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Interview for Skhye Moncief
Posted August 2011
Interviewed by Barb
Skhye Moncrief, as well as having a wicked sense of humor, writes paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi romance. She holds a hold a BS in geology. Writing ensnared her away from finishing her thesis in (bioarchaeology) anthropology(try saying that three times in a roll fast). She brings all that knowledge to her writings as well. Gifted with an understanding husband who recognizes her need to create and the space she needs to do it. With the help of her child to keep her grounded in the realm of reality, or as she puts it “I love to write. I can write for 14 hrs 7 days a week. I forget everything and sit with a laptop. I worried I had lost my mind. But the baby took care of the worst part of the addiction”.
Do you like to explore the unknown? Are you intrigued by sexy beings that make you want to purr? Then step into the world of Skhye Moncrief. You will be awed and sweep away by her ability to notice and discern things that escape the notice of most people, as she spins eccentric tales about places and worlds yet to be discovered and introduces you to the sensual inhabitants that live there.
She will awaken your imagination as well as your stir your libido with her
titillating skill with the written word. Her dexterity to capture fervor begins
by creating characters both human and “other” that are beautify executed and
believable. Then she launches readers into adventures with scenes so vivid each
nuance busts off the page.
Skhye Moncrief does all the work and all you have to do is turn the pages and sit back and enjoy!
Knowing that in order to capture the heart of her readers she must first provide
them with a good story. That is always the most important detail in her
writings… the story.
And that is where we will begin this interview…
Are there any guiding factors involved when you are writing a love
Skhye: At least one of the characters involved MUST reach a pivotal moment
in his/her romantic growth for the scene to occur. I don’t write gratuitous sex
scenes. J The sex is part of a bigger thing growing in the story—romantic
growth. In other words, something mental must happen in each scene. It could be something as simple as finding a reason for a new goal or realizing how much one character loves another.
What is the biggest misconception about erotica that you think most
Skhye: When most people think romance stories are dirty, it doesn’t take
much to knock them out of a chair when mentioning erotica. I don’t think most
people pointing fingers at erotica writers realize what romantica is. My
romanticas—erotica with plot, i.e. erotic romance—really aren’t standard sex,
sex, sex from the initial scene onward. Not at all. I deal with taboos like
polyandry or abducting and forcing (somewhat) a hero into mating with an alien female as situations with the Other that promote cultural understanding. And as far as I’m concerned, the heroine should always be the one receiving the prize. Why not getting her way? ;)
Maybe female empowerment is what female erotica readers are into based
on what I write. But the big issue with how readers view erotica is just the
stigma. Before I really got my hands dirty with reading and writing
erotic romance, I thought erotica was the stuff I’d seen isolated at used book
stores—for men! LOL But the more edgy mainstream romance grew the more I found myself reading romantica (erotic romance). I studied human nature too long not to wonder why we can read romance that lacks sexual content when we get punished for reading the books where romance seems complete by uniting two people in a way as significant out of bed as it is between the sheets. The reader can’t grasp this concept if they don’t ever get to read it and learn by living
vicariously through the actions of characters. The trust involved in finally
turning down the comforter—okay, yanking it off the bed to get it out of the
way—is as important as the romantic growth necessary in falling in love. And,
heck, look at the divorce rate in the US. Isn’t it a good thing we show readers
how love should be?
I’m going with stigma here—the taboo aspect—that’s the big
misconception. Taboos are set to govern cultural behavior. And they keep the
standard group member on track... away from reading erotica. ;) Accepting of the
rules shared by the group. *dismounts soapbox*
How would you describe your writing style?
Skhye: I have a difficult time assessing my own work. Writing is a form of
art. And the group defines art, not the artist. So, I can’t explain it any other
way than I write heavily internalized romance, sometimes erotic. But the heavy
“internalization” is what makes my stories mine. I studied anthropology a long
time and learned that people lie. Their actions reflect their thoughts. So, we
must observe a character’s behavior and hear the character’s thoughts to truly
understand him/her. Only comparing a character’s thoughts and actions can we see if he is honest or not. And people lie for even the tiniest reasons. I rarely
read a book lacking heavy internalization without asking “Why?” a million times.
So, pick up one of my books. I promise you won’t ask why! My characters’
thoughts explain everything. And for those writers who think I’m full of beans,
internalization is showing. I show the story through the filters of my
characters’ minds. Each character has a voice with this writing style. And my
current style of writing includes multiple POVs with each character in
1st person. Yep! So much for the rules of writing.
Do you prefer books where the problem is plot and external to the
relationship or where the character has a“hang up”?
Skhye: Oh, definitely internal with character hang ups. I’ll blame that on
my need for internalization in a story and the fact people lie. Take graduate
anthropology classes to embrace that truth. You’ll learn you have to understand a culture well enough to understand why they do what they do to lie. Or you’ll never grasp the true reason anyone does anything in said culture.
Do you ever get tired of characters that carry heavy emotional baggage
with them? How much is too much?
Skhye: Nope. Never. I like internal character-driven plots. The more
baggage, the stronger the story and the more realistic. I don’t care what they
say when writing a story, add emotional hang-ups. There’s an awesome book by Carol Pearson, THE HERO WITHIN. It’s a self-help book my critique partner sent, knowing I hate psychology books. She’s so evil! But I stuck with the first hero type (12 that I consider Western because they crop up in all Western symbolism). That’s when I decided to focus ONLY on one hero type in a synopsis. Pearson shows how the hero type changes in a person from minute to minute as the day passes and reveals new obstacles. Think: heroes multitask throughout the day to make sense of this point. Because a hero will react differently to a crying child and a large man with a knife or a woman trying to change a flat tire.
Heroes switch hats throughout a day and will do so throughout a scene, chapter, and story. Each hat has its own type of baggage—what calls the hero to action at that moment. So, baggage is crucial to making a story work. This means LOTS of back story. I want my characters so 3-D that they’re grading into 4-D!
How do you decide on what qualities you give your hero? Your heroine?
Skhye: Well, I know some of this going into a story. But as a story world builds, and mine really build because I’m world building in futuristics or fantasies, I find rules begin to overlap, and I’m suddenly trapped with a well-developed character that is a surprise. Although, I do a lot of planning. The cultural
superstructure (rules) keeps a tight rein on whatever my hero and heroine do.
And it’s even more fun when the hero and heroine are from different cultures!
There will you find an amazing clash of superstructure—culture shock that
ultimately manifests as conflict.
Writers paint with words, but smell/scent also plays an important
factor in books, why do you think that is?
Skhye: Smell is as inspirational as color. Some scents calm while others
excite humans. And noting scents in a story rounds out a scene creating a vivid experience for the reader. Smell and scent are as symbolic as brands and
flavors. Stories need them.
You don’t see the name Skye normally spelled the way you do. Is there
a reason for the way you spell it?
Skhye: Geesh, that’s from back when I wrote my Time Guardian series. Time
Guardians use numerology to time travel. So, playing with numerology rubbed off on my pseudonym. I stuck an “h” in Skye to get all the numbers from 1-9 in my name. It’s a lucky-rabbit’s-foot-kinda thing.
It’s been a long week of writing, editing and coming up with new
ideas. Now the weekend is here and you can actually relax, how would you spend the next 24 hours? One restriction, you’re unable to pick up a book...
Skhye: Since I’m not able to pick up a book, I go to my netbook and write *grin*. Trust me, I always write. Although, we go out to eat often. Maybe that’s the way I control dirty dishes… Writing is the only thing that keeps me sane.
And don’t tell me you started writing, or I’ll bug the heck out of you until you’re submitting and published! I love writing so much that I’m an excellent motivational nag.
Me thinks I should have worded that last question differently. I think that was way to easy *grin*. And thanks, but NOOOOO thanks, this gal is happy just interviewing and reviewing and writing an blog here and there. I leave the hard work to the pro’s. I know my limits!!
Skhye, thank you for allowing me to pick around in that wonderful brain of yours and taking the time from what I’m sure is a busy schedule. I had a great time putting this together and I certainly hope you enjoyed yourself too.
For those who would like to find out more about Skhye Moncrief, you can visit her website at http://www.skhyemoncrief.com as well as her blog, Skhye' Ramblings... you’ll be glad you did!!