5 Reasons to Leave a Lover - A Novella and Other Short Stories

In 5 Reasons to Leave a Lover, author Carolyn Moncel offers up a fresh batch of stories based on love and loss.  As singer/songwriter, Paul Simon so eloquently suggested in a famous song from the 1970s, there are many ways to leave a lover.  However, Moncel's characters demonstrate that the reasons for leaving in the first place are quite finite.  Encounters in Paris' Ellery and Julien Roulet return, picking up their lives after the short story, "Pandora's Box Revisited."  This time the Roulets are involved in a love triangle, and along with two other couples, must explore how love relationships are affected and splinter due to abuse, ambivalence, deception, cheating and death. This bittersweet collection of tales proves that some breakups are necessary; while others are voluntary; and still others are simply destined and beyond anyone's control

The stories in this collection I found to be very enjoyable. The stories are heart wrenching and are very well developed to the point where I felt I was reading about real people, not just fictional characters. The problems that these couples face are true to life and the way the feelings that they portray are written made be feel so strongly for them. At one point I found myself getting so mad at one of the husband's that I actually had to stop reading for a moment and remind myself that this was a piece of fiction! That is effective writing at its finest.

A must read for fans of womens fiction!

And here is Carolyn herself talking to us on the last day of Self-Publishing month ...

Tell us about yourself.
I’ll start by saving I’m exhausted!  First and foremost I’m a wife and mother to two daughters.  During the day, I run two companies with offices in Chicago, Paris and Geneva: MotionTemps, LLC, a bilingual Digital Project and Web Content Management firm, and its subsidiary, Mondav√© Communications, a media relations training and now, publishing company.  At night, I get to create a totally different world through my writing.  We are also a family of expatriates! We’ve been living overseas for the last nine years.  For the five years I got to be “An American in Paris.”  Since 2007 we’ve been living in Lausanne, Switzerland and it’s a terrific place – not only for raising a family but also for writing.  I don’t know how much longer we will stay in Europe before returning to the United States but I hope we will stay long enough for me to write at least two more books.

Tell us about your writing experience.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve known that I wanted to write fiction. I can’t help it because I come from a family of storytellers!  Even before I could write I would stage elaborate soap opera story lines for my Barbie dolls!  I used to write a lot as a teenager and then one day, I just stopped. Even after that, my need to tell stories continued with a degree in Communications. Working in public relations for 20 years now, I find myself telling non-fiction stories all the time.  I cannot hold a meeting with my clients without including some story with a lesson to be learned.  Even now when my youngest daughter and I play with her Barbie dolls, creating fun and interesting scenarios remains the best part for me.  She’s such a ham and always follows right along!

As far as my individual writing style is concerned, I would say that I’m a realist to be sure.  I enjoy examining complex relationships. I like creating empathetic characters, people for which readers easily can identify with their circumstances.  Being in Europe has definitely had an influence on my style of writing in that I don’t necessarily believe stories have to end happily. Nor do I believe stories must always have a definitive conclusion. To me, life can be messy, extremely complicated, and the answers to our problems don’t always present themselves in neat little packages. Sometimes there is never a satisfactory answer to life’s trickier questions.

For these first two books of shorter workers, Encounters in Paris and 5 Reasons to Leave a Lover, I wanted to explore experiences through the eyes of expatriates because living overseas so far away from family and friends can be quite tough.  Specifically, I wanted to show that life in Paris, in particular, is often times no different than living someplace else. The same problems and worries still find you – but perhaps in a prettier place.

What lead to you coming up with the idea of this book?
Well, the title of the book was inspired by the Paul Simon song, ’50 Ways to Leave a Lover’. One day while walking down the street in Lausanne, I heard the song blasting from someone’s care radio. I thought, ‘That song only gets it half right: there are many ways to leave a lover but the reasons for leaving in the first place are pretty finite.’ A person leaves (voluntary or involuntary) because circumstances make it impossible to stay and that decision is subjective.  However, knowing when to stay and weather out a stormy relationship is just as hard.  All five of these reasons are represented in the book; three are found in the novella and one in each short story. But, if the reader examines the work even closer, they will find all five reasons are present in every story to some degree.  It all depends on how the reader defines the term, “leaving.”  

What led to your decision to self-publish?
Fear of rejection!  Actually, I was my own biggest obstacle because in the beginning I worried too much about what others (editors and agents) thought, instead of concentrating on writing stories that I would enjoy reading personally.  I purposely decided to self publish because I wanted to have more control over my work, both content and marketing. I had watched other friends and colleagues self publish with relative success. Each year it becomes easier and more affordable to do so I figured if I could create a high-quality work, it was worth a try.

What obstacles did you come across in the process? 
Breaking into the publishing world is tough. I am still learning so much about that world, and well, self publishing is its own animal. At first, I was a really overwhelmed by the entire project. Then one day, I decided to calm down and do one thing at a time. As I worked through the project, I realized that everything that I’ve needed done with this project, I have already done at some point in my career. I have prepared layouts for client manuscripts; I have edited books and other documents; I have written and assembled media kits; I have built and coded websites and last I have pitched stories to the media. I figured if I could do these things for my clients, then I could do it for myself. That has been a huge comfort as I continue to progress and learn. I pay close attention to the lessons learned from the previous books so that I can do a better job with the next work.

Would you / are you planning to self-publish more books in the future? 
Definitely, I will self-publish more books in the future because not only do I enjoy the creative control but I really enjoy the entire publishing and marketing process.  I am working on three projects now. The first is a collection of short stories that are set on a high-speed TGV train travelling from Paris to Geneva, Switzerland, a four-hour trip. When people travel, people often reveal very intimate details of their lives. Maybe they do this because they never expect to see the other person again. I want to explore how revealing these secrets transform the characters. The second project is a novel called Geneva Nights.  It will be the last time (for a while) that Ellery ad Julien Roulet appear in any collections, and some new characters will emerge, including a sexy Franco-American named Kai!  However, the project that I’m most excited about right now is a Young Adult novel that I am writing with my teenage daughter under the pen name Ella Swinton. The book will be called Nearly Lost You and all that I can say about the main character, Isobel Ballou, is that she is 15 years old and delightfully snarky, feisty and extremely opinionated.  She has but one goal and that is to make sure that her parents get divorced as planned until fate steps in with other ideas.

Check out Carolyn's website to find out how to get your own copy http://www.carolynmoncel.com/#!buy


  1. Jennifer, thank you so much for the review and also for allowing me to spend some time with your readers! All the best, Carolyn


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