Young: How are you Josie?
Josie Montano (J. M.): Hey Bernard, how are you? Long time no see! 8-) (Maui 2015)
Young: I'm well, Thank You. Let's talk about you. How long have you been a writer and how did you come to writing?
J. M. : I wanted to be a writer since age 9, inspired by children's author, Enid Blyton. In primary years I self-published my own stories and shelved them in my school library. Early teens I received my first rejection letter from Golden Press. In my 20's 'life' took over but the passion for writing was still strong so I joined a writing club, attended workshops, entered writing competitions etc. In my 30's I attended university and studied creative writing which led to my first book being published in 1999. I now write under 2 names and have over 50 resources published to date.
Young: How did you come up with your stories?
J. M. : I am inspired by everyday experiences and events, the old saying “write what you know about”, I then add in a lot of fiction! Even my characters are inspired by people I know, I love to observe and 'people watch'.
I like to 'tell stories' and I do this through my writing, I like to share what it was like growing up as a first generation Australian of Italian migrants, and most of my published works include something from those experiences. I also like to use comedy, make people laugh and yet also can throw in some stories with heart and sadness that make you think. But you can do this with humour as well.
Young: What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?
J. M. : The BEST is that I have a sense of freedom – I can share my gift/talent. When readers react in a positive way to my writing I know then that I am in the right job, that I am spreading cheer, joy, helping people heal, or even facing their demons.
I like to inspire readers to better themselves, motivate them.
The WORST is when I have a strong idea and all I want to do is write but I need to do initial planning and research first, I'm not very patient in that regards. Especially when the character is talking to you and you just have to get it down on paper.
Also it hurts when you are so invested in your idea/story and yet can't find a publisher who feels the same, when marketing and sales are more important than my story – I try not to take it personally.
Young: What inspires you to write?
J. M. : I feel that I was born to write, to tell stories. Anything and anyone can inspire me, from the annoying dog barking next door to a story that my father tells me, to a movie I watched at the cinemas to a conversation overhead by teenagers on a bus.
Young: How did you conduct your research for VEILED SECRETS?
J. M. : As most of the story is based in a small fictional village in Italy, it was easy to imagine being there as the co-author and I have visited the villages that our parents migrated from.
Young: What are 3 of your favorite lines/quotes from your newest release?
Now I know for sure my nonna has a secret from her past. I want to uncover it. Maybe her secret has impact on Dad, and then on me. But how can I do this without needling at Nonna for more information. Rosaria doesn’t know much, only that there is this big secret and nobody is allowed to talk about it. And it has something to do with Nick’s family because both families don’t talk to each other like the Montagues and the Capulets, like Romeo and Juliet.
“What the hell, Nonna?” “Aurelia, she remove the curse.” “What curse?” “The curse make you head ache.” Curse? Aren’t headaches caused by tension or food allergies or scientific medical reasons? Curses? “Who put the curse on me?” I am curious. “Bad peoples, jealous peoples.” Bad and jealous peoples. I was over it, I’ve heard enough. They are pretty behind and backward in this village, they still believe in curses, they believe in witches, they believe in evil spirits. Mum! Get me out of here!
Young: What would your friends say is your best quality?
J. M. : My positive humorous outlook on life.
Young: Are reader reviews important to you?
J. M. : Yes and no, it's always great to receive a positive review and at times the occasional negative one but there are a lot of readers out there who read our books who don't give reviews so really we shouldn't be marked/judged on the ones that come in.
Young: Do you have any blogs/websites?
J. M. : Www.booksbyjosie.com.au
Young: What do you do when you don’t write?
J. M. : I write under two names, MONTANO for fiction and journalism articles, and SANTOMAURO for resources on Autism. Therefore I also present and consult in the field of Autism as well.
I'm also a volunteer with the State Emergency Services, and also head a project titled Verses for Vanuatu which is a travelling children's library for the schools of Vanuatu. On top of all this I am continually researching, plotting, copy writing, presenting and being inspired.
All these hats keep me busy!
Young: Tell us about your other books?
J. M. : 18 fiction novels ranging from lower primary to higher secondary.
Over 30 published resources on the topic of Autism, written for families and educators.
Young: If you could share one thing about yourself that you would like readers
to know what would it be?
J. M. : I always felt different and odd as a child and teen, I didn't fit in at school or even at times with my family. As I got older I realised it's because I think differently and look at the world with a different lens, this is why I write! I like to share that different lens, allow others to see the world as I see it.
Young: Nice talking with you, Josie. I wish you all the best in your writing and book sales.
J. M. : Ciao, and thank you so much.
Two teens from different sides of the country collide on the other side of the world in a little Italian village.
Little did they know they have more in common than they realised.