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  • Writer's pictureLauren

Submit to Mona... Who? Me?!

Updated: Feb 17

This week, Mona editor Lauren, interviews two of Mona's original contributors, artist Sharon De Valentin and author Robyn Simpson. They share their motivations, experiences and insights into submitting to Mona Magazine in hope of inspiring you (yes, YOU!) to submit to Issue 3 of Mona Magazine!


Sharon De Valentin - Encaustic Artist


What was your background in terms of publication prior to submitting to Mona?

My art has never been shown in any form of publication prior to Issue 2 of Mona

Magazine. Frankly, I still find it hard to say I am an artist. But if professional artist

means someone who is active in and committed to their art practice, while juggling

multiple responsibilities (like social media, website, sales, stockists) and producing

unique, identifiable art… well ummm….that’s me!


What did you know about Mona Magazine prior to submitting?

I had heard around town that some girls were going to get a local women’s magazine up and running. All I knew about Mona before submitting was that it was a local magazine for rural women to have a creative voice.


What motivated you to submit to the magazine?

My motivation is to contribute to anything and everything, especially if

it’s local! Be open to new ideas and flexible with delivery. There are not many

things that happen in the bush, so when something like this does, it is a must to join in and be supportive.


What was the process like to work with the Mona editorial team?

The team at Mona were great to work with. I actually submitted art for the cover art

competition for Issue 2. I didn’t get chosen for that but I was asked if my artwork

could be used inside the magazine.


Can you describe what the launch for Issue 2 was like?

I loved being at the launch in Narrandera. There was a buzz in the air and it really

felt like you were a part of something special. The event had a strong sense of

community which I loved. Being an artist is quite a solitary existence; long hours, on

my own, hopefully in the zone, trying not to be interrupted, creating. Having groups like Mona tap into that social area that I need to balance out the alone time.


What did it feel like to see your work in print?

On the day I was very nervous. This is where the open mind and trust comes in! I walked into the bookshop and saw Issue 2 sitting on the table. My heart was going a mile a minute. The art work I do uses beeswax and fire so it has a real textural aspect. I was worried that the works would look ordinary on the flat page. Then I flicked through the magazine fast, trying to control my nerves. There it was, my encaustic red roses! Not looking ordinary or flat but jumping off the page! My art was used to compliment a written piece by a young Mona named Charlotte titled ‘The Land of Blooming Flowers’, just perfect!


I grabbed a copy and took it to the counter to buy. I then spied another of my pieces accompanying a story by Emily Fishenden titled ‘Our Town’. This artwork was one of my earlier pieces, a figure, which once again came up beautifully, showing all the characteristics of an encaustic painting.


I don’t know how many people have seen my artwork in Mona, but I do know that I

am now not scared to have an encaustic printed for publication as it can look as

good as the real thing!


What is your favourite piece from Issue 2 of the magazine?

I love the cover art, both front and back. I also think that there are some outstanding pieces, both written and graphic within. But I think I would choose Chelsea’s seed pods. They are amazing pieces of botanical art and, as I use seed pods in my encaustic sculptures, they have a special place in my heart.


What is your advice to other artists who are considering submitting to Mona?

DO IT NOW! You will never feel ready. Just do it and get some sound advice from

the Mona team. You never know where this can lead you in your artistic

endeavours!

 

Robyn Simpson - Writer


What was your background in terms of publication prior to submitting to Mona?Published? Me? NO! Other than a handful of ranting Letter to the Editor in the local paper...


What did you know about Mona Magazine prior to submitting?

Not a lot. I heard it was new and focused on woman’s stories, art and poetry.


What motivated you to submit to the magazine?

Writing practice. The valuable feedback that I received. Gaining some knowledge about what can make a story readable to other people. Maybe in a similar way that some people get and adrenaline rush from skydiving, but I’m getting mine from writing.


What was the process like to work with the Mona editorial team?

The editing phase really excites me. The team send your work back with some ideas about what parts of the story could be explored further and what can be condensed. It's not about making drastic changes to your story, any changes are made with your consent. I found I had ample time to make any changes before a deadline date.


Can you describe what the launch for Issue 2 was like?

Fun. An opportunity to hear other peoples stories. Knowing that your story is unique to you. Two people could have the same life experience but write about it in a totally different way. I got to read a short section of my story. Reading to an audience made skydiving seem very lame to me!


What did it feel like to see your work in print?

The highlight was seeing the artwork that went with the story. I felt that Mona's artistic editor, Kimmy, really “got it”. It was a little bit surreal and it takes a while to sink in that you have put your name to a piece of work that others will read.


What have you gained from being published in Mona?

I have joined a local writing group. I have recently competed a TAFE writing course and have enrolled in another one. I enter Flash Fiction Competitions and love the idea of this 48hr challenge. After a life time of having a library borrowing history, all non-fiction lifestyle books, I don’t really care anymore about “how to get flat abs in 6 weeks”. I am on a mission to read every fiction book listed in the series The Books that Made us.


What is your favourite piece from Issue 2 of the magazine?

'Our Town' by Emily Fishenden. I love the tinge of dry humour and it brings back memories of my life as a young mother!


What is your advice to other artists who are considering submitting to Mona?

Do not be discouraged if your work isn’t published; you will still get very valuable feedback. If you are choosing to write about something very personal, you could always consider using a pen name, which Mona are very open to!

 

So... are you a future Mona?


Have Sharon and Robyn inspired you? Mona welcomes submissions of art, poetry, fiction, non-fiction and everything experimental in between! Mona pays every contributor published, so here is your chance to be a published and paid creative!


Submissions for inclusion in Issue 3 and Mona's Cover Art Competition close on 28th February, so hurry and get your submissions in! You'll find more information on submission guidelines on our website, but if you have questions or need some encouragement, please email Mona editors Lauren and Kat at: monawomensmagazine@gmail.com


Submissions are via our portal, click below to submit now!


 

Interviewer Profile

Image: alhal creative

Lauren Forner is the Fiction, Poetry and Experimental Forms Editor at Mona Magazine. She has been awarded various prizes for her short stories and published a collection of poetry, Parts of a Whole, in 2021. Lauren has years of experience teaching English literature and creative writing to teenagers, adults and children and reads like her life depends on it. She is perpetually completing her Masters in Creative Writing and, like all good writers, working on the elusive novel. Lauren currently lives on Wiradjuri land in the Riverina, New South Wales, and dedicates most of her waking hours to her work in public mental health.


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