Hot Regional Read: Monster in My Closet

RL Naquin featured
R.L. Naquin’s debut novel, Monster in My Closet, draws readers into an irresistible world of urban fantasy. Zoey is a wedding planner who gets up one morning to find her childhood closet monster having a cup of coffee and reading the paper at her kitchen table. It turns out that Zoey’s knack for sensing feelings is more of a gift than she realized, and she finds herself opening her home and heart to the Hidden. Zoey’s an authentic, snarky, heart-of-gold character–I want to be her best friend. Naquin’s treatment of the supernatural and wordsmithing is impressive and compelling. I found myself sneaking in extra pages of this book while cooking, walking to my car–whenever I could. Check out Monster in My Closet at your library!

R.L Naquin has just wrapped up her Monster Haven series with a sixth and final book. Creating a magical world without limits was one of her favorite parts of writing the series.

“I loved writing in a world where any kind of creature I could dream up could fit into the story,” Naquin said. “Everything was possible in Monster Haven.”

Even better was the response from her readers.

“People went out of their way to tell me how much they loved my world and my characters,” Naquin said. “From time to time, someone would write to say how something I wrote helped them get through a really bad day. That’s priceless. It makes every bad day at the keyboard so worth pushing through. I don’t write literary masterpieces. I write entertainment. But my work has made people happy. That’s the very best part, and it’s all I ever wanted.”

monster in my closetNaquin wrote her first novel during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and after editing she submitted to 31 agents with no bites. She didn’t give up. Naquin submitted her manuscript directly to Carina Press, a digital publisher, and four months later she scored a six-book contract.

Interested in writing your own novel in 30 days? You can do that with NaNoWriMo at your library! Check out NaNoWriMo resources here, or email writers@tscpl.org for more information.

Read the original interview below to hear more about her writing plans for the next few years, books she’s looking forward to reading, and more.

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You wrote the first draft of Monster in My Closet as part of NaNoWriMo.  Did you realize right away that Zoey’s story was a keeper?  Did you make any major changes during revision?

Monster in My Closet was the first book I’d ever finished. The fact that I got to “The End” was enough for me to know I’d finally found a keeper. There weren’t a lot major changes during revision, because I’m an obsessive planner. I still took a good four months polishing and rewriting, though, before sending it out on submission. Later on, when I had an editor, there still weren’t a lot of major changes—but I did expand on what was already there.

You’ve just finished up the Monster Haven series! What has been the best part of writing and publishing six books about Zoey’s world?

So many best parts! I loved writing in a world where any kind of creature I could dream up could fit into the story. Everything was possible in Monster Haven. I also loved knowing I had a contract for the entire series, so I knew it wouldn’t get cancelled before I could tell the whole story. (Getting that attached can be heartbreaking, though. I cried my way through writing the second half of the final book. It was hard to say goodbye.)

But best of all was the absolutely overwhelming response from my readers. People went out of their way to tell me how much they loved my world and my characters. From time to time, someone would write to say how something I wrote helped them get through a really bad day. That’s priceless. It makes every bad day at the keyboard so worth pushing through. I don’t write literary masterpieces. I write entertainment. But my work has made people happy. That’s the very best part, and it’s all I ever wanted.

Tell us about some of your favorite authors and novels.  Are there any upcoming book releases that you’re feeling excited about?

That’s always such a difficult question. So many books I’ve loved. So many amazing authors. Neil Gaiman, Patricia McKillip, Robin McKinley, Stephen King, C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, Agatha Christie. See? I’m all over the place.

I fell madly in love with Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. He has a release coming in a few weeks, Armada, that I’m looking forward to devouring while I wait for the sequel to his first book. I’m also waiting for Hexomancy by Michael R. Underwood which comes out in September.

What are your writing plans for the next few years?

This year is crazy busy. I’m kicking off my new Mt. Olympus Employment Agency series at the end of July with the release of the first Muse Department book, Unfinished Muse. Unamused Muse will follow in October, then Uninspired Muse will wrap up that department in time for Christmas. Next year brings a whole new department and main character from the Mt. Olympus Employment Agency. The Furies Department? The Oracle Department? Fate? Graces? I’m not ready to let that out of the bag, yet. In all, the entire series will be five trilogies—plus a few side novellas—so it’ll keep me busy for several years. I haven’t left Monster Haven behind, though. I have two spinoff series, one following Maurice the closet monster and the other with Kam the djinn. There may also be a totally unrelated novella or serial in the works, too.

As long as my readers want them, I’ll keep giving them new books to read. Until I run out of ideas, anyway, which looks to be around 2025, if I never get another idea again.

But what are the odds of that happening?

How can readers find out more about you and follow your work?

The best way to find out what’s coming before anyone else does is to subscribe to my newsletter. You can also come hang out with me at any of these places:

Twitter: @rlnaquin

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rlnaquin

Website: http://www.rlnaquin.com/

Miranda Ericsson

Miranda loves to talk lit! Her favorite reads are poetry, literary fiction, and speculative science fiction, and she's passionate about promoting great literature written by Kansas authors. She works with library programs that support and engage writers in our community, so ask her for more information about the Local Writers Workshop, Great Writers Right Here author fair, and Community Novel Project. Miranda is also a member of the library's Genealogy Team and Fiction Team, facilitates TALK book discussions, and co-leads the Bean There, Read That book discussion group.