Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?
Often my inspiration comes from my own students. I teach at Marianopolis College in Montreal. That means I get to hear teenagers all day long. And they have lots of interesting things to say!
Is there a central message in your writing?
I'm not sure about a central message. If there is one, maybe it would be 'Hang in there!'
What’s the best advice you could give to writers?
My best advice is to WRITE and READ all time time and a lot!!
What is it about the genre you write that attracted you to write it?
I love teenagers. I can't think of any age group that is more interesting. Teenagers question the world. I really like that!
What is a typical writing day for you?
Hard to say because when I teach, it is sometimes hard to fit in writing time. In the summer, I try to get to my computer by mid-morning and stay until I have written my daily quota of words, which tends to range between 500 and 1,000.
Do you have a particular writing ritual you must follow? For example, a set of rules you must obey when you write.
Well, I like to go for a run first. (I think of good ideas when I am running!) And I like to scrub the bathroom sink before I sit down at my computer!!
Do you prefer to write in the morning or in the afternoon?
Morning is my preferred writing time.
How much time do you spend writing each day?
When I am working on new material, I try to write for at least two hours a day.
When you write do you listen to music, or do you prefer quiet?
I prefer quiet.
Where do you like to write? At a desk, outside, public area… etc.…
I like my desk at home. But I can write anywhere. I've even written while sitting on a rock!!
How do you create your characters?
It starts for me when I begin to hear a character's voice speaking in my head.
Do you base your characters on people you know or do you invent them?
Mostly, I invent them. But some of my characters are loosely based on people I have met.
How long have you been writing?
Forever! I think I started writing stories when I was about nine years old!
How long does it take you to write a book?
Hard to say. The first draft takes me between four months and a year. It depends on the length of the project. The re-writing can take up to a year too.
What do you do when you are having a case of writer's block?
I just keep writing! In fact, knock on wood, I've never had a case of writer's block. I get frustrated yes, but the trick, I've found is to KEEP WRITING. Write past the block!
What's the best book you've ever read and why?
Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland -- because it's about everything... including the human search for identity.
Who is your favorite author?
If you could compare your writing to a famous author's, whose would it be and why?
Don't know. I am fond of Dutch authors. I like to think my style is a little like theirs. Clear and direct.
What are you currently reading? Do you like it? Why did you choose it?
I just finished reading John Green's The Fault In Our Stars. I read it because I was reviewing it for the Montreal Gazette. I loved it. It's a story about two kids with cancer, but it's also hilarious -- so I'm super impressed that Green was able to pull it off. Reading great books makes me want to do better in my own storytelling!
Thanks for allowing me to interview you Monique, it was a pleasure having you on Writer's Passion!
If you'd like to know more about Monique Polak and her books, visit her site.