We had the good fortune of connecting with Moni Boyce and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Moni, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I’ve always been the type of person that would rather try or do something and fail than not take a risk. I can remember heading off to USC for college and all of my teachers were trying to talk me into pursuing a different career field other than film. They didn’t want to see me end up a starving artist. Thankfully, my parents were super supportive. The risk of following my heart and going after a career path I was passionate about resulted in a successful sixteen year career. Risk taking is something I’ve continued through my life and career. I became an entrepreneur which to most people is very risky, but working for myself and being my own boss has been very fulfilling. Choosing to step away from my career in 2016 and travel full-time for a year was risky, but well worth it. It was a life-changing experience and one of the best decisions I ever made. Anything worth having involves a little risk. For me, taking risks has paid the greatest rewards.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I was always a writer. In middle school I wrote short stories and poetry. But from as far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a filmmaker and producer. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized what I ultimately wanted was to be a storyteller. Whether it was in film or writing novels, that’s what I love is telling a story. I grew up watching every movie I could get my hands on, didn’t matter the genre or time period. I was a total film buff, which was why I knew I was going to go to film school. I attended USC’s School of Cinema-Television, now called Cinematic Arts. It was an incredible opportunity and experience. Getting into film took a lot of hard work, a lot of drive, determination, networking, and having a thick skin. it’s not just about talent. I think that goes for any creative field. You have to really hustle and really want it. Some of it can be being in the right place at the right time, but if something like that happens you’ll have to prove you deserve to be there. I think my hard work ethic and ability to adapt and connect with people helped me navigate the film world. Many of those same skills have helped me navigate the publishing world and get to know other authors as well. Some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that when it comes to being in a creative industry you have to treat yourself as a brand. Your persona or how you present yourself is just as important as the art you’re creating. People like doing business with people they like, so your brand becomes important, along with your reputation. Having worked in film, and not seeing that many representations of people that looked like me, I knew when it came to my writing I wanted to tell stories about people that looked like me. My romance novels feature Black women finding love. I also like to create Black female characters that have a strength as well as a vulnerability to them.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love Los Angeles. I consider it my hometown. Growing up a military kid, and moving around often, LA was the place I lived the longest. If I had a friend visiting for a week and it was the summertime, we would definitely go to Griffith Park for some Shakespeare in the Park. Probably get a picnic basket from Joan’s on Third. The Win-Dow at American Beauty has some of the best burgers in the city so we would grab a . In-and-Out is a must! Animal style fries and a double double. Another place we would definitely have to grab a burger from is Apple Pan. After the burger we’d get a slice of their fabulous apple pie a la mode and probably a pecan pie slice to go. You can tell I’m into my burgers. One of the days we would definitely hit up Disneyland. For an upscale meal, we would definitely hit up Bestia for their amazing food. I’ve been all over the world, and this place still is one of my favorite meals. The chicken liver pate is out of this world. Any of their pastas and pizzas are delicious. A trip to LA isn’t complete without hitting up LACMA or The Broad in my opinion. Santa Monica Pier always reminds me of my college days. We hung out there a lot, so I would definitely take my friend there. Sky’s Tacos and Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles are a must. I love the Roscoe’s on Sunset & Gower, but ate at the Pico location a lot too. Blu Jam Cafe on Melrose has this amazing crunchy French toast. Jon & Vinny’s for some of that spicy vodka fusilli. Yum! I’m a total foodie. There are so many more places I would want to take them. Definitely have to head to Melrose one afternoon for some shopping and people watching. I love LA because there is always something fun or weird to do. For instance, Point Break Live is a really fun experience. I always enjoyed finding the small, indie art shows or plays to attend, so I would find some of those performances to take them to. Another fun summer event is Street Food Cinema, which is outdoor movies and food trucks. It’s usually held at USC. So much fun. There’s so many more things, but I think those things could fill up a week.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my family. My parents and my sisters. Growing up, my parents always instilled in us that we could be whatever we wanted to be. They have always fully supported and encouraged the choices I made. My sisters have also been so great in offering support and encouragement, and their belief in me has always been incredible.
The picture of my book, Redemption of the Heart on display in the bookstore belongs to Bea and Leah Koch of The Ripped Bodice. The headshot photo of me should be credited to Exposed Moxie Photography.