Review by Nancy
Jess had her issues. With her life, her religion and especially her God. She raled at Him often, especially when her mother died of cancer. That’s when her closest friend and also her younger brother Jordan persuaded her to take some time away at a family apartment in New Orleans and try to get herself together. Jess wasn’t sure this was a great plan, but she went along. Jordan stayed home to take care of things.
New Orleans can charm anyone; and Jess’ best memories of her mom were there. After settling in she takes off for fun and wanders into a club called Dez’s. First falling on her butt in the water she goes on in and meets a cute chick named Vi (short for Violet, of course) who also charms Jess and they instantly become pals. Spying a table of four gorgeous men she finds that Vi knows them as they deal cards at Harrah’s casino down the street. Turns out they are brothers: Rory, Justin, Blake and Lathan. Turns out they’re also a few other things.
Jess also meets a guy named Dawson. Greasy, sleazy and, oh yes violent. He has a past with the brothers and not a good one, although they were once all very close. He wants Jess because he was supposed to guard her from evil, however; he has turned into the evil she needs to avoid.
Follow along as Jess and crew navigate New Orleans, love and life. Ms. O’Conner James has written a spectacular tale of good vs. evil, people vs themselves and well, angels. You’ll love it.
Purcahse the book here
Monique is the mother of two beautiful children and lives in a small community outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She currently works full time as an insurance agent, but her favorite jobs are mother, wife, and author.
On her eighth birthday, her mother bought her a journal and said "write whatever you want, just write". And so, a love affair with words was born. She wrote poetry and short stories in high school and college, until 1993 when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
After her mother's death in 1998, deep in depression, she found herself unable to write. Nine years passed, and only on rare occasion did she attempt to write.
Finally, in 2007, under the urging of friends, she sat down and pecked out her first novel. It was raw and unpolished, but the process had been unquestionably cathartic. The next three years were spent filling her hard drive with seven complete manuscripts.
At the beginning of 2011, Monique decided it was time to edit the work and share it with the world. She hopes you enjoy the ramblings of a truly southern girl raised in a state rich with heritage and love.
When did you first begin writing?
I started writing at 8 or 9 when my mom gave me a journal for my birthday. At first, I remember kind of rolling my eyes, and wondering what she thought I was going to do with all those empty pages. The next holiday, Christmas I think, I asked for another, and so a tradition began.
Why did you start writing?
I wrote poems, and short stories until my mom died, in 1998. She fought breast cancer for 5 years, before losing the battle. After she died, I couldn’t write, and didn’t for nine years. Then one day, at the urging of my best friend, I started writing the story, which is now “The Keepers”. When it was done I wrote six other manuscripts over two and half years.
Why do you keep writing?
I love everything about writing. For me, it’s very cathartic and there is nothing like escaping the real world with characters you have cultivated and loved.
You have no idea how hard this one is, for me. Music reflects my mood, I love many! Pearl Jam, Puddle of Mudd, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, Rise Against, Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown Band…okay if I have to pick a singer, Chris Cornell (Sound Garden/Audioslave). Dorky enough?
Yes! I married my high school sweetheart. We have been married 16 years.
My son is 14, and my daughter is 9. They keep me inspired.
What is your favorite book that you’ve written? I would say “The Keepers”, because like most first novels, it is about 50% truth. “Jamais Vu” my current WIP, is also really close to my heart, but for different reasons, I love them all.
Family supportive of writing? If so, give examples (moral support, attend book signings, actually read it for you …)
My husband doesn’t read much, but he has designed and updated my website, my kids read my work. My dad is probably my biggest fan. And, I cannot leave out my best friend, Rachel Conerly, who has read, reread and read again everything I’ve written for the past three years.
How many manuscripts completed / book published “The Keepers”, will be my first published work.
However, there are 6 more completed manuscripts ready to be edited and a million ideas swirling in my brain.
a. Title “The Keepers”
b. Blurb Jess hates God. In his infinite wisdom, he’s taken everyone she’s ever loved. Moving to the French Quarter was a ploy to erase the guilt she felt for rebuking her faith. Perhaps, if she hadn’t met Justin, an angel preoccupied with getting back into God’s good graces, and drowning in his hatred for humanity, her plan would have worked.
Justin’s general disdain for the human race makes him difficult to like, but some higher power has appointed him her keeper. Justin’s convinced he can mend her broken relationship with her maker, but in the process he learns a thing or two about his own humanity.
Never mind, falling in love, that’s not supposed to happen. In fact, it may even be forbidden. Jess just wants Justin to understand her plight, and he wants to protect her from a world she doesn’t know.
If neither are equipped to save the other, then whose soul lives and whose will perish?
How rewarding has writing been for you? Writing has freed me from grief. It sounds a bit cliché, but before I really started writing, I wasn’t coping with the death of my mother. I’ve learned to release my frustration and pain through words, and it has been a true gift.
What has been your most memorable experience as a writer thus far?
The day I got my contract on “The Keepers.” I ran into the yard with my blackberry crying and shoved the phone at my husband, so he could read the email. Then, I sat down and cried. A dream realized.
How has your life experiences influenced your writing?
I predominately write paranormal romance, but a lot of the plots have been derived from real life experiences, or a story I heard that touched me.
Do you have any writing rituals?
In general, I write in my garage, which I have dubbed “the dungeon.” Always have music playing either on my laptop, or through my Ipod. There must be a Coke handy and I leave my internet browser open, in case, I have to research something.
Do you write on a schedule or when the mood strikes?
There is, without a doubt, no schedule. I steal away to write whenever I can. I do the majority of my writing between 10 PM and 2AM when everyone is in bed.
Advice for New Writers
What advice can you give for other aspiring authors?
Don’t quit, don’t give up. I started writing for myself, however, somewhere along the way I got preoccupied with being published. I was l fortunate enough to have a friend who reminded me often that it wasn’t about being published, but about how happy I am, when I write.
What should aspiring authors watch for?
I would find a publisher who is as excited about your work as you are. There are publishers who will not take the time to edit your work, or guide you. It’s important for the publisher to share your passion.