Today we’d like to introduce you to Ofelia Montelongo.
Ofelia, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I was born and raised in Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, Mexico and I wanted to be a writer since I was eight years old. Sometimes, I think that my writing passion arrived because I grew up in a house full of books. Some other times, I think it was in my blood somehow. I used to write stories here and there, but it wasn’t until I moved to the U.S. that I actually did it seriously.
In Mexico, I studied Accounting and Finance and in Madrid an MBA. When I moved to Phoenix in 2008, I looked for creative writing classes in Spanish, but I couldn’t find any, so I signed up for innumerable classes in English to learn the craft of writing.
But it wasn’t until I quit my financial job in Phoenix that I was able to study and write full time. I received a creative writing certificate from SCC and a BA in English and creative writing from ASU. I started a Ph.D. in Latin American literature at ASU, which I had to leave later to move to Maryland, where I resumed my literature studies at the University of Maryland.
Last year, after finishing my BA, I decided more creative writing in Spanish were necessary for the community, so in collaboration with Palabras Bilingual Bookstore, we started a workshop open for the community, where we created cuentos and short stories.
During all this time, I have been writing a couple of novels and short stories. And maybe a couple of poems.
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
In the beginning, I could only think about long novels. But after many workshops, I learned the craft of the short story (thanks to Rosemarie Dombrowski). I rarely refer myself as an artist, I see myself as a writer who has struggled over the years to find her unique voice.
Luckily, I have found a bilingual voice that belongs to me and to the hybrid community of Phoenix. A voice inspired by many Latinx and Chicanx writers, including local poet and Arizona Poet Laureate Alberto Rios and many others. That being said, in my most of my work, you’ll find words in Spanish that, I think, make my writing truthful to who I am.
My message to anyone who wants to write is to stop asking permission and to just write. Write whatever you want, even if you haven’t taken a workshop or a class to “validate you.” Read a lot. Books are your best teacher.
My second art is photography, I mostly love taking photos of landscapes or bees or any cool insects.
Any advice for aspiring or new artists?
Go to workshops, get out there, create your own community. There are so many resources and if there aren’t, create your own.
To develop and master an art takes time, so be patient and work hard. But never stop. Always keep going.
Find your voice and what makes you unique.
We have a Facebook group for writers in Spanish in Phoenix: Escritores creativos de PHX join us!
What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I’m currently a freelance writer for the Phoenix Magazine blog and for So Scottsdale. You can see my portfolio here: https://ofeliamontelongo.com/portfolio/
You can find my story Tarantulas here: http://fourchamberspress.com/insight-ii/
Also, my story Balazos is forthcoming in Z Publishing and you can buy it here: http://bit.ly/2OdvmEF look for the Pre-orders Arizona’s Emerging Writers anthology.
You can check my blog: http://writingmyfirstnovel1.blogspot.com/
- Website: https://ofeliamontelongo.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: ofe23
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ofeliamontelongowriter
- Twitter: @ofeliamv23
- Other: http://writingmyfirstnovel1.blogspot.com/