Thursday, November 19, 2009

Have You Met Mona Yet?

Welcome to A Pen for Your Thoughts, Mona. Let's introduce you now.

Mona Hodgson is the author of Two Brides Too Many and nearly thirty children’s books. Her writing credits also include hundreds of articles, poems, and short stories in newspapers and magazines. She speaks regularly at women’s retreats, schools, and conferences through the United States and Canada. Mona lives in Arizona with her husband, Bob.

SKC: What inspired you to come up writing for your particular sub-genre? Tell us about the circumstances, Mona.

Mona: While my dad and I walked a dirt road in Arizona’s White Mountains about twenty years ago, we discovered a deserted cabin. My imagination immediately sprouted ideas from which the premise for a contemporary novel grew. I immersed myself in the craft of writing fiction, and later began tapping out a historical novel set in an 1890’s copper mining camp in central Arizona. In the meantime, I’ve written for magazines and I’ve been writing children’s books. While my novel proposals had received much editorial interest, they hadn’t garnered any contracts.

On March 31, 2009, a fiction editor from WaterBrook Multnomah contacted my agent with the opportunity for me to write a series set in an 1890’s gold mining camp. I jumped for joy then began researching Cripple Creek, Colorado and writing Two Brides Too Many because I only had two months to my deadline. Since April, I’ve written the first two stories in the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series. Believe me, this is nothing short of an amazing act of God.

SKC: How intriguing! How long had you been writing before you got your first contract? I'm curious. And tell us how you dealt with your patience.

Mona: Book contract? Ten years. I spent my first ten years as an official writer, writing for periodicals. I wrote a weekly newspaper column for two years as well as hundreds of articles, devotionals, poems, and short stories for 50 different periodicals. It took me twenty years before I received a contract for my first novel for adults.

How did I deal with my impatience while waiting twenty years to see my first novel published? I kept writing and learning about the publishing industry. I attended writers’ conferences where I could learn the craft of writing and hone my writing skills while I built relationships with other writers, editors, and agents. I recited Proverbs 3:5&6 to myself on a regular basis and reminded myself that God’s plans and timing was best.

SKC: I love those versess in Proverbs! And a great reminder for us all when we are writing.
All authors have advice for other new authors coming into the field of writing. What is yours?

Mona: Recognize and remember that writing for publication is a process and a journey that requires careful and intentional steps. Expect detours. Enjoy the adventure!

SKC: Good advice to give. Sometimes inspirational writers have a hard time being accepted in the “real” world (Outside of CBA). What are your thoughts about inspirational writers writing Crossover Stories?

Mona: Write the stories you’re passionate about and let your characters show you where they belong.

SKC: We each know where we belong, don't we. Questions many authors are often asked are how they deal with writer's block. How do you overcome it, Mona?

Mona: A walk, a bubble bath, or a set of Wii tennis and a deliberate talk with my characters.

SKC: Hmmm. A bubble bath! Okay, then, what about the magic of the first five pages… Tell us what gets you started on those first five pages of a brand new story.

Mona: So far my experience with my first five pages tells me they won’t be the first five pages in my novel. That frees me to let them pour out, knowing they’re the launch pad for the true and vital beginning of my character’s story.

SKC: Many authors cringe when it comes to the moment they have to come up with their synopsis. What would be your best advice to them?

  • Who is your main character and where is he or she?
  • What does she want to achieve or need to overcome?
  • Why?
  • What is the story question that arises out of your main character’s goal?
  • Who or what will stand in her way?
  • How will she overcome the obstacles?
  • What will she learn and how will she grow in the process?
Write the answers to those questions in a compelling, one or two page, single-spaced format and you’ll have a tight story synopsis and a road map for your journey.

SKC: I made bullet points for your answers. Well thought out and can be utilized by many of us. What do you do during the waiting period when editors are looking over your manuscripts?

Mona: I assume you mean editors who are considering my proposal or manuscript for publication. (YES)
If that’s the case, I write the next article, story, book. Or two or three…while I wait. I might update my website. Brainstorm promotions ideas. Organize my desk. Take a break from writing, if I need to.

SKC: After you finish your present project, what plans do you have?

Mona: I had just finished the draft for Too Rich for a Bride, my second historical novel in the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series. Next, I’ll do a read-through and rewrites before I hit send and take a vacation to see family and friends who will celebrate the completion with me. Then while I wait to receive copy edit comments from my editor, I’ll get to know my main characters for Book 3 in the series and start plotting their story.

SKC: You are keeping busy, aren't you! Mona, I understand you have a book you would like to give to one of our readers. I always ask the authors to write in a reflection question for our readers to ponder and then comment about. What would you like to ask this week about either writing or having that love to read?

Mona: Yes, I am giving away a copy of Two Brides Too Many, the first story in the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series.

Reflection question: What makes a great historical novel great?

SKC: Great question! I'm looking forward to seeing what people will reply.
Thanks so much for coming by, Mona. Please let us know where we can find your books.

Mona: You’re welcome. I appreciate the opportunity to chat with you. Readers of historical fiction can find my debut novel, Two Brides Too Many, exclusively available in Walmart Stores across the country. You can find my children’s books at my website: and in your favorite bookstore.

Feel free to connect with me at and
Congratulations to our winner of Mona's book: Susanne Dietze of Bakersfield CA 93312
Merry Christmas and great blessings to you, Susanne.
Thank you for following A Pen for Your Thoughts!


  1. Hi Mona! I love this post! I don't read tons of historical novels, but I've read two in the last week! (An Amanda Quick and a Karen Hawkins) What I love most is the sense of adventure that historicals can deliver! Characters do things I've never done, and some of the outrageous things they say, or the language they say it in, is so different from today that it makes me laugh out loud! I love adventures and laughing out loud when I read, and I love it when a great historical novel gives me that!

    Looking forward to reading your first adult novel, Mona! :)

  2. I think a great historical novel is made great when you find yourself actually IN the book with the characters. You are able to walk the streets, see the clothing, smell the horses, and forget the technology of today. A great historical novel will make you feel like you know the characters and the setting they are in. I'm really looking forward to reading your book, Mona!!

  3. Wow!! I would love to read this book!! Please enter me. To answer Mona's question, I like historical novels a lot. As to why?? That is hard to answer:) But one reason why is I like reading about times that have passed. To me, if an author has done their research, it is very interesting and an insight into those times. Again, thanks for a great interview!! If I don't win this, I will have to put it on my wish-list:) Thanks!

  4. Many thanks to all who have read the interview and entered to win a copy of Two Brides Too Many. So fun for this historical novelist to hear why you like reading historicals. Thanks, Mona

  5. Such great comments already coming in! It is so neat to hear what you all have to say about the whys and the whats and those things that catch your attention about reading or writing.
    Keep 'em coming. Mona and I look forward to seeing more!
    Blessings all,

  6. TWENTY YEARS to get her novel published! Yikes. I think most authors talk to their characters, so it's nice to hear someone say it OUT LOUD. Very interesting interview. Thanks for posting it.

  7. I would love to read this book. Please enter me. Thanks!!

  8. This interview was a great inspiration to me to keep up my writing and not be discouraged! Thank you! Please enter me to win a copy.
    Deborah M.

  9. What a great interview! I love historicals set in just about any era, whether it be 1800's, all the way to medieval! There is such a sense of honor in medieval times and a sense of simplicity in the early years of our contry. It is a great way to escape into a life not even remotely connected to my own. :) Can't wait to read this book...and I LOVE the cover!

  10. Very interesting interview. The book sounds fabulous!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. I love historicals. I am sure I would love your book, Mona. Please enter me and thanks for a great interview, Shirley. I like this blog. Thanks for all the work.
    Mary Basker

  12. I love historicals set in the late 1800s, but it would be hard to pinpoint why. Maybe because of the slower pace. I especially like books set in the West. Yours sound like one I'd love. Congratulations on your series contracts.


  13. I always enjoy leaning about other novelists' journeys. I find it so encouraging and I appreciate Monda's advice!

    Her novel sounds like so much fun; I'd love to be entered into the drawing. While I read some contemporaries, I mostly gravitate toward historicals. The societal norms are different in historicals, whether they're Regencies or set in 1880s Kansas, and those structures are comforting to me, I guess. I love escaping to different times and places.

    Thanks for the great interview1
    srdietze at sbcglobal dot net

  14. Great interview. I have read this book and it was awesome.

  15. Great interview.Two Brides Too Many sounds wonderful. I love escaping to different times and places.Please enter me in the giveaway.augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.Thank you.

  16. I enjoy historical fiction and my first thought to this question would be an accurate sense of time and place, so much so that you can "see" the setting. And the characters have to talk and act in a way common to that period. I recently finished an excellent historical by J. M. Hochstetler called "Daughter of Liberty" - one of the best I've ever read.

    Mona's book was already on my wish list. I enjoyed the interview and appreciate the chance to win a copy.

    cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

  17. Hi Mona it is nice to meet you and to read your interview here on pen for thought, may God bless you and you have a very Merry Christmas


  18. I love historical books! But what makes them great? I think when they are well researched and reader can tell!!! When they read the book and know when they pick up a history book and they will find similar facts in there! I remember reading a historical novel and then an autobiography of the same time period and place. I was thrilled to discover the author of the fiction book had her done her research well and it was so nice to know they were not all made up facts.

  19. HI ALL! I'm sending in Too Rich for a Bride this week, so I've had my head down finishing Book 2 in the series. Thanks so much for all your great comments. It blesses me to know that a few of you were inspired by my long wait to see a novel published. Keep on keeping on. And how fun that so many of us are sisters of the heart when it comes to reading historicals. I love an authentic transport to another time and place, especially the 1800's. Blessings, Mona

  20. HI ALL! I'm sending in Too Rich for a Bride this week, so I've had my head down finishing Book 2 in the series. Thanks so much for all your great comments. It blesses me to know that a few of you were inspired by my long wait to see a novel published. Keep on keeping on. And how fun that so many of us are sisters of the heart when it comes to reading historicals. I love an authentic transport to another time and place, especially the 1800's. Blessings, Mona

  21. Sorry for using annonymous, but my head is full of cotton with a cold and I couldn't get the password... right. Ah well. Hugs from a non-germy distance, Mona

  22. I think when they are well researched and reader can tell!!! When they read the book and know when they pick up a history book and they will find similar facts in there!

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