Author Karen E. Martin tackles the three questions she is asked most often by friends, fans and writer pals.
How did you come up with the name for the book, Modogamous? And how do you pronounce that, anyway?
Modogamous (pronounced the same as “monogamous” but with the word “dog” in the middle) was one of those words that came to me when I was joking around with friends a few years ago. I can’t remember the exact conversation, but we were talking about people who didn’t bother with dating, and preferred to just have pets instead. And that’s how the word was born…monogamous, but with a dog!
What was the hardest part of the book to write?
I think a lot of authors will agree with me on this one: the sex scenes. I really struggled with finding a good balance of sexual tension while still keeping the book on the lighter side. One thing that really helped was focusing on the kind of book I wanted to write. I wanted to write something lighthearted, romantic, and fun to read—but not too steamy. And when I looked at the scenes I’d written, I could see how they didn’t fit into the genre I was going for. I’d say about 90% of the sex scenes I wrote ended up on the cutting room floor. (But hey, those may end up in a book of erotica someday, you never know.)
Rereading some recent titles by authors I’ve enjoyed also helped a lot; I observed how they handled the sex scenes and thought about my own reactions to the language used. Did the author go too far? Reveal too much? Leave things so obscure that I really had no idea what was going on? Gauging my reaction to other authors’ scenes really helped me figure out where to draw the line on bednastics in my own book.
What was the best part about writing this book? The worst part?
The best part? It was fun! (Even though it was a lot of work.) I’ve spent so many years writing “for hire” that writing something just for fun again was really enjoyable. Sometimes we get so busy with “real life” and being “busy” that we forget how good it feels to stretch our creative capacities, so that was really nice to rediscover.
The worst part? The learning curve. After I got the first rough draft written (50K+ words, thanks to NaNoWriMo 2012), I sat back and read what I’d wrote, and immediately starting finding all kinds of gaps that needed to be addressed in the setting, characters, plotting, and so forth. Writing isolated scenes and trying to get them to hang together just didn’t work (but it was an interesting experiment, writing by the seat of my pants like that). I ended up cutting at least a third of that initial draft (and even some scenes I really loved) because they just didn’t fit the vision of the book I had in my mind.
The publishing process, too, has been a lot to take in. One year ago today, I had no idea of the lengths authors must go to in order to make their work stand out in the crowd in this day and age. Social media, blogging, giveaways, marketing, online events—and of course the technical aspects of actually hitting “publish,” from finding a cover artist and designer, to formatting your manuscript in a way that won’t get eaten alive by Smashword’s Meatgrinder when you upload it. I feel like I’ve completed the equivalent of a Masters degree, with all the new information and tasks I’ve learned to do this year. It’s been rather exhausting, I won’t lie—but I’m also really proud of myself, looking back on all the hard work I’ve put into it.
Kate Adams has it all figured out. Five years out of college, she’s got a steady job, a home she loves in the big city, and good friends who always keep her laughing: her stylish but nosy roommate Evette, happily-married Cecie, and of course, good old Mitch, her seriously cute co-worker who’s been stuck in the Friend Zone since the day they met. Everything is going just fine—until the night Kate crosses the line with Mitch, and the boundaries between friendship and love begin to blur. Things get even more complicated when hunky JP enters the scene. What’s a girl to do? Add to the mix a spunky little pug Kate never expected to fall for, and her neatly-ordered life is starting to look more like a dog’s dinner. Maybe her roommate has the right idea after all: forget the men, and stick with a canine companion instead. It’s time for Kate to figure out what she really wants in life. But can she dig her way out of the mess she’s created before she ends up permanently in the doghouse?
Karen E. Martin, M.Ed. is a full-time freelance writer/editor. She has been in the publishing business since 2004, working on books and publications for major and independent publishers, universities, businesses, and private individuals. Before entering the field of publishing, Karen worked as a Senior EFL Fellow (English as a Foreign Language) for the U.S. Department of State in Romania, a Junior EFL Fellow for the U.S. Department of State in Jordan, and a teacher-trainer for the U.S Peace Corps in Mauritania, Jordan, Romania, and Morocco. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer for two years, teaching English in the Errachidia Province of Morocco. This is her first novel.