I'm thrilled to be featuring Mona right now. Her historical novel will release in Walmart in October. I was privileged to read it for endorsement. You will love this story. Welcome, Mona. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Oh. I think I give away pieces of myself to each character—male or female, young or old. Mostly, an intuitive act in the process. Personality traits. Experiences. Interests. Frustrations and joys. Struggles and triumphs. Family and relationship dynamics. Certainly, lessons being learned on my spiritual journey.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Well, I’ve ridden a camel, fed a giraffe food from between my lips, and I petted a crocodile. I went for a helicopter ride for my 50th and a flight over Sedona in a bi-plane for my 55th.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I accepted the possibility in November 1987 when I received an envelope from The Secret Place (a quarterly devotional publication) the day before Thanksgiving. Inside, my first rejection letters along with my first acceptances.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Children’s books are a big favorite—picture books, poetry, and middle grade fiction, mostly. Novels for adults—historical (mostly 1700s and 1800s) and contemporary, romance, mysteries, and westerns. A good story for any age pulls me in.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
I’ve had 28 children’s books published, including Real Girls of the Bible: A Devotional (Zonderkidz), Bedtime in the Southwest (Rising Moon Books), and The Princess Twins Series (Zonderkidz I Can Read).
I’m currently writing Too Rich for a Bride, Book Two in the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series.
I can hardly wait for that one. Please contact me, so we can feature it near its release, too. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Bubble baths and smacking the ball in a heated match on the Wii tennis game.
I've done Wii bowling, but I haven't tried tennis. We don't have the game at our house. How do you choose your characters’ names?
Usually from a list of names I’ve collected. Those names can come from badges on waitress or store clerks. They can be the names of newscasters or musicians. Sometimes I use the names of people I know or names from my family history. In other cases, I look at lists of names from particular time periods or countries.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Professionally? The writing of this book—Too Rich for a Bride. It is my first completed novel, and I wrote it from concept to draft, including the research.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A roadrunner. I tend to move too fast at times. I’m a wistful wanderer every chance I get. And I’m a curious explorer, keeping an eye out for the next lizard . . . i.e. story to chew on.
What is your favorite food?
A carne asada taco with avocado, lime, and cilantro in a fresh corn tortilla. Or a spinach enchilada with green sauce.
Yum. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Perfectionism. Fear of not getting it right. Having a two-month deadline and a two-book contract worked wonders.
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Remember that writing, being a writer, and publishing is a process, and persevere.
Yes, it's all about the process. Tell us about the featured book?
Two sisters arrive in an 1896 mining camp expecting marriage, but finding love.
Cripple Creek is a booming gold mining town nestled in a saddle valley near the base of Pike's Peak on the front range of Colorado. At an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet and just below timberline, the city’s history is one of ups and downs with fires, disease, and labor wars. Two Brides Too Many is the 1896 story of Kat Sinclair and Nell Sinclair, two of four sisters who make their way to Cripple Creek from Maine to find love and God’s design for their lives.
Please give us the first page of the book.
1895, Portland, Maine
“I have you cornered.”
Kat looked up from the writing desk to the table, where Nell was grinning. Nell’s match with Ida had been particularly animated on this Sunday afternoon. Both were fiercely competitive, and Kat knew better than to challenge either one of them at checkers, or most any game.
Ida perched on a cushioned chair, face to face with Nell. The oldest of the four Sinclair sisters wasn’t accustomed to losing, and it showed in Ida’s furrowed brow. She stared at the board, but the pattern of the red and black disks didn’t change. When she finally made a move, Nell snatched the red game piece off the board, her blue eyes sparkling.
“That’s five out of seven, Ida.” Vivian, the youngest at sixteen, called the tournament from the sofa where she lounged with Sassy, her Siamese cat.
“You’ve been dethroned, sis.” Kat closed her journal. “We have a new Sinclair Checkers Champion.”
While Ida lifted an imaginary crown off her head, Nell stood and smoothed her skirt. Ida placed the invisible trophy atop Nell’s wheat-blond twist. “I present the new queen of checkers.” Ida bowed. All four of the sisters giggled.
Kat picked up her journal and walked to the window. Fabric ties held tartan curtains open, framing the idyllic outdoor scene. Crimson and golden leaves adorned the maples and oaks outside, and a couple of squirrels frolicked while a handful of leaves twisted and twirled above them like autumn acrobats.
Acrobats in fall colors
Twist and twirl . . .
Kat hurried back to the writing desk and recorded the words in her journal, her pencil flying over the page. Sunday was the most inspiring day of the week. The Sabbath’s time of rest and reflection always left her refreshed and full of new ideas.
Nell cleared her throat. “I don’t suppose you’re writing about my victory for the Portland Press Herald.”
“A recounting of your conquest, as great as it was, isn’t Kat’s cup of tea.” Vivian laughed. The name Sassy fit Vivian as well as it did her cat.
“Now if Nell were the writer in the family, we’d all be reading a most romantic love story,” Ida said, returning the checkerboard to the bookcase.
“I believe in love.” Nell shrugged. “Is that so bad?”
“Believing in love is not at all bad, Poppet.” Father’s warm voice drew their attention to the doorway. He wore a herringbone suit, his auburn mustache and beard neatly trimmed. He leaned against the door frame, his arms crossed over his chest.
“We have a new checkers champion, Father.” Nell raised her hands to her head and formed a crown. “Me.”
“And such a humble winner.” A weak smile turned up one side of Father’s mouth, and an uneasiness began to niggle Kat’s stomach. Something wasn’t right.
I hope that hooked other readers as it did me the first time I read the words. How can readers find you on the Internet?
To receive my quarterly e-update, email me at email@example.com with Mona’s Update in the subject line.
Mona, thank you for spending this time with us.
Readers, check in your local Walmart in October to get a copy of this book