When Your Muse Is A Talker: Monica Garry On Sorting Out Ideas

Inspiration is a funny thing. It can come to us like a lightning bolt, through the lyrics of a song, or in the fog of a dream. Ask any writer where their stories come from and you’ll get a myriad of answers, and in that vein I created the WHAT (What the Hell Are you Thinking?) interview. Always including in the WHAT is one random question to really dig down into the interviewee's mind, and probably supply some illumination into my own as well.

Today's guest is Monica Garry. Her newest title is a middle grade titled THE SCARIEST HALLOWEEN EVER.

Ideas for our books can come from just about anywhere, and sometimes even we can’t pinpoint exactly how or why. Did you have a specific origin point for your book?

Yes, I did. I was babysitting my nieces and nephews when I overheard my nephew Dontae, tell his sister Patricia that if she ate another cupcake she was going to turn into one. I laughed thinking she couldn’t possibly believe him. But then he began to tell her that he heard of this happening to a little boy in his class. My nephew created this elaborate tale and my niece believed him. Of course I had to tell him to stop telling his sister lies, but from that lie, a story was born. ☺

Once the original concept existed, how did you build a plot around it?

I knew I wanted to make the story fun and give it a moral. The moral of the story is to always be nice to your little sister and never take her for granted. But the story ended up being so much more than that. Dontae learns the importance of family and friendship. He also learns how to be brave even during the darkest times. I gave my main character an adventure to go on and the rest just fell into place.

Have you ever had the plot firmly in place, only to find it changing as the story moved from your mind to paper?

My plots always change. I sit down with a story in my head, but my characters take me on an entirely different journey. It’s fun and exciting when your characters takeover.

Do story ideas come to you often, or is fresh material hard to come by?

I seem to come up with a new idea every week. Since I can’t write thirty books at one time, I give each idea its own journal. By the time I’m done writing one book, I already have another story plotted and ready to be written.

How do you choose which story to write next, if you’ve got more than one percolating?

That’s the hard part. My muse is constantly feeding me ideas and if I’m not careful I’ll have two or three books going at one time. I have to calm myself down, because I get so excited when I get a new idea. I usually focus on the story that I am most excited about.

Can a vegetarian tip cows with a clean conscience?

Of course, as long as they don’t eat it they’re good. ☺