Saturday, December 22, 2012

Guest Post: An Author's Journey by Queenbe Monyei

An Author's Journey

Written by: Author Queenbe Monyei

It was around late November, I was in my room staring at my computer as I usually do, when I decided that I would write the story that would later be known as Nalia and the Potion Maker. It was a story that  I had planned on writing several years from now. It had only been a few months since I had moved back to Los Angeles after spending a year in London in grad school and a year in Turkey teaching English. Even though I was back in my home town, it felt strange. 

When you move you have this notion that the place you call home will somehow stand still. That time will wait just for you. It won’t leave or abandon you the same way you have done to it. But as many people who move abroad and then return home discover, everything feels different. Suddenly, you are in culture shock over a culture you once called your own. 

The bad state of the economy, the desperation of failed job searches and the reality that I was different from everything around me, quickly brought upon what I call the “dark days.” It would be the breeding ground for the world that I would create for Nalia. It is a place where you could be and do anything, all with the power of your imagination. The development of Nalia’s world was a chance to enter a place very far from the one that I was in. It was my escape. My faded light at the end of a very long tunnel. 

It’s not like it was my first attempt at a novel or even a screenplay. As with most writers, I had my many failed attempts, mostly, because the stories I was writing weren’t really my own. They weren’t coming from a place that I was afraid to show anyone else. All my fears, desires and hopes I gave to Nalia. Although the first few chapters of the book are highly autobiographical(my father’s passing, my distant mother, my many hospital visits and the incessant bullying), Nalia is still her own person, and maybe a person that only those closest to me truly understand. 

I needed to give her the footstool of my own experiences before I could let her grow into her own. Even so, I must admit that she, as a character, will not truly develop until the second book. Perhaps this is because the beginning was an exploration; a way for me to discover where I could take the story and what I was burning deep inside to say. Whatever it was, it was waiting, clawing, scratching, and fighting to get out. 

There was a strange freedom once the book was done. It is something that I can’t quite describe, and any words I could give wouldn’t do it justice. I can say, for the first time in a while, the days aren’t so dark and the tunnels don’t seem so long. 

There is something I like to do in my writing, which I call my subtle hints and foreshadowing. There is a part in chapter 2 where it says “[Nalia] was going to have to stumble a bit in the dark to make it to the light . . .” There is a literal meaning to this as she was trying to get to the light switch in the back of a dark attic but it is also apropos to the journey that Nalia will take as she gets older. 

I have learned that writing requires all you have. If you hold back your readers will know. Putting yourself out there for the whole world to critique and judge is no easy task, but it must be what every aspiring writer MUST be willing to do. My motto for myself, as the pesky nuisance of writer’s block attempts to slither in, is to reme
mber that the story is there, if you have the courage to write it.

About the Author: Queenbe Monyei was born in Los Angeles, but spent a few years of her childhood in boarding school in the very cold south of England. After she graduated college, she taught English for a year in Turkey then went to grad school in London. 

She's a train hopping, Miles Davis and Chopin listening, Eiffel Tower climbing, oil painting, shrimp and steak eating, art galleria going, Harry Potter reading sort of person.

Nalia and the Potion Maker is her first YA fantasy novel. People stealing memories. Potions. Unrequited love. A villain who has a messed up childhood. Long lost love. Action. Adventure. Near death experiences. Love, betrayal, and redemption.

Where to Find the Author

**Originally Published on TeamNerd Reviews**

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