Saturday, April 28, 2012
Author Monica Leonelle is doing a blog tour as part of her promotion for Socialpunk - other stops on the tour include reviews, excerpts, and interviews. I wrote my review of Socialpunk a couple of weeks back; read on for Monica's answers to my questions about her work.
Between the 'real' and 'simulated' worlds of Socialpunk, you show two different visions of the future, each dystopian in its own way. Which do you think is more likely, and why?
I think both are likely, in the order they appear in. Though, I suppose the second one is more likely. But really, both are fairly preposterous!
You clearly enjoy building vibrant worlds with distinctive fashion, art, and food. How do you approach the process of world-building?
I don't have any tricks or anything, like answering world-building questions or establishing rules. I wish I could tell you where exactly these worlds came from, but they just came from my imagination. It might just be one of those things that comes natural to some people.
You're by no means the only one to set a dystopian novel in Chicago; what do you think makes it such a great setting for this kind of fiction?
Haha, I recently read Divergent and was surprised to see it was set here as well. It turns out we both live here, so maybe authors just write what they know. It was an easy choice for me, especially with the underground subways, which play a pivotal role in the book. Also, Chicago is really a city of snow, glass, and metal. The architecture is inspiring. So that just fit the style of the book perfectly, and it had to be in Chicago for me.
Ima's name change happens at a pivotal point in the book, and several of the Socialpunks have fire-related names. What are your thoughts on the relationship between name and identity?
Ima needed a new name after she was upgraded. Her name just didn't fit anymore, plus the book (however action-based it is) is mostly about Ima's character growth. Overall, I don't spend a million years on naming my characters, their names just come to me.
And on a related note, do you write under your real name or a nom de plume, and what were your reasons for that decision?
Monica Leonelle is my real name. Leonelle isn't my last name though. My reasoning is that my name is unique so I don't have to worry about branding issues with a common name.
How do you structure your writing time, and how do you balance this against marketing your work, and any other commitments (family, work, etc)?
I'm working all the time and have a tough time balancing, to be honest. I spend most of my time on marketing work and not a ton of time on fiction. Maybe 80/20? I spend at least a few hours with my boyfriend, dog, and (sometimes) friends each day.
What's the most unusual thing you've done to promote your books?
I haven't done much promotion outside of this blog tour! I just haven't had time. So nothing weird so far. My marketing plan is basically to get the book into the hands of people who will love it and spread the word. That, of course, means getting the book into a lot of hands, period. Only a small percentage will love it, and only a small percentage of those people will write positive reviews.