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Monica Wood

I was delighted to receive One in a Million Boy by Monica Wood as a gift from Caitlin at Headline publishers and it is a book that will stay with me for a very long time.


Monica Wood

Copyright Headline Publishers

I have never read a novel quite like this one before and it is certainly a page turner and an excellent thought provoking read. I am delighted that Monica has agreed to answer some questions for us.

The tea has brewed and the muffins are just out of the oven. Please help yourself and let us begin our interview.

Jan, I’d be delighted to sit down with a virtual tea and muffin:

My late mother’s best friend is 103 this August and is still going strong. I have known her all my life and I can relate to reading your below paragraph on the website. I took to this lady from a very young age and she was my Brown Owl and taught me a lot. Even though she was not considered ‘old’ then, she was to me! As you yourself state:-

‘Ever since I was a kid I have loved old ladies. My first job out of college was in an old folks’ home where the ladies fawned over me in a way I found comforting and comical. One of my best friends was a very old woman who died at age 98. I also loved researching the aged for this novel. “Supercentenarians” – 110 plus – are everywhere, it turns out, and some of them are still mowing their own lawns. I’m not kidding.’

The tea has brewed and the muffins are just out of the oven. Please help yourself and let us begin our interview.

Jan, I’d be delighted to sit down with a virtual tea and muffin:

Who or what inspired you to write a book about music and friendship about a young boy and a very old lady?

Sometimes you go looking for a story, but more often it simply arrives. Of course there are things from my own life here, but all the characters are inventions. Usually I’m well into the first or second draft when the story begins to reveal itself. For a long time, all I have is characters. They drive the car, really; the plot comes from what they say or do. I follow them to many, many dead ends, but eventually I find the right road.

And as for inspiration, the sad truth is that the Muse is a stingy layabout. Every once in a blue moon—when she’s not busy eating bonbons or watching TV—she might pay a visit. But you can’t count on it, so writers have to manufacture their own inspiration. Mostly that means keeping your backside in the chair when you’d rather be anywhere else.

Are you an owl or a lark and do you have a special room that you write in?

I’m an owl married to a lark, so I’ve adjusted my writing time considerably from what I’d consider ideal. Given my druthers, I’d write all night and sleep till noon. Instead I do my best writing midday, from 10 to 3 or so. And yes, I do have a special place to write, a sweet backyard studio that my lark built for me. It’s a few steps from my back door (I live in a small bungalow in a city neighborhood), which is like going to another planet.

How long did it take you to write this novel?

Four years for the first round. Then it was rejected by my longtime publisher. I was in despair over that, but righted myself, wrote a memoir and a play, then returned to the book for another eight months. My agent then sold it literally overnight. How’s that for a lesson in patience?

Why does the boy remain nameless throughout?

I wanted to name him, but nothing really fit. I eventually realized he didn’t have a name because he is not of this world anymore, and to name him was to make him too literal. He is an alive, active presence in the book, but not a living character. He does have a name, but the only people who know it besides me are my husband and oldest sister. She named him.

Music plays a big part throughout the novel. Do you play any musical instruments yourself?

I play guitar and for a few years in my thirties I did a lot of singing in the bar circuit. It’s not a job for the weak-hearted. What I remember most about that era is lugging heavy equipment around.

How has becoming very successful changed your life?

Success is subjective, I suppose. I’m happy with the career I have and wouldn’t change its slow, steady trajectory. I get asked to do more things these days, but that’s about it. I have always had everything I need: love and purpose.

What practical advice would you give to anyone who is hoping to be commercially published but is getting constant rejection?

Oh, this is such a hard question. Self publishing , at least in the States, had become respectable, so there is always that route if you find yourself knocking on locked doors. It’s harder to get published now, I think, than when I first started out.

Is it harder to write a novel or a play?

A novel is much harder and takes so much longer. In a play you have only one tool at your disposal: dialogue. It’s challenging to be that limited, but also refreshing. Sort of like going to the supermarket and finding only three brands of cereal to choose from rather than three hundred.

I am a lover of charts and have been absorbed by all the ‘world records’ you write about. Did you receive The Guinness Book of World Records as a child? I know I did and there is a first edition somewhere in my family possessions.

I didn’t get it as a child but I gave it to my nephews as Christmas presents. When I was researching this book I turned into an 11-year-old boy. The record books are so hilarious and amazing, a testament to human goofiness and human striving. Irresistible.

Who would you invite to dinner? You are allowed one male and one female guest.

George Eliot and Barack Obama. What an intelligent conversation that would be.

Finally, FIVE Quick one word answers please!

Sweet or Savoury?


Beach or City break?


Cat or dog?

What kind of question is that??? CAT.

Ebook or Paperback? 

Paper till the day I die.

Walking or Gym? 

Winter: gym. Summer: walk.

Thank you very much for your time Monica, it has been lovely to interview you and share your thoughts with us. I know my members will enjoy reading the article. All the best for the future.

My pleasure, Jan!

Please take a look at Monica's excellent websites.


Meet The Author...
Who Am I?

Hi, my name is Janice and I am the founder of www.OAPSchat.co.uk.This stands for Optimistic and ProActive Seniors Chat. OAPSchat was born in April 2013 as a Facebook page. To date there are over 1460 FB likes. It was in November 2013 that I decided I had enough material and confidence to launch the website.

Since that day, I have been writing articles on all kinds of topics. ranging from hobbies, holidays, food and drink, memories, families, finance and much much more. I now have over one hundred and thirty seven wonderful contributors to date and articles on all different subjects are posted on a daily basis. Over 1400 articles can be read now! Members can comment via disqus, FB and Twitter.

Raffles are held monthly, sometimes more often. A newsletter goes out once a month with my plans for the coming weeks. I am an Independent Happy List Winner 2014 for founding the website.

Loneliness is a big scourge on our society worldwide and the website helps combat this awful isolation by coming together and sharing our thoughts and ideas. OAPSchat is well and truly born now and I hope it will continue to thrive. With your support, I'm confident it will!

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