AUBURN, Mass. — Auburn Author Stephanie Monahan's first novel, "33 Valentines" is a love story at heart — and so is the story behind it.
Just like the string of unlucky Valentine's Days that haunt Monahan's main character, Sophie, the author's own deep love for writing was almost shaken after years of not getting published.
Even as a little girl, Monahan had been scribbling lines and dialogue, writing stories on her mother's typewriter, and sharing her tales with her best friend.
"I always had my nose in a book; that's where it started," she said. "I wanted to write my own stories, because I absolutely loved to be in somebody else's world."
With dreams of becoming an author, throughout her life Monahan has constantly been at work on writing projects.
But at 33, when she still hadn't published a novel, Monahan began to doubt herself.
"I'd been trying to get published for so long, and you start to question whether it was something that would ever happen, or if you're any good," she said. "I was feeling really down about not being able to go anywhere with another book that I had written."
Finding herself in a lull, on a lark, Monahan answered a call for submissions from Entangled Publishing for a Valentine's Day anthology - a move that inspired the novella that would become the novel "33 Valentines."
"I started thinking about all the expectations around Valentine's Day, and the pressure people put on themselves to have the perfect day," she said. "A lot of people have a love/hate relationship with it."
From this kernel, Monahan first heard the inner voice of her main character, the sarcastic, irreverent, but big-hearted Sophie, "telling me that she was in love with her best friend, and that he was going on a date with someone that could be his dream girl on Valentine's Day."
Intrigued by the voice, she quickly went to work crafting the novella.
"It made me happy; I looked forward to writing it," she said. "Writing about somebody trying to come out of a slump helped me come out of my own, and made me realize that I really do love writing."
Then, when she heard back from Entangled, Monahan learned that not only did they love her writing, but they wanted her to expand the novella into a full-length book.
Now, Monahan's love story is available digitally on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.
For more information about the author and her books, visit Monahan's website.