Thanks for stopping by the blog today. The lovely Sarah Monzon has stopped by to talk about her latest release, All of You. Sarah was gracious enough to let me interview her. Plus, I'm sharing my review of All of You.
Let's get started!
About the Book
Jacqueline Rogers can rebuild anything...except the shambles of her past. A restorer of vintage planes, she's worked hard to earn the reputation of being one of the guys. The last thing she needs is a former Navy pilot fighting his own inner demons stepping in to defend her from dangers she thought she’d outrun long ago. Some battles must be fought alone.
After a freak accident severs Lieutenant Michael “Finch” Carrington’s dreams, as well as two limbs, he’s left with nothing but a fragile faith and a duty-bound promise to watch out for his friend’s baby sister. A promise she insists is as unnecessary as it is unappreciated. But when she turns the tables and begins to weld together the broken parts of his life, it may be his heart that is in need of protection.
With the world at war yet again, Alice Galloway rejects her father’s traditional expectations and offers her piloting expertise to the Air Transport Auxiliary. She may be a woman in a man’s world, but when she overhears key intelligence, she must find the strength to transcend boundaries and her own fears. Or countless people may die.
Sometimes the past reaches forward to bring hope to the future."
Add to shelf: Goodreads
I first got the inspiration for Michael’s character from Noah Galloway. Some may know him from “Dancing with the Stars”, but I first ran across a picture of him when I was scrolling through Pinterest one night. The image of him doing push-ups with one arm and a prosthetic leg got my writerly brain connecting on what the journey of someone with those experiences would look like.
I gravitated toward the Navy because my husband had wanted to join that branch since even before we met. Ironically enough, he did join when I was halfway through writing this story! Anyway, so that’s why I chose the Navy. Fighter pilots also have a bit of a notorious personality and I wanted to write a person with those characteristics.
As far as Michael’s career field research I thankfully had a lot of help with that. A fellow writer is married to an Air Force pilot and was able to answer a few questions. She also knew a fighter pilot who I was able to run scenarios by when I was trying to formulate a plausible way to maim a fighter pilot where he’d lose two of his limbs. Surprisingly hard to do! Finally, the same writer friend connected me with a retired Navy man who spent many years on aircraft carriers. He more than graciously answered all my questions and read through early drafts of that first chapter to get it just right.
Love that! So glad you were able to connect to people who could help you in your research. As a former military person, I loved how you delved into Finch’s feelings of unworthiness of the “hero” title. Did you talk to veterans who experienced this or are you just that intuitive? ;)
Will I sound crazy if I say Michael told me? I know I joke around that the characters talk to me, that they tell me their story and I merely write it down. But that’s kind of how it works. I try and get in their heads and listen, feel their emotions. And he did not think anything about his accident was heroic.
I'm certainly not going to call you crazy, or else I'll need the same label. :)
Let’s talk about Jack. I loved her character! Fierce, loyal, and full of love. How did you create her character and who would you cast to play her in the movie of All of You?
I’m so glad you love Jack because I kind of love her too. I have an older brother and my own kids have the same dynamic—older brother, younger sister. So I know firsthand and witness every day the toughness a younger sister has to develop just to survive the sibling environment. Jack has two older brothers. You can fill in the blanks on that one. She is tough and likes to take care of herself. Independent, she’s offended when someone suggests she can’t do something just because of her gender. It lends for some fun tension between her and Michael.
As far as casting Jack in a movie, Emma Watson is someone I image could play Jack well. I may have even pinned her on my All of You board on Pinterest. 😊
After seeing her in Beauty and the Beast, I can definitely picture that. Would you care to share your writing process? Take us into a day of Sarah Monzon’s life.
Do you have coffee in hand? Please do not attempt a day without it. My son jumps on our bed at the obscene hour of 5:30 almost every day. Ugh that boy. We do the normal morning stuff—worship, breakfast, sending dad off to work. I take my oldest to Pre-K then head to the YMCA where I drop off my 2-year-old in child watch and take my iPad over to the stationary bikes where I pedal and write for the next hour and a half and then collect my daughter and pick up my son. The rest of the day is spent in regular mommy and wifely duties—cleaning, cooking, chauffeuring.
As far as the writing process specifically, I’m a pantser or an organic writer. I loathe plotting. Loathe, I tell you. I refuse. I do brainstorm some with other close writerly friends, but mostly I pray and listen and then go from there. I’m often surprised by the direction the characters or the plot goes. In fact, in All of You Henry surprised me twice! I had originally thought to write him as a Royal Air Force pilot and got stuck for a few days until he finally told me he wasn’t a pilot, he was a journalist!
5:30?! And I thought mind were bad waking up at 6:30. And hooray for pantsing! *whispers* How do writers plot anyway?
What are three elements that are always present in your writing and why?
Prayer. I always start with prayer.
A happily ever after. Everything has to turn out all right in the end.
Insecurity. Although I hope that doesn’t show up in the story itself. It is something I struggle with in my writing, though.
I get that! I think that insecurity will help you lean on God though, so you're good. :) How about some fun fact questions?
Starburst or Skittles?
I like them both but if I had to choose one then I’d probably grab the Skittles. Although, really… CHOCOLATE!
Yay for chocolate! Skirts or dresses?
Skirts require the ability to pair a shirt with it whereas a dress is an all-in-one. So I say dress.
Makes sense to me! Flip flops or sandals?
Beaches or mountains?
Yes. And living in the Pacific Northwest, I’m blessed to have both!
I've seen them. So gorgeous! Definitely a blessing. And of course, readers want to know, what’s next in the book world for you? Will we be seeing more Carringtons or do you have something else for us?
You will be seeing more Carringtons. I think Adam and Amber may have something to say if they didn’t get their own spot on the limelight—especially Adam! Amber would probably be okay without the attention. I’m hoping to have Adam’s story ready late spring next year.
Right now I am working on another modern retelling of sorts of a classic Bible story like I did with my book, The Isaac Project. This book will be based off the story of Esther. I’m hoping to have it ready in the fall.
Yay! I love it when a favorite author has books in the work. Thank you so much for hanging with me today. Readers, do you have any questions for Ms. Monzon? Be sure to leave a comment!
Y’all, Ms. Monzon’s writing gets better each and every time. And the hero! *gasp* Michael “Finch” Carrington is perfect! Perfect, I say. And I’ll say it once again, perfect. Seriously, if he didn’t have the tall, dark, and handsome down pat, he had me at “Argh,” and that’s all I’m going to say about that. You’ll have to read the story to get that reference. And when you do, please come back and put me out of my misery and let me know it touched you just as much as it touched me.
Seriously, perfect hero.
And Jack. Oh, Jack Rogers. Jackie Rogers. Or Jacquelyn Rogers, to those who risk a bruising, is a formidable, lovable, awesome heroine. I truly wish she were real so I could count her as a friend. Her heart for people and her heart for Michael made me grin until my eyes watered (I don’t think I was crying yet). And when she kisses Finch to show him how much he’s worthy, y’all, you’re going to need the smelling salts. It’s romantic, breathtaking, and so very poignant.
Seriously, perfect heroine.
This book is just filled with all that gushy romantic stuff that makes me run to the romance section in the book store. I am SO happy I got to read this, because my day just got better for it. So what are you waiting for, go read it. :)
*I totally give this a 5 out of 5!
**I received a complimentary copy. This review is my own opinion.
About the Author
Her debut novel, The Isaac Project, skyrocketed to Amazon bestseller status while her Sophomore book, Finders Keepers, has finaled in contests such as the Inspy Awards and received a 4 star review from Romantic Times.
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