Monica M. Brinkman lived in the Philadelphia, PA area, relocated to the California Bay, where she resided for thirty years and now resides in the St. Louis, MO area, which was the inspiration of her newest book, The Turn of the Karmic Wheel.
She views herself as a citizen of all the States, finding that people throughout the country are warm, caring and most want the same things in life, to enjoy their passions, make a living and be surrounded by those they love. In her own words, “Life is truly an adventure. I believe in giving everyone the opportunity to go after their passions in life. To not do so, creates hostility, depression and emptiness.”
A free-lance author and poet, she embraces stories that have meaning and purpose. Though a bit of a rebel, when some authors told her that no one would ever read a story set in the Missouri Ozarks, nor would they wish to read a mixed genre, that was all it took. “How dare they insult the intelligence of our readers by placing them in a box”. Off she went, and wrote this exact type of story, set in the small rural college town of Raleigh, MO. It is a mixed genre of suspense, horror, spiritutality and a touch of the paranormal. Monica is working on the sequel, The Wheels Final Turn, set in the State of California.
You can find out more about Monica and her work athttp://monicabrinkmanbooks.webs.com/
Q: Thank you for this interview, Monica. Can you tell us what your latest book, The Turn of the Karmic Wheel, is all about?
A: My book intentionally written using a mixture of genres has created quite a few discussions of the real conception. The reviewers seem to have their own idea of the meaning of the tale. The good news is this is exactly what I intended when creating the idea of the story.
The best description I can provide, without giving away the suspense, is this brief synopsis.
“What goes around comes around.”
Truer words were never spoken, as evidenced by the complex interactions and fates of the characters in “The Turn of The Karmic Wheel.”
When the residents of Raleigh begin to hear music and voices that aren’t “there”, and to receive frightening messages from no discernable source, it soon becomes apparent that changes must – and will – be made: to their everyday lives, to their relationships, to their bodies, and, most importantly, to their souls.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?
A: Would love to and thank you for asking. I’ll touch on a few as I have many characters within the tale.
• Angela Frank is the main character and driving force within the story. A beautiful young mother, wife, psychiatrist and reluctant psychic, embraces the goodness within people and the world. Ms. Frank lives her life assisting the mentally ill, performing charitable acts within her town and tending to her family, husband Monty Frank and two twin girls Alesha and Alexis. Lately, she has been unable to avoid or repress ‘voices’ and ‘visions’ occurring at an increasing rate. Thus begins her journey and participation in the karmic wheels turn.
• Euclid Hannigan, on the other side of middle age, speaks simply with an Ozark twang and is a firm God-fearing, compassionate man whose life has been in turmoil since the death of his wife Gina and the loss of his life-long job at the car factory. He soon finds himself perplexed by his inability to resist the force calling him to perform uncharacteristic acts.
• Karmen Shelton, in her early 50’s, is a loving, giving, caring nurse working in the local hospitals psychiatric ward. Her life is the definition of being charitable in both her work and outside activities. Unmarried, a bit overweight with short, tight, curly hair and what people call ‘coke bottle glasses,’ she yearns to find a man who will love her for her heart and not her outward appearance.
• Joshua Allen, tall, a mid thirties Financial Advisor with a model physique, black hair and piercing blue eyes is a woman’s picture of perfection. Females seem drawn to his animal magnetism until they realize he possesses qualities of self-absorption, greed, arrogance and pretentiousness.
• Rosie Richards, unmarried, 60 years of age, is a successful real estate agent with flame red hair, loud, overbearing, grossly overweight, and flamboyant in dress and appearance. Ms. Richards’s business practices place her own financial needs above those of her clients.
• Monty Frank, a Debt Eliminator in his late 20’s, pudgy around the mid-section, a marvelous husband and father is married to Angela Frank. From outward appearance, life within the Frank household seems idyllic, two young successful parents, blonde beautiful twin girls surrounded by deep love. Soon, Angela confronted with a taste of reality, must re-think her entire married life as Monty’s deep secrets are exposed.
There are a few small characters, whom we meet throughout the story as they get a taste of the karmic wheels turn.
Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
A: I must confess that I do both. Many times I will combine both the real person I have met and add to their personality from my imagination. The characters appear in dreams many times and seem to ‘call me’ to bring them to life. With the diversity of individuals we meet in life, I believe, if an author is honest, they will tell you that all characters hold some truth with people they have met in life. We take them and tweak them a bit.
Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?
A: The plot comes first. It is the actual idea of the entire story. The fun is adding the characters and watching them come alive before your eyes. The bond of intimacy between an author and their characters is perhaps the most exciting aspect of being a writer. The feeling is much as giving birth. First, an idea appears and you mold it into becoming a real, breathing individual that you hope readers will embrace.
Q: Your book is set in Raleigh, Missouri. Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?
A: Allow me a bit of local history. When the town of Rolla, MO was being named, legend has it, that new settlers from North Carolina voted to name the town after their hometown of Raleigh but chose to spell the Missouri version phonetically. I chose to use the original spelling and intention of the towns’ name.
I set the book in this setting when some very pompous authors told me no one would wish to read a story set in the Missouri Ozarks or any small town. They went on to say, to be successful, you must set your story in a large city. It didn’t set well with me, as I believe they had no right to place readers in some ‘readers’ box’, telling them what they prefer to read. Many excellent stories have been set in small towns. To me, they were insulting the readers of the worlds’ intelligence.
The sequel, The Wheels Final Turn, will be set in California but reach the world.
Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?
A: Definitely. In this case, I drew on the diversity of the people living in Rolla, MO. They are not merely ‘simple country folks’ but a blend of many different dialects, beliefs, ethnicities, and walks of life. Yes, you will find the Ozark accent, but the majority of the people have no accent whatsoever, or only a touch of it.
Also, the fact that a small, rural, college town would hold the beginning to a major shift in peoples’ perception of being held accountable for their own actions in life, intrigued me. How ideal, a sleepy little town awakening a universal force that would change humankind. It would not have been the same story had I set it in metropolis.
Q: Open the book to page 69. What is happening?
A: Joshua Allen has awakened and is preparing his morning meal, reflecting on the strange occurrences from the previous evening. He contemplates visiting Joansie, his female counterpart. As he reaches for his cell phone, he is jolted by electricity and sent reeling across the room, shocked (literally) and dazed.
Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?
A: This one is my favorite as it awakens peoples’ eyes to a rare, incurable, genetic disease called Epidermolysis Bullosa or EB, for short.
I wanted to let the readers know, also, that every sale of my novel will create a donation to EBMRF, the only research foundation that uses 97% of their funding on actual research. They are starting to come up with promising research results. I can only hope and pray we will see significant results in the near future.
Miriam gazed at her daughter and saw pure beauty where others would see only the gauze bandages covering her thin, tiny arms, legs, feet and hands. Most people who saw her believed the lovely little girl was a burn victim. If only that were so, Miriam thought to herself. Yes, that she could live with, knowing her Tessa would get better and grow to a ripe old age. Often she wondered why such a disease as Epidermolysis bullosa, E.B. for short, existed. For what purpose were these children born into this world? Their reality was constant pain and misery. E.B. was a cruel trick of nature indeed. The doctors had explained that it had to do with genes that she and her late husband carried. Rather like Russian roulette. No one knew when, or if, a child would be born with E.B. There were no tests to find out if an adult had the gene, they’d told her—well, not until a child was born with E.B. Then the medical field was able to take DNA from the child and compare it against the parents’. Even then, she’d been told, the disease could simply be the result of a mutant gene that popped up out of nowhere. In truth, the doctors knew very little about this genetic disease and as much as admitted that each afflicted child was, more or less, a training tool for the medical field. The extent of the disease varied from mild to extreme cases.
Miriam knew that to the world, her daughter was a freak. Moreover, she knew that Tessa was growing weary of the long stares, rude questions, and out and out gawking whenever she went out in public. Miriam felt like telling Tessa to give ’em the finger the next time an adult stood next to her gawking openly. That would serve ’em right, but two wrongs don’t make a right, and it was better for Tessa to ignore them and not buy into their discourteousness. Miriam laughed to herself just thinking of Tessa lifting up that finger at some moron.
Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Monica. We wish you much success!
A: You are very welcome. I am humbled to provide a bit of information on my book, The Turn of the Karmic Wheel, my views and inspirations.
I appreciate your taking the time to talk with me about a story written to make people think and bring meaning to the world as it was conceived from the point of care and concern for our world.