Welcome to Caleb Monroe
Where are you from and where do you live now? I currently live in Lake Charles, Louisiana and I have lived here for the last 13 years.
Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. My book is called New Beginnings. It is the first book of The Quarantine Series that I started this year. This is my first attempt at writing anything, and I have always loved sci-fi so I went that direction with my series. I tried to make this book a story that felt something like an Indiana Jones’ adventure with my characters traveling around the world. Every stop they make helps to build towards the ending that will then set up the rest of the series.
Where do you find inspiration? I would have to say that most of my inspiration comes from either comic books or watching sci-fi movies. The other area would be the books I have read in the past few years. I have been reading a lot of young adult fiction books and I wanted to write something that was not really being written about right now.
Do you have a favourite character? If so why? In my book there is a character named Clark Smalls. He is probably my favourite character because in my book I took a chapter to tell a good amount of the story from his perspective. It let me take a small chapter to really get into his head and let the readers see what makes him who he is. Clark is a very important character for the story and I loved writing him into situations that would drive the story.
Do you have a character you dislike? If so why? Roger Biggs. He is a real jerk and I hope that everyone hates him.
Are your characters based on real people? The only character that is based on a real person is my main character, Ben Callder. Since the story is written in first person I got a chance to really put my personality into Ben every time he thought or spoke to another character. I hope that this makes him more relatable to the readers. I wanted people to read this and feel like they were reading this story from a real person’s point of view. There were times when reading through it that I thought maybe the reader doesn’t need to know that they are thinking this, but I want this book to feel like a real person is living this story. I wanted to give a lot of details into how they think so that what they do makes since.
Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? I spent countless hours researching for my book. Since my characters go to a lot of famous places I took the time to find out everything I could about these places. My book is based in our reality and on our Earth so I wanted to make sure that everything was represented correctly so that people knew this was not a fictional version of Earth. I want the readers to experience the reality of these locations that my characters go to on their journey. I would find out how long a plane flight would take to get from each site and also what kind of transportations were available from the airport that my characters landed at in each country. I would even look up examples of names for each region my characters travelled to in the story. Even though I wrote a sci-fi book I want this to be grounded in our reality.
Is there a message conveyed within your writing? Do you feel this is important in a book? The subtitle to my book is: Choose the World or Choose Your World? As you read through the first book you will see that this is the most important message in the book. This question is going to shape the whole series.
Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…)
- Solid Plot, 2. Great characters, 3. Great world-building. 4. Technically sound
Like you said, all of these are important. I really believe that if your plot is bad then there is no chance you can build a book or story around it to get people interested in or make them want to read your book. For my writing process coming up with a plot directly gave me the next two things I listed. I think that plot dictates what kind of direction your characters go and where they live in your book. I knew from day one what was going to happen at the end of each book I am going to write for the series. I let that determine how I designed and crafted my characters personalities and thoughts so that they could grow and eventually fulfil the destiny that I have for them. The world that they operate in also came from the fact that my plot was based on the Earth and time we live in right now. The reason I put technically sound last is because this is my first book and to be honest I am very weak when it comes to grammar. I paid someone to proofread my book for me because I know how bad I am with grammar. I did make a mistake in not getting it proofread twice though. That is something I will have to deal with for my book and I am a little embarrassed that I did not put more emphasis on the technically sound aspect of my book. That being said, I do not think that there are the types of errors that will make reading the book impossible or unenjoyable. I just know that there will be a few small ones.
In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? My book is available in E-book format only. This is only because I self-published the book and did not have the money to put it in print. I would love to make this book available in all forms and maybe one day I will be able to.
Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I self-edited this book for two reasons: The first is I did not have the money on me to get a professional book editor to do it for me. Like I said earlier I did have someone proofread the book but only once. This proof-reader also gave me some ideas to help me with editing the book. The second is that I know what direction the whole series is going in and I want to make sure that it stays on the right path. Now even though I am saying this, if I had the money I would have gotten it professionally edited. I know that there will be a few mistakes in my book, but I think that those mistakes will be found in the grammar. I believe that the plot is good with not holes in it, but I should have gotten it proofread again to make sure all the mistakes were out of the book.
What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? Being a nerd, I love going to see movies and playing video games. However, I feel like books are the best way to really get to know a character. A great story will pull you in but if you are not able to really understand the motives behind the characters then the story falls flat in the end. Some of the best parts in a book to me are when you get a chance to see a character’s thought process. I love seeing what drives a character and how they think. I took that and applied it to a few parts of my book so that the reader could get a chance to understand why characters are making these decisions and acting the way they are.
What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers?
Being a new writer myself I think that most important thing to tell writers like myself is to take your time. Make sure you take your time when putting the book together.
The second piece of advice would be to save your money so you can get a good editor/proof-reader.
The third is don’t let bad reviews get to you. You are going to get them and you might even get a few. Just know that you wrote book and that this is no easy task. You should be proud of yourself.
Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? Before I started writing I read Meta by Tom Reynolds. I really enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone who likes superhero stories.
What are your views on authors offering free books? If you want to try to get your book out there then this is a great option. People are more willing to try an indie book if it is free.
Do you have a favourite movie? It is a tie between the Star Wars series and Nolan Batman Series.
Do you have any pets? I have a basset hound named Bruce Wayne
Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? This is probably not silly, but before I go to bed each night I have to check all the locks in my house five times or I will not be able to fall asleep. It’s a little OCD, but it helps me sleep.
Book links, website/blog and author links: