About Monica

We should probably kick this thing off with your disclaimer first, huh?
I think that's a wise decision. Let it be known and incredibly clear that any and all thoughts posted on this blog are my personal opinions and in no way, shape, or form represent or reflect those of my employer. My employer will actually remain nameless so as to further emphasize the fact that anything written here is purely my own thoughts and feelings.

Okay, glad we got that out of the way. So how old are you?

Where are you from?
Let's just say Chicagoland (I'm a born and bred suburbanite). However, I did attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (B.A. in 2010, M.S. in 2012) so east-central Illinois will always hold a special place in my heart

How long have you been writing?
The short answer: not that long. Ish. Kind of.

The long answer: This is a tricky question. I wrote my first stories in elementary school for projects and while I enjoyed writing and illustrating them, I never thought "hey, this is something I can actually do when I grow up!" (When I was little I wanted to be a teacher, astronaut, dolphin trainer, etc. but author somehow seemed too far outside the realm of possibility.) In junior high school I wrote in a journal (which I destroyed when I was 16) and kept a blog (also long gone).

In college I started to write more regularly. Still not stories, but just the act of writing consistently. I started keeping a journal again and I continue to do so every day. Then I started a new blog (this one, in fact) so I could let my friends and family know what I was up to while I was studying abroad in Italy. I've had characters and story ideas pop into my head over the years, but I'd quickly lose my nerve or get distracted by something shiny or homework or try to find a job, etc. It wasn't until 2011 that I finally got the nerve to take an idea, write about it, and stick with it the whole way through. A few months and 62,000 words later, my first draft was done and it felt awesome. Many drafts, edits, blood, sweat, and tears later, I have set that story aside. The good news? I'm working on one novel at present (Code name: Bluebird Novel) and I also do short stories with my critique partner on our blog Stories by SaM.

Are you on Twitter?
Yes! Follow me @mfumarolo!

Are you on Tumblr?
Yes! See more of my book/library love and gushing over various fandoms at ButInMyOtherLife.

What do you do for fun?
I write. I write my stories, I write here, I write on my book review blog. And since I have a book review blog, I also read. Lately I mostly read YA, but I also love reading nonfiction. Outside the world of books, I love music, traveling, TV, movies, following Chicago Blackhawks hockey, making videos on my YouTube channel, and spending time with my friends and family.

What made you want to be a writer?
I have always loved books and stories. Always. I need the books the way an athlete needs to play. It was something that had kind of been building up in me for a while, but I never really felt like I could hack it, so I became too scared to try. The thing that really made me decide "hey, maybe I can do this" was meeting the YA authors I admire and whose books I read. One of the biggest moments for me was meeting Meg Cabot while I was working on my first story - she was so kind and enthusiastic and gave me the fantastic advice of "make it your goal to write one page a day." I did that, it clicked, and no matter where this journey takes me, I can't ever imagine not writing.

Is this your real job?
Writing right now is a hobby, not a job. I do have a job that I actually really love. My undergraduate degree is in English with a minor in education, and I'm a certified teacher in Illinois. I also finished my masters from library school (yes, it's a real thing) which is awesome. I'm a writer by night, but I'm a teaching assistant in a high school library by day.

What inspires your stories?
Music!!! Music plays a huge part of it for me. Though I can't listen to music that has lyrics while I'm actually writing, I make playlists that go along with my stories for when I'm working on other things or driving in my car that get me in the right mood for writing. I also am constantly reflecting on my own experiences, the people I know and the things we do, and they help shape my characters and plots.

What are your favorite books? Who are your favorite authors?
This is an impossible question! I am a proud part of the Harry Potter generation and adored each of those books. I'm willing to try lots of different things, but I have special soft spots for Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, and Jane Austen thanks to my high school English teachers.

I aim to write YA (for now. Who knows where the road may lead though, right?) but I didn't actually get into reading any until I was in graduate school. Now that I've gotten into it I love it. Some of my favorite authors there are Meg Cabot, Sarah Dessen, Stephanie Perkins, John Green, Veronica Roth, Jay Asher, Kasie West, Susan Dennard, Marissa Meyer, Jennifer Bosworth, and on and on and on. For more YA-love, I encourage you to check out my Goodreads account and see my book review blog.

You mentioned a YouTube channel. Can we see a video of you?
Sure! This is an introduction video I made in 2012 and there are many videos you can check out on my channel!