Monday, November 8, 2010

Guest Blogger: Monica Brinkman

Today I’d like to welcome new author Monica Brinkman as the special guest blogger here at Thoughts in Progress as she participates in a virtual book tour.

Monica’s book is called THE TURN OF THE KARMIC WHEEL. Here’s a brief blurb about the recently released book: "What goes around, comes around." Truer words were never spoken, as evidenced by the complex interactions and fates of the characters in "The Turn of The Karmic Wheel." When the residents of Raleigh begin to hear music and voices that aren't "there", and to receive frightening messages from no discernable source, it soon becomes apparent that changes must - and will - be made: to their everyday lives, to their relationships, to their bodies, and, most importantly, to their souls.

Monica joins us today to talk about what inspired her to write her book.

As most writers, I found myself interacting with other authors via the internet, reading their thoughts on publishing, form, genre, characterization, point of view and various other aspects to consider when writing a novel. 

I found one particular site, which I will refrain from mentioning due to the fact most of the authors on the site were quite informative and tactful when providing advice, where three so-called experts vehemently stated
·         Never place your books setting in a rural town within the Ozarks
·         Never mix genre
·         Never change Point of View

These ‘qualified’ writers continued their ‘advice’ with sarcasm
and arrogance directed toward any small, rural town, making jest of the ‘country bumpkins,’ citing no reader would relate to country folks.

Remembrances filled my mind, for I grew up in the East Coast, relocated to the West Coast where I lived for many years and now reside in the Ozark region these pompous novelists mocked with such ease. In addition, who were they to put the readers of the world into some ‘readers’ rule box’ and tell them what they should enjoy. Hadn’t many authors changed point of view? Mixed genre was a form of writing many publishing houses welcomed with open arms. In addition, as to changing point of view, Sara Douglass and John Connolly have mastered this craft.

Rebel that I am when hearing mockery or information that didn’t set right in my mind, I vowed that my new book, THE TURN OF THE KARMIC WHEEL, would contain all three of the “never do” qualities. I had wished to write a book that would give others hope in these dismal times, entertain and keep a reader in suspense. What a perfect opportunity to embrace a story containing suspense, horror, the paranormal and spirituality; a book that would open the readers mind and leave them pondering the tale, long after being read.

So far, the reviews have been great and the feedback from the readers of the world fantastic.

Touché’, my three master authors! Our readers possess a much more open mind and intelligence than you gave them credit.

Monica, thanks for blogging here today. It’s sad that some authors believe small towns don’t make for wonderful book settings and that readers couldn’t relate to them. Wishing you much success with your book.

How do you feel about small town settings? Any problems reading and relating to those who live in small towns?


  1. I think small towns make for amazing settings--and I'm glad that some publishers agree! Rules are made to be broken, aren't they? :) Thanks for coming today.

  2. Monica, thanks again for guest blogging here today. I agree with Elizabeth that small towns make amazing settings. So glad you didn't listen to those suggestions and continued with your book. Best of luck.

    Elizabeth, thanks for stopping by today.Your books feature small town atmosphere and make for wonderful reading.

  3. Mason - Thanks for hosting Monica.

    Monica - What a fascinating concept for a novel! You were very wise to do what truly worked instead of what "everyone thought." I, too, like the idea of the small-town setting, especially for this kind of novel. Small towns allow for the kinds of relationships and characters you need for a novel like this.

  4. Monica, I AM a country bumpkin from the Ozarks-Missouri and love it. And I love reading novels about small towns and rural settings. Good for you that you stayed with the small town flavor.

    Mason, Thanks for hosting.

  5. Interesting post. I like how the author used the negativity of a few people and turned it into a positive - a book that is getting great reviews.

    I like books that are set in small town/rural settings.

  6. Have you returned to that site to mock them back?

  7. I'm glad Monica didn't let the negativity stop her! I love small town settings, it seems you can populate them with both eccentric and normal characters very easily!

  8. Monica, kudos to you for going against the grain and following your heart. I love small town settings in novels. They're filled with such detail, character, and charm, and usually their characters are too. Best wishes on your tour :)

  9. Monica - I've run into those same big three and they really drew me up short. My WIP is set in the city so that wasn't a problem and a genre mix is at the heart of my story so I have to stay with that; but I buckled on the POV issue and have been painfully removing all the POV shifts as I do my rewrites. I applaud your courage in going with your gut.

  10. I think the word 'never' should not be part of a writer’s vocabulary. It’s a good thing that Monica rebelled – it sounds like a great premise for a book and I’ve added it to my-want-to read list.

  11. Personally, I think small towns make a great setting for novels. I love multiple POV novels. And mixed-genre novels rock. But that's just me...

  12. Hi Mason and Monika .. I love the mix & certainly would love to read your book .. The Turn of the Karmic Wheel .. as it sounds to me as though you're mixing thoughts that we're all becoming more attuned to ..

    Will keep my eye out for .. and hope to read it .. Thanks to you both - Hilary

  13. How discouraging! Glad you ignored those negative people.

  14. Wow. What an amazing journey to publication for you. I don't think there's ever a 'never' in writing unless it's never tell a bad story without heart.

  15. Wow! I want to thank all of you for your kind words.

    My gut told me that if the story held meaning, made people think long after it was read, it wouldn't matter where the setting.

    I had to laugh at Linda's comment that she too had run into those same three authors.

    Guess in retrospect, I should thank them as I would not have written the story in the way I did without their ridicule.

    You guys rock! Stay in touch.

  16. I love this post. I agree, write what moves you. I think if our writing has meaning, it's a success. Formulas are so stifling, as are someone else's rules. Writers are, after all, artists, and should therefore never listen to the 'never's.

  17. I enjoyed the article about setting. Monica did, as always, a good job!
    As for advice from writers, one needs to weigh it, give it some thought, and then decide. Unfortunately, sometimes writers get a bit ahead of themselves and pompously think they have a monopoly on writing-craft wisdom. As a writer whose story settings have included metro areas, tiny villages, and far-off galactic
    hamlets, I say, Let the author decide where to place his or her story!

  18. You tell 'em Monica. Not only are small towns as good a setting as any, they don't even have to be real. I wrote a novel in a completely fictitious small town. What would your authors say about that? Remember, it's the story stupid, the setting is only part of the greater whole.


  19. Monica, I loved your blog.
    A good book is a good book, period.
    I have heard all the ''good advice'' before and, while some rules are worth following now and then, let us rememeber that the greatest books in the history of literature break the rules.Yes, this is what they did, they broke the very rules taught in schools.
    As far as I am concerned telling me where to place my characters is...a form of censorship.
    Thank you for being brave!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.