In my college day, I joined the newly formed Drill Team. We marched in formation where uniformity, smooth transitions, difficulty of choreography, body placement and alignment and so much more mattered. If there was going to be a solo performance, the person did her part and then, fit right back into the formation so we could move as one. The performance was a hit when our peers cheered from the bleachers and then offered a rousing ovation at the end.
And that was probably the last time that I participated in anything where I’d been in step with others, matching my movements with the group, and staying in my lane.
|One to Love is released April 1, 2015|
You see, from the moment that I can remember my parents and teachers reading to me, they unlocked my imagination to release a creative spirit that would no longer be caged. From the childhood books by Enid Blyton that made me want to head off to boarding school for the fun times, or from the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys series and creepy Alfred Hitchcock series that made me fall in love with suspenseful tales, or the beginning of my love for romance with my high school consumption of Barbara Cartland’s and Harlequin/Mills and Boon’s books, I devoured story after story because it fed my voracious appetite to jump in and stay a while.
That love for books probably decided my college major in English. I can still remember my passion for the Arthurian legends and talking about them in class. Add Dickens, Shakespeare, Faulkner, and Dante to the mix and my reading palette expanded, soaking it all in. After college, the writing bug hovered and zapped me at the right time with a wonderful infectious desire to start writing my own stories.
Once I carved that outlet for my imagination, I knew that being an author was my passion. While people offered advice about the hardships of writing, the odds of success, the difficulty to making a living from writing, and on and on, I still kept at the dream. I’m not going to bash the messengers for accuracy to some of their messages. I think it’s always necessary to be aware of the realities. But that’s when the drum beat sounds for only me to hear--a beat in rhythm with my steps, my passion and desire to be a writer.
Going on 13 years from the first book, Open Your Heart, published by BET Books, to my upcoming April release, One to Love, with Harlequin Kimani, I have enjoyed this sometimes solitary, offbeat journey marching to the beat of my own drum.
Michelle Monkouis a multi-published author with over 20 books in print and digital. She began her writing career in 2002 with Black Entertainment Television (BET) Books, Arabesque imprint. She writes contemporary romances, paranormal/urban fantasy, and publishes her backlist and original stories on her independent digital platform, Stella Maris Publishing. Her stories speak to the heart and offer that happy-ever-after ending for the romance fiction reader.
Michelle is also an active participant with romance writers’ advocacy efforts. She served on the boards and as president of Washington Romance Writers as well as president of the 10,000-member Romance Writers of America organization. She’s a weekly contributor on USA TODAY’s Happy Ever After Blog providing commentary on romance fiction.
She resides in Maryland writing many more stories to fill the hands and e-readers of romantic bookaholics. Michelle's One to Love is available for purchase this week. Preorder your copy now and catch Michelle's fabulous other titles if you're looking for your next great romance novel to read.
Find Michelle on Twitter at @MichelleMonkou and on Facebook or visit her at her website to find out about her latest releases.