I grew up in Vermont, USA which plays a role in a lot of my writing. My coziest memories are Winter mornings sitting on the wood stove awaiting it to heat up. To my mom’s dismay, all my pajama bottoms were singed from this, but boy oh boy was it comfy during the most frigid days.While growing up did you, in any way, have any embarrassing moments?
Is this a trick question?! What part of growing up isn’t embarrassing? Maybe walking around with burnt pajama bottoms showing off my cozy red bum?How did you discover your passion for writing?
I’ve just discovered writing for pleasure this past year with the onset of the pandemic. I’d first started ‘expressive writing’ as a form of therapy for chronic pain a couple of years ago. As I found myself confined with the quarantine, I pulled out some bit and pieces from my expressive writing days and that was just enough seed to get me started. At 47, I’m a late bloomer, but I’ve got plenty of awkward life experiences to source my writing from so I’ll count it as a blessing.Which writer do you look up to and why? Which is his/her favorite book of yours?
I admire anyone that makes the effort to write, draw, create and put themselves out there for others to experience. It’s a very vulnerable process. Recently I read “Pain is My Spirit Animal” by G.G. Knoth which was very powerful for me. Growing up, one of my favorites was “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster. Both address the messiness of emotions in their own unique way.What are the challenges of writing poetry?
I find writing poetry and very short stories very natural. I appreciate brevity. It’s how I think and feel. In my Thirteen Words collection, I’ve limited each poem to only 13-words (creative at titling, right?), which certainly creates a constraint and some additional work. However, I think the scientist and engineer in me, which is my educational and career background, appreciates this puzzle. Innovation and creativity is born out of constraints.Do you plan to illustrate your books on your own?
All my books and covers are self-illustrated. As I say in my bio I’m a “shameless illustrator”. I’m not a trained artist and don’t aspire to technical excellence in design, but I do enjoy figuring out how to capture the emotions of my words in images. I’ve also been illustrating some works by others. I enjoy the collaborative process very much.What was the most challenging part about writing the book, Thirteen Words?
Thirteen Words is my first book ever and I did everything wrong technically. All my poems were embedded in illustrations that made it an absolute nightmare to edit. Once I’d worked that out, I found out that my images were not in the right format for publishing and I had to rework them all. I have no regrets though. I’m a firm believer in learning by doing and there is no faster way of learning than by making mistakes.From thinking about writing a book, to finally completing and publishing it, how has the journey been?
Thirteen Words is actually my second book that I’ve started. The first is still a work in progress and will be coming out early next year. It was really just a spur of the moment decision to publish a first volume of Thirteen Words as a way to learn the process prior to my bigger project. It’s been an invaluable journey. The biggest challenge has certainly been in editing. Ironically, I’m a terrible writer when it comes to spelling and grammar. Perhaps due to my dyslexia, but it’s always been a challenge for me and I don’t see it changing so I’ve had to find an editor that’s willing to work in exchange for a free copy of the book (Thanks Mom!).How do you keep in touch with your readers and fans?
I’ve been curious from the start about the ‘business’ side of the writing and publishing game so I started Instagram (@montysscribbles) and Twitter (@montyvern) accounts from the beginning and grew my audience through sharing original content regularly. I also developed my own website (montysscribbles.com) to provide a landing page for my work. It’s been fun to figure this all out. It’s also very humbling and hard work. But the reward when a reader provides feedback is out of this world exciting and energizing. I’m not sure readers realize how much a simple review or even a comment on a tweet can make the day of a creator.What is your writing kryptonite? Inversely, what is something that never fails to inspire you?
As I’ve mentioned before editing is my nightmare and everything about it could cripple me if I allowed it too. I had one review that equated my poor grammar in a piece to an actress farting during a perfect love scene. Quite a smelly analogy, but their point was that I had a really good story and I needed to take care of the details not to screw it up. I took it as encouragement. As to what is inspiring...what isn’t inspiring? Life, in all of its messiness, is inspiring. I’ll never run out of material.What was your favorite part, and your least favorite part, of the publishing journey?
Worst is editing. Best is getting feedback/reviews.What is one message that you try to impart through your books?
I’m not trying to convey any particular message. Rather, I’m trying to convey authenticity. In being authentic, often times messages of compassion will take form. I’m a very flawed human and it’s been a very long and continuous journey toward compassion. I value this journey very much.Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?
Monty’s Very Short Shorts is a collection of 366 illustrated very short stories that will be coming out in early 2021. I’ve written and illustrated one for every day of 2020 and it’s a rollercoaster ride of emotions from super serious to seriously silly.What are your plans for the future as a writer? Are you working on anything new?
I’m super interested in collaborations and exploring mixing mediums through collaborations to explore the human experience. I have no idea what this will bring, but I’m excited to find out.How has been your experience to work with AllAuthor? What are some of the things you like about the site?
AllAuthor is a great platform for authors whether traditionally published or self-published (like me). It provides a place to be discovered and that’s a blessing in this hectic writing world.
The author grew up in Vermont, USA which plays a role in a lot of his writing. He just discovered writing for pleasure this past year with the onset of the pandemic. All his books and covers are self-illustrated. Monty's writing is uplifting and thoughtful. He currently resides in Shanghai, China.