Marissa Monteilh

Marissa Monteilh
May December Souls

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
March 18, 2003

1. Who is Marissa Monteilh?

Marissa Monteilh is a single mother of three, and a new grandmother who has found her professional, God-given niche in the form of writing. That is a great feeling, especially at this time in my life.

2. What inspired you to write the novel "May December Souls?"

I was inspired to write May December Souls in 1998 when I sat down to chronicle my relationship with my father, or should I say lack of a relationship. He left my mom, two brothers and me when I was five years old. For cathartic reasons, I chronicled how his departure had a big impact on my relationships with men. Before I knew it, I had over 200 pages. I added a 21-year-old fictional, male character to the story along with some sugar and spice, and before I knew it, I had a 90,000-word novel.

3. How did you come up with the title "May December Souls?"

Iíd always noticed that older men who dated younger women were totally accepted in society, but women who dated younger men were scoffed at. I thought the term ďMay DecemberĒ was an interesting one. Mariah and Malik, the main characters in May December Souls, are soul mates so to speak, so I made reference to the fact that there was a May December relationship, even though many people have never heard of the term May (being the younger person) and December (being the older) and then I added the word ď SoulsĒ Ė it seemed to flow and summarize the concept.

4. How did you come about Mariah's character?

Mariah was born from my experiences in life. She is ďon the growĒ and wants more out of life, both professionally and personally, but also wants to take the time to find out why she is repeating the same old patterns over and over again. Sheís tired of being a gluten for punishment. So she takes the time to find out why she is the way she is, and more importantly, works to make changes after learning how to break free from her self-inflicted boundaries. Many women feel stuck and stagnant. It is my hope that Mariah serves as a role model for those of us who allow our past to rule our present.

5. How did you come about Kareem and Malik characters?

Kareem makes women so mad! Heís so selfish and such an old playboy. I know a lot of men like him, so heís bits and pieces of many men. Now as for Malik, he is the dream man Iíve yet to meet. Thatís one of the great things about writing; you can create characters and live through them for a while. He is a real man.

6. How long did it take you to write "May December Souls?"

It only took me about eight months to write May December Souls. It just sort of flowed like magic. I now know that it was the start of the blessed life that Iím experiencing now. I really didnít know enough to feel inhibited or intimated about the process because I didnít set out to write novels per say. I think itís much easier for first time authors to write books that are semi-autobiographical. Itís much less of a challenge.

7. Are there any of your personalities in Mariah?

The fact that Mariah is a passionate person who is honest with herself is probably the biggest trait that mirrors my own personality. She wants to learn to be a better person. She is spiritual, and believes in a power greater than all of us. Yet she is a dreamer who has her head in the clouds at times. Sounds quite a bit like me. Only you could get that out of me, Lauretta

8. How many books have you written?

Iíve written three books so far. My second title, The Chocolate Ship, was just released in January 2003. Itís an adventure about a thirty-something couple who go on a black owned cruise to see if their relationship can withstand the wave of temptations on the romantic Atlantic. I just completed my third novel, Hot Boyzí in Ladera Heights, the story of three well-to-do brothers who live in an upscale neighborhood in Los Angeles.

9. What type of atmosphere do you require to write in?

Iím at my best when I write in complete silence. No telephones, television, music, etc., nothing but peace and quiet, and now that my kids are pretty much on their own, thatís fairly easy to accomplish. Iím not a morning person. I usually write in the mid afternoon, unless Iím stretching a deadline, and then it doesnít matter what time of day it is.

10. Are you currently working on another novel?

Iíve just started my fourth untitled novel about finding love on the Internet. Also, Iím co-writing a book of romance consisting of four short stories that will be completed later his year. And, Iím taking a shot at a book of erotica called Hot to Trot.

11. Will there be a sequel to "May December Souls?"

Iíve been asked to continue the adventures of Mariah and Malik and Iíve thought about it, especially lately. If I do, it will probably be called, Oxytocin, the hormone that the story revolves around. It will be a challenge, but I think Iím up to the task - perhaps sometime in 2005.

12. What message would you like readers to receive from reading "May December Souls?"

The main message Iíd like readers to receive from May December Souls is that it doesnít matter the age, race, religion or creed of a person, if two people are compatible, can communicate well, and have chemistry Ė thatís half the battle. In spite of an age difference, soul mates are soul mates, no matter what. Also, women Ė letís practice talking before touching. We bond to men way too soon before we take the time to get to know them from the neck up. Slow down Ė if Mariah did it, anyone can!

Thanks so much for allowing me the opportunity of a Literay World interview. Iím honored and I appreciate the thought provoking questions.