Monday, April 1, 2013

Meet author Mona Hodgson

Hello, Mona, I haven’t met you personally, but I have read several of your books. I appreciate your taking the time to let me interview you for my blog, Christian Living and Christian Books.

Hi, Juanita! Hello, everyone! Thank you for this opportunity to join you here.

First, please tell us about your faith in God, and why you write Christian books for both adults and children.

Seven years old, I attended Vacation Bible School and heard Mrs. Bacon speak of sin, our separation from God, Jesus’ deity and sinless nature, Jesus’ death on the cross, His resurrection, and our forgiveness through belief in Him. My prayer that day led me into a personal relationship with the Living God.

I grew up in a Christian home. At 14, a freshman in high school, I was part of a large youth group. On one of those Wednesday nights I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit to grow in a faith that was more “my own;” to go deeper in relationship, rather than let religion shape my faith and walk.

Fast forward to age 34. Following my own “Jonah” story, I began to write for publication and attend at least two Christian writers’ conferences each year. That atmosphere and my Christian writing colleagues from various denominations, traditions, and convictions have contributed greatly to my spiritual formation.

Writing books for adults and children, storytelling, is one way I explore and express my faith.

As well as a writer, you are also a speaker for groups and conferences across the U.S. and Canada. What do you do in your spare time, if you have any?

Yes, I am a Christian women’s retreat speaker and also speak at conferences for writers, librarians, and educators. I am a caregiver for my mom and her husband, plus my hubby and I visit East Africa every five or six years to see our daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren who live there. Then, of course, there are the added perks of writing historical fiction—research trips and book launch trips to the settings. So far, those trips have led me to Cripple Creek, Colorado and St. Charles, Missouri.

All the titles and series of books you have written for children make quite an impression on me. Besides Amazon, is there another place readers can find them? 

Thank you. Yes, I have seven picture books available (Bedtime in the Southwest and six I Wonder Books), six Zonderkidz I Can Read books (Princess and Desert), an early reader devotional book (Hide & Seek, on the Fruit of the Spirit) and one for middle grade readers (Real Girls of a Bible: A 31-Day Devotional). For autographed copies of my books and to find out-of-print titles, go to for a Book Order Form.

The titles of your “Desert Critters” series for children are really cute. Did these come from your observations there in Arizona, where you live?

Yes, I wrote 12 books in the Desert Critter Friends Series (now out-of-print), I have Bedtime in the Southwest, a rhymed bedtime picture book, and two desert Zonderkids I Can Read books—all stories inspired by my home state of Arizona.

I understand you began writing in 1987. What was your first published book? Did you focus on adults or children first?

I started my writing career writing articles, poems, and short stories for adults in magazines and church take-home papers. A surprise to me, the first 28 books I had published were for children. Friendly Differences in the Desert Critter Friends series was my first book, published in 1998.

Your “Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek” series of four books was very enjoyable. We have them in our church library and they are a popular series. What inspired you to do this series of books?

Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed my Sinclair Sisters stories, and it’s exciting for me to know your church library is making them available to readers of historical fiction. Yay!
In Arizona, I live at the base of Mingus Mountain, home to the most vertical town in the United States—Jerome. More than twenty years ago, when I first visited the Jerome State Historic Park, the Douglas Mansion, I became fascinated with the historic copper mining camp’s history and the romantic appeal of the late 1890’s. Soon thereafter, I entertained the idea of writing a historical novel set in Jerome during its boomtown years in the late 1890s.

In 2008, I sent the first twenty pages of that endeavor to ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) as an entry in their Genesis contest for unpublished novelists. Later that year, my writing sample was awarded First Place in the Historical Fiction category at the annual ACFW conference. March 31, 2009 my agent called and asked if I was sitting down. She’d shown the proposal for the Jerome novel to several editors, and had heard back from one who was interested in publishing me.

In an out-of-the-ordinary situation, the editor, asked if I’d be willing to adapt my story premise and move it to Cripple Creek, Colorado. Still set in the late 1890’s. Still taking place in a mining camp, but gold instead of copper. Obviously, I said yes. And as they say, the rest is history. In the form of Two Brides Too Many, Too Rich for a Bride, The Bride Wore Blue, and Twice a Bride—my four Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Novels.

When the editor suggested a series that included four sisters coming west, she didn’t know, and neither did my agent, that I was one of four sisters. I leapt at the chance to write that story, incorporating a few of the characters and plot points from the Jerome novel.

Tell about your new books, the Quilted Heart series, published in February, April, and May of 2013.

Once a week Elsa Brantenberg hosts the Saint Charles Quilting Circle at her farmhouse on the outskirts of the riverside town in Missouri. The Quilted Heart is a sequence of three eBook novellas that offer historical fiction readers a charming ensemble cast who lost men to the Civil War. Their lives were forever changed. Their thorny circumstances moved each of them, but in what direction?

Dandelions on the Wind, Book #1 – now available
Bending Toward the Sun, Book #2—Available for pre-order
Ripples Along the Shore, Book #3—Available for pre-order
Each book is only $1.99 each!

And there is at least one character that bridges the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series to the Quilted Heart Series.

I heard something else fun about The Quilted Heart Series and its connection to your next series. Can you tell us about that?

Ah, yes, the three Quilted Heart novellas are a Prequel to my Hearts Seeking Home Series, which debuts August 6 with Prairie Song. Some of the women from the Saint Charles Quilting Circle will choose to rebuild their war-torn lives in Missouri while others will choose to do so out west. Join me and the Boone’s Lick Wagon Train Company, will you?

From your bio on Amazon, I can see that you belong to several writers’ organizations. Tell our readers why you put such importance on being in these writers’ groups.

Yes, ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), CAN (Christian Authors Network), AWSA (American Writers and Speakers Association), Women Writing the West, SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), RWA (Romance Writers of America), and Pikes Peak Writers.

Like-minded camaraderie. Building relationships within the industry. Continuing education opportunities. Sharing resources and expertise. Industry information and updates. Seminars and conferences. What’s not to love about that?

Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

You can watch the series book trailer for my Sinclair Sisters books and read excerpts at I’d love it if you all would follow my Hindsight Blog at and connect with me on my Facebook Mona Hodgson Author Page at!/Author.Mona.
Thank you, Mona, for taking the time to let me introduce you on my blog. I appreciate the time you took out of your busy schedule to do this.

My pleasure! Thanks, Juanita!

Mona is giving away a copy of Book 1 in the Sinclair Sisters series, Two Brides Too Many on my blog today. If you would like to have an autographed copy of this book, please comment and your name will be entered in a drawing.  The winner will be announced on my blog on April 15, and Mona will mail the autographed book to the winner! Don't miss out on this!
Be sure to leave your email address so you can be contacted if you win!

Extra incentive for winning the book!                 If you click to "follow me" you get an extra entry for the book. I'll put your name in twice. Just tell me in the comment that you are following me, so I'll get the extra one in for you.  Also, if you "subscribe" to my blog, you'll get an extra entry. Let me know in your comment.  This will apply to all future books, also. Get your name in the drawing more than once and have a better chance at winning.

The winner of Finding My Place by Margo Dill is
Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan of Pittsburgh, PA.
Congratulations, Elizabeth! The rest of you who entered the contest may order Margo's book for $8.00 TODAY. Go to her blog:


  1. I would love to win your book! I enjoyed the interview. I think I will also look into the childrens books for my grand kids.

    I am a follower

  2. Thanks for your comment, Diana. So glad you stopped by. I was very impressed by all the titles of children's books Mona has authored. Hope you are able to check those out. I've entered your name twice for the drawing, since you also became a follower. If you win, I'll send you an email to get your physical address. Look for something from me on April 12.

  3. Hi Diana! Great to see you here! Thanks, also, for your interest in my children's books. Blessings, and Happy Reading!

  4. Great interview! I have heard good things about this series!

  5. Thanks, Laura. I've read them, since they are in my church library, and they are fun to read. Glad you enjoyed the interview.

  6. Hi Laura! Thanks so much for joining me here. And what fun to know you're hearing a bit of buzz about my books. Happy Reading!

  7. I'm signing in for my 93-year-old mother, Allene Wier in Texas. She bought a computer at age 80 and makes greeting cards and address labels for people in her retirement home, does facebook and email, but can't figure how to sign in for this. So this is for her. She wants to read this book. This gets her name in the drawing.

  8. Would love to win this book, I've been wanting it since it came out.

    I'm trying to follow your blog on mine but there isn't a button for GFC on here and for some reason when I try to manually add it, it keeps telling me there's an error. I'll try again tomorrow.

    I have subscribed so I'll get your email now.


    1. I am following you on Google+ now.

    2. Hi Wendy! Thanks for joining me here. I really appreciate your interest in my historical fiction. Happy Reading!

    3. Thanks, Wendy. These pesky machines are pretty frustrating at times, aren't they? I'm so glad you stopped by to comment. Mona's books are fun and yet they bring a message of faith, too. I have your name entered three times because you followed and subscribed. Have a blessed week and come back. There are many more books coming.

  9. I would like to be entered in the drawing for this book!!
    Thank you,
    Lisa Nelson

    1. Hi Lisa,
      Good to see you here, and I appreciate your interest in my Sinclair Sisters.
      Happy Reading!

  10. OK, Lisa, you're in! Glad to hear from you. There will be lots more authors and books--Check my "author interview" tab.
    Tell your friends and I hope many more will visit my blog.

  11. i love your books and i would love to win this one
    thanks for the chance

    1. Hi Shirley!
      Thanks for joining us here. Have you met Maren Jensen from the St. Charles Quilting Circle yet in Dandelions on the Wind?
      Thanks for reading!

  12. Great interview! I love Mona's books.

    1. How sweet you are, Amy. Good to see you here. Blessings! Mona

  13. Shirley and Amy, thanks for stopping by to comment. Please send your email addresses if you want to be in the contest, so I can notify you if you win. Thanks

  14. Oh, wow, I would love a chance to win one of Mona's books! It's Bonita at

    1. Good to see you here, Bonita! Thanks for reading the interview. Blessings! Mona

  15. Hi Bonita, I'm so glad you found my blog. Your name is entered in the drawing. Mona's books are such fun, I know you'll enjoy it if you win. I'll be emailing you on April 12 if you are the winner! Watch for new book give-aways every two weeks and tell your friends.

  16. I haven't read Mona's books, but I am sure I would like them.
    (Jerome is an amazing place to see!) I plan to look for her books.

    1. Hi Anonymous! I appreciate your interest in my historical fiction. Yes, Jerome is an amazing and unique place. Several tasty restaurants up there too. :) Happy reading! Mona

  17. Jerome is a place I've wanted to go, but have not made it. I got to Bisbee and Phoenix, but not to Jerome. Thanks for stopping by to comment, Nina. If you want your name in the drawing, be sure to come back and leave a way for me to contact you. Don't miss out!

  18. WOW! Mona: you are a busy writer. I'm inspired. :) I would love to win this book and start a new series. Thanks for the opportunity, Juanita and Mona!

    1. Hi Margo,
      Now that you mention it, I have been busy. :) Thanks so much for joining me here. Happy Reading!

  19. Thanks for your comment, Margo. This is a great book series. When you finish one book, you can't wait for the next one.