(Photo by Yukthi Sangoi)
A Feature on the NJIT Community
Melissa De Cunto, Second-year Business Major
What are your earliest memories of reading?
My earliest memories of reading are painful; I used to hate reading because of my dyslexia. I used to get made fun of, and that’s never a good experience. My earliest memory of my changed mindset is when I was in eighth grade; I won a prize of a $20 gift card to Barnes & Noble. I spent my entire summer watching BookTube videos to find books to read. Once I finally found books I wanted to read, I made my mom drive me to Barnes & Noble, and my obsession with reading began.
What inspired you to write your first book?
When I was in my senior year of high school, my English teacher assigned a passion project. I wanted to include all my passions — music, books, photography, and marketing — into my project, so I put it all into one piece of work. After I finished, I discovered a new passion: writing. During my first year at NJIT, my book was finally published to the public, and I still write to this day.
What is your writing process like?
I only like to write when I’m in a good mood — a bad one makes me lose interest. I have five steps in my writing process — prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. Prewriting includes writing ideas down so I don’t forget them. When I draft, I look at my notebook of ideas and pick one I am in the mood to write. I write the draft by adding further details to my prewriting notes, but my main focus is writing all my ideas down to prepare for the revising. This is when I organize my thoughts into a chapter format; I also reorganize sections, rewrite sentences and paragraphs, or even add new information that I thought of at that moment. Editing is when I get my friend and myself to look at everything. There are times when I reread things more than five times and I still miss simple mistakes. In my last step, I self-publish through a software on Amazon called Kindle Direct Publishing. It’s free software that anyone can use to submit their written works and sell it through Amazon, which also has the option to sell books on other channels — my work is also available to buy on the Barnes & Noble website.
How do you plan on integrating your education with your passion for reading and writing?
I plan to use my major and double concentrations in marketing as well as innovation and entrepreneurship to prepare for the fields of publishing and marketing. This will help me to communicate effectively and engage with the people I need to in the reading and writing world. I also plan to use social media to reach a higher audience through the books I read and stories I write. Furthermore, I plan to use my double minors in psychology and legal studies to write fictional stories about those topics using accurate information. I love watching and reading about crime, so if I can write psychological thrillers and legal fiction books, it would be a dream come true!
How has your interest in books reflected your fashion sense?
As of more recently, I like to read a lot of dark and light academia. When I was in high school, I was more drawn to classic literature, which made me more interested in vintage clothing — my prom dress in high school was an emerald green ball gown!
What do your future plans entail regarding books and writing?
I hope to open my own bookstore once I graduate from NJIT. I would like to keep running my book Instagram and TikTok accounts to write and film reviews of books I read. I also wish to continue my Goodreads page and restart the international book club I initiated a couple of years ago. Lastly, I would like to keep making BookTube videos. While doing all these things, I want to continue writing and possibly include sneak peeks of my work on social media before it comes out to the public.
Voice your opinions