Interview: RL Naquin, author of Monster in My Closet

Please welcome RL Naquin to the blog today. Rachel is the author of the upcoming urban fantasy, Monster in My Closet (my review), and was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about her book, what makes her squee with fangirl joy, and her favorite curse word!

Rachel, your first book, Monster In My Closet, is out at the end of the month! Have you always hoped to be a writer? Can you tell us a bit about your journey?
I always imagined it, yes. It took me well into adulthood to follow through with the dream, though. I started stories, got halfway through, then set them aside. Being a writer isn’t a sensible goal. Success is highly unlikely, the pay is lousy, and you’re baring your soul to the world, where everyone can examine and judge its contents. The problem was, I wasn’t actually much good at any of the “sensible” vocations. Well, except customer service. I’m extremely helpful.

Once I decided it was time to get over myself and either make a real effort to write something worth publishing or shut up and stop talking about it, I sent out some short stories I’d written for a creative writing class a few years before. More were accepted than rejected. I couldn’t believe it. Maybe, just maybe, I could do this thing. So, I wrote Monster in My Closet, sent it to some agents, and got some requests for partials and fulls. Ultimately, no bites. I gave up and put it away. A week later, I woke up with the absolute certainty that I needed to submit it to Carina Press. That very day. So I did. Four months later, Angela James, their executive editor, called me with an offer.

Will you tell us a bit about Monster In My Closet?
It’s an urban fantasy about an empathic wedding planner—she can feel other people’s emotions. That skill’s made her the go-to girl for every troubled person she’s ever come across. Now, it’s spread to the supernatural world, and monsters, mythical creatures, and urban legends come to her for help, too. While she’s trying to adjust to this, she walks into an incubus on the street and he gets a taste of her emotional storehouse, so he stalks her and feeds off of the women she helps. It’s light and dark mixed with fun and icky. And very little of it is what you normally would expect in an urban fantasy.

What do you love most about writing urban fantasy?
I love the possibilities. I love the idea that in our everyday lives we might be surrounded by all kinds of supernatural strangeness that we don’t know about. Writing urban fantasy gives me license to make up the most outrageous scenario and plop someone like you or me right into the middle of it.

What are a few of your favorite authors or books?
This is always such a hard question, because a real list would be enormous. Patricia McKillip, Robin McKinley, Neil Gaiman (his Sandman graphic novels as well as his books), Orson Scott Card, and Douglas Adams.

Is there anyone that would bring out a fangirl squee if you were to meet them?
Pretty standard geekgirl list: David Tennant, Neil Gaiman, Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillian. But honestly, my heart has belonged to Han Solo/Indiana Jones for most of my life, so I’d probably make a total and complete ass out of myself if I met Harrison Ford. There might be tears. Fainting. Embarrassing loss of control over simple bodily functions.

What’s one of your favorite lines from a book (or movie)?
“Nothing is hopeless; we must hope for everything.”
– Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

What’s on your nightstand right now?
My Kindle is crammed full of books I want to read once I get through the release-month crazies. Jeffe Kennedy’s Rogue’s Pawn and Michael R. Underwood’s Geekomancy are the last two I bought. Next month, I’m going to read so much.

When you manage to find some free time, how do you like to spend it?
Reading, playing video games, going to the zoo when it’s not 106 degrees outside. I like to watch really bad made-for-Syfy movies to see how long I can make it before I give up and change the channel. I like to challenge my family to play Disney Trivia and then kick their butts at it. I also like to take our imaginary dog, Waffles, for a walk. He needs the exercise.

It says in your bio that you spent six years in England! What were some of your favorite places to visit while you were there?
I loved everything there. I saw Stonehenge several times. London was so much fun, just to ride the Tube, get off anywhere, and walk around without a real tourist agenda. I loved the fish and chip shops. Sigh. Two words for you: battered sausages. For several months of my stay, I lived in a hotel above a pub. I like cider. I like cider very much. And stumbling downstairs with a hangover and being served breakfast in a window seat looking out at a 400-year-old church? Incredible.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us about upcoming projects or events (or, you know, fave curse word, guilty pleasure, anything at all!)?
The second Monster Haven story, Pooka in My Pantry comes out in March of next year. I’m working on book three right now. Zoey’s adventures have a long way to go before she can rest and/or settle down with Riley, the hot guy disguised as a paramedic.

My favorite curse word is assclown. Or maybe asshat. I think it’s a draw. They both make me giggle. I guess my guilty pleasure is LOLcats, but my true weakness is animals dressed in people clothes. Always funny. Always.
Thanks so much for having me, Kristin! I’ve had a wonderful time, and the cupcakes you set out were delicious!
Keep up with Rachel: Website | Twitter
Pre-order Monster in My Closet: Kindle | Nook

About Monster in My Closet
I stopped believing in monsters long ago. But I knew I wasn’t imagining things when I found one in my kitchen baking muffins. I’d seen him before: lurking in my closet, scaring the crap out of my five-year-old self. Turns out that was a misunderstanding, and now Maurice needs a place to stay. How could I say no?

After all, I’ve always been a magnet for the emotionally needy, and not just in my work as a wedding planner. Being able to sense the feelings of others can be a major pain. Don’t get me wrong, I like helping people—and non-people. But this ability has turned me into a gourmet feast for an incubus, a demon that feeds off emotional energy. Now, brides are dropping dead all over town, and my home has become a safe house for the supernatural. I must learn to focus my powers and defeat the demon before he snacks on another innocent woman and comes looking for the main course…

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