Mary Monroe

Mary Monroe
"God Still Don't Like Ugly"

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
August 24, 2004

Q. Ms. Monroe, how did you come up with the story ideal for GOD STILL DON'T LIKE UGLY?

A. This book is the sequel to GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY. I was compelled to write it because readers bombarded me with email demanding more information on Annette and Rhoda, the two main characters. Plot ideas started coming to me right away. Once I decided to do the sequel the story practically fell into place.

Q. How did you come about the title?

A. I couldn't come up with another title I liked. But the main reason was that I wanted the many wonderful readers who supported GDLU to know from the first glance at the book cover that this book was associated with GDLU.

Q. What message would you like readers to receive from Rhoda's character?

Beauty, intelligence, and wealth are not everything. Rhoda had more of all three than a lot of women but she was not a happy person. She still had some of the same problems associated with people who are homely, ignorant, and poor. But she turned to crime when her problems interfered with her plans. After she lost both of her breasts to cancer and had a stroke that downgraded her good looks, guilt and remorse were added to her burdens. This caused her more pain than all of the people she killed.

Q. What message would you like readers to receive from Mud'Dear and Frank's situation?

A. Muh'Dear was devastated when Frank left her for another woman. Ironically, she ended up better off without him in her life. By the time Frank re-entered Muh'Dear's life, (thirty years later) he was truly humble and remorseful. Muh'Dear had become a strong, independent, successful businesswoman who looked at life from a different perspective. When Frank revealed the painful reasons that had driven him into the arms of a white woman, Muh'Dear's strength, confidence, and self-esteem helped her forgive him.

Q. What message would you like readers to receive from Annette and Lilliemae's relationship?

A. The message here is that we should not be too quick to judge or dismiss a person. Get all of the facts and then decide if you want this person in your life. A lot of readers said that they would have hated Lillimae because she was the result of her father's affair with another woman. Annette was a kind-hearted, fair-minded person who found some good in everybody--including the man who'd sexually abused her. Lillimae was a "white" version of Annette. But Lillimae's blue eyes, blond hair, and white skin were not enough to keep her from experiencing some of the same heartaches that haunted Annette. Not only was Lillimae just as obese as Annette, she'd also been betrayed and deserted by a parent. Annette overlooked the fact that it was Lillimae's mother who had broken up her family. She based her feelings toward her bi-racial half-sister on more positives aspects.

Q. How did you come about Scary Mary, Pee Wee and Jerome's characters?

A. Most of my characters are composites of people I know. The real Scary Mary was a meddlesome, gun-toting bootlegger who lived in one of my old neighborhoods in Ohio. Pee Wee was my first boyfriend. Jerome was based on one of my ex-boyfriends who was so cheap he moved into an abandoned school bus when his mama kicked him out of her house. A few months ago he told one of my friends that he's thinking about taking me back...There is never a dull moment in my life.

Q. How do you keep up with all of your characters and give each a voice and make them so believable?

A. I started "creating" people and stories when I was a toddler. I pay close attention to things that don't even cross the minds of other people. Like how this or that person smells, chews, talks, acts, walks, etc. Since most of my characters are based on people I know, it is easy for me to see them as real individuals. My characters are always on my mind, even as I sleep. I've had entire stories come to me in dreams.

Q. How long did it take you to write this novel?

A. I went through at least five complete drafts. I wrote anywhere from a few minutes a day to twelve hours a day for about six months.

Q. Are you currently working on a future novel?

A. Every day. RED LIGHT WIVES (about the "rise and fall" and redemption of six hookers) will be released September 2004. I just finished an identity theft nightmare called MASQUERADE (about a bored, jealous secretary who steals a co-worker's identity, unaware that a hit man is looking for the woman she's posing as) and hope to see it in print September 2005. I just started working on THE STALKERS (about a stalker who targets a woman just as relentless as he is and she ends up stalking him) and hope to see it in print in 2006. I have ideas outlined for the next three novels after that!

Q. What message would you like readers to receive from reading GOD STILL DON'T LIKE UGLY?

A. The title says it all. I strongly believe that what goes around comes around. Sooner or later you will reap what you sow. This is the one message that all of my books will convey. I used to know a woman--an only child--who treated her parents so badly, the mother committed suicide and the grief-stricken father died in his sleep a month later. That woman now has four children and they ALL treat her the same way she treated her parents.