Monday, January 11, 2010

Meet Monica Burns and KISMET the book of her heart

This month my New York debut release, Kismet hit the shelves. It’s hard to believe that eight years ago, I was winging my way to Walt Disney World and that I had no inkling of about what was to happen. Long story short…I developed pneumonia a month later and wound up in the hospital. Got home, nothing on 250 channels and I decided to pick up my writing again. I thought it would be a piece of cake. Far from it. Rejections were numerous, not enough to paper a wall, but enough to make me want to quit a couple of times.

Although I had a fairly strong support system, it was still hard to keep going. Writing is a solitary existence until the author puts their work out into the world and allows others to read it. It can be a tough transition going from solitary confinement into a world where readers either love or hate your book. And while a writer tries not to let a book become personal, it does. Some people often liken a book to a child. I’ve never viewed my work that way. I know not everyone is going to be wild about my books. But I admit that believing that doesn’t take the sting away when someone rejects the book. It’s like that individual has said I don’t like you. And it’s human nature to want people to like you. So a writer has to develop thick skin when it comes to rejection.

Although rejections aren’t pleasant things, writers do recover from them. Some better than others. Rejections just make me mad, and I develop a stereotypical reaction along the lines of “oh yeah? Well just you wait and see. I’ll show you.” Then I would turn around and work harder. A publisher never rejected Kismet, but my agent nixed the first draft. If you think it’s tough to have a publisher say no to a work, try having your agent say it to you. But Deidre did the right thing in telling me the initial draft of Kismet wasn’t up to par.

And it wasn’t. It was some of the worst writing I’ve ever done. It was cold, forced, and just difficult to wade through. But then Kismet is a book unlike any other I’ve ever written. Kismet isn’t a book of my heart. It’s a book of my soul. When I wrote this book, I did so in hopes of writing to a trend. When I was writing the book, erotic romance and erotica was pushing the envelope in so many ways. I saw a discussion about forced seduction and how it was a fantasy for some women.

I understood why some readers might find such a fantasy exciting to read. After all, the reader is in control during a fantasy read, they can put the book down and walk away. In reality, the survivor of such an act cannot walk away. We are left with scars that sometimes don’t break open for years. Wounds that you think are healed, but really aren’t. My attempt to write a forced seduction scene was a miserable failure. But there is always a positive in every negative experience. We can learn from our pain, and the initial draft of Kismet forced me look deep inside myself. It became a cathartic experience that enabled me to deal with demons I’d not dealt with for a very long time.

The initial draft of Kismet was so painful to write that when I was finished, I wanted to push it aside and never touch it again. I wanted to write it off completely. But I’ve never been one to give up on something. So almost a year later, I couldn’t stop thinking about the book. Despite the lousy writing, I loved the characters. I pulled the manuscript out again and forced myself to read through it (or at least parts of it). To my surprise, there was almost half a book that was salvageable. Determined not to give up on the story, I rewrote the first half of Kismet. I turned it into my agent the second time then waited on pins and needles for her comments. Her initial reaction was “Taking off my agent hat and reading just for pleasure.” I could have asked for a better review. I hope readers will have the same reaction to Kismet, because it truly is the book of my soul.

Tell me about something bad that’s happened to you and how you were able to turn things around—make lemonade from the lemons.

Back cover Blurb

It was a gamble she was born to make…

Raised in a brothel at a young age, Allegra Synnford quickly learned that survival meant taking charge of her destiny. Now, a renowned courtesan skilled in the pleasures of the flesh, she chooses her lovers carefully—vowing never to be vulnerable to any one man. Until a mesmerizing Sheikh strips that control from her…

With a man who wasn’t used to losing.

Sheikh Shaheen of the Amazigh has been hiding from his past for a long time, but not enough to forget how another courtesan made him abandon his life as the Viscount Newcastle. It’s why the yearnings this dangerous temptress ignites within him are so troubling. Worse, thoughts of Allegra pervade every fantasy, threatening to undermine his cover. With old enemies circling, experience tells him he must resist her charms at all cost. In fact, he’s betting on it. That’s a risky wager when it comes to a woman of pleasure. But Allegra has her own reasons for playing games…with a man who can’t afford to lose.

What happens between them is Kismet…

What people are saying about Kismet

“This sizzling hot historical and its compelling characters will leave you panting for more! Monica Burns writes with sensitivity and panache. Don't miss this one!” — Sabrina Jeffries, NYT bestselling author

“Burns' story is hotter than the desert sands! She succeeds with a classic captive/captor romance akin to a Johanna Lindsey classic. Relax and enjoy the sizzling show -- complete with a lesson in bananas and seduction.” — RTBOOKreviews

"After reading the bio posted on her website, I was afforded a deeper understanding into the wealth of emotions she poured into Kismet. Tenacious, sassy heroines and strong, sexy heroes are her signature style and she’s boldly penned one of the best books I’ve read in years." — TwoLipsReviews

Pick up a copy of this wonderful book Amazon and BN


  1. “Taking off my agent hat and reading just for pleasure.” I could have asked for a better review.

    This is what I get for not proof reading! The statement should read, "I could NOT have asked for a better review." *banging head on desk*

  2. Monica, I went to my local B&N last week, but I was too early to pick up a copy! ARGHH! I just ordered it on Amazon. Can't wait to read it.

    I loved hearing about your process for this book. Sometimes people think writing the book of the heart or soul is easy. That is not usually the case, which is why the book is so good - every word is a struggle, and every word means something.

    Hope you get zillions of readers for this one!

  3. Well thanks for trying to find the book, Vanessa. I hope you enjoy it when it gets to you. Zillions would be lovely, but I'll settle for at least 8500 readers, that's a good sell through! LOL Thanks for popping in!!

  4. You have my interest piqued. LOL!! I would have to say my fav character and the one I wish sometimes I was more like is my newest. She is the anti-me. She is willing to tell you where to go and how to get there quicker than you can say go. LOL!!!

    Good Luck with everything, and I can only hope to get to where you and Hannah are...


  5. Ash, I'm glad my post intrigued you to investigate Kismet. As for getting to where Hannah and I are...well, I'm not that far ahead of you! LOL Hannah's in the stratosphere. I'm just a lowly little author in NY. It's tough, but there's always a slot somewhere waiting to be filled.

  6. Congratulations, Monica, on your first NY book! How exciting! Although I know you from Charlotte's loop and planned to pick up your book anyway, if Hannah recommends it, I know I'll love it.

    Wishing you lots of success!!!

  7. cool to see a fellow writer from Charlotte's loop. Isn't it a fab place to learn?? I still learn things there! Thanks for the good wishes on the NY book.

  8. Yes, I mainly lurk there, but I always learn so much from folks like you. :-)

  9. @Laurie, well I'm not sure I'm the best teacher around, but always happy to share what I know and let others take it with a grain of salt. *grin*