Monica: Hi, Rebecca, thank you for having me on your blog. After chatting so much on Twitter, it is so nice to visit your virtual house.
Scarberryfields: Can you tell us a little about your nationality/ancestry?
Monica: I’m an Italian who moved to Washington State in the summer of 2000. I love my new home. It’s one of those love stories that starts with more hate than love, but it slowly grows to respect, then affection, and finally admiration. At the beginning, I felt lonely. I didn’t speak English and even daily errands were problematic. I was already in my thirties and I felt utterly frustrated because all of a sudden I had become dependent on other people to accomplish the simplest of tasks like talking to a doctor. Little by little, after countless hours of watching TV shows and movies, my understanding of the English language improved and I started timidly talking to anybody who was patient enough to listen. More than a decade has passed and I’m happy I moved to Washington State. I’ve grown into a person I would’ve never become otherwise and I like myself so much better for it.
Scarberryfields: When you finished your debut novel, did you miss the characters?
Monica: Yes, I did. When The Priest’s editing ended, I was left with a sense of loss. However, I knew I had other two stories where my characters had a chance to have their voices heard. When I finished writing the third and supposedly final chapter in the Ginecean Chronicles, I felt as if good friends had just said goodbye. Soon after, new ideas about a fourth book in the series came forth and I’m now working on it.
Scarberryfields: While writing, if you need help with punctuation, grammar, etc., where do you turn?
Monica: During the writing phase, I have the online dictionary and the translator open and I consult them any time I have doubts about the correct use of a word. Once the story is completed, I send it to my two beta readers and I implement all the corrections I deem necessary. Finally, my editor, Amy Eye, starts working on the document chapter by chapter. We go back on forth correcting everything from content to punctuation, until we’re satisfied by the quality of the writing. In Pax in the Land of Women, we had chapters that went through a dozen editing passes. At the end, we couldn’t stand to read another word from those chapters.
Scarberryfields: With the number of hours spent writing, do family members support you or complain about the time spent away from them?
Monica: I’m one lucky author. My family supports me completely. Nobody has complained about the fact that most of the time I tend to live in another dimension. The house gets neglected on daily basis, but the cooking doesn’t because I love eating. As a side note, I tend to put on Facebook pictures of my culinary creations. Since I’m not a sharer, they are normally good indicators of my current mood. Peach cobbler means I need a friend’s hug. Paella on the other hand indicates everything’s just fine.
Scarberryfields: Does writing benefit you in any way and if so, how?
Monica: I’m one of those persons who go through life looking for their calling. I struggled for a long time trying to decide what I wanted to do when I grew up and all of a sudden I realized years had passed already. At first, I panicked. Soon after, I remembered how much I’ve always enjoyed creating characters and stories and I decided to give it a serious try. Writing calms me and gives me a sense of purpose. It’s my dream come true and the mere idea of being able to do what I like makes me feel good.
Scarberryfields: When you’re writing, do you shut-off all social networks?
Monica: I normally do. I turn on my tomato clock and work in slots of twenty-five minutes until I reach my daily quota of words. Sometimes, Twitter is too loud and lures me away and I can’t resist spending time with all the wonderful, interesting people out there.
Scarberryfields: Did you use any family members as Beta readers for your debut novel?
Monica: My husband is one of my two beta readers. He has an analytic mind and is attentive to details. He’s the one reader who notices if a door opens in the correct way or if a character limps on the right leg. He reads the whole story and makes notes. We discuss each and every point at length and more often than not I agree with his suggestions.
Scarberryfields: What do you do when you aren’t writing? Do you have any hobbies or a job?
Monica: Along the years I collected a few hobbies that enrich my daily life. I’ve always loved painting and now I’m using virtual canvases thanks to my Wacom tablet and my iPad. When my kids were young and the days were oftentimes too long, I discovered cold porcelain, a homemade dough that is easy to make and extremely versatile. I remember how fun was creating with my kids little figurines and sceneries to populate the tales I made up for their bedtime stories. Nowadays, I use cold porcelain dough to create flowers arrangements. Another hobby of mine is building dollhouses. I’m drawn to the miniature world as a moth to the flame. As I mentioned before, I love eating, therefore cooking is listed as a hobby as well. It gives me great pleasure to find exotic recipes and try them. Finally, any time I can I go for long walks with my beagle, Nero.
Scarberryfields: What is the last book called that you completed and published?
Pax in the Land of Women, the second book in The Ginecean Chronicles, was published last June.
Scarberryfields: Where can readers go to find your books?
Monica: My books, The Priest and Pax in the Land of Women, respectively book one and two in The Ginecean Chronicles, are for sale on Amazon.
Monica: Rebecca, thanks again for being such a nice host. It has been an absolute pleasure answering your questions.Scarberryfields: Thank you so much, Monica for taking time out from your busy life to answer my questions. We have been friends for a long time now and I am looking forward to you illustrating my novella, Messages From Henry. All of the young adults and adults, alike will be thrilled to see the beautiful watercolor paintings, you will hopefully make for me. This is if you find the time and I hope you will.