Monique Roffey is an award-winning Trinidadian-born writer. Her erotic novel The Tryst, was published in the summer of 2017. Her novel House of Ashes, 2014, was shortlisted for the COSTA Fiction Award, 2015, as well as the OCM BOCAS Award 2015. Her erotic memoir, With the Kisses of his Mouth, caused controversy and critical acclaim in 2011. She is a Lecturer on the Novel MFA at Manchester Metropolitan University and has also taught creative writing and mentored emerging writers in Trinidad for several years, for COSTAATT, the OCM Bocas Literature Festival, and privately in Port of Spain.

WHAT IS YOUR NAME?

Monique Roffey

HOW OLD ARE YOU?

52

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

East end of London and Port of Spain, Trinidad

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I’m a writer and university lecturer

TELL US WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE YOUR AGE?

Cooler than I had expected.

WHAT DO YOU HAVE NOW THAT YOU DIDN’T HAVE AT 25?

A lot of life experience. I can call myself worldly. I have thirty-year-old friendships too; that’s amazing, when you know people and they know you for all your life.

WHAT ABOUT SEX?

I went out there, went to the buffet and tasted wheat was on the table. I’m so glad I did too. I’ve had many lovers and been loved and loved in return. I’m currently part of an advanced tantra group. I see myself as a sexual seeker, a sex positive lover, a tantrika, and very open to my body’s desires. I’ve developed the tendencies and the language of a tantrika to discuss sexual love.

AND RELATIONSHIPS?

Currently single. Last long term lover was a sex worker. We’ll see what happens.

HOW FREE DO YOU FEEL?

Entirely free.

WHAT ARE YOU PROUD OF?

My work, my books, and that I have mentored emerging writers in the UK and in Trinidad. It’s important for me to give back. I’m a good teacher, too. In fact I’d say teaching is as much a vocation as writing.

WHAT KEEPS YOU INSPIRED?

Life! If you live a rich life and you have an active imagination, ideas keep coming.

WHEN ARE YOU HAPPIEST?

In the summer, here in the UK and I’m always happy in my home town of Port of Spain. I love the sea too, a beach gives me so much pleasure. I just spent a week alone writing in a cottage by the sea in Tobago. I was visited every day by a small dog called Pepper. A cottage, a beach and a happy dog, that’s my idea of perfect contentment.

AND WHERE DOES YOUR CREATIVITY GO?

Into my books. I’ve also recently started drawing. I plan to do more drawing at the Royal Drawing school in Shoreditch near where I live.

WHAT’S YOUR PHILOSOPHY OF LIVING?

I’m a Buddhist, a mitra (friend) of the Triratna order. My philosophy is that of non duality and of compassion to self and others. One of the meditations Triratna teaches is called the metta bavana. Metta means loving kindness in Pali. The meditation is about 45 mins long and involves sending metta to yourself, a person you care for, a person you find challenging and a person you hardly know at all. I think that’s so simple and yet very advanced humanity.

AND DYING?

See above, I’m a Buddhist. Live well and when we die the soul moves on. The universal principal of creating karma in this life will decide what kind of life the soul moves onto.

ARE YOU STILL DREAMING?

Yes!