Glowing Author #22
One of the many great things about writers’ conferences is the people you meet. I met Mona Hodgson at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference more years ago than either of us wants to acknowledge. She is a well-published writer and a wonderful writing instructor. But you’ll see that from her words. So…
Welcome, Mona! Tell us a bit about how you got started in your illustrious career.
I was introduced to the impulse to write for publication in 1983. Before then, writing hadn’t crossed my mind. I planned to be a nurse like my cousin Irene. I met Bob Hodgson in 1972, soon after I graduated from high school. We married that same year and I forgot about nursing school. In 1975 and 1977, I gave birth to daughters, Amy and Sara.
In 1983, the four of us attended a retreat for Law Enforcement families. That’s where I had my first encounter with a real writer, Carol! She interviewed Bob and me for a magazine article. I remember sitting across the table from her and thinking . . . hmm! A writer?
Mid-summer 1987, I responded to an ad for a correspondence course offered by Christian Writers’ Fellowship International. My instructor, Marlene Bagnull, recommended that I enroll in the unit on writing daily devotionals. I did, and in November 1987, I received my first acceptance letter and non-acceptance letter in an envelope from The Secret Place, a quarterly daily devotional. I moved on to correspondence course units in various genres including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry; all the while taking writing courses at the local community college and attending at least two writers’ conferences each year since the Spring of l988.
I like the emphasis you put on learning the craft of writing. So important! I also like that you do various kinds of writing. Where else have your fingers dabbled?
I do enjoy the freedom to write in various genres and for various audiences. I’ve published several hundred articles and short stories for adults and children. I’ve also published several dozen devotionals and dozens of poems. For two years, I wrote a weekly newspaper column called, Letters from Home. I’ve had eleven pieces, poetry and non-fiction, published in anthologies and I have twenty-eight published children’s books—eight picture books, nineteen early readers, and one middle-grade non-fiction. Six are Zonderkidz I Can Read books.
About twenty-two years ago, while walking down a dirt road, I discovered a deserted and dilapidated cabin not much bigger than my dining room. My imagination immediately began planting seeds from which the premise for a contemporary novel sprouted. Since then I’ve taken countless novel-writing courses to learn the craft of writing fiction. As part of that process, I also began writing a historical novel set in an 1890’s copper mining camp in Arizona. In 2008 that story won first place in the Genesis Contest Historical Fiction Category at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference.
My debut novel wasn’t the story set in Nutrioso, though, nor is it the historical I started nearly a dozen years ago. On March 31, 2009, a fiction editor at WaterBrook Multnomah contacted my agent asking about a not-yet-published novelist who could write historical fiction set in an 1890’s gold mining camp in Colorado. Two Brides Too Many was first released in October 2009, and Too Rich for a Bride will release to all major distributors May 3, 2011.
Wow! Does any genre come more easily or present a challenge to you?
Making the leap from writing poetry, devotionals, and fillers to full length novels continues to offer a challenge. The unfamiliar freedom in word count allows lots of room for plot and character development. I’m allowed to get a little wordy, which isn’t all that easy for someone trained to write “tight and concise.”
Tell us about your latest release.
As the business-savvy Sinclair sister, Ida never wanted to settle down. Instead of love, she craves success. But while searching for one, she just might find the other. In Too Rich for a Bride, Book Two in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series, Ida Sinclair has joined her sisters, Kat and Nell, in the untamed mining town of Cripple Creek, Colorado, to work for the infamous but undeniably successful businesswoman, Mollie O’Bryan. Ida’s sisters may be interested in making a match for their determined older sister, but Ida only wants to build her career.
Under Mollie’s tutelage, Ida learns how to play the stock market and revels in her promising accomplishments. Fighting for respect in a man’s world, her ambition leaves little room for distractions. She ignores her family’s reservations about Mollie O’Bryan’s business practices, but no matter how she tries, she can’t ignore the two men pursuing her affections—Colin Wagner, the dashing lawyer, and Tucker Raines, the traveling preacher. Ida wants a career more than anything else, so she shrugs off the suitors and pointed “suggestions” that young ladies don’t belong in business. Will it take unexpected love—or unexpected danger—for Ida to realize where her priorities truly lie?
WaterBrook Press will officially release Too Rich for a Bride on May 3, 2011. To read the first chapters of this and Book one, Two Brides Too Many, and to watch the videos, go to www.monahodgson.com. Click on Mona’s Novels, then on Sneak Peek.
Which writer made the biggest impact on your life?
Grace Livingston Hill comes to mind. As a teenager, I enjoyed reading her inspirational love stories: Attraction. Conflict. Choices. And how one lives out their Christian faith in the midst of it all.
What’s one thing that would surprise us about you?
I’ve ridden a camel, fed a giraffe mouth-to-mouth, and held a baby crocodile—all in East Africa.
What’s next for you in the writing arena? (Could it be a book on strange experiences with animals??)
No… not yet anyway! I’m working on the edits for Beyond a Bride, book three in the series. I’ll soon begin writing book four. After that? A new historical series. Still in the 1800’s, but earlier in the century.
Thanks, Mona. See you at Mount Hermon!
Connect with Mona at www.monahodgson.com.
Also at www.facebook.com on Mona Hodgson Author Page.
“Recognize and remember that writing for publication is a process and a journey that requires intentional and persistent steps. Expect detours. Enjoy the adventure!”