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Beyond The Page: “33 Valentines” by Stephanie Monahan

Feb 15
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33 Valentines coverValentine’s Day has come and gone. Was it good for you?

Whatever that means in your life, I hope you enjoyed all the flowers that were sure to have ‘popped up’ in your work place yesterday.

Today Stephanie Monahan is here to chat about what some have called her anti-Valentine’s Day book, “33 Valentines“.

CABR: Stephanie, do you agree with this assessment?

SM: Definitely. Sophie’s feelings about Valentine’s Day are conflicted and complicated. She’s got good reasons to be wary about the day, and yet she wants more than anything to be able to embrace it.

But she’s spent so long dreading that day, and that time of year in general, and she doesn’t quite know how to go about changing things for herself. She’s also not the best at showing emotion and being vulnerable, which makes confessing to her best friend that she’s in love with him pretty intimidating!

I also thought of Valentine’s Day as a metaphor for the huge expectations we put on ourselves, and how we often fail to live up to expectations, in both life and love. Sophie’s far from perfect, but she’s trying!

author pictureCABR: When did Sophie first start “pestering” you to tell her story and how long did it take to write it all down?

SM: When I first thought about writing the story, Sophie’s voice popped into my head right away.

She had just broken her arm, and the man she was in love with had a date with someone else. So she was pretty miserable.

But she was also funny and snarky and smart and I loved her immediately, and I knew I had to jump into her story to find out what happened. The original version was a novella, which was about 80 pages and written in two weeks.

When I got contracted to expand it into a full-length novel, it took me about two and a half months. It was the most fun I’ve ever had writing and it didn’t feel like work at all, which is probably why I was able to write it so quickly!

CABR: Tell us about your favourite fan encounter/feedback

SM: Everyone at my workplace has been so supportive – my co-workers made me a cake with the book cover on it and decorated my cube with balloons and red hearts on my release day! They also put a little story on the company Intranet so everyone could read about the book. I’ve had lots of people stop me in the hall or the elevator to tell me they’ve read the book and loved it, which is a really awesome feeling.

(Photo of a popular North End spot in Boston that’s mentioned in “33 Valentines”)NorthEnd
CABR: Do you have any plans to write a sequel? Perhaps featuring one of Sophie’s family members?

SM: I don’t have plans to write a sequel, but you never know! I think if I were to do that, I’d like to write about Dylan and find out more about the woman that haunts the medicine cabinet in his apartment.

CABR: I understand you’re working on a book about a “former mean girl” who finds herself confronting her past in a Top 40 hit. What else can you tell us about it? Title perhaps?

SM: Yes, I am currently working on this book! It is similar to 33 VALENTINES in that it is women’s fiction, told in first person by a female protagonist in her 30s. The tone is a little darker, though.

The main character, Natalie, has done lots of mean things in her past that she’s trying to make up for. The Top 40 hit is sung by Jack, someone she knew in high school who is now a famous musician. They haven’t seen each other in 13 years. Safe to say things didn’t end too well for them back then. My working title is THE MEAN GIRL APOLOGIES.

33 Valentines coverTRIVIA

Coffee or tea?

I am a big tea drinker. I love all kinds, but especially chai (with lots of cream & sugar).

Adventure or relaxation for vacation?

Definitely relaxation. If I have books and the beach, I’m a happy girl.

If you could meet anyone from history, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Probably Oprah. I grew up watching her show with my mom. I imagine she’d have lots of fun stories to tell, and she loves books so we’d have something in common right off the bat.

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BUY Links for “33 Valentines”:

Amazon

Barnes & Nobles

iBooks

Books On Board

 

 

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