The Compulsive Reader: Alexandra Monir and Her Timeless Settings

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Alexandra Monir and Her Timeless Settings

I read Alexandra Monir's debut novel, Timeless, about two years ago, and I loved the romance between the star-crossed protagonists, the beautiful settings across time, and the music in the story. (Click here to read my review.) Timekeeper is the sequel, and it's out this month! To celebrate, Alexandra Monir is here on the blog to talk about one specific setting in the book that spans across time--Windsor Manor!

Here's Alexandra!

“A portico of four hulking white Corinthian columns fronted the mansion’s exterior. There were curved balconies and arched windows, and beyond the gates, Michele could see that the driveway and grounds were decorated with a rose garden and small sculptures. A group of tourists stood outside the gates, taking pictures of one of the last remaining relics of Gilded Age New York.” –TIMELESS, pg 30

“Designed like an indoor open piazza, the Grand Hall was the focal point of the mansion. Marble columns soared up to the gilded, hand-painted ceilings, and plush chaise lounges and armchairs surrounded a large, carved fireplace.” –TIMEKEEPER, pg 27

When creating the Windsor Mansion, the most prominent setting in my Timeless novels, I looked to classic examples of opulent Gilded Age architecture: the Newport mansions in Rhode Island. These homes, carefully preserved by the Preservation Society of Newport County, were owned by New York’s wealthiest families, from the Astors to the Vanderbilts. While their Manhattan palaces were ultimately torn down, their Newport homes remain as a stunning example of the way life was once lived.

I specifically based Windsor Mansion on two different Gilded Age homes that I toured in Newport. Alva Vanderbilt’s Marble House was my inspiration for the Windsor Mansion’s exterior, while I based several rooms on those in Alice Vanderbilt’s The Breakers, particularly the spectacular entrance hall. It’s fitting that these two houses were equally appealing to me, as they were both built by Richard Morris Hunt, the paragon of late nineteenth-century architecture.

To get a feel for how Michele and her Windsor ancestors lived, you can make a trip to Newport, Rhode Island and visit Marble House and The Breakers—I have a feeling you’ll be blown away!

Thanks so much, Alexandra! Keep on reading to learn more about about the books and Alexandra!

Timeless (now available in paperback!)
When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor’s world, she is forced to uproot her life and move across the country to New York City, to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she’s never met. In their old Fifth Avenue mansion filled with a century’s worth of family secrets, Michele discovers a diary that hurtles her back in time to the year 1910. There, in the midst of the glamorous Gilded Age, Michele meets the young man with striking blue eyes who has haunted her dreams all her life – a man she always wished was real, but never imagined could actually exist. And she finds herself falling for him, into an otherworldly, time-crossed romance. 
Michele is soon leading a double life, struggling to balance her contemporary high school world with her escapes into the past. But when she stumbles upon a terrible discovery, she is propelled on a race through history to save the boy she loves – a quest that will determine the fate of both of their lives.

This sequel to Timeless combines breathtaking romance with a tale of complex magic in a story that will have every reader believing in the transcendent power of love. 
When Philip Walker appears as a new student in Michele Windsor's high school class, she is floored. He is the love she thought she lost forever when they said goodbye during her time travels last century. Overjoyed that they can resume the relationship they had a lifetime ago, Michele eagerly approaches him and discovers the unthinkable: he doesn't remember her. In fact, he doesn't seem to remember anything about the Philip Walker of 1910. 
Michele then finds her father's journals, which tell stories of his time-traveling past. As she digs deeper, she learns about his entanglement with a mysterious and powerful organization called the Time Society and his dealings with a vengeful Windsor ancestor. Michele soon finds herself at the center of a rift over 120 years in the making, one whose resolution will have life-or-death consequences.

About Alexandra:
At the age of 25, author and recording artist Alexandra Monir released her debut young adult novel, Timeless. The book caught on quickly, with Amazon.com naming it one of the "Best Books of the Month" and Barnes & Noble featuring the title in their "Top Teen Picks". The book went on to hit the Barnes & Noble Teen Bestsellers chart, and has been featured in a variety of media, from popular teen websites to The Huffington Post. Alexandra wrote a companion short story eBook, Secrets of the Time Society, to set up the sequel, Timekeeper. The sequel was published on January 8, 2013. 
Alexandra also integrated original music into the novels' pages, writing two songs for Timeless, which she recorded with producer Michael Bearden (musical director of Michael Jackson's last concert, This Is It). The songs were released on iTunes as a supplement to the book. A new song for Timekeeper was released on January 8, 2013, produced by Heather Holley and Rob Hoffman.

Alexandra currently resides in Los Angeles, California, where she is writing her next young adult novel for Random House. You can find her online:

Website: http://www.alexandramonir.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TimelessSeries
Twitter: @TimelessAlex 

1 comment:

Jeff Rivera said...

I really liked the sequel, Timekeeper. It was a quick and fun read filled with romantic suspense and mystery. There are tender moments, not only for Michele and Philip, but for Michele's parents. She gets to watch them, see their young love. Another great moment is when Michele goes back in time and meets the father she never knew. She gets answers. Her dad's background is quite interesting.
This book is filled with suspense. Though it seems to focus more on Michele's parents than on her and Philip, it's still a great read from a talented author.

Jeff Rivera
Bestselling Author