• Blog

    2013 the writing year that was


    Mr Right and Other MongrelsIt’s New Year’s Eve and as we all know it’s a time for reflection if we choose to let it be.
    Looking back on my year a whole lot happened in the writing zone for me.

    I blogged pretty much the whole year and with pretty consistently. Along the way I got to meet and interview loads of wonderful authors and grill them about their writing process and learn about their books so that was a whole lot of fun.

    In May of course, I launched my first book Mr Right and Other Mongrels which was quite a trip! It’s been en entirely positive experience and I learnt so much from going through it.

    I also learnt that even you would think getting the second book out afterwards would be easier – surely I learnt something from the first one – that was not the case and Hearts Afire ended up taking three extra months to hit the shelves as a result of a series of delays. That’s why when people ask me when is the next book out I’m now very reluctant to say a date or even a month out loud because I’m now aware that I could be speaking nonsense.





    Hearts AfireAnyway Hearts Afire eventually hit the shelves in October and that has been a whole lot of fun as well.

    Thanks to all of you who bought, reviewed, blogged, tweeted or shared the news of my books to the universe. I deeply appreciate your support.

    I’ve learnt a bit more about promotion via social media along this journey and have met some amazing people out there in cyber-space which has been lots of fun. I’ve met some wonderful authors and some cool readers as well.

    I’ve also done lots of wonderful things as part of my writing year. I had a great weekend away with members of my writing group back in February.

    I attended several events at the Sydney Writers’ Festival in May and hung with some wonderful friends and authors.

    I went to the Gold Coast for the RWA in August where I had an amazing time and met some wonderful authors – some whom I had ‘met’ in cyber space and some who were entirely new to me. It was a wonderful experience.

    I’ve also been lucky enough to attend book launches for several old friends this year including Edwina Shaw and Pamela Cook.




    So if 2012 was anything to go by I expect to have an exciting time in 2013!

    Here are a few snapshots of the year that was.

    Writer Friends Group PhotoSome of the Writers’ Dozen in Milton in February for a writing retreat.

    Monique McDonell Kindle Digital Launch Mr Right and Other Mongrels
    Virtual book launch for Mr Right and Other Mongrels.

    Hearts Afire Paperback Cover Preview
    Hearts Afire paperbacks!

    Favel, Monique McDonell and Edwina Shaw

    Catch up with Favel Parrett and Edwina Shaw in Sydney. Two of the Joondi 8.

    Pamela Cook and Monique McDonell at Book Launch for Blackwattle Lake

    With the lovely Pamela Cook at her December book launch.

  • Blog

    My lovely writerly weekend

    11/30/2012 0 Comments

    Favel, Monique McDonell and Edwina Shaw
    Favel, Monique McDonell and Edwina Shaw at Breakfast

    I’m feeling very lucky this weekend because I have a couple of lovely writerly events on.
    That doesn’t happen that often really and certainly in the midst of this scorching Sydney heat-wave and the madness that is December it’s a lovely treat.

    This morning I had the great pleasure of meeting up with Edwina Shaw, author of Thrill Seekers and Favel Parrett, author of Past the Shallows. They were both up for awards at last night’s NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Sadly neither of them took home the gong but what an honour to be nominated!

    I met both women when I did the QWC/Hachette Manuscript Development Program a few years back. Favel is now published with Hachette. Although I’m not, I really recommend any Australian writers out there to apply for the program because it really is an excellent opportunity…I was lucky I also got lots of lovely friends out of it.

    It was lovely to catch-up with both Edwina and Favel and hear about their next projects and what they’re working on. (We did also cover other important topics such as being pale and redheaded, high heels at formal functions and what clothing writers wear (or not) when writing, finding an agent and what happens at a pitch.)

    Tomorrow I get to back this up with the lovely Pam Cook’s bok launch for Blackwattle Lake which she is holding at the NSW Writer’s Centre. It will be a great opportunity to celebrate her publication – also as a result of the QWC/Hachette Development Program.

    For me it will also be a wonderful chance to see members of my writing group The Writers’ Dozen, who no longer attend with regularity as well as those gorgeous regulars who have kept me writing and kept me motivated on my own writing journey.

  • Uncategorized

    Thrill Seekers’ Sydney Book Launch July 3rd


    Pile of BooksIf you are in Sydney then you might be interested in attending the local launch of Thrill Seekers by the lovely Edwina Shaw.

    I interviewed Edwina on this blog earlier this year. Go have a read of the interview and learn more about Edwina here.

    The launch will be held at Better Read than Dead, Newtown on Tuesday July 3rd at 6pm.

    For more information visit:

  • Uncategorized

    Q&A with author Edwina Shaw


    Here is a Q&A I did with gorgeous Brisbane writer Edwina Shaw. Her book Thrill Seekers is available in selected book shops.

    Edwina Shaw Headshot
    1. What was the inspiration for your novel?

    Most of the stories in Thrill Seekers had been sitting in my head for over twenty years, aching to be told. I wanted to bear witness to the life of my brother Matthew who killed
    himself at the age of twenty to escape the pain of schizophrenia.

    2. When did you take up writing?

    I started writing full time in 2002, when I wrote my first full length novel manuscript – now firmly buried in the bottom drawer. I also wrote a few short stories and took as many courses as I could on
    the craft of creative writing.

    3. How important is setting/place in your writing?

    Thrill Seekers is set in Brisbane on the banks of Oxley Creek and on the Brisbane River. The river plays a big part,
    not only in the action of the story, but symbolically too. It wends its way through the story, just as the real river winds its way through Brisbane. My second novel is set in Cambodia and its wild and dirty streets are central to the story. The sugar cane fields, mountains, rivers and jungles of far north QLD play a big part in my current project. So yes – setting is important to my

    4. Do you have a favourite character (s) in your current novel?

    In Thrill Seekers I am fondest of Douggie, the character based on my brother. I hope that I’ve captured Matty’s sensitivity, love of life and incredible courage.

    My favourite character in my current project is Silver, a charismatic, aging artist.

    5. What’s the best piece of writing advice you were ever given?

    Persistence is the Key. The quote below from Calvin Coolidge is the truth. I’ve seen better writers than
    me come and go. NEVER GIVE UP!

    “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is
    full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Calvin Coolidge.

    6. Do you have a schedule for writing?

    I try to write in the mornings after I’ve done the morning chores and seen my children off to school. When writing creatively I need absolute quiet and to know that I won’t be interrupted so I stick to school hours mostly. Night times and early mornings don’t work for me. Sleep is too important.

    7. Are you a plotter or someone who tends to wing it?

    With Thrill Seekers I was totally winging it. It began as a collection of linked short stories that, only quite late in the piece, I realised were joining up to create something more. My other novel manuscripts have started with a plot outline but have changed dramatically in the writing.

    8. Can you name three of four of your current favourite books?

    Animal People by Charlotte Wood. The Spare Room by Helen Garner. A Better Woman by Susan Johnson.

    9. Can you tell me a little bit about what you are working on now?

    At the moment I’m reworking a novel set among the canefields of far north QLD in 1969, “Into The Fire”.
    I wrote the first draft in 2010, made a complete mess with the second draft in early 2011, and have come back to it now after a year, much better able to see how it can be rescued.

    10. What advice would you give to a fledgling writer to assist them on their journey?

    Write. Just write. Write as much as you can, as often as you can. Don’t stop to edit and tear your work apart. Keep writing till you’ve finished what you set out to achieve.

    Read a lot of good quality literature in a variety of genres.

    Join a writers group of like’-minded people also on the writing path and critique each other’s work. Do as many courses as you can that teach about craft.

    And finally – WRITING IS REWRITING!

    Thrill Seekers by Edwina Shaw is available below:


    Thrill Seeker - Edwina Shaw - Cover

    Pamela Cook
    5/21/2012 01:43:55 pm

    Thanks for sharing Edwina and Monique. I love reading about other writers habits and experiences. Very inspiring!
    5/21/2012 01:59:40 pm

    Thanks Pam!

    5/21/2012 02:58:14 pm

    Yes – so inspiring! Go Ed!