Monica Jo Carusi
Good morning, Monica, and welcome to Vision and Verse, the Place for Art and Authors. Can you tell us what you've written?
Cross the Veil and Near Me Dwell is my first published work. The second book of the series Hysteria and Revenge is nearing completion.
Tell us a little about these lovely black and white drawings. Did you do them?
They are characters from my book. And no, I didn't draw them. They're the work of Jordan Baer.
What is your favorite genre to write?
Vine ripened tomatoes.
Tea or coffee?
Pizza or ice cream?
Where would you like to visit?
Ireland and Scotland are my interests abroad, but I would love to take an Alaskan cruise.
So many authors I talk to want to visit Scotland! We need to get a planeload together and make this happen! Okay, back to the interview now. Favorite musical artist. Do you listen to music when you write? What? My musical tastes are eclectic. Bon Jovi, Wynton Marsalis, Blake Shelton, Neil Diamond and Mozart are my favorites of their respective genres. I prefer silence while I write but background sounds don’t bother me.
What makes you laugh?
Favorite work of art or sculpture.
I have two. The Huth Factories at Clichy and Battle of Lights, Coney Island. Both are meeting points of disparate subjects. van Gogh brought together agriculture and industry while Stella joined structure and motion. If you read my work you will see that intertwining the unlikely is an interest.
How old were you when you started writing?
Describe your perfect evening:
Dinner with friends
Where do you get your inspiration?
Everywhere and everyone. Cross the Veil and Near Me Dwell began while sitting with my father in the hospital. There isn’t much to do at such a time but surf the internet. An ancient Roman and a Victorian matriarch crossed my screen in succession and the thought of a conversation between them gripped my imagination. However, the inspiration for characters in Hysteria and Revenge (soon to be published) came from three young people who read my first work and thoughtfully offered suggestions. I truly enjoyed researching the timeperiods they would have lived and watching them come to life in the story.
What do you do when you get a writer's block?
You are going to think I am crazy, but I sit with my hands on my laptop and type. Sometimes what comes out is interesting and sometimes it’s drivel but I am always anxious to see what I wrote. Once the germ or seed is planted, the story takes off and grows into whatever it is supposed to be. My job is to tend it and prune it like an ornate tree.
Who is your favorite author?
Best book you ever read.
The Quincunx by Charles Palliser
Last book you read.
The Water Brought Us by Muriel Miller Branch
What would you do for a living if you weren’t a writer?
Something medical and technical
Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
My niece. She is kind, compassionate and generous. When things are difficult, she keeps going and still takes care of others before herself. She doesn’t whine, complain or crawl under a table and cry even when she has every right to do so. She has my admiration and may be the best person I know.
If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
Samuel Clemens. I find him to be a fascinating character. He lived an interesting life and used humor to relate to his audience. Even though his personal life (deaths of children and wife, discord with one daughter) was rather tragic, he managed to maintain the Mark Twain persona. As someone who enjoys researching daily life of different historical periods, I would dearly love to interview Mr. Clemens.
What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
Write. Do not be concerned with anything but the story line. Get a first draft down and go from there.
Do you have some links where we can follow you?
(Paperback and hardcover also available via Amazon)
Friesenpress: http://www.friesenpress.com/bookstore/title/119734000007424046 (paperback and hardcover)