Today I’m delighted to welcome author, Monique McDonell, to my blog with a fascinating passion.

Hi Monique, welcome to my blog. Please tell us a little about you.

A_Fair_Exchange_RoughI am an Australian author who writes contemporary women’s fiction including chick lit and romance. I live on Sydney’s Northern Beaches with my husband and daughter, and despite my dog phobia, with a dog called Skip.

I have written all my life especially as a child when I loved to write short stories and poetry. At University I studied Creative Writing as part of my Communication degree. Afterwards I was busy working in public relations I didn’t write for pleasure for quite a few years although I wrote many media releases, brochures and newsletters. (And I still do in my day-job!)

When I began to write again I noticed a trend – writing dark unhappy stories made me unhappy. So I made a decision to write a novel with a happy ending and I have been writing happy stories ever since.

I have been a member of the writing group The Writer’s Dozen for eight years. Our anthology Better Than Chocolate raised over $10,000 for the charity Room to Read and helped build a library in South East Asia. I am also a member of the Romance Writers of Australia.

A Fair Exchange is the fifth novel I have released in the last two years.

To learn more about Monique McDonell and her upcoming books please visit her at

Do you have a passion other than writing? 

I am really passionate about travelling with my family. I have a  particular affinity with travel in the USA and somehow trying to do amazing things on a show-string budget. In fact I love it so much I help all my friends plan their trips and book their travels online. It’s a pity the whole travel agency business is dying because I would probably retrain and do that as my day job.

Ooh, that would be fun! How long has this been your passion?

My parents took us to the USA when I was 8 years old. My mother used to say “The McDonell girls may not have singlets but they had been to Disneyland.” I have taken the same approach with my own daughter (who I’m not sure even knows what a singlet is). I remember crazy details of that trip like it was yesterday (and it’s well – I won’t give away my age but it’s a long time ago!) Having apple pie for dinner my first night in Disneyland, the smell of the crabs cooking at Fisherman’s Wharf, the static electricity when you touched anything in Las Vegas and the site of the Grand Canyon from above it in a  small plane.

Sounds like an amazing trip!  What is it about it that brings a sparkle to your eye / motivates you?

I think the thing I like about travel is the possibility of seeing something new and I also like meeting new people who see the world with a different perspective than I do. I love where I live, I’m lucky to love in a really lovely part of Sydney, but you don’t know how great where you are is unless you get out there and see what else is out there. I like the creativity travelling on a budget forces upon you. It’s like a puzzle  and  like making it all fit together so you can squeeze in every ounce of excitement from your time away and your money.

Travelling really does broaden the mind, doesn’t it, especially as a kid! Do you have a funny story about something that’s happened to you while travelling?

IMG_3907I’ve been really lucky to have so many wonderful experiences. I got so over-excited the first trip  to the US I had to be pushed around Disneyland in a stroller because I was weak from illness. (I’m not sure how funny my parents found it). My husband thinks it funny that every time I leave Disneyland or Disneyworld I cry. I find it less amusing myself.

Ha! And I love your photo!

Please tell us about your latest release, A Fair Exchange.

Who hasn’t wondered about their first love? What happened? What went wrong? Where are they now?

What if you got a second chance?

Amelia Armstrong is about to find out. What a shame her long-lost love, Matt,  has returned  (looking way too good and acting way too sweet) when her life is a shambles and she has finally decided once and for all to put herself and not whichever man is currently in her life, first.

How do you balance that desire to recapture that loving feeling with the need to finally be the best version of yourself? What if this really is the one, how do you choose when to stand your ground and when to cut your losses?  Amelia takes a journey from Sydney to New York and back again trying to find the answers while negotiating with pop-divas, ex-lovers, crazy teenagers, a well-meaning cousin and the tabloids.

A Fair Exchange is a story about being a grown up when, maybe, you’d much rather be sixteen again. 


It was not as if he was the first one to mention it. In the past week everyone who had entered my apartment had commented on the shiny new Vespa parked in the middle of the otherwise empty living room. In fact, each and every one of them had imaginatively said “Amelia you have a red Vespa parked in your living room!”  And they all said it in a tone that implied I might not have noticed, as if it may have magically appeared there.

How could I not notice a vehicle parked in what was otherwise an empty room?

What amazed me was that the Vespa was what they chose to comment on.

Not that Nick had dumped me, after ten years, for a twenty-one year-old. Nor that he had moved out, taking basically all the furniture and leaving me with a great view over the beach and an enormous mortgage. 

No one even commented about the fact that I, in turn, had quit the fabulous job that had always meant way too much to me.

No, they commented on the Vespa.

What I could not understand though was why it hadn’t bothered me until right then, when Matthew Blue commented. And when he did comment, why had I collapsed into this embarrassing sea of tears?

How had this happened? How had I become this sobbing pathetic figure of womanhood?  And more importantly how had I ended up thirty-six and alone?

Didn’t I used to have so much potential? Everyone had said so, hadn’t they? 

“Amelia Armstrong is something special.”

I was one of those shiny young girls who took risks and dreamed big. I was one of the smart ones who knew what she wanted and went after it. I was one to watch.

If I hadn’t been that kind of a girl I would never have met Matthew all those years ago. A different girl would not have found herself, on the other side of the world, at sixteen, staring into his dark and dreamy eyes.

So where was that girl right now, I wanted to know? And how had a girl with so much potential gotten it so horribly wrong?


Monique - All books

You can contact Monique or buy A Fair Exchange from the following places:

Amazon author page






Oooh, this is going on my TBR list! Thanks so much for being on my blog today, Monique and good luck with A Fair Exchange.