Click on the cover to the left to read a synopsis and excerpt.
IAI Admin: Today, we’re discussing Monica Mathis-Stowe’s book, “Where Did We Go Wrong?”. I’ll start with a summary.
IAI Admin: Where Did We Go Wrong? is about three friend-girls with totally different personalities, who love each other even when they don’t necessarily like each other. There is the disgustingly, self-centered Gabby. Monica wrote her so well that I despised Gabby throughout the book. There is the momma’s girl, Joy, who is way more likeable than Gabby, for sure, but Joy has her own silliness as well as her good qualities that seem to outweight her biggest challenge. Then there’s Maxine, who is a peacekeeper and pushover, but Maxine has a great heart despite her circumstances.
IAI Admin: I have to admit that the book was a page-turner, even though I’m not really into all the drama that these women brought to the proverbial table. The entire time I was reading the book, I was thinking, “THIS is why I don’t have many female friends.” Yes, I know that’s awful, but it’s true. Monica made the characters so real that you can’t help but get emotionally involved in their ups and downs.
IAI Admin: I would say many of us know at least one woman who is like at least one of the women in Where Did We Go Wrong?. I know I do.
IAI Admin: One of the things I liked about Monica’s writing was that the sex scenes were very tastefully done. I’m so not into overly-explicit sex scenes where they’re really just porn on paper. There was none of that in Where Did We Go Wrong?, but there were some steamy passages that made it clear that these women had healthy sexual appetites and partners who obliged them.
Monica Mathis-Stowe: Thanks, Faydra for summarizing Where Did We Go Wrong and introducing the characters.
IAI Admin: First, tell us about Monica Mathis-Stowe.
Monica Mathis-Stowe: I was born and raised in Washington, D.C. and currently live in Maryland with my husband and son. When I’m not writing, I work full-time as an investigator.
IAI Admin: Oo! Investigating what? Can you tell us, or will you have to incapacitate us if you do.
Monica Mathis-Stowe: Don’t ask, can’t tell. Everything I do is classified, but so interesting.
IAI Admin: Haha. I knew it. OK, so tell us about what motivated you to write Where Did We Go Wrong?.
Monica Mathis-Stowe: My relationship with my girlfriends inspired me to write this novel. I have a great relationship with them and I wanted to show the positive side of true friendship and not the backstabbing reality tv trash. Could you relate to Gabby, Joy and Maxine’s close bond?
IAI Admin: I have to admit that I couldn’t be friends with someone like Gabby, even though I know women like Gabby. Her self-centeredness would have turned me off back in college. Maxine, on the other hand, I could see us being life-long friends.
Monica Mathis-Stowe: What about Joy?
IAI Admin: Oh, Joy! The thing between her and her boyfriend would have driven me up the wall, but I could definitely see myself as friends with Joy. Joy was in a difficult position. She wasn’t trying to cause problems between her and her guy. She was just trying not to cause problems between her and her mother. Joy valued her mother’s opinion and approval, even though her mom drove her up the wall sometimes. I think that’s true with many mothers and daughters. You don’t want to ruin one life-long bond for another potentially life-long bond. That made a lot of sense to me.
Monica Mathis-Stowe: The characters are in their 20s so in my mind, young ladies that age, make a lot of decisions based on other people’s perceptions and that’s what I wanted to show the reader. Women in their 40s would not make the same bad choices.
IAI Admin: Hm. I think women like Gabby will always do what they do. It’s the fact that other people, like Joy and Maxine, overlook their faults to see their better sides that empowers their self-centered behavior.
Monica Mathis-Stowe: You’re right. Gabby will probably never change, it’s her nature to be a user. Who was your fave character?
IAI Admin: I actually didn’t have a favorite character among the named and expounded-upon characters. My favorite character was the character of the novel, in and of itself.
Monica Mathis-Stowe: Wow, thanks!
IAI Admin: The life of the book stands on its own, but it can’t be whole without every person you brought to life. It’s the community of the book that I loved and enjoyed, even if the drama made me roll my eyes to the ceiling. Even THAT is something that helped me enjoy the book. You totally brought the community to reality. It was definitely a reality show in written form, and you pulled it off from page one to page done. If I hadn’t been rolling my eyes to the ceiling because of what was going on in the book, then I would be saying right now that you failed to bring the community to life for me.
Monica Mathis-Stowe: I think it’s an age think. Readers in their 20s relate, whereas older more established readers hate the characters choices without realizing we all make bad choices in our lives and go down the wrong path at one time or another.
IAI Admin: Did I overlook the mention of that in the book, that these women were in their twenties? I agree that we don’t make the best choices in our twenties, but I didn’t get that these were women in their twenties.
Monica Mathis-Stowe: Yes, they were in their mid to late 20s. How old did they seem to you?
IAI Admin: These chicks seemed like they were in their late 30s, seriously. I think I got that from the professions of their male counterparts. When you talked about Maxine’s husband’s position with his job and the fact that he’d battered Maxine before, I got the impression they were much older. The idea that Maxine was a teacher before she and her spouse got married and had children, and he wanted her to be a housewife, made me believe she was at least 35.
Monica Mathis-Stowe: I can see that, but they were around 27-29.
IAI Admin: I definitely got the impression that Gabby had been playing her games for 35 or more years. Thanks for letting me know that. It does explain some of their behavior.
IAI Admin: Who was your favorite character in the book?
Monica Mathis-Stowe: I love Joy & Allen’s love affair; Maxine’s attentiveness to her family and Gabby’s go get what I want attitude, but not the way she went about it.
IAI Admin: The wedding scene was hilarious. I loved it because it’s the way I wish some wedding scenes would actually unfold. Haha.
Monica Mathis-Stowe: LOL! I couldn’t stop laughing when I wrote it.
IAI Admin: The fact that Joy went ahead and did it her way, despite her mother’s misgivings, had me shaking my head. It’s also another reason I thought she was older than you’re telling me she was.
IAI Admin: So what’s next for Monica Mathis-Stowe?
Monica Mathis-Stowe: I’m editing Where Did We Go Wrong Again? and should release it before the end of the Summer.
IAI Admin: That’s good news. And I have to let everyone know that I gave Where Did We Go Wrong? a 4-star review. It would have been 5 stars, but there were a few editing oversights that caused me not to give it a perfect rating.
Monica Mathis-Stowe: And that’s why I’m working with a new editor. A good editor is hard to find. Thanks for the 4-star review!
IAI Admin: For me, when it comes to independent authors, including my own writing, editing is important. Poor editing can make a great story bad to read. That wasn’t the case with Where Did We Go Wrong?, though. It’s just that as indie authors I believe we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard than traditional authors. We are the editing, proofreading and marketing departments all rolled into one, so we have to be extra vigilant to make sure we release the most flawless products we can.
Monica Mathis-Stowe: I agree, but as an author, it’s hard for me to wear so many hats. Indie Authors need help with editing because as authors, we don’t always see the mistakes because we know what it’s supposed to be.
IAI Admin: Having said all that, it has to be said that there are no perfect people, so there are going to be errors. I’ve edited my own writing four and five times and still found a typo here and there on the sixth edit.
IAI Admin: I’ll then hand it off to another writer I trust, and he’ll still find minor mistakes I’ve overlooked.
Monica Mathis-Stowe: I had Where Did We Go Wrong? edited six times and still had a few mistakes. Next time, I’ll aim for 10 to get it perfect.
IAI Admin: The editing for Where Did We Go Wrong? was really good. The few hiccups I came across weren’t so intrusive that I couldn’t keep going with the flow of the story.
Monica Mathis-Stowe: And that’s what I wanted, to keep readers entertained and reading.
IAI Admin: I liked that you said you can’t do it all by yourself. I agree. Neither can I. What other advice do you have for other writers?
Monica Mathis-Stowe: Other than finding several good editors and test readers, find your unique style of writing and stick with it. Also, grow a thick skin because reviewers can be brutal so be prepared.
IAI Admin: Those are good points.
IAI Admin: Overall, Where Did We Go Wrong? is a good, solid work of urban fiction. I think I could have gotten through it in a couple of days if I hadn’t had other things going on. I really wanted to get to the next page to see what was coming up.
Monica Mathis-Stowe: Thank you!
IAI Admin: Ms. Monica Mathis-Stowe, I want to thank you so much for chatting with us today, and I’m waiting for Where Did I Go Wrong Again? to drop. I’ll be buying it to see who got shot.
Monica Mathis-Stowe: LOL! Thank you for selecting Where Did We Go Wrong? as the book of the month. I enjoyed the discussion today.
IAI Admin: Keep up the excellent work, and thank you also for being a member of the Independent Author Index. Enjoy the rest of your day!
Monica Mathis-Stowe: You, too! Good-bye!
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