It all started with a little daydream while I was at work. In it, a tall, dark and mysterious guy with unique coloured eyes came up to the counter wearing a leather jacket and looking super dangerous.
Michelle Congdon – 14 February 2013
The Back Flap
Seventeen yr old Ella McMillan’s life has been all about ballet and working hard to survive high school so she can chase her dream of dancing on the world’s greatest stages.
However, that all changes after a terrifying ordeal. Ella’s life begins to spiral out of control with everything she’d read about in books and watched in movies as a child suddenly becoming frighteningly real.
Hunted for her ‘rare’ blood, Ella finds herself under the protection of an unbearable, ill-tempted boy and an irratating classmate, who claim they’re a fallen angel and a shape-shifting warrior. How absurd.
But as stranger events occur, Ella soon realises that in order to stay alive (which is becoming a never ending struggle) and if she wants to uncover her mysterious past she must entrust herself with her unlikely companions.
About the book
What is the book about?
The Moonlight Guardian is a YA, urban fantasy and the first book in the Moonlight Series about a young girl named Ella McMillan, whose life is drastically altered after a terrifying attack. Forced into believing that the world is filled with horrifying demons, fallen angels and shape-shifting warriors that protect the human race, Ella soon finds out that there may be more than one reason a cute but temperamental warrior is protecting her. The life she knew is gone and secrets about her mysterious past are about to unfurl and come crashing down whether she is ready for it or not.
When did you start writing the book?
I started writing The Moonlight Guardian back in November of 2011. I was working on another story at the time, that I wanted to get published but had to stop because I couldn’t get this one out of my head. It haunted every dream and daydream!
How long did it take you to write it?
Three months (not including the edits and rewrites). About half way through, the storyline for the entire series came together and I found myself spending the next 6 months writing book two & three.
Where did you get the idea from?
It all started with a little daydream while I was at work. In it, a tall, dark and mysterious guy with unique coloured eyes came up to the counter wearing a leather jacket and looking super dangerous. In the beginning, Dash started off as a werewolf, but I didn’t want my novel to be a vampire versus werewolf story, so I tried to spice things up a little.
Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?
I live and have grown up in Australia and the book is set in New York City. So, trying to work out whether it was better to ‘Americanize’ the novel or write it using Australian spelling was a part I had difficulty with. In the end, I decided on Americanizing. I wanted my readers to feel as if Ella was just another American teenager and that would have been impossible to believe if Ella was speaking as if she were from Australia.
What came easily?
Definitely writing the scenes with Ella and her father, felt the easiest. I love the bond that the two of them share. Her father adores her and Ella admires him. He is her best friend outside of school. I just let the two characters guide me and they simply wrote the scenes themselves.
Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?
My characters are all completely fictitious. Although, my fourteen month old niece was a small inspiration for Ella’s character― the blonde hair, blue eyes and even the name (Ella Rose, whereas my niece is ‘Elle Rose’). I wanted it so that when she was old enough, she’d be able to read my books and know that they were dedicated just for her.
We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?
I am a HUGE fan of many authors, I have many favourites. For The Moonlight Guardian, Richelle Mead’s style of writing was a big influence on my series. Her books are very addictive and very easy to read. I loved the way Vampire Academy was written; it made me feel as if I was a teenager again. That’s exactly how I wanted The Moonlight Series to be ― intriguing and easy to read at any level.
Do you have a target reader?
My target reader would beanyone 16 or upwards, who enjoys an Urban Fantasy journey with lovable characters, a few twists, many surprises and a little romance.
Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?
My writing process usually involves writing the idea down in my journal, scribbling down the main characters and then typing out the first few chapters on my laptop. After that, I write random scenes that come into my head, add them to where I think they fit and then fill in all the missing parts, linking the story. I usually also have heaps of papers and notebooks scattered everywhere filled with research.
Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?
Yes, I think the outline for The Moonlight Guardian was about four A4 pages long! (Much, much longer for the entire series!) I’ve gotten better at shortening my outlines, thank goodness. I’m currently working on a few writing projects at the same time and can proudly say my outlines are no longer than a quick summary. Yay!
Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?
Both, I really enjoy rereading my stories as I go along (even if they are half completed). When I reread I can’t help but edit as I go, but once I’ve completed the entire novel I like to do another couple of edits before giving it to the editor.
Did you hire a professional editor?
I hired a professional editor for The Moonlight Guardian. I wasn’t confident enough to trust my own editing skills. Each time I reread my stories, I find small grammatical errors or minor spelling mistakes. It was just easier to hire one than to lose my mind trying to perfect it myself.
Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?
I love music! It seriously controls my emotions. If a sad, heartfelt song comes on, the water works begin and a happy song get’s me up and dancing around the room. I make playlists of songs that I find most relate to the stories I’m working on. The Moonlight Guardian playlist has quite a few Florence and the Machine songs, Aussie bands such as the Jezabels and Birds of Tokyo, as well as some Tchaikovsky classics.
Did you submit your work to Agents?
I only submitted my work to two publishing companies, no agents. I guess I might try it in the near future but at the moment I’m enjoying the huge learning curb of the literary world.
What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?
I really wanted to learn as much as I could and develop new skills that came with having a first book published. I just wanted to share my stories with everyone and self-publishing gave me that opportunity. It’s simple and easy and with everyone having access to e-readers, stories can reach readers globally much quicker. For me, self-publishing is a bigger accomplishment.
Did you get your book cover professionally done or did it you do it yourself?
I am lucky enough to have a talented little brother who offered to design the cover for me. We worked together on how I wanted it to look, but he did all the hard work. He’s the best!
Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?
I’d love to say I have a marketing plan for this book but then I’d be lying. I’m a fairly organized person so it’s killing me not to know what to do next. However, I’m completely new at this and I want to enjoy the journey every step of the way.
Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?
Make the leap! What are you waiting for? It’s such an incredible feeling knowing you’ve accomplished something as big as this. You have so much more control when being an Indie author.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a ‘biggish’ town called Townsville, in Queensland, Australia.
Where do you live now?
After living in Brisbane for 5 years, I moved to the big bad city of Sydney, where I’ve been for 3 years.
What would you like readers to know about you?
I have a Dalmatian that hates me. He lives with my parents in Townsville. I read books way too fast and then mope when I have nothing to read. My friend and I have a list of fictional husbands that we’ve read about in books. I love outdoor adventures and have my open water diving license. I can’t say no to chocolate.
What are you working on now?
Book 2 of the Moonlight Series― The Moonlight Prince. Also, a new adult novel and an adult romance are in the works. I have a habit of working on many things at a time. All I can say is 2013 is going to be a big year for me.
End of Interview: