Big news on the blog today, and it’s about EL LIBRO DE MONICA! Why the Spanish? Well, in my house, we speak only Spanish. When my critique partner, Monica Ropal, called with THE BEST NEWS EVAH, my little girls hovered, asking. “¿Qué pasa, Mamá?” So in the midst of general hysterics, I told them, “¡EL LIBRO DE MONICA VA A SER UN LIBRO!”
Translation: MONICA’S BOOK IS GOING TO BE A BOOK!
That’s right! My amazing critique partner, Monica (aka @MonicaYAWriting) has scored a book deal for her debut YA novel, THE BODY OF COOPER MCCAY! Her whip-smart agent, Barbara Poelle, did the deal with Running Press Books, and COOPER will be coming out in 2014! Yaaaaay! *passes around champagne and brownies*
Monica and I met as roommates at a novel-writing retreat at VCFA (deets on this excellent program here: http://www.vcfa.edu/programs-faculty/postgraduate-non-degree/writing-novels-young-people-retreat), where we began our hopefully-lifelong friendship as critique partners. I fell in love with her characters in THE BODY OF COOPER MCCAY then, and fell even deeper in love as she revised. Let’s talk with her about the book!
Kip: So, hey, Monica! What’s your book about? *cues spotlight*
Monica: The Body of Cooper McCay is about Cass, whose secret boyfriend is murdered, and one of her best friends is the prime suspect. But it’s not your typical murder mystery–because it’s also about how Cass deals with violence, mourns her loss, and learns to emotionally trust again in the midst of trying to figure out who killed Cooper!
Kip: You definitely have a way with characters, but I think I’m not alone in my head-over-heels love for your MC, Cass’ best friend, Mattie. Can you describe him through Cass’ eyes?
Monica: Mattie is … everything. Mattie is the one constant that has been in her life. He’s mute, and the challenge is their communication. But the challenge was for me, not them, because they have known each other so long, that every quirk of the brow and twist of the lips is worth lines of dialogue to them.
Kip: Your novel takes place where you live, in Minnesota. Did the setting become a crucial character for you, or do you think your story could have played out anywhere?
Monica: The part of St. Paul that I chose is, I suppose like many city neighborhoods where rich and poor meet within a very small number of blocks and creates a very interesting but troubling dynamic. The space in which it’s set is very iconic. Everyone around here knows the shops on Grand, and the houses on Summit, and they understand the struggles of those in the Midway area.<
Kip: Now for some fun questions! What’s your writing routine like? Top three favorite authors? And how did you celebrate your book deal?
Monica: Writing routine: I’m not superstitious, but I do like to have my Hermione coffee mug and music . . . there’s always music. Moody, emotional, emo-type music. Something to get me closer to the emotional truth that I’m writing in that day. Top three authors: JK Rowling, Stephanie Perkins, and Megan Miranda. Celebration: We celebrated by going out for ice cream on Grand Avenue and I gave them a little tour of landmarks from the book. While we were there, a guy called out to his friend whose name was MATTIE! I nearly choked on my root beer float. We will have extensive celebrating next week in Disney World. And of course Harry Potter World! We’ll toast with Butter Beer!
Sounds great! THRILLED for you, Monica, and so glad to get to take part in this journey with you!!