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March 1st Author Stalker with Monique Mulligan!

The gorgeous Monique.

Tea, cupcakes and books galore...

what more could a girl want!

Allow me to introduce you to my next victim, former journalist, editor and publisher Monique Mulligan, whose precious kitty Boogle even has her own Instagram page

I devoured every morsel of Monique's debut contemporary fiction novel, Wherever You Go, salivating over the delicious supper club scenes where she not only takes the reader on a global culinary adventure, but shows how important a sense of community and belonging can be in recovering from great trauma.

Your heart will be breaking for Amy & Matt, with Monique taking her characters to some very dark places, but the novel leaves you with a feeling of hope, a sense that despite great pain life does go on, and although you will never be quite the same you will learn how to create a new sense of normal.

I was sorry to turn the last page of this beautiful and compelling novel, and cannot wait to see what Monique has in store for us next!

Well, without further ado, I will hand you over the to fabulous Monique.xx

Q1: What piece of advice do you wish you'd been given when working on your very first manuscript?

A: Don’t be afraid of conflict - know what your character’s problem is and don’t make it easy for them to overcome it. Throw everything at them!

Q2: If you could have written ANY book besides your own, what would it be?

A: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. As a reader, it ticks so many boxes: it’s haunting, suspenseful, creepy, ambiguous. As a writer, it’s all those things, but the characterisation and plotting are so skillfully done that I’m always left awed.

But one thing I have learnt is this - it’s one thing to admire the voices and styles of the many brilliant writers out there, but another to find and develop my own. That’s what I work on every time I write - finding my own Monique voice.

Where the magic happens!

Q3: What is the first book that made you cry?

A: Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner. I loved that story so much and read it over and over. I also remember watching the TV series on a tiny TV screen in a room at the local library after school. When my boys were about 10 and 8, I read the book to them, thinking as I read, that they might find the language too old-fashioned. But they loved it and when I got to that scene, the one that makes me cry every time, they both burst into tears and I sobbed my way through the scene. Even now, I’m tearing up. “Oh, Judy” …

Q4: What is your favourite drink? Coffee, tea, wine or…

A: They are all my favourites at different times. Every afternoon after work, my husband makes flat whites for us and we sit together and debrief. I like my coffee strong, but don’t drink instant at all.

Most evenings we have a glass of wine together - we both enjoy complex, dry wines, and like making day trips to the Swan Valley region (or weekend trips to Margaret River) for a spot of wine tasting. And when I write, I have a pot of tea on my desk - which tea I drink depends on my mood - and I always drink it from a pretty tea cup. (I am not a coffee drinker but you had me at wine and tea...Shelley.xx)

Q5: What is the next book on your TBR (to be read) pile?

A: I’m about to read Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. I’ve heard good things about it and when I saw it in the library the other day, I snatched it up.

Q6: Choose one male & one female character from your novel. In a film adaptation, who would you love to see play them?

A: For Amy, I would love someone like Rose Byrne. For Matt, I’d say Simon Baker - he can pass for someone nearly 40, right?

Q7: Name one thing you couldn't live without?

A: Food (and people to share it with).

'My writing buddy, Boogle. She loves to keep my lap warm when I write. She's about 14 now and I love her to bits.'

Q8: What is your dream holiday destination?

A: Oh Michelle, I could never limit that answer to one place. Right now, probably because it’s off-limits, I am yearning to go back to Paris, Edinburgh and London - we visited those cities in 2019 (as well as Cornwall and Devon) and I feel I am not done with them yet. But I also want to see more of the UK, Ireland and France, as well as Germany and Italy … and the Scandinavian countries … and New Zealand … and the list goes on.

I had my family young so always said I would travel after they grew up, and over the years I’ve collected a rather long wish list! We had planned to visit Germany at the end of 2021, but that’s not looking likely for at least another year.

You can see my yearning for travel reflected in one of the characters in Wherever You Go, and the Around the World Supper Club in this book was borne from this yearning. (Oh how I wish I could have joined the table for the Supper Club. Shelley.xx)

Q9: If you had to choose a career besides writer, what would it be?

A: I’d own a literary café with beautiful books, good coffee, a beautiful selection of teas, and delicious cakes, and room for author chats. I even have a name picked out and I’ll probably write it into a book one day.

(And I would be the first customer through the door! It reminds me of Milly Johnson's novel The Teashop on the Corner We are SO lucky in Sydney to have a place just like this, the magical Anna's Shop Around the Corner in Cronulla. Shelley.xx)

Q10: How long does it take you to complete your first draft?

A: Ages! I’m not a fast writer at all (unless I’m writing media releases and newspaper articles). I “slow-cook” my words, sometimes lingering over the scenes as though I’m part of them, especially with scenes involving a lot of description (i.e. the feasts my characters have) or intense emotion. I have to get them right before I move on.

Some scenes I’m able to draft faster, writing in fragmented sentences because I have an idea and I need to run with it. I fill in the gaps later.

I work with how I feel on the day, and for me, different scenes call for different methods. I believe you have to find your own way - there isn’t one way to write that fits us all.

A life-shattering tragedy threatens to tear apart chef Amy Bennet’s marriage. Desperate to save it, she moves with her husband Matt to Blackwood, a country town where no one knows who they are.

Forced to deal with her crumbling marriage and the crippling grief that follows her wherever she goes, Amy turns to what she knows best: cooking. She opens a café showcasing regional seasonal produce, and forms the Around the World Supper Club, serving mouth-watering feasts to new friends. As her passion for food returns, she finds a place for herself in Blackwood. But when a Pandora’s Box of shame and blame is unlocked, Matt gives Amy an ultimatum that takes their marriage to the edge. Rich with unexpected characters and extraordinary insight, Wherever You Go is a powerful and ultimately uplifting tale of heartbreaking loss, recovery, and redemption. "Unfolding with clear-eyed, soulful understanding and with deep respect for her characters, Mulligan’s debut is a novel for those who crave stories about real people grappling with real life. A tender tale crafted with love and steeped in the healing togetherness that comes from sharing great food.” - Kim Kelly

Thank you Monique for being my March 1st Author Stalker victim. xx

Wherever You Go is available in print and ebook from all online booksellers, such as Booktopia and Book Depository. You can buy signed copies via Monique's website

If you would like to find out more about Monique, you can find her here:

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