Q&A with Socialpunk Trilogy Author Monica Leonelle

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Have you ever wondered if you could use your love for social media as more than just a way to promote your writing, but actually as inspiration for it? That's exactly what digital media strategist and author Monica Leonelle has done with her new book Socialpunk

Socialpunk, the first of a trilogy, is aimed at tech-savvy, social media aficionados who enjoy writing and reading (especially those who are fans of books like Ender's Game and The Hunger Games). The book centers on Ima, who is stuck in a virtual reality. Ima would give anything to escape The Dome and learn what’s beyond its barriers, but the Chicago government has kept all its citizens on lockdown ever since the Scorched Years left most of the world a desert wasteland. When a mysterious group of hooded figures enters the city unexpectedly, Ima uncovers a plot to destroy The Dome and is given the choice between escaping to a new, dangerous city or staying behind and fighting a battle she can never win.

Read on to learn more about Leonelle and her new book. 

Monica Leonelle

How did you get inspired to create the Socialpunk trilogy?  

I was inspired by the city of Chicago, by social media issues in our current world, and by the cyberpunk genre. The book is a bit like the Terminator series and I reference that a couple times just for fun. James Cameron is basically my favorite director ever, and he really inspires me with his world-building and storytelling skills.    
Who is your favorite character in Socialpunk and why?

I would have to say Ima, as she's the main character and the book is told entirely from her point of view. What I love about her is how much she changes from the beginning of the book to the end. She feels very guilty and is constantly struggling with right vs. wrong. She's probably one of my favorite characters out of all the ones I've written.

Tell us in one sentence why we should read your book.

The book is fast-paced and fun and Ima is someone you'll definitely be able to relate to! Plus, there is a character with rainbow-colored hair. Seriously. And you can give people money by pressing a finger to their wrist. Pretty crazy.

What motivated you to start writing?

I've been writing forever! I write a ton almost every day, as it turns out. Writing is the way I express myself, so I just fell into it naturally.

I started a Gen Y blog in 2007 called Twenty Set. It actually gained quite a bit of steam early on, but eventually I moved away from Gen Y topics. The reason I started that blog, though, is because I couldn't clear my mind! I literally just needed to get things out of my system. So I wrote that blog 4-5 times a week for about six months until my ideas stop churning so quickly. My love for writing as an adult grew out of that experience.

Who are some of your favorite authors and what is it that you admire most about them?

C.S. Lewis. I also love contemporaries like J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, and Cassandra Clare. They are all great storytellers and have amazing characters and enough tension to keep a story going.

What are some of the biggest mistakes you see bloggers and writers make when it comes to marketing their work?

Three things that I talk about all the time on my Prose on Fire newsletter : 1) They don't focus maniacally on building an audience through an email list, 2) they don't write addictively, using marketing psychology to keep people interested in their work, and 3) they don't launch often enough.

I go into waaay more detail about these in my newsletter.

What advice would you give to someone who dreams of one day publishing a book of her own?  

Patience! It's the worst thing to tell a writer. I hate hearing it too, which is why I'm saying it now. To remind myself to have patience with writing. It's not easy to make a living at it. A lot of people advise that if you can see yourself doing anything besides writing, you should do that instead.

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