By Devon Hannan

Appalachian author and publisher Gina McKnight started Monday Creek Publishing out of her horse barn after writing her first children’s book in 2009. Inspired by the people she has met along the way, McKnight sat down with Southeast Ohio Magazine to discuss her publication’s impact on Athens county.  

SEO:  

How did you land in publishing?  

McKnight:  

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, I worked for a long time in accounting, got my bachelor’s degree, but eventually, I was like, “It’s time to follow that dream.”  

Soon, a local guy named Pat Smith asked me to write his father’s biography, and his dad was this really great vet; He was a surgical genius in a lot of respect. So, I went with Jodie, who was Dr. Smith’s widow, all over the tri-state area and we interviewed hundreds of clients. I had gone to talk to [Ohio University] Press and they told me to cut it down to 100,00 words — 

But Pat didn’t want me to cut anything, so I found out how to do it myself.  

SEO:  

So your publishing company is literally located in your horse barn. Why? 

McKnight: 

Horses are very spiritual to me and I find that I can talk to them and they listen. And they actually give me ideas about what path I should go down. Everyone has their own niche on what they like, whether it’s their dog or a muse, that helps them extract the ideas and put them down on paper. 

SEO:  

Can you talk about inspiration? 

McKnight: 

I think every writer has something inside. It’s like they have to get it out on paper. And yes, other writers do inspire me, but that’s not the number one thing that inspires me. My horse inspires me. My life, other people, living. So like, if I have a poem inside of me, I have to get it out. I think that just daily living and experiences and emotions – That’s where it all comes from. 

SEO: 

What advice would you give to those who wish to pursue writing?  

McKnight: 

You have to stay true to yourself as a writer. While we all have that self-doubt, like “Oh, is this good enough? Is this marketable? Am I going to be [able to] sell it?” But I tell my clients, write it down, get the second draft. Then, send it to a good editor. Put it out there to the masses and see what happens. Someone has to write something new.  

SEO: 

How does Monday view outreach? 

McKnight: 

I think it’s important to give back to your community, so we sponsor a lot of things. But I think that if you’re not giving back, then it’s not worthwhile.  

Like, right now, we’re doing a project called “Nelsonville A to Z,” so every letter has a poem. So, “A is for Appalachia,” and so on. It’s through the Opera House with Celeste Parsons and Hannah Sickles. I think that being able to collaborate with the Opera House is the ultimate dynamic. They’re such awesome people. 

SEO:  

What is your long-term goal for Monday Creek? 

McKnight: 

I would like Monday Creek Publishing to be a shining spot in southeastern Ohio where we can propel creativity and inspire other people to follow their dream and persevere. Being from Appalachia is OK. Working in the barn is OK. Stepping in manure is not a bad thing. I think we just need to keep it simple. I just really want to showcase Southeast Ohio in a good light for the rest of the world and bring something from our community, within our community and then pay it back. It’s not about me. It’s about the people that make up the company.