Drained by Monique Singleton Genre: Paranormal, Detective Horror
Detective Liam Grady was stumped.
Never in his long years as a New Orleans Homicide Detective had he encountered a serial killer who literally drained his victims.
The mummified shell of a once beautiful student was the first sign this case was extraordinary. Within days she was joined by a high-class call-girl and a frumpy housewife. All died in the same sadistic manner.
What did they have in common, besides their strange demise?
Things are not as they seem. The victims have dark secrets, and tales of Haitian malignant spirits offer a slim lead. But it mean Liam has to ditch everything he believes in and open his mind to a conjecture that defied logic.
As he struggles with his own demons, Liam joins forces with a pretty student and a Mysterious Vodou witch doctor to stop whatever it is that holds New Orleans in its bloody grasp.
Time is of the essence.
The bodies are piling up.
And now the monster has Liam in its sights.
Monique Singleton writes compelling stories that mix fantasy with realistic psychological suspense and unique insights into the mind of the main characters. She has always had an overactive fantasy and in 2010 Monique started to put the scenes she had running around in her head, down to paper. Scenes led to a story, the story to a book, and the first book to a series: The Primal Series was born. If you are looking for Urban Fantasy with a twist, a different kind of shifter story, a tale like no other, then this series is for you. Expect the unexpected. In addition to her writing, Monique holds down a full-time job as a business consultant. She lives in a beautiful old farmhouse in the south of Holland with her two sloppy monster dogs, some horses, and a cat.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
Something quirky, hmmm where shall we begin? I live with two massive dogs, two very bossy cats and two cool horses. I bought a motor bike at an age that most people decide to calm down and become more grown up. As well as writing I work as a business consultant in IT. For four years I lived off my earnings as an artist painting.
With regard to my writing: In Assassin’s Choice I place one of the important characters in a wheelchair. While typing I remember I asked myself why on earth did I do that? Only to have it very pivotable to the whole story. Who knew? I didn’t. Things like that happen to me all the time.
What are some of your pet peeves?
Narrow minded people probably sums it all up. Whether this is a lack of fantasy or tolerance, they tend to irritate and, in the case of racism of any kind, anger me.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born in an English Military hospital in Germany. My father was a soldier in the British army, and we moved around the world a lot. A long time ago we finally settled in the Netherlands, where I still live now.
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
On the motorbike and writing the last pages of my current book. Or maybe even starting a new one and letting everyone wonder how it would have progressed.
Who is your hero and why?
Terry Pratchett. He was a fantastic author who really understood cynicism and British humor. His view on the world is so funny and still very deep.
What kind of world ruler would you be?
A terrible one probably.
What are you passionate about these days?
I am passionate about the stories I still have in my head and how to get them down on (virtual) paper. I have always been and will stay passionate about my animals. The motor bike is another passion, but only when the weather is good.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Unwind and what? Ha ha. My life is always very busy and that is how I like it. There is still so much I would like to do with my life and my career as an author. If I do have a moment of relaxation, then you will find me in the greenhouse, watching the plants grow.
How to find time to write as a parent?
That’s the secret: I’m not a parent.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I held my first printed book in my hands. Silly really, as I had published in e-book for more than a year before that. Just holding an actual physical book with my name on it, did it for me.
Do you have a favorite movie?
Avatar. I watch it at least five or six times a year. I love the fantasy, the story and the wonderful way the creatures are brought to life.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
All of them. Oeps, that sounds quite arrogant. But I think that they would be very suitable for the big screen or maybe a series on one of the streaming services.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
According to a questionnaire on Internet my spirit animal is a cat. That is probably quite right, though I would say a big cat. A tiger probably, but that’s just wishful thinking.
What inspired you to write this book?
One of the things on my bucket list was to become a “USA Today Bestselling Author” As an Independent author, one of the best—and sometimes only—ways to achieve this is to join other authors in publishing a box set of books in a specific genre. I joined the “Soul’s Day” boxset. The genre was horror/dark fantasy with a link to Halloween. My regular genre was Dark Urban Fantasy and there is a thin line between that and horror, so I thought I could definitely write something. I actually already had an idea that I had been playing with earlier. I immersed myself back into that story but couldn’t fit in the Halloween concept. It was quite frustrating. I knew I had quite a good story line, only that one detail made it a bad fit for the box set. The whole marketing was surrounded around a release date just before Halloween. Finally, I decided to write a whole new book.
It turned out for the best. I had a creepy horror fantasy book called Drained and could still use the concept for the other book in the way I wanted to.
I decided to write a detective horror fantasy. Quite new for me. I’d never done any mystery like that, and now here I was combining it with a paranormal horror element.
The book wrote itself really and I enjoyed the process. As usual, I never really know exactly how the story will end once I start on it, but it flowed easily. So well in fact that I have decided to write a series of novellas of short paranormal horror stories. Drained is the first and the second one: The Hive, is already at the editor. I intend to publish Drained on March the 16th and The Hive six weeks later.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Drained is the first book in a to-be series of paranormal-fantasy-horror novellas. As things are now, I expect that some will have a detective angle, though, with me, that can all change.
I have written two novellas for this series. Drained and The Hive. Drained is scheduled to be published on March 16th, with The Hive following six weeks later.
In addition to this series, I’m also working on two other projects. The Prophecy series has two published books and another two or three on the way. I’ve planned to publish at least one sequel this year. My other project is a new series that centers around a conspiracy to enslave people after death. The first book in that series: “The Devil You Know” is under construction now and planned for completion somewhere this summer. I’m very excited about this series as the idea is completely new and somewhat controversial.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
I don’t have any side stories on the characters of Drained or The Hive yet. The books have been written in a manner that allows for additional stories using some of the characters in the books. Not all of them, but hey, it’s horror and some characters don’t make it.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
One of the ways I find the names for my characters is by looking at the credits of films and series. I take a first name that I like and combine it with someone else’s surname.
Another way to find names is to use sites for baby names. Then I can target either male or female. Surnames I often research just using a google search on frequently used surnames in a specific country or culture.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I liked the new element of a detective’s case. A lot of research was needed to make sure that any procedures named were correct. I didn’t want any flaws in the regulations. Also, it was fun to keep things under wraps and try to have the end as one big surprise.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
In Drained, our main protagonist is a detective struggling with his own daemons as the result of losing someone close. He is withdrawn and prone to excessive use of alcohol. The events that happen in the story cause him to re-think his life and open up again. He is forced to move from the normal police investigative tactics to the paranormal, and to open his mind to what before was impossible, to find the killer and protect his loved ones.
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
My first novel was Primal Nature. It is about a woman who, unbidden, develops talents that call deep into a primal side of herself and the creature she becomes. It fit the pretense of the book very nicely. Not just the primal part, but also the direct link to nature that becomes a very important part of the whole story throughout the series.
Who designed your book covers?
My covers are all designed by “Deranged Doctor’s Designs” or DDD. They are a design studio located in Serbia who turn out fantastic covers for many, often well known, authors. They are a delight to work with and deliver every single time. I once read an interview with one of the founders where he was asked why the strange name. His answer was perfect: “because people remember it.”
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
My latest book before this one is “The Prophecy” the second book in the Prophecy series. Would I change anything? Not really. I quite like the way it is going. I would definitely change the way I marketed it. Or actually didn’t market it enough. I have a lot to learn there.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learn with every book I write. Not just because I do extensive research, but also because I grow and evolve along with the books.
My books are Urban fantasy. That means that there are paranormal elements in a background that is familiar to us all; our world. In turn that means that everything I write about that should be recognizable, needs to be correct. In the Primal Series a lot of the scenes take place in faraway countries, like New Zealand. What I write needs to be as you would find it should you travel there. I also reference other cultures very often in my books, and I really want to get the facts right there. It would be a disrespect to them if I didn’t.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Good question. I have an idea of some of the co-stars. Especially with the Primal Series as one character is very “Jason Momoa” like. The actual protagonist is more of a conundrum. My thoughts go to Scarlett Johansson, or someone like her.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I am entertaining a new idea for a series. It will be quite controversial as it revolves around a conspiracy in a vested power. I’m looking forward to seeing what the reactions are. So, watch this space.
How did you come up with name of this book?
The name for Drained is a one-word recap of the whole book. I personally think that part of a good horror/dark fantasy book is a very short, preferably one-word title that portrays the suspense. Like “IT” for Stephen Kings very scary creepy-clown books. “Creepy Clown” wouldn’t have been so chilling. Saying that, finding the title is one of the most difficult things to do.
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
The end. Because it is such a surprise. (I hope)
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
My characters are not based on specific people. I think it is unavoidable that some will resemble certain characters and in the Primal series a Jason Momoa type character was definitely influenced by him. He wasn’t however just put in the book because I like the type of person. More the other way around. I needed that kind of character for the book. That character, as he is, has a very definite role in the story.
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
My books will entertain and at the same time make you think. I do not follow conventional rules and even are downright controversial in some subjects. If you like to read a story that might leave you with some questions about how you yourself view certain topics, then my books are for you.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Last year I wrote a twisted fairy tale. It was published in a box set, but not yet as a standalone book. As it is very different from my regular genre—it’s actually funny—I’m still debating whether to publish it myself as an independent book.
There are a lot of as yet unfinished stories, and I will get around to completing them some day.
Is there a writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Terry Pratchett, because his books are so fantastic. I love his cynicism and his British humor. Every time I read his books I find new things. That kind of writing is a gift.
Fun Facts/Behind the Scenes/Did You Know?'-type tidbits about the author, the book or the writing process of the book.
I don’t write sequentially. I write a scene that pops up in my head and place it somewhere on a timeline. This enables me to avoid writer’s block as I never know what will happen next. The funny thing about all this is that I hardly ever have to change anything or do a re-write. So somewhere in my sub consciousness, the story is complete, it’s just released to my consciousness, and so to paper/the computer, in a totally random manner.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
My all-time favorite author is Terry Pratchett. His Discworld books offer a fantastic insight into our own world. He is the master of satire and I’m completely in love with his humor. Sadly, he died a few years ago.
What book do you think everyone should read?
Anyone in business or who is astounded by the lack of common sense in the business world should definitely read “Eric” by Terry Pratchett. It will clarify a lot.
How long have you been writing?
My first book: Primal Nature was published in 2018. I took my time writing it. I think I started jotting down notes for that book somewhere around 2010
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
Everything comes as I write. I’m what they call a “Pantser” I write by the seat of my pants. I make it up as I go along. I don’t write sequentially, and I don’t make an outline. I have no idea why the books turn out as a cohesive story when the odds are stacked against me because of my way of writing, but they seem to work.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
I do extensive research while I’m writing. This is mainly due to the fact that I never know where the story will lead me. It evolves and so does the research.
Do you see writing as a career?
Definitely and I hope to make it my only career soon. As yet I still have a part-time job that pays most of the bills, but I’m aiming to decrease that every year.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
I think the current publishing market is in the middle of a big change. There are so many opportunities to self-publish now that it has opened up the possibilities for many more authors. Traditional publishing is being challenged by authors, both new and established, that causes them to take a long hard look at how they are organized. It does seem very illogical to expect authors to choose traditional publishing with strongly diminished income possibilities, if they still need to do all of the marketing themselves. Naturally not all self-published authors do so in a quality that is comparable with traditionally edited books. But that does not mean that self-published works are inferior to traditionaly published books, as some traditionalists would have you believe.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I am an avid reader with too little time. When I do have quality reading time I like to read mystery and Urban Fantasy.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I always write with background music or sometimes even a film in the background. I find I’m easily distracted when there is no background noise. I know, sounds crazy. But I think it’s the result of long 2-hour train rides to work where I write.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
At the moment I have a few going at the same time, though I do concentrate on one. I need to get ideas put down to paper, or in my case, in the computer, as soon as possible to make sure that I don’t forget the details I already have. It seems my mind works best when I have multiple story lines to think about.
If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?
Pen or type writer or computer?
I started off writing in notebooks, but that turned out to be quite impactable because I needed it digitally to be able to publish anyway. So I invested in writer software and have used that ever since.
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
I have always been very creative. I used to paint a lot and actually lived off art for a few years before I chose a more secure lifestyle. Stories and strange fantasy have always run amok in my head and it had to be put to paper, either by paint brush or by type writer. I found that writing was easier in very busy times. Lugging an easel around is not an option on the train.
Advice they would give new authors?
Don’t worry too much to start with whether your book will appeal to others. Write what inspires you. What makes you tick. Then, at editing, you can adapt if absolutely necessary. Writing is a very personal thing. And most important: enjoy what you are doing.
Describe your writing style.
I write as I speak. So not too many difficult words or sentences. Short and to the point. I guess critics would say I still “tell” too much instead of “showing”, so I’m working on that. I don’t pull punches and that can be confrontational. I think my style of writing is easy to read and hopefully easy to immerse yourself in the story.
What is your writing process? For instance, do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first? What are common traps for aspiring writers?
I don’t do an outline. I write a scene that comes into my head and place it on a timeline. Most of the time I do not know what the whole story is, but it seems to work perfectly. I have tried outlining, but that didn’t work for me. My stories evolve.
A common trap for aspiring authors is trying to follow the “rules” and write as others do. Write in a way that feels good for you.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Thinking too much. I just have to let the story flow as it wants to.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Start earlier. Just do it.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I’m finding that out now as I have a male main character in my recent books. I have to watch out that I don’t revert too much to chiches.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Definitely. For me it is not such a problem as I just start a different chapter somewhere else in the book and see where that brings me. If I try to work sequentially, start with chapter one, then two, and go on from there, I immediately run into a brick wall. So, I don’t.
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