INTERVIEW: ALEXANDRA MONIR

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Long and Short Reviews welcomes Alexandra Monir, author of the highly acclaimed Timeless. Timeless incorporates original music into the story, and since Alexandra’s a singer/songwriter, she wrote and recorded two songs from the book for readers to get a 3-dimensional experience. The songs are up on iTunes.

Alexandra was the biggest bookworm in the world growing up; from the time she was two, books were her favorite things. She would “read” picture books by looking at the illustrations and making up her own stories. She didn’t get serious about writing, however, until after high school.

The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, were Alexandra’s favorite books growing up. Burnett’s ability to tell enchanting stories with young protagonists and hints of magic influenced Alexandra’s own writing. She was also inspired by Edith Wharton’s novels when she was researching Old New York for Timeless.

90% of the time, Alexandra writes while listening to music in headphones.

“And it has to be headphones- I don’t know why, but just listening through normal speakers doesn’t get me in the zone as well!” she admitted.

Her other big passion is music, so if Alexandra’s not working on a book, then she’s recording or writing songs.

“Other than that, I love nothing more than traveling, hanging out with my boyfriend and friends, reading books and watching my favorite TV series and movies, trying new restaurants, and just having fun!” she said.

Timeless was Alexandra’s debut and she’s recently released an e-book short story in the series called “Secrets of the Time Society.” She’s currently working on the sequel to Timeless, Timekeeper, which is scheduled to release in December.

Alexandra told me that research for the series has been a fun combination of reading non-fiction books describing the time periods she’s writing about, as well as fiction written during the time. She’s also been watching movies and documentaries and visiting historical sites.

“Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?” I wondered. “If so, what do you do about it?”

“Listening to music and working out on the elliptical usually helps get me out of a rut and come up with ideas.”

The hardest part about writing for Alexandra is meeting deadlines. When she’s just staring a project, she writes at a leisurely pace, following her inspiration. Things change, however, once the deadlines start looming. She’ll completely clear her schedule and write for most the day.

“What is your most embarrassing moment?” I wondered.

“Probably every single gym class in middle school! Those were my awkward years, plus I was never an athlete- so wearing frumpy gym clothes and having to showcase my sports abilities in front of everyone was always mortifying!”

“Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?”

“I hear from my readers every day, and it means the world to me! I love hearing their thoughts on the story and Michele & Philip’s romance. A number of my readers are also aspiring writers themselves, and I love giving advice whenever I can.”

Alexandra’s favorite food is definitely desserts, she told me—all kinds of desserts. She’s not a big fan of spicy food, however.

“Have you ever eaten a crayon?” I asked.

“I just had to answer this question because it is so random! ” she said with a smile. “No, I haven’t eaten a crayon, I’m proud to say!”

Finally, I asked, “What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?”

“My biggest piece of advice is to read as much as you can, both classic literature (so you can see what’s strong enough to have lasted the test of time!) and also contemporary books that are doing well right now, so you can study what’s working at the moment. Then, write a little every day- even if you’re not working on a particular story or project, even just writing in your journal can help jog inspiration and refine your writing style.”

About the Author:

At the age of 25, author and recording artist Alexandra Monir released her debut young adult novel, Timeless. The book caught on quickly, with Amazon.com naming it one of the “Best Books of the Month” for January 2011, and Barnes & Noble featuring the title in their “Top Teen Picks.” The book went on to hit the Barnes & Noble Teen Bestsellers chart, and has been featured in a variety of media, from popular teen websites to The Huffington Post. Alexandra is currently writing the sequel, which publishes in December 2012.

Alexandra also integrated original music into the novel’s pages, writing two songs for the book, which she recorded with producer Michael Bearden (musical director of Michael Jackson’s last concert, This Is It). The songs were released on iTunes as a supplement to the book.

Alexandra currently resides in Los Angeles, California, where she is at work on further projects as a writer and singer.

When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor’s world, she is forced to uproot her life and move across the country to New York City, to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she’s never met. In their old Fifth Avenue mansion filled with a century’s worth of family secrets, Michele discovers a diary that hurtles her back in time to the year 1910. There, in the midst of the glamorous Gilded Age, Michele meets the young man with striking blue eyes who has haunted her dreams all her life – a man she always wished was real, but never imagined could actually exist. And she finds herself falling for him, into an otherworldly, time-crossed romance.

Michele is soon leading a double life, struggling to balance her contemporary high school world with her escapes into the past. But when she stumbles upon a terrible discovery, she is propelled on a race through history to save the boy she loves – a quest that will determine the fate of both of their lives.

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