Monica Schultz and I both wrote for the same anthology – Slow Burn. She resides in Australia – one of the places I really want to visit.
Monica Schultz is a full-time Mathematics and History teacher from Ipswich, Australia, with a passion for writing fantasy. When she isn’t busy finding ‘x’ in the latest equation, you can find her curled up with a young adult book and a cat on her lap.
Tell us about yourself.
Hi, my name is Monica Schultz. I’m a High School Math and History teacher from Ipswich, Australia. I’m also a Cat Mum of a grumpy Devon Rex and his newly adopted little brother. When I’m not writing or teaching, I am busy training to be the next Poke-Master or creating havoc in my poor Sims lives.
When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I’ve always loved writing. I wrote the first draft of my novel during a family camping trip when I was 10 years old. The draft was terrible, but thankfully my writing skills have come a long way since then.
What genres do you like to read? Are these the same genres you write in?
I love reading young adult fiction. It can be anything from romance to fantasy to historical fiction. Sometimes I venture out and dare to read a novel other adults consider mature and insightful, but I always come back to the comfort of YA. This is why I love to write younger characters.
Is your book for adults, young adults or children?
While most of my work is aimed at young adults, this short story focuses on new adults. Although set in the 50s, Faye’s desire to leave town still rings true to the emotions felt by new graduates moving out for the first time.
What is your current release or project?
I’m currently working on an urban fantasy series set in Australia. Mythical creatures, from werewolves to mages, all live in a secluded corner of Australia, under the thumb of the Human Protection Society. Most Mythicals learn to live without basic freedoms, but this isn’t good enough for one teenage elf, Arya.
Almost all my short stories are also set in this universe, including More than Magic, and will tie back to Arya’s life in some small way.
Tell us about the key characters
More than Magic is centered around the life of Faye, a young woman desperate to leave town and chase magic in the big city. This is until she meets Laurie, a charming new volunteer firefighter. When Faye first meets Laurie while waiting tables, she wants nothing to do with him. Yet, Laurie quickly wins Faye over with his honesty and charming smile.
Share an excerpt.
“‘Scuse us Miss,” a firefighter calls to my back, “We’re ready to place our orders now.”
I give the table one last hard swipe, satisfied with the result of a little elbow grease. Plastering on a smile, I turn with a sharp twist, knocking over a chair in the process. I mumble a curse and straighten it, frustration knitting my brows together.
“What can I get for you?” I ask, failing to mimic Debbie’s sunny voice.
The men remain silent, their jaws flapping like fish out of water. My foot taps, restless against the timber floor as I wait for them to find their voice.
“December’s special pie is pork and plumb if you want to try it,” I suggest, my eyes flicking to the chalkboard resting by the front door.
Still nothing. I comb my fingers through my hair. Surely, I’m not sweating that badly after the lunch rush that they won’t look me in the eye. Flushed and confused, I turn to Debbie for support. Her made-up lips form a perfect ‘o’ at the sight of me.
“Uh, Faye, how ‘bout you fetch me some more serviettes from the back room, while I serve these blokes,” Debbie says.
Before I can protest, Debbie rushes around the benchtop and pulls me into a tight embrace.
Debbie presses her cheek against mine. “Your buttons are undone,” she whispers.
I freeze, glancing down. The white lace of my bra peeks back at me. Horrified, I yank my shirt closed and stare at the countless buttons scattered across the floor. Oh God. Blood pounds in my ears, drowning out Debbie as she chatters to the customers, to distract their lingering gaze. With a light shove, Debbie sends me on my way, hurrying out of sight. At least now I will be too embarrassed to cry.
Do you have a favorite scene?
My favourite scene is Faye and Laurie’s date at Lake Alford. The emotions captured by this scene leave me sighing at all the right places and longing to write them into my main series.
What advice would you give a beginner?
Join a writer’s group and don’t be afraid of criticism. I only really started my journey as an author in January of 2019. The realisation that my writing was miles from professional was rough, but I’ve grown so much from putting myself out there and accepting the support of others. By writing short stories and drabbles, something I never thought I could do, my novel has improved by leaps and bounds.
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