Interview & Contest: Monica Murphy

Jen: Today we welcome Monica Murphy to Romancing the Book. Monica, please share a short bio with our readers.
Monica: Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is both a traditionally published author and an independently published author. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance. She is also USA Today bestselling romance author Karen Erickson.

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Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Monica: My new young adult romance is called SAVING IT. Josh is a senior in high school, and wants to get rid of his virgin status before he starts college. So he enlists his best friend Eden to help him find the perfect girl to do it with. But as he and Eden work on this plan, Josh realizes maybe the girl that’s perfect for him is Eden…

Where did I get this idea? A few years ago my editor (hey Stacy!) said she wanted a book similar to the movie American Pie. Where friends decide they need to dump their virginity fast and it’s all they can talk about, think about, obsess over. I always wanted to write this book for her, but when she first mentioned it, I was swamped. Fast forward a year or two later and I started messing around with these characters, not sure where I was going next, when my editor tweeted that she was still interested in a book like American Pie. I emailed her and said, hey I have something. Just a chapter or two…and boom, she bought it. I love Josh and Eden and can’t wait for readers to meet them.

Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Monica: I’m a total pantser! I will plot somewhat because my publishers/editors ask for a synopsis or an outline, but I have a hard time sticking to it. I love it when my characters surprise me as I’m writing. When I plot, that tends to take all the fun out of writing for me.

Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Monica: I have a notebook that I keep on hand, but ultimately, the best place for me to store ideas is the notes section on my phone. I’ll write brief ideas, awesome names, a super cool title…whatever comes to me. Since we always have our phones on us, it’s the easiest thing for me to use.

Jen: How do you come up with characters names?
Monica: I’ve always been fascinated with names. I love a good name—I even love a bad name. Sometimes I save up a name for an extra special character. For instance, I love the name Katherine/Katie. I’ve wanted to use that name for years. YEARS. I finally did with NEVER TEAR US APART because it felt right to name the character Katie.

Sometime last year I realized I really loved the name Eden and wanted to use it. It’s a great name! And my Eden in SAVING IT is pretty great too. Her name totally fits her. I can’t start writing a book without having the names in place. I don’t like changing names mid-story either. Really throws me off.

I do have a list of names and I will admit…there are names I wish I could use again and again. Names I absolutely love. This is where having two pen names comes in handy. Haha.

Jen: What’s been the highlight of you career to this point?
Monica: There have been so many highlights, and I’m hoping there will be more. I will never forget the first time I hit the USA Today bestseller list with my first book, One Week Girlfriend. That was a pretty momentous time. Or meeting some of my all time favorite authors (Jude Deveraux! I felt like I was in the presence of a rock star). I feel incredibly lucky that being a writer is my career. It’s truly the best job ever.

Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Monica: Right now it feels like my free time is devoted to my children’s extracurricular activities, specifically my daughter. She’s a cheerleader at her high school, and I’m the cheer booster club president. So I’m always picking her up from practice, driving to football games, and figuring out ways to raise money to help our girls. It’s like my second fulltime job right now, I swear.

Jen: What’s next for you?
Monica: I have a YA thriller coming out with Entangled Teen on January 2nd. PRETTY DEAD GIRLS is like my favorite horror movies or true crime shows come to life. The story is a total departure for me so I really hope readers like it!

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