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1) Tell us about yourself? I consider myself an artist. My artistic medium is paper ink and words. When I am doing anything that has to do with writing or reading I lose all track of time because I love it so much. I am an author, poet, motivational speaker and radio show host. My mission in life is to use my words to entertain, encourage, inspire and educate.
2) What drove you to pick up that pen for the first time? I started out by journaling to process my emotions. The journal entries led to poems, and then one day I decided to write a book. After seeing my first book in print, I was addicted. I have not turned back since. Now I am on book number four.
3) You mention on your website that you are a youth development expert. What exactly is the role of a your development expert? Has your work as a youth development expert influenced your writing? In undergraduate school I studied elementary education and in graduate school I studied social work with a focus on youth. After college I enrolled in the High/Scope Educational Research Foundations Trainer Certification Program. I have worked with youth in several capacities since I was a teenager. I have been everything from a classroom teacher to a camp counselor to an after-school program director. I have contributed to literature in the field of youth work as well as curriculum materials based upon the research based best practice approach to youth development. My work with youth directly effects my writing because I am still very connected with youth and I want to inspire and give them something positive to aspire to. I write my urban fiction with them in mind. I know that urban fiction and street lit is what they are into because I see them reading it. So I write story lines that are real, but I don't use any profanity and I always include a powerful inspirational message
4) You have a number of books, essays and poems available to the reading public. Could you give us a brief list of your titles as well as the where we can find your essays and poetry. How many of these books feature plus size characters or are written for a plus size audience? The titles with two stars are written directly for the plus sized audience, the titles with one start have parts that are for the plus sized audience.
- **Okay to Be Me in Chicken Soup for the Girl's Soul (Short Story)
- **The Ups and Downs of Being Round (Novel)
- New Directions in Youth Development (Non-Fiction-Contributing Author to Chapter 3
- *Taste My Soul (Poetry)
- FLOSS (Urban Fiction)
- 44th (Poem within a book about Barack Obama)
- *Swag (Urban Fiction)
- ** Fat Girl (Poem) and Don't Wait for the Weight (Essay) in The Souls of My Young Sisters (Anthology-March 2010)
- The Perfect Stranger (Short Story) in Bedtime Stories 3 (Anthology-August 2010)
6) Do you have more Curvy books (books featuring plus size characters) in the works? If so can we get a sneak peek of what is in stored for us lovers of Curvy Books? YES! Right now I am working on the sequel to The Ups and Downs if Being Round. It is called The Flip Side of Fat. It talks about what its like living in a skinny body when your mind still tells you that you are fat. I am trying to decide whether I want to make it fiction based on my life like the Ups and Downs of Being Round, or just the straight up true story.
7) Tell us about your newest release Swag. What is it about? How can fans of your work purchase a copy of Swag. Swag is my pride and joy. Here is the synopsis...Noelle Dresden stepped out on faith and left her full-time job to pursue her passion: singing. Six months later, her singing career hasn't gone much of anywhere and neither has her relationship with her charismatic, yet sneaky boyfriend, Jonah. Although Jonah loves Noelle, he’s not willing to give her the commitment and ring she so desperately wants. After Jonah uses Noelle’s hopes of an engagement for his benefit, Noelle gets fed up and decides to move forward with her career…with or without Jonah.Her pursuit leads her to accept an invitation to be a house guest on the popular, hit reality show, House of Swag. On the show, aspiring entertainers with the potential to take it to the next level are trained to become multifaceted mega stars. While in the house, Noelle catches the eye of the show’s creator, Monroe "Paper" Chase. He uses his good looks and smooth talk to charm her, then he uses his money and power to attempt to subtract Jonah from the equation. Drama only escalates when Noelle has to deal with an envious, hating house guest who is not beyond trying to bring Noelle down to get ahead.As Noelle rises toward super stardom, she has some difficult choices to make. What lies ahead of her looks so much better than what she has left behind. Will she work to keep the love that she and Jonah shares alive, or will she choose fame, fortune and a man who can make all of her dreams come true?Readers can buy Swag on my website at http://www.monicamariejones.com/ or on http://www.amazon.com/
8) What are you reading now? Right now I am reading "Just A Little Boy Crazy" by Teen Author Shelbie Moore, but I am desperately trying to get my hands on a copy of "The Ideal Wife" by Jacquelin Thomas.
9) Who are your favorite authors? My favorite author of all time is Jacquelin Thomas. I also enjoy Robyn Williams, Eric Jerome Dickey, Omar Tyree, T.D. Jakes and Francine Rivers.
10) Tell us about the online and offline personal appearances you have planned over the next couple of months. Where can readers connect with you up close and personal? My online appearances include features on the Motown Writers Network and Michigan Literary Network Sites (http://www.motownwriters.com/), Goddess Girl Online Magazine for Teens (http://www.freewebs.com/goddessmag), My weekly column on the I'm A Huge Deal website (http://www.imahugedeal.com/), My feature on the Detroit Blog on Time Magazine's Website (http://detroit.blogs.time.com/2009/09/25/writing-new-stories-about-detroit/)
My offline events include the Essence Of Motown Literary Jam, the second weekend of November as well as visits to Chicago, Austin and New Mexico.
11) How can readers get in contact with you? Do you have a website? Yes, readers can get in contact with me on all of the social networks including Facebook (Monica Marie Jones), Twitter (@monicamjones), Myspace (www.myspace.com/monicamariejones) and of course my website http://www.monicamariejones.com/. Readers can also email me directly at email@example.com
12) What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you? I want my readers to know that, December will make two years since I stepped out on faith and left my full time job to pursue my passion of writing wholeheartedly. Since then, the blessings have been infinite and I'm not sure that there would have been a space for them if I had not let go and trusted that the walk in my purpose would be a challenging yet rewarding journey. I said all of that to say, chase that dream until you catch it then hang on tight for a wild yet fulfilling ride!
About Monica Marie Jones: Monica Marie Jones is an author whose published works include The Ups and Downs of Being Round (Fiction/Self-Help), Taste My Soul (Poetry) and FLOSS (Urban Fiction). She is a contributing author in Chicken Soup for the Girls Soul, New Directions for Youth Development, and 44th (A full color coffee table book about President Barack Obama that is a compilation of front page reprints of actual African-American published newspapers and poetry.) She has also contributed to several publications and youth development training materials for the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation. She has worked as a columnist and freelance writer for various publications and websites including the Michigan Front Page Newspaper and is an active member of the Motown Writer's Network where she is the host of her own show, “Marketing and Motivation Mondays with Monica Marie Jones” on the Michigan Literary Network Radio.