Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Monica spent her early years reading everything that she could. Early in elementary school, she started writing stories and never stopped. Her love for reading and writing drove her to get her B.A. in English Literature from Duke University and her M.A. in English and American Literature from New York University.
While working in trade and educational publishing in New York, Monica participated in writing workshops at the Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center and at Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop. Later, she shifted careers and became a high school English teacher in Baltimore and San Francisco. During her time at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, she started to take her writing more seriously and never looked back. She received her MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she was a Rona Jaffe Graduate Fellow. She has also received a fellowship from Kimbilio Fiction and a residency from Hedgebrook. She currently lives in Oakland, California where she is reading everything that she can get her hands on, teaching fiction writing at the University of San Francisco, and writing another novel.