Friday, January 10, 2014

Interview with Monique Lewis Happy.

Full Name:
Monique Lewis Happy
Is your last name really “Happy”?
Yep.  It’s left over from my marriage to my late husband.  As he told the story, his relatives during the Wild West days had the surname “Happe”.  Then Great-Uncle Happe stole a horse, and you know what they did to horse thieves back then – they strung them up!  The rest of the family changed their last name to Happy so no one would think they were related to a felon.
That’s an amazing story!

Do you have a nickname or what do your friends call you?
Mo Happy.  Yes, I know *grins*
Ugh.  My cavities are aching.  My teeth cavities.  From sweetness.  Not my other cavities.  You stay away from my other cavities.
No problem.  We are in total agreement there.

Santa Monica, CA.

Current hometown:
Torrance, CA.

Birthday / Age:
September 24th.  I’ll be 50 this year.  Eeep.
At least you’re honest.  Being vague about your age is an annoying self-indulgence I’ve been dealing with as a result of interviewing women between the ages of forty and fifty lately.  I don’t know what the big deal is.  You earned your stripes and it’s not like people are going to be all like, “Oh!  I thought you were under twenty-one!  I was about to card you for that drink!”  If you live long enough, you get old.  It happens to all of us if you stick around long enough.  Also, if you’re old enough to be vague about your age you’re also old enough to know better than to be coy.
Yep.  Too damn old to be coy.  And I’m proud of my age.  I was a wild child growing up and never thought I’d see 30.  50 is a gift!

How would you describe yourself physically?
Former fluffy person. Working on attaining a healthy (healthier?) physique.

How would someone else describe you physically?
“Man, that chick is HAWT.” *smirk*

The first thing people notice about you is…
The Hawtness.

Religion, if any?
I’m very spiritual.  But not “in your face” spiritual.  I have a quiet, conscious contact with my Higher Power.
As an antitheist, I appreciate that.  You don’t try to talk me into believing what you believe in and I won’t try to talk you out of believing what you believe in.  The world’s a big enough place.
That’s right.  Another thing we can agree on.

Are you superstitious at all? Any phobias?
I used to be very superstitious.  I wouldn’t have peacock feathers in my house, and I had a lot of things I’d routinely do.  Go around ladders.  Say bread and butter if I was going to walk on the other side of a post from you.  Throw spilled salt over my shoulder.  I COLLECTED superstitions.  Then my life turned around and I stopped being so afraid of everything.  But I still enjoy hearing about new and unusual superstitions.
Ooh!  A fellow superstition collector!  What’s your FAVORITE superstition?
Oh gosh.  There are just sooo many good ones out there.  I know!  I heard a long time ago that when you’re crossing a railroad track in your car, you’re supposed to touch/scratch the ceiling.  Supposedly you’ll avoid picking up any ghostly hitchhikers that way.  You know, the ones that died a tragic, gory death right there on the tracks?
Do I?  I wrote a whole book about “paranormal” stuff!  Everywhere has that urban legend about the train tracks where a bus was hit and it killed all of the kids and if you stop on the tracks and put your car in neutral, you’ll get pushed out of the intersection… and if it’s a cold night, you’ll see little handprints appear in the fog on your rear window!  OOOoooOOOoooOOOhhh!

Do you smoke / drink? If so, what? Any bad habits?
Nope, I quit drinking 19 years ago (hence the “former” wild child appellation).  I quit smoking about 14 years ago.  My bad habits are pretty tame nowadays; they have more to do with cake.  And naps.

Current occupation / Dream job:
Owner/Editor at Monique Happy Editorial Services.  And it IS my dream job.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
I love to read.  My favorite genres are horror, supernatural, and sci fi.  My top fave is post-apocalyptic.

What is your zombie outbreak survival plan?
Get together with my favorite ZA authors and get to a safe place.  Start society over again.

Weapon of choice:
Anything I can get my hands on.

Do you have any special skills?
Editing.  I don’t think that will help when the zombies attack though.  Maybe I could blind them with some White Out.  Or throw a stapler at them.

Any pets?   If so, what are they and what are their names?
I have many cats (Jinxie, Mimsy and Leo are the younger generation, and Ralphie and Luna are the old guard) and several dogs (Coco, Charlie, and Bandit).  And one rabbit. Jack.  Original, I know.
No one’s going to judge you for naming your rabbit Jack.  I know I’m kind of a jerk sometimes in these interviews, but that only happens when I get a lot of “Yes” and “No.” answers and have to treat the interviewee as a hostile interviewee to goad them into being interesting.  The worst is when an author gives me a boring first pass.  You’re a writer, damn it!  WRITE!

What is your favorite animal?
Cats of course!  I’m known as the Crazy Cat Lady by family, friends, and passersby.
As long as they don’t think you’re collecting familiars and burn you for a witch.
Well a hundred years ago I probably would have been burned at the stake.  Although I would have done my damndest to fly away on my broom first, cackling madly.

Speaking of pets, any pet peeves?
People that make promises and don’t keep them.  Liars.  Someone that takes the last cup of coffee or piece of cake.
Someone has to take the last cup of coffee…
Then make another dang pot!!  As for the cake, there’s just no excuse.

Favorite / Least favorite Food:
Favorite food would have to be a juicy rib eye steak.
Least favorite: mussels.  Yechh.

What is your favorite quotation / motto / saying?
One day at a time.  Sometimes one minute at a time.

What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
I’ve had several “best things.”  My kids, of course.  Getting laid off in 2008 – although I didn’t think so at the time.  It freed me up to create my own editing company.  I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
Again, several “worst things.”  Both of my husbands passed away.  That was pretty tough.

What do you do?
I own and operate Monique Happy Editorial Services.

How did you get started doing what you do?
As I said above, I was laid off from my legal secretarial job in 2008.  I’d been a legal secretary for 25+ years, and at the time there weren’t any openings.  I went back to school to get my AA degree and paralegal certificate.  While there, I took a creative writing course and started writing again.  I also got a Kindle and began reading avidly.  Did you know there are literally hundreds of zombie apocalypse books on Kindle that are free or nearly so?  I read several that were fantastic!  I contacted one author (Mark Tufo) and chatted on his blog, then found him on Facebook.  When he put out a call for some proofreading help, I volunteered.  He liked what I’d done so much he had me edit several of his books.  And paid me for it!  Then word-of-mouth spread and I began my editing journey.  I’ve loved every minute of it.
I was aware that there are literally hundreds of zombie apocalypse books on Kindle that are free or nearly so.  I mean, I don’t own a Kindle, but if someone asked me, and you just did, I’d say I knew, because it’s obvious.  What are some of the best of the bunch in your opinion?
I’m definitely biased in this regard.  Shawn Chesser’s Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse series, of course.  The New Days: The First Son, and Don of the Dead by Robert DeCoteau.  Anything my ZA authors have written (Ian Woodhead, Sean Liebling, Owen Baillie, Joe Coley, etc. etc.).  But there are so many others. Anything by Joe McKinney, Rhiannon Frater, James Cook, Mark Tufo.  I could go on ad infinitum.  

What is your advice to other people that want to get started doing what you do?
In order to edit well, you’ll need a solid knowledge of the English language. Take as many courses as you can (English, editing, proofreading), subscribe to editors’ and writers’ blogs, buy all of the top books in the field (Chicago Manual of Style, for example) and read them in your spare time. Find a mentor and start out small.  Always be open to learn more.  Be honest and punctual.
I use Strunk & White’s Elements of Style.  But just on my editorial pass.  I like to draft pretty loose and tighten it up in editing.

What are some of the projects you’ve worked on / finished in the past?
Give us a little history if you will.
Mark Tufo’s Zombie Fallout – I worked on the first four or five of the ZF series.  It was a privilege to work with Mark.
Joseph A. Coley’s Six Feet From Hell series – Having been an engineer and a medic in the U.S. Army reserves, and now working as an EMT, Joe brings all of that knowledge to his writing.  An engaging thrill ride.
Shawn Chesser’s Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse series - one of the best ZA series out there. I’ve been editing for Shawn since the beginning, and I can’t say enough about Shawn’s growth as an author.  Truly amazing.
Sean Liebling’s Blood, Brains, and Bullets series - the zombie apocalypse as it would really go down, with true-to-life scenarios, steamy sex, betrayal and redemption! Another great ZA ride.
Joshua Dalzelle’s Omega Force series - great sci fi thrillers that I highly recommend! Think the A-Team in space.
W.J. Lundy’s Whiskey Tango Foxtrot series – a highly realistic ZA series which John began writing while serving our country in Afghanistan. You couldn’t ask for a better military/post-apocalyptic read.
I wish I could name all of my authors here, as they are all great in their own ways. Please visit my website at and visit their author pages for bios and links to their books on Amazon!

What projects are you working on now?
I’m working on Tony Baker’s debut novel, Survivors of the Dead: From the Ashes.  I’m telling you, this is one that everyone’s been waiting for – and it will be well worth the wait!!

Favorite author / book?
Stephen King’s The Stand.  Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas series.  Mercedes Lackey – anything she wrote.  The list is endless.

Favorite band / song?
Tough one.  I’ve loved Ozzy Osbourne since I was 16.  Especially his song Goodbye to Romance.  Also love Metallica.  But I must say I always come back to the Moody Blues.

Least favorite band / song?
Lorde. Royals.  Overplayed.  Makes my teeth hurt.

If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would you do?
Win the lottery, open a rescue shelter for cats/dogs, and travel with my family.

Who would you want to meet that you haven’t met?
You get three choices: Alive. Dead. Fictional.
Stephen King.  Abraham Lincoln.  All of the characters from my authors’ books. Especially Cade from STZA, Jay from BBB, and Jason from Omega Force. Rawwwrr. Haha.

What’s the best and worst job you’ve ever had?
The best job is the one I’m doing currently. I love editing. If you’d asked me thirty years ago what I would love to do AND get paid for, I would have said editing. Don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner! I just got into that vicious cycle, thinking I had to a) work for someone else, b) put in years and years at a desk while getting talked down to by people that were progressively younger than me, and c) retire “someday” and live on a meager income. Ugh. So glad I was laid off. What a blessing in disguise.

Anyone you recommend I interview that you can put me in touch with?
OH yes.  I’ve got many authors who would love to do an interview with you.  Let’s keep in touch. *smile*
Let’s do!
You’ve got a date.

Thanks for letting me subject you to being interviewed!
No, thank YOU!  What a privilege.

Pitch parade:
Give me all of your links for things you want to promote.   All of them.
Monique Lewis Happy -
Monique Happy Editorial Services -

Google Plus:

About the Interviewee:
Monique Happy has extensive proofreading, editing and formatting experience, as she was a legal secretary for over 25 years before opening Monique Happy Editorial Services in 2011.
Monique works closely with authors to ensure that their manuscripts will always receive the utmost attention, not only during all phases of editing, but after the authors’ successful self-publishing, as well. This is accomplished through her strict attention to detail and vast promotional services across many networks.
Her promotional team stands ready to promote her authors’ books via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc. Other services offered, free to her clients, include but are not limited to: Facebook book launch parties, blog hops, author interviews, and podcasts; Monique also keeps her clients apprised of new submission and publishing opportunities.

About the Interviewer:
Scott Lefebvre can write about whatever you want him to write about.
Mostly because when he was grounded for his outlandish behavior as a hyperactive school child, the only place he was allowed to go was the public library.
His literary tastes were forged by the works of Helen Hoke, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft.
He is the author of Spooky Creepy Long Island, and a contributing author to Forrest J. Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead, Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, The Call of Lovecraft, and Cashiers du Cinemart.
He is currently working on ten novel-length book projects which will be released in 2014.
He also publishes themed collections of interviews from his interview blog You Are Entitled To My Opinion.
His reviews have been published by a variety of in print and online media including Scars Magazine, Icons of Fright, Fatally Yours and Screams of Terror, and he has appeared in Fangoria, Rue Morgue and HorrorHound Magazine.
He is the Assistant Program Director for The Arkham Film Society and produces electronic music under the names Master Control and LOVECRAFTWORK.
He is currently working on a novel-length expansion of a short-story titled, "The End Of The World Is Nigh", a crowd-funded, crowd-sourced, post-apocalyptic, zombie epidemic project.
Check out the blog for the book here:
Check out the Facebook Fan Page for the project here:
Check his author profile at:
Follow him at GoodReads here:
Check out his publishing imprint Burnt Offerings Books here:
And here:
Check out his electronic music here:
And here:
Check out his videos at:
Check out his IMDB profile here:
Follow his Twitter here: or @TheLefebvre
Follow his Tumblr here:
Check out his Etsy here:
Join the group for The Arkham Film Society here:
Stalk his Facebook at:
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