Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Author Interview: Monique Bucheger

I am excited to introduce Monique Bucheger, author of the fantastic middle-grade series, THE GINNIE WEST ADVENTURES. I met Monique in one of my author’s groups when she consented to review LUCIUS AND THE CHRISTMAS STAR last year. That later led to Monique approaching me about working on a picture book and possibly redoing her covers. Monique is impossible not to love. She is outgoing and truly willing to bend over backwards to help people—just one of the lings I like about her. I got to read her first book, THE SECRET SISTERS CLUB, and discovered she has a gift. I am not afraid to share this series with everyone because it’s down to Earth and fantastic without having to rely on the gimmicks of fantasy. Farm life and family is magical on its own. So without further introductions, here is the interview Monique Bucheger:

What exactly is “awesome sauce”? And would you mind sharing the recipe? 

Monique Bucheger: An expression of extreme jubilation. Take 2 parts great news, add a heaping helping of delight, throw in some relief or greater understanding, mix it all in a teen and out pops jubilation—usually accompanied by a huge smile.

Your lead character, Ginnie West, is something else. Some have called her a modern day Tom Sawyer and Pippi Longstockings. What makes her such a strong lead?
Monique Bucheger: Ginnie is feisty and determined, and has a great sense of wrong and right. Ginnie’s not against following the rules—most of the time. J She never intentionally breaks them, but there do seem to be quite a few bent and twisted ones in her wake. 

Do you see much of yourself in Ginnie?

Monique Bucheger: I do. I love that Ginnie can give herself whole-hearted to a cause, a person, or a project. She doesn’t doubt much when she wants to do something. She just figures out how to get it done. These are qualities I’d like to have more of.

You books deal with a lot of grown up topics: divorce, death of a parent, and child abuse. Do you find these topics hard to discuss when your target audience is children?

Monique Bucheger: Yes and no. These things affect kids, whether we (as adults) want to believe that or not. How children process these huge issues can empower a kids’ life in a positive way or impact them negatively. Life isn’t easy in the best of circumstances. But add badly-behaving adults, child abuse, ugly divorces, adults who aren’t committed to helping their kids feel or be safe, and there is a recipe for disillusionment, hurt, and the opportunity to send or receive the wrong message.
Kids are impressionable and at 12 and under—they also think that the world revolves around them and assign too much responsibility for things they can’t control. IE: “If I keep my room clean, Mom and Dad will quit fighting and be nice to each other.” One thing probably has nothing to do with the other—but kids think like that. In my books, I make it clear that adults are responsible for adult behavior and kids are responsible for kids’. When adults hurt kids, it’s not ok—and there is a big difference between discipline and abuse.

You write good, clean, hometown stories. Do you ever think about writing something different? Like say fantasy?
Monique Bucheger: Yes, I have another series that is YA/New Adult—though it revolves a family of four teenage brothers and a baby sister, scrambling to keep their head above water when their parents return from their 2nd honeymoon in mahogany caskets. Eventually, I will definitely make the leap into fantasy. I enjoy fantasy books and most of my friends write fantasy. But for now, I am happy with my ‘slice of life,’ family dramas.

What have you enjoyed most about your journey to publication?

Monique Bucheger: Without question: meeting awesome people. The authors I know personally (and I know a lot of them) are without fail, a generous, kind-hearted bunch. Always willing to guide, direct, help, in all the craziness of what it means to be an author: writing, critiquing, formatting e-books, teaching, marketing, publishing. It can be overwhelming and hard, but when you have a group of like-minded souls who understand the demands, it is certainly easier to stay the course.

What have been some of your challenges with publishing your books?

Monique Bucheger: Figuring out how to do it. Especially formatting them to e-book form—there’s an exercise in frustration.

If you had a horse what would it look like and what would be its name?

Monique Bucheger: Ginnie’s horse, Calliope. Hers is a chocolate brown Thoroughbred. Though, I might like to own a Morgan.

You have three Ginnie West adventures out, I know you have another coming this year, how many more Ginnie books have you planned? Are there any new concepts to expect as the story continues?

Monique Bucheger: At least 2 more. Yes, the seed is planted in Book 3, but will come to full fruition in the next 2 books.

I’ve heard that you plan on expanding your series into children’s picture books. How many of those books do you have planned and do you have one coming out soon?

Monique Bucheger: I have a few percolating. Ginnie started out as a way to entertain the kids I babysat years ago—one of whom lives in the actual West Farm house today. The girls, especially, loved my “Ginnie stories” and would beg for a new one. Often, they helped me create them and Ginnie would always be a precocious preschooler. We had her do some crazy things—think Ramona the Brave. Those were some fun nights. So, I think the picture books will be a lot of fun.

What is the best advice you have received on your road to publication?

Monique Bucheger: Write what you know and what you want to read. My series seems to appeal to adults as much as it does to kids. With Harry Potter’s success in surrounding great kid characters with quirky adults, a lot of adults fell in love with MG/YA books all over again.
Because my books deal with hard topics, though I try to write it in an uplifting way, I know several people who have read them with their younger kids and discussed why and how these things can happen and what to do about it. I think that has been a positive result, helping people—and especially children—feel empowered and take actionable steps.
When I was 12, two of my friends were abused by their parents. I knew, but felt powerless to help—besides offering a sympathetic ear. Tillie, my second main character, was abused and abandoned by her birth father. She starts out timid, but every book helps her realize that she didn’t do anything wrong, and that she is better and stronger than her fears. She still has some difficult hurdles to overcome, but she will face them.
Fear can be incredibly crippling. Knowledge plus actionable steps are the best gift you can give people wanting out of an abusive relationship—or at least to change the dynamics. Belief that you don’t deserve to be treated badly is a powerful first step. The Wests make that very clear.

Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you! It is always a pleasure to talk with you and to read your books.

Monique Bucheger: It’s fun to get to know other middle-grade authors. Thanks for having me here today. J


This is an amazing deal! Monique has gotten the help of several authors to bring you more books for your buck. BUY Monique’s book, SIMPLY WEST OF HEAVEN, on June 20th and you’ll get an email with a list of links of FREE books and some close to FREE (just $.99!). You don’t want to miss out on this. For more info visit: http://moniquebucheger.blogspot.com/p/book-bomb-june-20th.html

June 17: The Fictorian Era: Spotlight 
June 17: Roseanne's Spot: Review of The Secret Sisters Club
June 17: J. Lloyd Morgan: Review of Trouble Blows West

June 18: Braden Bell: Spotlight
June 18: Tristi: Review of Simply West of Heaven
June 18: Tina Gower: (<--winner for="" happy="" her="" i="" m="" of="" s="" so="" span="" this="" wotf--="" year="">
June 18: Mikey Brooks: Interview

June 19A Hero's Journey: Spotlight
June 19Kimberly Griffiths Little : Review of The Secret Sisters Club
June 19: Jen Greyson: Spotlight

June 20: In Brief: Blog Post
June 20An Author In Progress: Overview of all 3 books.
June 20A Book A Day: Review of Simply West of Heaven
June 20Marathon Writer: Spotlight & Interview
June 20: Angela Carlie: Spotlight
June 20David Farland: Shoutout

FRIDAY: REDEEM the FREE & Almost free books :)
June 21Ordinary happily Ever After: Review of Simply West of Heaven
June 21: A Writer's Ramblings: Spotlight
June 21Pauline Toohey: Author: Interview

June 22James Duckett: Interview
June 22Author Andrea Pearson: Spotlight
June 22The Clan of the Stone: Spotlight


When Monique isn’t writing, you can find her playing taxi driver to one or more of her 12 children, plotting her next novel, scrapbooking, or being the “Mamarazzi” at any number of child-oriented events. Even though she realizes there will never be enough hours in any given day, Monique tries very hard to enjoy the journey that is her life. She shares it with a terrific husband, her dozen children, one adorable granddaughter, two cats, and many real and imaginary friends. She is the author of several books and hopes to write many more. You can find more about Monique and her works at:

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