Interview – M.M. Koenig, author of Conflicted
Self-Publisher’s Showcase: Today we are joined by M.M. Koenig, author of Conflicted. Welcome to the Showcase, M.M.
M.M. Koenig: Thank you! It’s great to be here!
SPS: For any of our readers that haven’t come across your work previously, can you take a moment to tell us all a little about yourself?
MMK: I’m a laidback, fun-loving gal from the Midwest that loves reading and writing. I have a crazy dog that brings a smile to my face every day. When I’m not writing my novels, I spend as much time with my friends and family as they mean the world to me and inspire my writing tremendously.
SPS: What are your perfect writing conditions, and how often do you write?
MMK: When I’m writing, I’m at my best in my recliner with music playing and my dog sprawled across my legs. I write whenever I possibly can. It’s fuel for my soul and makes me happier than any measurable words.
SPS: Can you put your finger on the moment where you decided that you wanted to publish your work?
MMK: Yes. My best friend and I were on the phone one night and I brought up writing and how much I wanted to do that in my life. She more or less told me to go out there and do it. She’s been my #1 supporter through this entire adventure and believed that I could do this far earlier than I ever did.
SPS: Why do you think it is that you have decided to work in the genres that you have, and do you see yourself ever writing in other genres?
MMK: I love reading romance so it was natural for me to go in that direction with my writing. It’s definitely the genre that I identify with the best. Mia’s story has been with me in one form or another for over 10 years and it was always a romance series. I’m certainly not limiting my writing to just that genre though. I have plenty of other ideas that are in other genres.
SPS: Conflicted is full of sacrifices and obstacles to overcome, can you tell us about the novel?
MMK: It’s a story about a young woman that has really lost her way in the world. Everything that she thought her life was going to be vanished and she was left to pick up the pieces. The story begins and it’s quite obvious from the very first chapter that Mia really isn’t sure about anything anymore. I wouldn’t say that she’s damaged but she just doesn’t have a lot of faith in humanity, which ultimately contributes to some pretty questionable choices that we see her make. She meets Ethan, a man she can’t be with in any way, and he starts to make her believe in things again. He makes her want to become a better person.
SPS: Is there a particular reader you feel the books would appeal to?
MMK: I think its target audience really hits with individuals that are on the cusp of finishing college and asking themselves a lot of important life questions. Mostly, it’s for those people in their early twenties who are trying to find themselves and the direction they want to take their life in. I’m sure people that are much older and even people that are graduating from high school could probably relate as well. I think we all at one point of another feel a little lost and out of sorts with where we are at in life so it’s quite easy to relate to Mia. She’s also a very flawed person. I think that makes her relatable to a lot of young woman as they find themselves.
SPS: What’s the story behind your protagonist Mia Ryan?
MMK: Mia is young woman in her early twenties. She’s kind of had an interesting set of cards dealt to her when it comes to life. It hasn’t been easy for her but that never stopped her from being ambitious and successful. She was able to do that with a very close group of friends that we get to learn a lot about in the first book. Not really having a true family, they are her family and give her the love and support that she needed to get through a lot of the hardships that life has thrown at her. When she loses her life’s ambitions, it leaves her more than lost with what to do with her life and where she fits in the world.
SPS: Her life is changed by a fateful occurrence, how does that change who she becomes?
MMK: Someone that she never thought would betray her does just that and it shatters her world. When the story starts, we are about 10 months after that occurrence. When someone you trust with all your heart strips away your dreams, it’s only natural to be very guarded and unemotional. We see Mia after she’s picked up the pieces but she’s not willing to take a chance on anyone. She isn’t willing to share any part of herself anymore.
SPS: How does she react to the emotions she feels on meeting Ethan?
MMK: Ethan rocks her world. Mia’s drawn to him immediately. It’s very frustrating for her at first because the physical draw to him is something she’s never experienced before, which makes him all the more intriguing. As she gets to know more about him, she’s just as drawn to his heart and soul. Ethan slowly starts pushing up against all the walls she has around people and makes her really start to feel again.
SPS: Where did you draw inspiration from in creating the mysterious Ethan?
MMK: He’s an enigma even to me. Just kidding! I can’t really pinpoint where the inspiration comes from when it comes to Ethan. He just always struck me as a closed-off man with a very good heart that would go through hell and back to protect the one he loves. Ethan has had a lot happen in his life and it’s a big reason why he is such a mystery. He’s got his own agenda that we slowly learn more about by the end of the book. On his own mission, he doesn’t have time to real care about who he pisses off around him or allow anyone to close to his heart. Mia comes along and he can’t get enough of her. She awakens a part of his soul that had been broken and gives him a different purpose for living. Mia makes Ethan re-evaluate the world around him in a lot of the same ways that he does for her.
SPS: How did you find concluding your first novel, did you try to tie things up or did you prefer questions left answered?
MMK: I wanted to leave the reader wanting more and I think I certainly did that with several lingering questions that become major plot points in Complicated.
SPS: What can we expect from the follow up to Conflicted?
MMK: Complicated is the second book in the series. I’m VERY excited to release it. It really dives into the heart of Mia’s story. I truly can’t give away much without ruining it for you. All I can say is that a lot happens and that by the end you won’t want to blink because you might miss something.
SPS: Did you finding the writing process any easier second time around?
MMK: Funny you ask…I actually wrote Conflicted and nearly all of Complicated as one book. I didn’t realize it at the time – rookie mistake! I broke them into two and rewrote the beginning of Complicated to make some minor adjustments based on my beta-readers and the timeline. I wrote the last three chapters of Complicated in the beginning of January. The past two months have been filled with self-editing to the story but I’m happy to say that I’m 100% done and have passed it off to my editor.
SPS: Have you introduced any new characters that we can look forward to meeting?
MMK: Yes! I’m very excited as there are a lot of new characters introduced and you get to know more about some characters from the Conflicted that are outside of Mia’s main group of friends.
SPS: Will it be a novel that ties everything together, or will there be a third instalment?
MMK: There will definitely be a third book to the series. The second book takes readers for such a ride that there may even be a fourth book. I’ll have a better idea once the rest of the third book falls in place, which I’m working on now.
SPS: We do like to take a look at covers and the stories behind them. Can you tell us about how your cover for Conflicted came about?
MMK: Conflicted was recently re-released with a new cover that speaks to the story so much better than the first cover I original had. It’s really shows Ethan and Mia in a way that I think comes out very clearly in the book and reflects the title. I’m so happy with it.
SPS: What can we expect after Complicated from the pen/keyboard of M.M. Koenig?
MMK: I hope to release Complicated this summer. I have three works in progress right now, which includes the third and possible final book in the Secrets and Lies series.
SPS: Was the Self-Published/Indie-Published route always your preferred route for your work?
MMK: Yes. I like the idea of having 100% control over the direction I take my writing, who I collaborate with, and the audiences I want to target.
SPS: Has the experience so far been all that you thought it would be?
MMK: It’s been a learning experience for sure, but it’s made me a better writer and overall person. Connecting with the writer in me has been life-changing. I have wrote on and off throughout the years but not like I have in the last year and a half. I feel more enriched in everything I do. I love the feeling I get when a chapter clicks and I can’t type the words fast enough. It’s just made my life so much better and I love it!
SPS: If you could give one piece of advice for someone looking to get into writing, what would it be?
MMK: There will be days that are challenging and terrifying but that isn’t a reason to give up. Write! Write! Write! And don’t be afraid to hear a lot of criticism. It makes your work better. I to this day absolutely loved when I gave a chapter to my beta reader and she came back the next day and said, “Umm…yeah…no…that makes absolutely no sense. You need to fix it.” She was absolutely right too because the content was forced and fell out of the spirit of the story. I went back and rewrote it and it was a thousand times better with her suggestions and feedback.
SPS: Before we bring this interview to a close, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
MMK: I have to give Tom with tgh writing services a shout out because his editing is phenomenal. I have to mention L.J. Anderson at Mayhem Cover Creations was absolutely amazing to collaborate with and she designed an amazing cover that really reflects the spirit of the story. And my beta-readers – I’m nothing without that group of girls.
SPS: Thank you for joining us today, Michelle, and all the best for the future.
MMK: Thanks for having me!
SPS: For more information on M.M. Koenig and her work, please do visit her Author page here.