ramen noodles and can of tuna I had to eat was worth it.
My path in life hasn’t been all good, but it hasn’t been all bad either because it has led me to where I am right now. Everything in life I’ve experienced has all played a part in who I am today. Nothing compares to the joy I feel when creating memorable characters. Nothing compares to taking my imagination to places the imagination dares to go. That’s what bringing life to a blank canvas does for me. It liberates my soul.
What Inspires Me:
Life. Pain. Experiences. Birds chirping. Leaves falling. Rain. Wind whistling. Darkness. The crash of waves. The chuckle from a great joke. Roadtrips. Joy. Sorrow. Love. A dripping faucet. Music. Running. Taking a shower. Eavesdropping conversations. Everything moves me in some way to create.
How I Write:
My process is to write, simple as it sounds. I do not outline or create character bios. For me it usually starts out with a title or line. The story takes a life of its own from there. It feels more organic to me that way. I don’t have to tell someone who they have to be. I accept the story for what it is, the characters for who they are. I write it as it comes. First line to the last line, filling the spaces in between.
In the past I’ve tried note cards, character sketches, creative software. At the break of dawn, it flows better with just a notepad and pen or Microsoft Word and “the voices.” I write as the characters speak. There’s no forcing a story. The more often I write, the more they speak. When I abandon them, they abandon me. I’m still working on schedule we can all agree on.
I go into writing by telling the story I want to read/hear/watch. I’m very spiritual, so I often say it is spirits in which I hear from. I tell the story they tell me. That way, when the story goes into print, I know it’ll reach the people it is meant to, whether they look like me or not. Due to growing up in the Air Force and spending my youth living on three continents, I tend to think I bring those experiences into each character and story.
As I’ve heard through the years, simply write the book you want to read. Listen to your characters. Talk to your characters. Get to know them, their fears, their truth. Also, know your own. When you sit down to write, or stand in some cases, be honest with yourself. Bare your soul on paper.
To reference a quote on my writing board: “I don’t know how to be who I am without writing.” From that, I’ll say to aspiring writers, write from your soul. Steer away from what others are doing to obtain success. They’re telling the stories they are meant to tell. You have a story you are meant to tell and when you speak from your soul, you’ll touch the right reader and find your journey to be that much more fulfilling.
Also, when it comes to marketing, I say don’t. Instead, build relationships. Get to know people instead of trying to sell your product. I’ve noticed whenever I deviate from this principle it always backfires. So I stick to what I know and that’s what’s working best for me. Build and the rest will follow.