Welcome to my world and beyond...

A collection of snippets of the books I write and, occasionally, my life and the things that inspire my writing...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Girl Under Glass: one awesome book.

What do you do when you’re trapped between death and the devil? To protect her young daughter from a madman and a tyrant, Rachel Pryne must trust an enemy—one of the alien warriors who conquered Earth.

It is 2032, the Ohnenrai—Earth’s humanoid alien conquerors—orbit the planet, and Terran reproduction is failing. Rachel, a trained medic, is struggling to protect her seven-year-old daughter, Pearl, from the sexual predation of their penal colony’s leader. Having fathered the girl by rape, he now intends to take her on her eighth birthday, only six weeks away.

Then Rachel finds her unlikely champion—an injured Ohnenrai soldier who appears in her yard one stormy evening. She knows she may be choosing death over the devil in trusting this warrior, but she doesn’t know that her trust, and her DNA, will make her one of the most important and endangered people to ever set foot aboard an Ohnenrai starship.


Today, we are lucky to have the always interesting Monica Enderle Pierce here with us. She’s quite amiably agreed to be interrogated about writing, and about her recently released Scifi Romance novel, “Girl Under Glass”.

TC: Hi Monica, thank you for giving us a bit of your time. Your book, Girl Under Glass, is one of the best scifi-romance books I’ve ever read.

MEP: Wow! Thank you, Teresa, both for the generous compliment and for hosting me here. I’m a bit taken aback by all the wonderful support and feedback I’ve been getting for this book. :D

TC: The writing community really pulls together, and the feedback? No surprise it's good. It matches your book!  Can you tell us where you got the idea for the story?

MEP: It came from a personal challenge and brainstorming with my mother. With each new project, I like to challenge myself, maybe to try a new genre or an unusual technique or a different POV. In this case, the challenge was to write a love story. So then I was brainstorming with my mother, who is actually a well-published children’s author (Judith Ross Enderle – go, Mom!), and we began playing What If? What if there’s a woman living in the middle of nowhere? And what if a strange man stumbles into her yard? And what if she’s part of an experiment but doesn’t know it? Does he? And what if she has a child to protect
? At that point, I knew it would be post-apocalyptic/dystopian, I knew my hero would be a humanoid alien, and I knew I wanted to write a sci/fi novel that would appeal to both sci/fi and non-sci/fi readers.

TC: Wonderful!  I agree, “Go mom!”  And, “what if” is a great way to brainstorm. This book—is it a series? If so, how many books do you see when the series is complete?

MEP: Yes, Girl Under Glass is part of an unnamed series. (I need a title. Suggestions anyone?) There will be three books and a collection of short prequel stories. I also have ideas for a series about Pearl. (I can’t say more about that because it contains spoilers for the third Rachel and Ehtishem book.)

TC: And we don’t want spoilers, well, maybe just a little. Nah… we can wait. 
Which character was your favorite to write?

MEP: Tough question. I’m going to say Ehtishem because he was the most challenging. He needed to be self-controlled, but not cold and unlikeable. So I was careful in crafting his dialogue and, even more importantly, his body language. I also needed him to be alien, but not so much so that he became a caricature or that Rachel’s attraction to him became unbelievable. In the end, even after I’d finished the book, I went back and changed some of his physical characteristics to make him (and the Ohnenrai) more alien.

TC: You did an amazing job writing Ehtishem. Easily one of the most intriguing alien characters I’ve ever read.  Rachel is not your average romance heroine. She’s strong and feisty. And she’s smart. Have you always conceived of your main character being this person?

MEP: Absolutely! I do not like weak heroines. Maybe because I have two older brothers and my parents made sure that I knew that I was as capable as any boy. For me, a heroine has to hold her own. She can want a man (or woman), but she shouldn’t need him/her. This is a message I’m really trying to instill in my young daughter. It’s one that, unfortunately, I think has been lost to a lot of women. They end up in terrible relationships and don’t have the self-reliance to walk away or avoid them in the first place. (Okay, climbing off my soapbox.)

TC: No hurry. You made a lot of sense while standing on it--and I agreed with what you had to say.  I do like that you write characters who epitomize your view.  What are you writing now? (I’m hoping…hoping…please let the answer be the sequel to Girl Under Glass.)

MEP: You guessed it! I’m working on The Glass Asylum, as well as a prequel short story about Ehtishem. (And I’m about to release A Sad Jar of Atoms, the first prequel short about Rachel.) Since Girl Under Glass is my first novel, I’ve found it a bit tricky to balance marketing with writing the next book, but I’m beginning to hit my stride. TGA is outlined and I’m happily diving into the meat of the story now.

TC: I have to give a big “WOOT!” to the sequel.  And just let me do a little happy dance here.  Alright, all settled down now. But you really made my day!

Girl Under Glass was a semi-finalist this year in the ABNA. Congratulations on that achievement. Do you have any advice for other writers considering entering a manuscript in the ABNA in 2013?

MEP:  Thank you! I say, go for it. But understand the odds involved and the factors that go into judging. Choosing the winner is a business decision for the sponsors (Penguin, in this case), not a feel-good exercise for writers. Few awards attract as much competition, and of the 10,000 entries they accept, only six move into the finals. It was nice to end up in the top 100, but I was realistic about my chances of winning, so I wasn’t disappointed when Girl Under Glass was knocked out. The ABNA judging is progressive and the feedback comes from Amazon top reviewers and, later, Publishers Weekly staff. We’re not talking about your mom and her book group. The reviews are honest and blunt, and as the competition progressed, I saw a lot of writers struggling when their work didn’t advance. They took the rejection personally. I guess my point is that if you’re not able to separate your emotions from your work, you might want to give the ABNA a lot of thought before you push: Submit.

TC: Are you a planner or a pantser?

MEP:  Both. First I create a broad outline that covers each chapter, then I use Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey to get an understanding of the steps my character(s) will take throughout the course of the novel. Then I dive in and write whatever scenes are demanding to escape my brain, not worrying about where they fall in the novel. Once I get all those out, I return to my outline, make adjustments that may have arisen, and flesh out all the details. Then I go back to the book’s beginning and write methodically, adhering to the revised outline.

TC: A nice balance of the two.  Do your characters talk to each other—or to you, in your head? (If they do) Can you describe their voices?

MEP: I have one who’s as much my muse as he is my character; we’ve been talking for three years. Occasionally I’ll hear others talking amongst themselves about me. (Weird, I know; surely a sign of a mental disorder.) While my muse is the only one I communicate with consistently, I “see” all my characters and scenes vividly. A lot of readers have remarked that Girl Under Glass is like watching a movie and that’s how writing is for me, very vivid, very detailed, and very film-like.

TC: Here, are there any questions you’d like to add to this, Monica.  An opportunity to get any news, announcements, etc. out there. If you have any suggestions, feel free to suggest away!

MEP:  Yes! I’d like to gift an ebook copy of Girl Under Glass to two of your readers, Teresa. (I’ll let you decide the best method for choosing winners – Scissors, Paper, Rock; thumb wrestling; belching contest….)

TC: Well, how about this, Monica? If a reader leaves a comment here, they’ll get their name thrown in the hat. If they go to Amazon, and *like* Girl Under Glass, they’ll get their name thrown in again.  And if they follow you on Twitter, they'll get an additional entry.   And to be fair, if someone has already *liked* your book on Amazon, or followed you on Twitter, and they mention that in the comments, they’ll get the additional entries.


MEP: That’s perfect, although I’d give an extra entry to anyone who entered the belching contest….

Just for fun, and to relieve all of the stress this interview has assuredly caused, I’ll throw a couple of my pet burning questions at you.

You get to choose one of these items to play with for a day. Will it be a bulldozer or a helicopter?

MEP: Hmmm. Well, the destructive, childish part of me wants the bulldozer, but the writer in me is gonna win out and take the helicopter. An opportunity to see the world from above and among the buildings and trees is just too great to pass up. When is it coming?

TC: When? I’ve made no arrangements yet. I’ll have to see what I can do. Probably better wait until I am done laughing. :-)

Much less stressful than being interrogated by yours truly, you now have to perform in a Broadway show. But, you do get to choose which character you will play. So, who will it be?

MEP: Snoopy, so I can do the Snoopy Dance and fight the Red Baron.

TC: I’m sure you’ll do a spectacular job!

TC: Thanks for your time. And best wishes on Girl Under Glass, and all related books! I am a fan, and invite others to join me.

MEP: Thank you, Teresa. This has been awesome!

TC: You are so welcome, Monica!


  1. Thank you, again, Teresa! Now I feel all important, and smart, and stuff. ;D

    1. Ha! I had a hand in that?? Now...that made ME feel all important, and smart, and stuff. :-) lol...

  2. *Buuuuurrrrp!* I figured I'd get the belching contest out of the way at the start - and trust me, I could win a belching contest against a 12 year-old boy, it just doesn't translate as well in print. And the book has been liked, and I stalk... I mean follow Monica on Twitter.

    And since I already have the ebook, I don't need an entry into the contest, I just popped by to show my support for Monica and her writing (which is awesome!!!!)

    Now... when do we start thumb wrestling... I've been doing calisthenics to prepare.

    1. Oh, no, run, Teresa! It's the crazy lady who... Oh, hi, LK. I didn't see you there.... :D By which I mean, awww, thanks for all the support. You've stalked me from the very start. Thanks, hon!

    2. LOLOL...the belching contest. LK, I can see you are a tough competitor!

      Well, Monica, LK is the best kind of "stalker" to have ! :-)

      Thanks for dropping by to support Monica and GUG. :-)

  3. Sounds like a fantastic book. I'm heading over to check it out.


  4. Monica, I bought your book for my kindle on German Amazon yesterday and I'll glady buy everything you put out there! I was not kidding about those coffee mugs and posters. :)
    Teresa you did an awesome job with this interview!! Just one question, just out of curiosity: how did you guys do the interview? Via live chat or did you use Skype?
    I'm sorry to be not much of a belcher, but if it was a farting contest, I'd definitely win. I have been farting for the CIA for years.

    1. Aw, thanks, Dana! Now I'm tempted to come up with the most ridiculous tie-in items just to see if you'll buy them. I know! Girl Under Glass Whoopee Cushions! They do the fartin' for ya. Shhh! Don't tell the CIA. :D

      Teresa did do an awesome job! The interview was conducted in print. Teresa sent me the questions, I returned answers, she wrote them up, and then let me do any final tweaks before she posted. Easy-peasy and very fun.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. And uber thanks for buying GUG! My first German purchase. You'll always be special to me, Dana. *sniff*

    2. Oh, you two have me giggling now!

      Dana--it was my first interview--and Monica's too. We had fun figuring out how it works ;-)

      The belching contest? I'm glad I can't be a participant (wouldn't be right with this post on my blog'n all). Lol...Farting...CIA...lolz...

      What a fun group--here to applaud a great book :-)

  5. Girl Under Glass really is a marvelous read. I wouldn't hesitate before recommending it to my friends, and I'm not usually a fan of dystopian or sci-fi.

    Teresa, you did a great job with this interview.

    1. :D Thank you, Jess! Hearing that you'd recommend GUG makes me smile. That's worth all the sleep deprivation. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  6. Girl Under Glass sounds like a great story, and I wish you the best of luck Monica! Teresa, I really enjoyed your interview, and you both work well together! Julie

    1. Thanks, Julie! I'm so glad you stopped by and left a comment :-)

  7. Thank you, Julie! Teresa's not just a great interviewer, she's a terrific advocate. Every writer should be so lucky.

  8. Wow! I got all tangled up in a busy weekend and I've missed the party going here? Woot! Monica and Girl Under Glass deserves a party!

  9. Where've *hic* where've *hic* Where've you been? Thshish ish a grea pardy....