Join RNIC in welcoming author Zee Monodee to the site! We gave her book Once Upon a Second Chance a five-star review. Zee is introducing us to her novel – The Other Side and doing a giveaway, but first, let’s get to know Zee.
Zee, tell us a little about yourself.
First of all, hello everyone! I’m Zee Monodee. 30 years old *gasp! Yes, I do admit my age!* I’m married, crazy mum to a tween lad and quirky stepmum to a teenage boy. Author, editor, holder of a BA in Communications Science (degree that I earned via distance learning, part-time while raising a kid). I’m from the island of Mauritius, in the southern Indian Ocean, and descend from Indian ancestors. One thing that really defines me, though it doesn’t spell everything I am, is this – I’m a 2x breast cancer survivor. I was one of the youngest patients here when I was first diagnosed almost 9 years ago, and one of my goals is to increase awareness of breast cancer especially among young/er than 40 women. Cancer doesn’t wait for the big 4-0 to strike, so every woman, from the age of puberty onward, should be on the lookout for her health.
What is the most romantic gesture you’ve ever received?
1 month after meeting and starting to date the man I’ve called my husband for more than a decade, it was my 19th birthday. Since we were really so ‘early’ in our relationship (though he’d already proposed! Yep, 2 weeks in, on Valentine’s Day!), I had no clue what he would plan for my birthday. It fell on a Sunday, and I, sloth that I was pre-baby (bye bye sleep once you have a kid!), was sleeping in. I woke up to find this huge bouquet in my bedroom. He’d bought me flowers – 19 roses, each one a different color. Still remains one of the sweetest gestures this man has done for me, though he’s been there for me through thick and thin (2 battles with cancer, with all its ensuing hoop-la of sickness and hospital visits).
Who would play you in the movie about your life and why?
Hmmm, good question… I see someone like Lea Michelle (Glee). First of all, we look alike physically, even down to our barely-5-foot-something height. Dark hair, dark eyes, not-white skin – she can pass for Indian, definitely, lol. She’s also spunky and, according to my husband, we both have that mischievous and/or totally neurotic look on our faces. Not to mention that I love to break out into song when in my kitchen (to the great chagrin of my kids!). So yes – Lea Michelle would be a good contender.
What type of music do you listen to?
Total pop charts fluff! Lady Gaga, Adele, Katy Perry, David Guetta, Pitbull. I’m also a big fan of British pop, so you’ll find Olly Murs, Little Mix, Jessie J, and the like on my playlist.
I used to be into Linkin Park and that kind of ‘hard’ stuff but sadly, age has mellowed me and now I’m a pop fluff tart.
What are your favorite types of movies to watch?
I love rom coms! But then there’s this, too. My author tag has this line: “Love, Life, Relationships”. So I do love to watch movies that fit into this theme. Usually romances, but I find the relationship aspect more interesting. For example, flicks like Think Like A Man, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, What to Expect When You’re Expecting – they’re all romances, but it’s the relationships – whether love, friendship, deception, expectations – that drive the story, and this is the kind of deal that will win me over more. And lol, though I am of Indian descent, I’m not a huge fan of Bollywood.
What types of books are on your bookshelf at home?
We come back to fluff here. Romance all the way, and if it takes a detour by chick-lit, all the better. I’ve moved more onto ebooks now, so you won’t find that many physical books in my home, but either way, the names run similar whether in print or ebook. Marian Keyes, Jill Mansell, Sophie Kinsella – all authors of good chick lit (though British, I know). But I do also love some good, solid erotica the likes penned by Megan Hart and Sylvia Day, or historical like those from Philippa Gregory (mainly her historical fiction around the Tudors – I love historicals about people that have existed, such as Elizabeth 1, Marie Antoinette, Catherine The Great). Lorraine Heath and Julie Ann Long are also historical auto-buys for me.
Are you a good wife? Explain why or why not.
Hmmm…I think so, yes. But I also know I’m not an easy person to live with. I’m quite neurotic (I’d give the term ‘desperate housewife’ new meaning, trust me!), I’m rather set in my ways, and I like to have my way. Good thing my husband doesn’t bother with the day-to-day running of the house (though he does his chores!) or we’d be having WWIII on our hands all the time. But still, I do know how to make compromises, how to meet him halfway – I believe it takes 2 people to make a relationship work; you cannot expect only one of them to make all the compromises, the giving up, the accommodating… Another thing I’ve learned with time (and maybe by facing death while looking cancer in the eye) is not to sweat the small stuff. So yes, after that one bouquet for my birthday nearly 12 years ago, I never got flowers again from the man. But hey, he’s been there holding my hair – when I still had hair! – while I was puking my everything out after chemotherapy, so I should know which gestures to pick and choose as having meaning.
Short answer favorites:
Dessert: Good ice cream like Haagen-Dasz
Season: Spring easing into summer
Type of hero: The strong, silent type
Type of heroine: Feisty and spunky
Actor: Hugh Jackman
Actress: Charlize Theron
Band/solo singer: Olly Murs
What is your dream car and why?
Label me a snob, but I just love the Mercedes brand. I’m a SUV lover, so any big Mercedes SUV would be it for me. I love the class of the Mercedes brand – you know you are getting quality and value with every one of their products. Then there’s the sound of its engine; it sounds, to me, like what an authentic motor must feel like. Not to mention the interior finish of the vehicles. Driving a Mercedes is like pushing a knife through soft butter – effortless and so pleasurable it’s almost sinful. Then too, with me being petite, I would probably love to compensate with a big car, so a SUV it would be for me.
Tell us your favorite pick up line, and did it work on you or for you?
I want forever with you. Cheesy, I know, but when you really mean the words, they bear meaning. This is what I told my husband the first time I spoke to him (after I’d eyed him across the room for a whole evening at a family function, and then his SIL who was also my cousin set us up on a blind date). I had been coming off a bad divorce at the time (yes, I got divorced at 18. Married at 17, separated 6 months later when the ‘prince’ showed he was an abusive and cheating monster). So it was surprising to be wanting to get into another relationship so soon. But I’d always been an all-or-nothing gal, so when I saw this man who epitomized everything I knew to look for post-divorce, I plunged in. I wanted him, as my husband no less, and that’s what I said outright.
And it worked! Because he too had been coming off a bad divorce and was an all-or-nothing bloke, as well. I trusted my gut and things progressed nicely.
Short answer choices:
Leather or lace? Lace. Girly girl and I know it!
Long or short hair? Short
Fruity drink or strong liquor? Fruity (don’t drink alcohol, being a Muslim and all that)
Heels or flats? Heels, of course! The higher, the better!
Jeans or skirt? Jeans, all the way! Preferably skinny
Coffee or tea? Coffee, but make it decaf
Glamorous girl or girl next door? Depends on the occasion, but mainly girl next door – I hate wearing makeup
Picky eater or adventurous? Somewhere in between
Glamorous makeup or au naturale? Natural. I prefer good clean skin than slathering makeup on
Sexy bed-head or sophisticated coif? Either way, mine will resemble a bird’s nest, so some blow-drying, I’d say
Blurb: The Other Side (Island Girls #1)
Lara Reddy is fleeing London. After her husband dumps her and she bumps into him and his pregnant new missus, she jumps on a prestigious job offer. The kicker? The job is in Mauritius, the homeland of her Indian-origin parents, and a restrictive society she ran away from over a decade earlier.
Divorce paints a scarlet letter on her chest when she returns to the culture-driven island. Once there, Lara has no escape–not from the gossip, the contempt, the harassing matchmaking…and certainly not from the man she hoped never to meet again, the boy she’d loved and lost—white Mauritian native, Eric Marivaux.
In the past, fear of social repercussions from the sectarian crowd her family belongs to kept her from giving her all to Eric. Will standing on the other side be the impetus she needs to take a chance on Eric and love again?
“You’ll never guess who I met the other day,” she said.
Sam stopped crying and dried her tears with a delicate stroke of her finger. Lara couldn’t resist a frown at how the perfect face was not marred by crying. Trust her perfectionist BFF to use only waterproof makeup.
Better get back on the topic. Her throat closed for a second, refusing to allow her vocal chords to utter the sound of his name, because saying it aloud would change everything.
But she was doing this for Sam. So she leaned forward and dropped her voice to a low, conspiratorial tone to share the confidence. “I saw Eric.”
Sam’s eyes grew wide as she bolted upright in her seat. “Get out of here! You met him? And is it the same person I’m thinking of?”
Lara smiled, happy to see the mood back to friendly chatter. She nodded. Sam was the only person who knew of her past with Eric.
“Well, are you just gonna sport such a dumb smile? Come on, out with it. I want all the details.”
Sam’s voice thrummed with excitement. Lara laughed, and recounted the meeting at the clinic.
“Okay, the real question I want you to answer. Was he wearing a wedding ring?” Sam asked as Lara finished her tale.
The elation of sharing the confidence crashed, the shards wrapping around her like tendrils of choking agony. “He had a ring on his right hand.”
“So he’s not married.”
“You’ve forgotten how European, and especially French men wear wedding rings on the right hand.”
“No, but this convention means squat in Mauritius. If it’s not on the left hand, the ring means nothing.”
Damn it all to hell—could there be hope? Could Eric be unattached, after everything that had happened?
And where on earth would such confirmation get her? Eric was out of her league, always had been. The sooner she reinforced that in her mind, the better.
“Come on, Lara. So this means he could be free, and what you saw could’ve been a misunderstanding—”
She shot to her feet. “I know what I saw, Sam. The photo didn’t lie, and the paper said he and his French floozie named Sophie de-whatever-bollocks were expecting their first child.”
“Still, it doesn’t sound like Eric,” Sam said in a soft tone.
Lara whirled around to stare at her friend. “Excuse me? I remember thinking you’re the one who wanted to lead a mob to rip the skin off his spine when you found out.”
Sam rolled her eyes. “Don’t I recall that.”
“Then what the heck are you talking about today, giving him the benefit of the doubt?”
“Because life is short, you idiot. And we’re all older and wiser today.” Sam paused. “Tell me, sincerely, would you refuse if you were given a second chance?”
The slow burn of anger, combined with the bite of disappointment and the sharp rips of crushed dreams, slashed their way through her. “You know what? If that happened, I definitely wouldn’t care.”
“The more fool you, then,” Sam said.
“Oh, bugger off, you sanctimonious cow.”
Sam snorted. “Trust me, we are so not done with this topic.”
And that’s exactly what has me worried. Lara turned her head the other way. She couldn’t bear for Sam, the woman who’d always read through her like an open book, to see how a senseless part of her would grab on to the mere hope of another chance with Eric if one ever came within a hundred miles of her.
Buy it Now
Here’s the info on the giveaway!
Prize: One random commenter will win an ecopy of my very first 1NightStand erotic IR/MC romance, Once Upon A Stormy Night: On the paradise island of Mauritius, British billionaire Lars Rutherford isn’t looking for a woman, and corporate law executive Simmi Moyer isn’t looking for a man. But when a matchmaker pairs them on a blind date, both face open doors toward a future they refused to contemplate…until now.
Eligibility: You must be a subscriber to the RNIC newsletter.
How to enter: Leave a comment – and tell Zee what sort of story you prefer?
Note: By participating in this contest, the winner has given permission to RNIC to share his/her name and email address with the person conducting the contest so they can forward the prize(s). Prizes open to U.S and International.
Deadline: September 20, 2013 at 11:59pm (EST)
Zee, how can readers contact you?
I love meeting people and making friends, so don’t hesitate to drop me a line or a friend req. I really am more sane than I sound, promise.
About the Author – Zee Monodee
Stories about love, life, relationships… in a melting-pot of culture Zee is an author who grew up on a fence – on one side there was modernity and the global world, on the other there was culture and traditions. Putting up with the culture for half of her life, one day she decided she’d stand tall on her wall and dip toes every now and then into both sides of her non-conventional upbringing.
From this resolution spanned a world of adaptation and learning to live on said wall. The realization also came that many other young women of the world were on their own fence.
This particular position became her favorite when she decided to pursue her lifelong dream of writing – her heroines all sit ‘on a fence’, whether cultural or societal, in today’s world or in times past, and face dilemmas about life and love.
Hailing from the multicultural island of Mauritius, Zee is a degree holder in Communications Science. She is married, mum to a tween son, & stepmum to a teenage lad.
Laurel Cremant is an opinionated author and reader of romance with a wicked sense of humor. RNIC was smart (or crazy) to bring her on as a blogger. In 2016 she took over the management of this site and relishes her new title of “Overlord of Awesome”