Becky Munsterer and her lab, Mabel.
Summer is a time for relaxing and reading a good book. But the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer may be crazier these days- more so than lazy, leaving many only wishing they had more time to read.
Becky Munsterer lives in the woods of Norwich, Vermont in a tiny house with a big wood stove with her Labrador retriever, Mabel. She graduated from Colby College in 2001 with an English degree, and works as a college admissions counselor at Dartmouth College.
With a very demanding schedule Munsterer, an aspiring fiction writer, used whatever free time she had to write, which left little time for recreational reading.
“As I confessed to friends about my non-reading habits and the piles of books on my nightstand, I realized that many of them shared my secret. It seems everyone was busy and reading was placed on the back burner,” said Munsterer.
With the knowledge that reading for pleasure was easier said than done, the young writer had an idea. She launched Novel Nibble, a literary website, for the reader who is overwhelmed with a busy schedule but still wants to escape for a little while with a good book.
“I got the idea to write Novel Nibble, after learning that there is no other website which features one page per day of a serial novel. As a writer, I loved the idea of publishing one page per day of an ongoing story, which would allow the reader a daily, one minute literary escape, said Munsterer. “As a nod to Charles Dickens, I wanted to bring back serial fiction as a way of re-imagining the standard novel. So, I wrote an original, Vermont-based novel, “The Stonehouse Caper,” in one-page installments.”
The Stonehouse Caper is a humorous adventure about a young, naive, woman in Vermont who accepts a proposal to learn about the world from her eccentric grandfather. Many real Vermont businesses are mentioned throughout the story, as the characters travel through the state.
“I quickly realized that the marvel of modern online literature is the engagement of the reader. So, I invited readers to ‘Take A Nibble’ and influence the plot while also interacting with an online community of readers,” said Munsterer. “This real-time integration of literature and technology truly enhanced the Novel Nibble experience, and thus, has led to a real word-of-mouth explosion within the Facebook community.”
Munsterer is not a native to Vermont. In fact, she grew up in Jefferson and spent many summer days on Lake Hopatcong with friends and family. She recently wrote a scene about Lake Hopatcong into the story. The fictitious Kent House restaurant in her novel is said to be modeled after the Windlass restaurant.
“I wanted my fictional characters to travel to one of the places that I cherish. My parents still live In Jefferson, and so I travel to Lake Hopatcong often” said Munsterer. “I’m getting tremendous feedback from readers. In fact, many of them request advice from me about following their own writing passion. Some of them want to write their own books. Some of them simply want to know more about my journey on this literary adventure. But, all of the feedback has been supportive.” Since its launch on April 2, the site has more than 1,400 unique visitors from 45 states and 22 countries. Many of Munsterer’s readers are Vermonters. But many other readers live in places such as Hong Kong and the Florida Keys.
“I love writing for an online audience, and they seemingly love engaging with the story. I’m both overwhelmed and thrilled by the hunger of my readers for a daily literary escape.”
said Munsterer. “Right now, I know how the book will end, but I plan on taking the plot on some exciting twists and turns while the story progresses. Part of the fun of this project is that I can add scenes to my plot based on my own experiences of the day. Since I write almost daily, I always have new material to add to the old storyline.”
The author plans to increase readership, and to add other Novel Nibble authors/stories to the site. As the first page-per-day, interactive website in the world, she envisions Novel
Nibble as the one-stop-shop for active readers with assorted literary tastes.
“I’m hoping for corporate partnership as I continue to expand the Novel Nibble genre. A smart phone application is also in the works.” said Munsterer.
However, as Novel Nibble grows, Munsterer has committed herself to staying true to the mission of her original project. Although the author herself is among the too-busy-to-read
population she wants to inspire young children to slow down and enjoy reading and to fall in love with books. At a time when youth are so tech savvy they may not be motivated to open a book, as opposed to pushing a button on a computer for a temporary escape into a fictional or imaginary world .
“In addition, I want busy professionals to carve out a few seconds of their over-scheduled days to simply read. I want voracious literary enthusiasts to engage with one another about their favorite characters, their favorite plot
lines, their favorite villains. I simply want people to love reading.” said Munsterer.
You can read Novel Nibble daily at www.novelnibble.com