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Advice from IR Approved Author Monique Duclos: “Always listen to your gut, keep writing, and don’t give up.”

Inked Caffeine: Melrose & Vine received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Monique Duclos.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

My book is named Inked Caffeine: Melrose & Vine and it was published August 6th, 2021

What’s the book’s first line?

Read as an inner thought: It is only a matter of time. I wasn’t expecting to go quite like this, but I guess being tortured made the most sense.

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.

Written in the first person, we follow the simple life of Dallas Penske, a barista working at a Starbucks in Hollywood. His life takes an interesting turn when he meets a local tattoo artist, Jimmy. Through a series of exciting events, Dallas is confused, but comes to terms with his sexuality. All the while someone, or something, sinister is stirring up the city, leading Dallas and Jimmy to make far-reaching decisions.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

I always knew my story would take place in Los Angeles due to my love for the city, and I always knew I wanted to write an LGBT story because back in 2011 when I started writing it, that wasn’t a common subject. I wanted to write something different, something that hadn’t been done before.
I have a friend from the UK who is the reason I got into writing. She may not have inspired Inked Caffeine, but she’s the sole reason I got into writing in the first place.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

Because it’s fresh, fun, and exciting. It has adventure, romance, and drama. There’s action and violence, but also touches on some more serious subjects that the gay community still has to deal with today. There are relatable personal life issues for different individuals. It’s an LGBT romance novel that’s never been told before and has you eagerly turning every page.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?  Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?

Dallas, first and foremost, has naturally bright red hair. Although he’s an introvert, he visibly stands out. He’s selfless; always putting others before himself. He had a hard upbringing and is suspicious of happiness. Something is always going wrong. He also doubts that he deserves love, but once he has it, he will hold on to it no matter what.

Parts of Dallas remind me of myself, but every single one of my Brain Babies (other characters) are a different part of me, or someone I aspire to be. There’s no particular person who he reminds me of because he’s a cocktail of myself and my experiences.

When did you first decide to become an author?

I wouldn’t say there was an exact moment, and I also wouldn’t say it was a sudden decision. I’ve been writing creatively for myself strictly as a hobby for a long time, and while it was always a dream to be a published author, it wasn’t a dream I was actively trying to reach. I didn’t seriously consider publishing Inked Caffeine until 2018, and even still, didn’t start working on the publishing process until 2021.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

Yes! While I’ve written many other stories, none of them I’ve ever finished.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

Not as much as I used to. While I was in the process of writing the series, I’d try to write anywhere and everywhere. I would be writing on my phone, or I’d bring a notebook and pen in my bag. I was also notorious for bringing my bag with my laptop just in case an opportunity came where I could write.
I don’t do that anymore. While I have a plethora of memos in my phone, a desk covered in post-it notes, and two corkboards covered in ideas and information, the notebook and the laptop stay at home. The series is done. I’m in editing mode now, so the time spent sitting and writing isn’t really the same.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?

I love the flexibility and overseeing my own hours, but there’s definitely an art in marketing and getting your name and your book out there. An art that I have yet to master.

What’s a great piece of advice that you can share with fellow indie authors?

Always listen to your gut, keep writing, and don’t give up.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)

I’ve always written for myself. It’s always been a cure-all; an escape. And I’ve dedicated so much time to this series that I finally thought to myself “why not try and make some money with this thing?”. If I like it so much, maybe others will as well.

Short answer, fortune.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

Probably J. R. R. Tolkien. He basically shaped the fantasy genre. I envy how he built an entire world, languages, and creatures. He invented Orcs and changed the way we view Elves. While I can’t call myself a diehard Lord of The Rings fan, I think everything Tolkien has created is a masterpiece.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

Dead Ringer by Mary Burton. I am so incredibly obsessed with that book, and it had me on the edge of my seat almost the entire time. I think I actually said out loud a few times “I wish I wrote this.”

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