Author Spotlight: Monica Roe
August 5, 2022
Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for children.
I suppose I arrived at writing for kids somewhat by accident. I’m a pediatric physical therapist by profession, but always found myself intensely interested in the stories behind what makes people tick, how they make decisions, and what happens as a result of those choices. I especially like writing for kids because kids are so open to the world around them, willing to stretch their boundaries, use their imaginations, and re-consider their opinions on things.
Congrats on your debut MG novel, Air! Tell us about the story and what inspired you.
Air is the story of Emmie Ethrige—a high-octane kid with big dreams who runs up against the well-meaning, but limiting perceptions of people in her tight-knit community. This book arose fairly organically over time, drawing upon various facets of my professional and personal life, my research and advocacy interests, my own rural background, and--at the end of the day--just the plain old desire to write a story about an ordinary kid full of big dreams and determination who wants to do things in her own time on her own terms.
Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?
Great question. I’ve always had quite a few irons in the fire, so to speak, but I was historically generally more focused upon the science-y/healthcare side of my career than the writing side (due both to well-intentioned, working-class parents and my own personal insecurities). In terms of publication, I was fortunate to have a couple instances of very good luck, coupled with many years of hard work to lay the necessary foundation. It’s a work in progress!
What are some of your favorite classic MGs? Recent ones?
Classics: The Giver (Lois Lowry), Let the Circle be Unbroken (Mildred D. Taylor), The Cat Ate My Gymsuit (Paula Danziger), Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Mildred D. Taylor), A Wrinkle in Time (Madeline L’Engle), Summer of my German Soldier (Bette Greene), From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (E.L. Konigsburg), Peace, Locomotion (Jacqueline Woodson).
Recent: One Crazy Summer (Rita Williams-Garcia), Small Spaces quartet (Katherine Arden), The Clackity (Lora Senf), Kinda Like Brothers (Coe Booth), Pax (Sara Pennypacker), A Properly Unhaunted Place (Will Alexander), No Vacancy (Tziporah Cohen), The Wolf of Cape Fen (Juliana Brandt).
What projects are you working on now?
While I always seem to have a bunch of projects percolating on the mental back burner, I’m actively working on two—a contemporary middle-grade focused upon rural Alaska and climate change and a fun, silly adult novel. Stay tuned!
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Never doubt that your words have value. No matter who you are, where you started out, or how impossible it might seem, being a writer is absolutely for someone like you.
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
My day job often involves sleeping in libraries. Strange, but true.
Where can people find you online?
I’m not super active on social media, but feel free to reach out!
If very low-key beekeeping videos are your thing, you’re welcome to check out our little apiary over on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeWa5m-udZ-xndpx29PHJEA Exciting? Not terribly. Calm and pleasantly buzzy? Very much so! ☺
Monica Roe is a writer, physical therapist, beekeeper, and researcher/advocate for the social model of disability and inclusive rural health. A first-generation graduate, Monica studies public health and disability-inclusive disaster preparedness at the University of Alaska. She and her family divide their time between Alaska and their apiary in rural South Carolina.
a Rafflecopter giveaway