Interview with Monica Valentinelli

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Oh. Yeah... I was nine years old. I wrote a Halloween thriller--I thought I was soooooooo smart--called "Ella's Story". It was inspired by reading the Rats of Nimh and listening to The Wolfman on the radio. I had a lot of fun writing that one, and I've found I really enjoy dark, spooky, atmospheric stories. Some things never change!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I design jewelry, go for walks, cook, and make other forms of art. I write full-time, so I have to make sure I manage my time and keep at it!
What is your writing process?
It depends upon the project. I tend to write better once I know what story I'm telling, or how a game will shape up to be. Outlines are great for that, and I use them a lot when I'm writing non-fiction and games. For fiction, I like to write a three-to-five sentence synopsis to ensure I don't lose track of the plot. I really enjoy worldbuilding so, so, so much--it's very easy to wander into those details and forget what my characters are doing! Now, I focus on summarizing what I'm doing. It really helps to have that in writing, especially since I'm juggling a lot of projects!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember the first story I ever read, because I started to read when I was very young. I do remember one of the stories that had a huge impact on me, though. It was Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I loved Alice's imagination, the way she could see the extraordinary in the ordinary, and the wonderful, surrealist aspects of Wonderland. I enjoy reading new iterations and reimaginings of Wonderland quite a bit, too. It's a guilty pleasure of mine. I'm not sure I'd ever write a Wonderland story--just because there's so many of them already--but I would definitely like to one day.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I tend to read on my computer, because I like the size of the monitor. It's really hard for me to read on a small screen--the font is so tiny and the screen is so bright! My computer is also great because I don't have to flip the pages as quickly. For someone who reads as fast as I do, that's a big bonus!
Describe your desk
I have an L-shaped desk. My computer is set up at the smaller section of the "L", and I have an additional monitor and speakers nearby. Then, I have this really cool task lamp, kind of like the lamp from the Pixar movies except bigger and shinier, that I use when I'm designing jewelry or hand lettering projects. On the longer side of the "L", I have all the necessities: lotion, a vinyl dragon, plus and ceramic cats, a reproduction of the original Soundwave, business cards, pens, room sprays, candle, etc. Basically, everything I need if I'm logging in serious hours for writing that day. Fun!
Have you always been a writer?
Yes. As soon as I learned how to read, I started writing. I can remember being the "go to" writer in class, the one who crafted plays and children's books. My first fan fiction was a Calvin and Hobbes story--I loved that comic so, so much! I always knew that writing was going to be a big part of my life some day. I just didn't know how it would. At first, I wanted to be a reporter, but I opted to go the more artistic route. (Of course, I wanted to be like Indiana Jones, too. And travel the world!) Writing, for me, is a way of bringing a little bit of wonder and joy into people's lives. I love it very much, but sometimes the business side of writing trips me up. It's always been with me, though, no matter what.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing, for me, is hearing from readers who felt that my books, games, etc. touched them in some way. It's a wonderful feeling, and it helps motivate me to keep writing, submitting, and publishing.
Can you hint what stories you're working on?
Ahhhhhhhh...a lot! For fiction, I'm working on a story right now that's unlike anything I've ever done before. William Sand is a character who is describing what happens to him in "real time". The dates I write about him, are the entries in the story. At the beginning of the story, William is a college dropout who's down on his luck. His parents died in a tragic car accident; he's so depressed he can't deal with life. He's doing everything he can to apply for jobs, but nothing is coming through for him...until Abra Labs becomes interested in him.

I don't want to give too much away, because he hasn't officially received his offer letter yet. This story is really wild, and quickly goes downhill from there. Think The 6th Day meets The Firm. The whole reason why I'm writing this story, too, is because it ties into several short stories, a novel, and a huge world I've been building f-o-r-e-v-e-r. It kicks off the reason why his character feels so tremendously guilty in the novel. To say more would spoil the experience!
Why are you publishing on Smashwords?
One of the questions I want to answer as a writer is: "Where can I find readers?" Sometimes, I can connect with readers by submitting a story to an anthology or publisher. Other times, I have bits and bobs that don't quite fit in traditional venues. I'd much rather get more of my work out there, not less, to find readers who'll stick with me for the ride. Smashwords allows me to do that, and it's a fun platform to experiment with, too. As a full-time writer, I've learned to keep my options open--and Smashwords is a really great choice.
Published 2017-09-30.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Make Art Not War Challenge: Rules, Essays, and 31 Creative Prompts
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 26,020. Language: English. Published: September 29, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Creativity, Nonfiction » Inspiration » Personal inspiration
The Make Art Not War Challenge was designed by Monica Valentinelli to help struggling artists find the strength to make their own choices, retain their focus, and continue producing art. It includes customizable rules, essays about making art, and 31 Creative Prompts to jumpstart an artist's creativity and encourage them to keep going.
Lady Yellowbird and the Flight of the Sad Panda
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,190. Language: English. Published: February 23, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
In this dystopian science fiction story, one retired schoolteacher refuses to accept her fate. Not only has the city of New Chicago sequestered its aging population into a dingy sector called "The Gray," its young mayor has also enforced strict rules to keep its senior citizens contained. Find out what happens when Rose Freedman stands up against the oppressive mayor to fight for her freedom.