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An Interview with Caterina Sauro, author of Hi, My Name is Monella

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Caterina Sauro is a multi-faceted artist, poet, and graphic designer. She’s the self-published author of Hi, My Name is Monella, an anthology of work including 80 poems and 20 illustrations released in October 2022, reflecting the journey of her return to self post-divorce. As much as she loves to hold a mic and perform, Caterina also designs book covers, logos, and other custom artwork on commission. As the founder of Exprosé, a free writing workshop series based in Mississauga, Caterina enjoys creating space for poets and poetry enthusiasts to celebrate each other and write together. Across all disciplines, Caterina continues to vouch for freedom of creative expression and hopes to create more opportunities to feature other artists in person and virtually.

You can buy Hi, My Name is Monella here!

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

Growing up with a strong will in a strict, Italian household, I was nicknamed “monella” each time I did something I wasn’t supposed to do i.e. stay up late reading books, eat out of the Nutella jar using a spoon, etc. Blooming into adulthood, I stayed consistent and continued to do things I wasn’t supposed to do. The ultimate defiance was ending my 2-year marriage in 2021, earning the true title of “monella”. The title of this book, Hi, My Name is Monella, is a reflection of the theme throughout the anthology. Each piece is an introduction to a piece of me as I wrote my way through the separation and into this new journey on the other side.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

Some of the songs that would be on my book’s soundtrack are “911” by Lady Gaga, “Woman” by Doja Cat, “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish, and “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

As a reader closes my book for the last time, I hope they are encouraged to pursue the best version of themselves and be their strongest advocate. I want this book to light a fire of self-love and self-forgiveness in all who read it.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

There were many moments when I believed I wasn’t qualified enough to author a book or even self-publish it. After months of writing, illustrating, editing, designing and researching, holding the book for the first time was an incredibly fulfilling experience. In my hands was proof that I am capable of greatness as long as I’m willing to put the necessary work in to get there.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

I facilitate local poetry writing workshops featuring individual poets and build lesson plans focused on teaching poetry fundamentals online. I am also an avid illustrator, creating new pieces for myself and when requested on a commission basis.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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Atmosphere Press is a selective hybrid publisher founded in 2015 on the principles of Honesty, Transparency, Professionalism, Kindness, and Making Your Book Awesome. Our books have won dozens of awards and sold tens of thousands of copies. If you’re interested in learning more, or seeking publication for your own work, please explore the links below.