Welcome Monique Rockliffe
The books I've written and which are published with Xlibris Publishing:
The Sword Bearers: Book 1
The Sword Bearer's: Journey Book 2
Works in progress:
The Sword Bearer's Lament: Book 3 (to be released this year)
The Sword Bearer's Ascension: Book 4
The Door - A sci-fi short story (to be published directly to Kindle through Amazon - this year)
Monique was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she currently resides with her husband. Always the avid reader, she spent every available moment since childhood reading, which fuelled her already boundless imagination. She loved watching as many fantasy, science fiction, and action films as possible, establishing her love and passion for story telling.
She became a dancer at age five which turned into a successful professional career, but she never lost her first passion. She began writing seriously in 2009 when her dancing career came to an end and her husband and greatest supporter urged her to finally make a start.
1. Please tell the readers a bit more about you.
I live in Johannesburg, South Africa. I was a professional dancer for most of my life after attending the School of Art, Ballet, Music and Drama, majoring in ballet. I danced in two ballet companies and one contemporary dance company and had a very successful career. But I lived inside books every spare moment I had. The Sword Bearers is my debut novel which I began writing in 2009 when I decided to stop dancing and take up a passion I’ve had since I could read. I’m a very good story teller and always have been since I was a child, holding my audiences enraptured for hours on end!
I still teach ballet to teenagers and young adults during the week, and I write everyday and blog and read other writers works as much as possible.
2. What types of books do you write?
I am primarily a fantasy author, but in the future I will also be writing urban fantasy, science fiction, and horror with a supernatural twist – both novels and short stories.
3. Who's your main audience?
If I had to put an age restriction on my stories I’d say they are suitable for young adults (16) and above.
4. When it comes to writing- what are your strong points? What are your weaknesses?
I pay a lot of attention to detail and make sure my scenes are colourful and descriptive – without getting long-winded about it – from the surroundings to the characters. I’m good at drawing in the reader emotionally, especially when it comes to dialogue, and my characters are as real as they can be within a fantastical setting.
I believe that I can always improve my craft on a daily basis and identify my shortcomings by comparing my work to that of more experienced writers. If I have weaknesses then it is simply that I have not yet learned everything!
5. What do you think of this term- Writer's Block? How do you overcome it?
In one of my recent blogs I stated that my understanding of writer’s block is no more than losing trust in yourself, in your unconscious mind, or in your muse, whatever it is you employ to create. Borrowing a term from Star Trek, I believe writer’s block is moving ‘out of phase’ with yourself and it only requires a shifting back; and that shifting back is relearning to trust in your writing abilities, and most especially in yourself.
6. How many books have you written?
I have written three books to date and one sci-fi short story.
7. How many are published?
Two novels in my fantasy series of four have been published, with the third almost ready. The short story I plan on publishing through Amazon Kindle.
8. Are you self published or traditionally published?
I am self-published.
9. What's the hardest part of the writing process for you?
I suppose it’s describing a scene accurately enough, with the right amount of emotion and power and not too many adjectives and adverbs, so that the reader experiences exactly what I want them to while not getting them bogged down with too many words. I dread to think that they never ‘get it’, but I have to trust that they do without too much help/verbosity from me!
10. What type of books do you enjoy reading?
Everything fantasy, most science fiction, horror, suspense, thrillers, adventure and even a few classics. I’m about to read The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.
11. Who's your favorite Author?
I can’t say there’s just one. Many changed my world and stirred my imagination into a frenzy as a youth. These few influenced me to start writing seriously: Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Raymond E. Feist, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Cussler, Melanie Rawn, Tad Williams, Robert Jordan, Tolkien – to name but a few!
12. What's your all time favorite book?
It is extremely difficult to pick just one favourite. Yet, the one that does pop into my head almost immediately is Raymond E. Feist’s ‘Magician’. That is just an awesome trilogy.
13. How long does it take you to write a book?
Between 4 to 6 months depending on what life brings to interfere with the process.
14. Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite? Why?
It has to be Khyri/KC, the main character. This heroine came to life when I was eight years old and she has developed through the years into the character she is now as The Sword Bearer, so I feel closest to her. In the beginning of the story she is carefree and happy. Then for a long time she loses herself when something very traumatic happens to her. Throughout the story – spanning four books – she rediscovers who she used to be and learns to deal with the person she has become. She overcomes so much adversity and triumphs over her enemies and herself, and I admire her greatly for it!
15. What is one of the most surprising things you've learned as a writer?
The most surprising thing is that there are no limits to my imagination, that whenever I need the story to continue, and I don’t know how it is going to do so, a way always presents itself without fail.
16. What does your family think of your writing?
They are very supportive, although my husband despairs when I am willing to give up meals just so that I can finish a chapter without losing the emotional ‘flow’! He frequently wheels me away from the table still in my chair as I complain bitterly at his lack of understanding! But, in truth, he does get it and supports me completely.
17. What does your writing schedule look like?
I write anytime of the day as long as I don’t need to teach or do chores. I try to get in at least 3 hours minimum, and on a day I don’t teach I can write from morning to early evening very easily (with the husband force feeding me every now and then)!
18. Do you manage to write every day?
Unfortunately, no. Life isn’t always that accommodating. But I do my best.
19. What's the latest news you'd like to share?
Book 3, The Sword Bearer's Awakening, is coming out soon and will be available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble as paperback, hardback and Kindle/Nook, as are Books 1 and 2 right now. Book 4, the final installment in the series, is busy being written. As I mentioned before I have a sci-fi short story that is in the final editing process and I plan to publish through Amazon as soon as it’s ready.
I am also in the process of building up a following with profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon, wherever readers tend to hang out! I am pretty new to social media networking and I am working hard to get noticed. This interview is one awesome way to do that, so thank you, RaeBeth, for your generosity.
20. Do you have any advice for new writers?
Believe that you are a unique individual with a unique story to tell in a unique way. Read and write as much as you can and always be willing to learn from the more experienced. Never think you’ve made it, even when it seems like you have. Remain humble as a person but unmoving about the power and influence of your work, believing that it has a voice and something really significant to say, no matter what others may think of it. Trust in your abilities; they are what make you uniquely you.