Author Interview: Des Fonoimoana

Tell us a little about yourself & your background

I am a lover of experiences. I want to try everything once. Writing allows me to experience many amazing situations, people, and places. Worlds unknown to me and lives I can only live through story. I’ve always been a writer, from stories and poems to journalism and essays. I love telling a good story. 

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Oddly enough, I can’t remember a time when I thought “I want to be a writer”. It’s something I simply… am. A part of me that has been engrained since I was little. I think I’ve always known.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

My goal is to simply have people enjoy my stories. Even if only one person likes a book, it was worth the effort. 

Can you tell us a little about The Monsters Within and the series as a whole?

The Monsters Within as a series is a manifestation of how strong we truly are and how things are connected. It is a story about forgiveness–within ourselves and the forgiveness we offer others. It is about facing the things we never thought we would be able to.

Can you introduce us to your main character, Shadow?

When I think of Shadow, I think of a mix between an eye roll and the narrowing of eyes. She is sarcastic but she is also fierce. Through trial and error, Shadow has to learn how to accept who she is–mistakes and all. She’s been mistreated and used in ways that make her feel ashamed, but the best thing about her… she refuses to give up. In the end, she’s going to go down fighting. 

Do you have a favourite quote or scene from your series? 

“You are more than the monsters within you.” My favorite. My most inspirational. A phrase to remind myself, my characters, and my readers that we are not our mistakes and we are worthy.

Where did you find inspiration for TMW?

If I must be honest… a video game first inspired Jett Torn (one of the antagonists) and other stories and people inspired me to keep going. 

I have many favourite characters in TMW and you’ve talked a lot about some of the them like Jett Torn, could you tell us about my personal favourite, Alpha? 

Ah yes, Princess Alpha. Alpha is misjudged to say the least. Her own father believes her to be weak and worthless, but Alpha is the opposite. She has lost someone very close to her and had to forge this terrifying, brave new person in herself to replace that loss and survive. There is a wall Alpha puts up and it can only be torn down by the truth.

Are you more of a plotter or a panster? 

I am a pantser… Through and through. I have some ideas in my head and I go for it as soon as I sit down. I am trying to be more proactive with my next series and books and plot at least the main points out on paper. 

What is your writing routine like? How often do you write? 

My routine is before bed, in the car, in the bathtub. Whenever I have a quiet moment to write, I write. I tend to write almost every day, at least a tiny bit.

What is the hardest thing about writing this series? 

Definitely how long it took me to write the first book. It was a backseat story, but it kept pestering me until I had it finished. Overall, it was about 10 years which meant the plot had to be tightened and organized during editing. (Shout out again to my editor for dealing with me during spring and summer)

What has the publishing process been like for you?

Unlike anything I have ever done. It has been a huge challenge and learning curve, but I will be better for it in the future. Much like with writing this book, I’m only going to get better, be better, do better. 

Are you currently working on anything other than TMW’s series? 

Yes! I am working on The Six, a group of blessed warriors saving the world. But of course… there’s lots of twists and turns. 

What are you currently reading? 

I’ve been rereading The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. It is my favorite book of all time and whenever I feel down, I pick that book up and see the beauty in life again. 

Who are your biggest idols?

Those around me, easily. My loved ones. They show a strength unlike anything I have ever seen before and they inspire me to be kind, brave, and loving. 

Do you get writer’s block? How do you deal with it? 

I have, absolutely. I write fanfiction or show stories to get me back into the groove. Writing with no expectations. Lately, I’ve been getting the “writer’s distraction” curse instead where I focus on everything but writing. You know how interesting an eraser can be? Way more interesting than me being productive. 

If you couldn’t be a writer what would you want to be? 

A director! I strongly wanted to be one when I was a kid, if not for a writer. As a teen I took quite a few classes for filmography, which included studying camera angles, the purpose of shots, and the symbolism of some of the greatest movies. The behind the scenes of every movie intrigued me to no end. I wanted to tell stories, physically create worlds, and experience visually storytelling, too. I’m seeing a pattern here… 

What do you get up to when you’re not writing? 

I travel, play guitar, play volleyball and basketball, take long naps, draw, and paddleboard. I spend too much time laying in the grass or doing yoga, and even more time playing video games. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? 

My advice is to remember that you have this story inside of you because it must be told. Allow yourself to explore it and share, remind yourself that you are an amazing writer who is ever learning and growing. And always keep writing. 

Finally, what’s the most exciting thing about the next book in the TMW series? What can we expect that hasn’t come up in the first book? 

Trying to get me to give too much away I see! Book Two is going to bring in some new characters, one I am incredibly excited to share with my readers. There will also be scenes showing old characters in new light and a mentor who brings untold knowledge to Shadow and the team. It explores their stories even more and brings on a new evil… something more sinister.

You can get a copy of The Monsters Within yourself from Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple Books & all good book retailers!

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