I’m delighted to welcome Monica Epstein here today for an interview and a look at her debut romance from The Wild Rose Press, Where There Is Will.
Happy New Year, Monica, so glad to have you here today. Tell us a little about Where There Is Will.
Where There Is Will is about a forty-something woman with self-esteem issues who learns to love herself enough to pursue her dreams. At the same time, she falls in love with a man nearly half her age.
When she moves to London following her divorce, Michelle Loeser has no interest in looking for love. She needs to focus on surviving without her ex’s six-figure income, coping with a severe fear of heights, and rebuilding her confidence. And if she keeps her promise to her best friend, she’ll pursue her passion for writing too.
Will Sheridan found his passion early in life. At age eleven, he was cast in the starring role in a film series. Now, at the age of 25, he’s a celebrity at a crossroads in his career. He has no time for women who don’t understand his priorities.
When Will offers to help Michelle acclimate to the unfamiliar city in exchange for cooking lessons, she figures what’s the harm? But jealous fans and coworkers, eager paparazzi, and a distrustful mother see it differently
What inspired this story?
I think I was inspired by a midlife crisis! A part of me was in denial about being middle-aged. Learning that my young adult son liked some of the same music as I went to my head. I began thinking I was hip, cool, awesome, or whatever the current term was for someone who kept up with trends. And to prove this, I wrote a short story about a middle-aged woman who tried to impress a twenty-something man with her taste in music. I used real songs on my iPod to back up my claim. When I realized I had left the story open ended, I couldn’t resist writing more. And then more and more, and before I knew it, I had a book-length manuscript.
BTW, my novel’s first chapter only slightly resembles that original short story.
What are your writing goals for this year?
I plan to write a second novel, but I’m having trouble pinning it down. Even though I promised myself I’d never do it again, I might just start a story and see where it takes me. That’s how I wrote Where There Is Will.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Being in a different world. I think that’s what I like most about reading too. I’m happy with my life, but I enjoy living in pretend worlds, as well. I’ve been telling stories in my head since I can remember and they almost always include me—not the real me, but a made up version of me. I think each heroine I write will have a part of me within her.
What did you learn from writing your first book or what do you wish you’d known before becoming published?
I learned SO much from writing my first book. I tell people I wrote a book in less than a year, and then I spent three more years learning how to write a book: how to show, not tell, how to remove scenes that don’t move the story forward no matter how much I like them, how to be more creative than using a cliché, and so on.
Do you have a favorite time of day for writing?
I like to write in the late morning, accompanied by a strong cup of coffee, but I only have that luxury on weekends because I have a day job. Most of my writing is done in the evening and on weekends.
What is your favorite scene from this story and why?
I’m not sure I can pick a favorite, but one of my favorites is when the heroine gets some good news but all she can see is the bad side of it. When the hero confronts her, she storms off, and he follows, dressed only in a towel. This would be a compromising position for anyone, but he’s a celebrity, so, of course, it makes the tabloids and opens a new can of worms for the couple.
What is your favorite food to cook or eat?
I absolutely love Indian food. The flavors are incredible. I was introduced to it when I visited London in my twenties. My husband and I ate it three times in that one week. We have a family tradition that on our birthday we can choose any restaurant to have dinner. I always choose an Indian restaurant.
What do you like to read?
My taste in books varies. I love women’s fiction and contemporary romance. I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter series and I’ve enjoyed a few other fantasies, as well. Right now I’m reading a paranormal romantic suspense series! The bottom line is I want to get lost in their world while I’m reading, and I don’t want to have to think too much. If I have to work too hard to figure out what’s happening, I lose interest.
Do you listen to music while you write? What are you listening to now?
I need it quiet. I tend to sing along with music I listen to, so lyrics get in my way. But particular scenes remind of songs. I could probably write a playlist for Where There Is Will, but I haven’t done so. At least not yet 😉
These are few of my favorite things:
1. Chocolate anything
2. Strong coffee, but with half and half and sweetener of some kind
3. Hats and fascinators
And now Monica has a question for you all: Michelle, the heroine in Where There Is Will, takes a job transfer to London. If you could choose to live somewhere else for a year or two, where would it be?
I walked into my office cubicle, hung up my jacket, and logged onto my computer like I did every morning. I stood, picked up my empty coffee mug, turned, and slammed into Paige. “Come with me,” she whispered. I sighed heavily and followed my co-worker into the conference room where I found Olivia already sitting at the large table.
“I saw your photo in the newspaper,” Paige said, shoving a clipping in my direction.
“I wouldn’t exactly call it a newspaper,” I replied, but not having gotten a good look at the picture the previous night, I picked up the clipping and examined it. It was of poor quality—probably taken with a cell phone camera. I hadn’t noticed the caption yesterday: Will Sheridan gets attacked by cougar. Despite the lack of creativity in those words, my insides felt like they were being attacked by a cougar. “Nice,” I said pretending to sound disinterested as I pushed the paper back toward Paige.
“Tell Olivia and me what you’re doing in the paper.”
“Kissing William Sheridan.”
“This is no time to be cheeky. Just what were you doing kissing William Sheridan? We didn’t even know you knew William Sheridan.”
“You do know him, right?” Olivia interjected.
“No. I just walked up to him in a café, sat on his lap, and planted a wet one on his mouth.”
“You’re on his lap?” Olivia gave the clipping another look. “Why, you are on his lap. And he has no shirt on.”
I let out a deep breath. “I met Will when I first came to London, and we became friends. We’ve spent a lot of time together and gotten to know each other quite well.” Paige’s expression begged me to define how well I knew Will. “We’ve become a little more than friends recently,” I finished.
“By snogging naked in a café?”
Even I had to laugh at the silliness of Paige’s statement. “I admit, it does look pretty bad, but for your information, Will is not naked, he’s just shirtless.”
“The caption says he’s shirtless and trouser-less,” Olivia corrected. She and Paige giggled.
“He was covered up,” I said, sounding defensive.
“By a towel,” Olivia added.
“A bath sheet,” I corrected like it made a big difference. I went on to explain what had happened to lead up to the public kiss. When I finished, Olivia stared at me, open mouthed.
“So does this mean you’re dating William Sheridan?” Paige asked.
“Yes, I guess I am.”
You can buy Where There is Will at: Amazon.com
Bio: Monica Epstein works as a technical writer, but she enjoys writing fiction, as well, particularly stories about topics that appeal to women like herself—over 40, who are nowhere near ready to throw in the towel and call it a life.
Monica lives in a suburb of Washington, D.C. with her husband, their teenage daughter, and a small collection of hats and fascinators. She dreams of being the Queen of England in her next life.
You can find Monica at:
10 thoughts on “Interview With Monica Epstein, Author of Where There Is Will”
Excellent blurb and great interview. If I could live anywhere for a year I’d love to tackle Scotland, but then there’s Ireland and Rome. How about a year long European trip instead?! Best wishes on your book.
A year in Europe sounds good to me, Angela 🙂 I’ve been to Ireland and Rome but not Scotland. My husband went there on business recently, but I couldn’t join him. I’ll get there someday. Hope you do too.
This sounds like my story! lol. Great interview and congrats on the book! I’ll be sure to check it out.
Many people (who don’t know that I’ve been married for 30+ years) ask me if it’s autobiographical. I think the book contains a piece of almost every middle-aged woman! Thanks for stopping by, Debra.
I enjoyed your interview and comments. I’d live in Italy in a heartbeat! Venice – Porto Fino – Amalfi Coast – Si! Italia! Ciao!
Ashantay, it sounds like you’ve got all the important Italian words except my favorite: gelato! Italy would be fun.
I loved your comments on what you learned from writing your first book. In the beginning, I didn’t appreciate the fact that the real work of a writer comes after the first draft is done. It’s a good thing, I might have been to overwhelmed to start.At times, ignorance can be a friend. *smiles*. Best of success with your book.
I agree, Lynda. I KNOW I would never have started if I knew then what I know now. But if there is anyone reading this who is thinking of writing a book, don’t let us discourage you. Learn the craft as you go.
It didn’t happen by choice but I moved to Colorado to help my son and ended up staying two years!!! I am now forced to move back to Missouri to help another family member (it seems writers are the most easily transferable members of the family). I will miss Colorado. Stepping out my door and seeing Pike’s Peak. Hiking Red Rock Canyon and Cheyenne Mountain. Next time I move – I think I’d like to head toward an ocean.
Best of luck on your novel. It sounds like a very cute read.
I fantasize about writing a novel with the sound of the ocean waves as background music. But I better buy a large umbrella. My pale skin would never survive otherwise 😉