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Posts Tagged ‘When Mountains Sing’

JAN: I am excited today to interview one of my new friends from the Mosaic Collection of Authors. Her name is Stacy Monson, and she hails from Minnesota. Stacy, how long have you been writing and how did you come to it?

STACY: I’ve been writing my whole life; well, since I could spell anyway. But while my family knew I loved to write stories, there were few others who did as I got older. I dreamt of publishing a book but didn’t think it would ever actually happen. Then, about 10 years ago, I was home early from work having picked up my Dad from cataract surgery, and he was watching Oprah while I worked nearby on a story. The show was on midlife opportunities (as opposed to midlife crisis), and by the end of it I KNEW God was calling me to step beyond my comfort zone and start writing for him. That was when I started my professional writing journey.

JAN: That’s cool. An unforgettable moment. Who are some of the people who most influenced your decision to write?

STACY: Aside from Oprah? 😊God put just the right people in my path at just the right time. A woman from church wrote for Harlequin, and she invited me to a local RWA (Romance Writers Assoc.) meeting. From there I learned about ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), and began meeting more people who encouraged, taught, critiqued, and walked alongside me. Then the Mosaic Collection began to form and again God put just the right people in place to form the group. It’s been amazing.

JAN: As a recent fellow member, I concur! What’s your preferred genre?

STACY: To write, it’s definitely contemporary. While I love reading a variety of genres, I know I’m too lazy to write historical because all that research would squash my writing!

JAN: And here’s the cover of your newly released contemporary novel, When Mountains Sing. See my last week’s blog for a review. Stacy, how and where do you write? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

 STACY: I started out as a total pantser; didn’t have the patience to be a plotter. I’d just dive in and write, and then end up rewriting and rewriting. Now I’m what I called a plotting pantser. Creating an overall outline, and doing some character interviews helps me know who I’m writing about and the general direction of the story, but then I let it unfold as I write.

JAN: Where do you get your ideas? What inspires you?

STACY: I’m a character-driven writer and reader, so my stories always start with a character idea. Something in the news or a story I hear from someone can get my “what would happen if…” wheels turning, and pretty soon I’m building a story around that specific character. New characters and events pop up as I write (suddenly the main character has a brother or sister I didn’t know about, or something happened in their past I hadn’t considered) so I adjust to that as the story unfolds.

JAN: Fascinating. So, even contemporary stories need some research. How do you research and how do you know you can trust your sources?

STACY: For When Mountains Sing, I definitely researched what specific tools/equipment were called, how they were used, etc. And while I’ve visited Winter Park, CO a number of times, I had to research the names of areas, where there was water, etc. Usually I’ll check several sources and if the information I’ve found is consistent, I know I can trust those sources. If not, I keep looking. Gotta love Google for that!

JAN: Oh yeah. What do you like most / least about writing?

STACY: What I like most is the satisfaction of seeing a story unfold and how characters react to the issues that crop up. And especially how they come to understand who God is and what that means for their life. In some stories, the characters have had a basic faith/understanding of God and that has grown. In others, they had no knowledge of God and it was a game changer as they met people on their journey who introduced them to Christ, shared their faith, and helped the character get on the right track.
What I like least is writing the first draft. I much prefer the editing process, so I really have to force myself to get the story on paper in an absolutely rough, ugly draft, then I happily edit from there.

JAN: I’m with you there. What are some of the best methods of promoting your work?

STACY: Word of mouth and reviews are always the best ways for books to be discovered by new readers. It is very, very difficult to be noticed in today’s overcrowded world of books being released every single day. And as an indie author (self-published), I cringe at some of the very poorly written/edited indie books out there. Those books give the world a bad impression of indie authors. Those of us who put the time, effort, and money into making our books as professional as possible are impacted negatively by others who just wanted to “write a book.”

JAN: Yup, yup. What are your favorite / most effective social media?

STACY: A mix of Facebook and Amazon. I’ve found spending money on the ads doesn’t really generate much interest, while interacting with people, putting the book on sale occasionally, and posting other people’s impressions is far more effective.

JAN: Good to know. How do you balance professional time with personal time?

STACY: Now that our kids are grown (we have 4 grandkids now), I have a lot more time to write, so it’s not so difficult to balance the two. I can write late at night or early in the morning, or whenever I want, and still have space in my day for personal time.

JAN: What are you currently reading? Do you prefer digital or print?

STACY: I’m reading the 2ndMosaic Collection book to release, Unbound by Eleanor Bertin. I much prefer print but sometimes digital is easier (if I’m traveling, or find I have unexpected free time but don’t have the print copy with me).

JAN: Just for interest sake, what are some of your favorite things? What makes you unique?

STACY: Not sure about what makes me unique, but my favorite things are good books, good chocolate, and spending time with family (especially our grands). Favorite season is autumn (followed by my very, very least favorite, winter). Favorite color is purple. And I love creating new characters, new worlds, and new ways for God to show up.

JAN: What keeps you going in your writing career?

STACY: When I’ve gotten worn down or discouraged and decided to put writing on the back burner, God has provided just what I needed to recharge (a nice review, encouragement from friends and other authors). It’s a lonely process so it’s easy to get caught up in negative thoughts, comparisons to others who seem much more successful. Spending time chatting with other writers, encouraging them, and celebrating the milestones and goals of dear friends always cheers me up and sends me back to the keyboard.

JAN: You feel better when you cheer others on. I like that. How is your faith reflected in your writing?

STACY: I’m a follower of Christ whose main desire is to illustrate how much God loves us and longs to be in relationship with us. My stories always seem to have an element of identity in them–people searching for theirs, or the way they perceive themselves has changed. Always, it comes back to being grounded first and foremost in our identity as a child of God. He is what defines us, not the world around us, and that weighs heavy on my heart as I listen to people around me who struggle with understanding who they are and what their purpose is. When we follow the world, we will always be left wanting, and lacking in comparison to what the world says we should be/do/act, etc. When we follow Christ, we may still struggle but we can always come back to the foundation of our identity and start again.

JAN: Beautifully worded. What are some things you learned from your own writing?

STACY: I think identity is a theme in my stories because it’s something I’ve struggled with throughout my life. When I finally understood that I’m the beloved of God, even in my daily sins, it changed how I view the world. Each story unveils a new layer to that knowledge and understanding. It’s a process!

JAN: What is your ultimate writing goal?

STACY: Is dying at my computer a goal? Just kidding (sort of). I hope I never stop writing, and that God continues to speak to others through the stories He gives me.

JAN: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

STACY:  Know that this is not easy, no matter what anyone says. You will not (unless you’re one of those very, very few people who gets “discovered” early) become an overnight sensation. Never stop learning and growing, encouraging others and letting them encourage you. And compare yourself only to what God is calling you to do. Your journey will not look like anyone else’s and that’s okay! As long as you stay on your unique path, God will continue to unveil new things and lead you forward.

JAN: Thanks so much, Stacy, for taking time to answer these questions and let us get to know you better.

Readers, see below for Stacy’s photo, bio and social media links.

Author Stacy Monson

 

Stacy Monson is the award-winning author of The Chain of Lakes series, including Shattered Image, Dance of Grace,and The Color of Truth, and also Open Circle. Her stories reveal an extraordinary God at work in ordinary life. She’s an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the MN Christian Writers Guild (MCWG). Residing in the Twin Cities, she is the wife of a juggling, unicycling recently-retired physical education teacher, mom to two amazing kids and two wonderful in-law kids, and a very proud grandma of 4 (and counting) grands.

 

 

 

Let’s Connect!

For news about upcoming books, contests, giveaways, and other fun stuff – stop by www.stacymonson.com and sign up for her monthly newsletter. You can find information about her speaking ministry there, as well.

Facebook         https://www.facebook.com/stacymmonson/

Twitter            @StacyMonson

Instagram        https://www.instagram.com/stacy_monson

Pinterest          https://www.pinterest.com/stacymonson/

Goodreads       https://wwwgoodreadscomstacy_monson

Books by Stacy Monson

When Mountains Sing, Book 1 in My Father’s House series

Open Circle

The Chain of Lakes series:

Award-winning stories of loss, redemption, love, and truth.

Shattered Image

Dance of Grace

The Color of Truth

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One of the best books I’ve read in a while, When Mountains Sing will live in my mind and heart for a long time.

Mikayla Gordon has always known who she is: an outdoorsy woman who prefers hiking and fishing to anything girlie. Although these interests have not helped her to fit in, she has maintained a strong determination to follow her dreams.

Then a long-hidden truth reveals that she has no idea who she is, that everything she believed about herself and her family is false. She is on the verge of losing it all, but instead of giving up, she sets out to find answers.

Running away from the present, looking for truth from the past, Mikayla ends up at an outdoor camp in the Rocky Mountains, and for once in her life, she fits in. When she listens carefully, she can hear the mountains sing.

On the journey to find her identity, Mikayla discovers many things about herself and others, besides facts that bring more pain. Can this mosaic of revelations work together to bring her closure and peace? She can’t remain hidden in this haven forever, especially with her twin sister’s wedding coming up. And what will she do with her strong attraction to Dawson Dunne?

What I liked most about this story is the theme that “Blood isn’t the only thing that makes a family.” (Location 857) “…family means working together toward a common goal, depending on each other, sharing daily life.” (Location 1416) Can this be true for Mikayla and her family? And what of the faith in God she sees all around her at the outdoor camp?

I found the characters strong and individual, each clearly delineated and purposed through theme and plot. The intensity of this story is eased somewhat by the presence of Lula, a small but mighty Chihuahua/Papillon puppy who joins Mikayla on her journey and brings joy into the chaos.

The tale moves along quickly, and it’s almost impossible to put down. The writing is tight and strong, pulling all the necessary elements together a weaving them into a memorable tapestry. This is the first book I’ve read by Stacy Monson, but I will be looking for more. Also, check out the Mosaic Collection of authors for more compelling Christian fiction.

Author Stacy Monson

P.S. When you’ve read this book, listen to the song, You Say, by Lauren Daigle. It fits the theme so beautifully, as noted by the book’s author.

Stacy Monson is the award-winning author of The Chain of Lakes series, including Shattered Image, Dance of Grace, and The Color of Truth. Her stories reveal an extraordinary God at work in ordinary life. Residing in the Twin Cities, she is the wife of a juggling, unicycling physical education teacher, and a proud mom, and doting grandma.

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