Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on contemporary romance author Mona Shroff. Mona has always been obsessed with everything romantic, so it’s fitting that she writes romantic stories by night, even though she’s an optometrist by day. If she’s not writing, she’s making melt-in-your-mouth chocolate truffles or riding her bike or doing her favorite thing, reading. Alone time is precious, but Mona is just as likely to be raising a glass of wine or her favorite gin and tonic with friends and family. She’s blessed with an amazing daughter and a loving son who have both gone off to college. Mona lives in Maryland with her romance loving husband and their dog, Nala.
My first question for you, Mona, is where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)
My books, THEN, NOW, ALWAYS and THEN THERE WAS YOU are available at Target, Walmart, Barnes and Noble , as well as many independent bookstores a (which I recommend supporting!) and of course Amazon.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
I am fairly active on IG (@monashroffauthor) and FB (Mona Shroff, Author), and a little active on Twitter (@monashroffwrite)
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from your latest book?
I write contemporary romance that is heartfelt. My latest release, Then There Was You, is a story about hope. We follow Daniel and Annika, two people who have had horrible things happen in their lives, as they find a way to let love in, and allow themselves to be happy.
What kind of research went into writing Then There Was You? What is your favorite research story? What cool facts and findings didn’t make it into the book, but you loved discovering?
I did a lot of online research for Daniel as an ER nurse. But I met a flight helicopter medic and emailed her ALL THE TIME and she was a huge help!
What was the biggest challenge in writing and putting out Then There Was You? How did you overcome that challenge?
For me the biggest challenge is getting that first draft out. I overcome that by talking out my characters and the story with a friend. It helps me solidify where I’m going with the story. Getting a book out in the middle of a pandemic is definitely challenging – so I’m doing as many virtual events as I can!
What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?
Writing/Reading romance, you are guaranteed a happy ending. I love that. I love writing the journey of how couples will find love with each other. At times, it may seem impossible, but it always is!
What is your favorite part of being a writer? Of the whole writing and publishing process? What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?
I love being able to use words to evoke emotion. If I can get you to laugh or cry or root for my characters, then I’ve done my job . The publishing process is hard for me, but I do like getting my book out to people so they can read it. That’s the point, right? My greatest lesson is also my piece of advice for other writers. Persevere. Get a thick skin and believe in yourself and your work. There are so many opportunities along the journey for rejection, trying to get an agent, then a publisher, then readers, etc. that you have really believe in yourself to keep going, because some days, it can be really hard. But consider this – if you don’t believe in yourself and your own work, then how will anybody else?
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
I have my third book with HQN coming next year. It’s a story about an Indian female firefighter and a veterinarian – and I’m really excited about it. I also have two more books coming out next year from Harlequin Special Edition.
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
I love to bake. Before I started writing, baking was my creative outlet. Now, it’s my relaxation. I also enjoy hiking with my family and friends. And visiting wineries. But I don’t think that’s considered a hobby! 😉
Writers very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work. Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your writing?
We have a rescue dog, Nala. She is our covid dog. We adopted her since we are home for shut down, and I love having her around. We are empty nesters, so it’s nice having her company while I write.
Do you have any favorite foods or drinks that must be in the vicinity (or must be avoided) while you’re writing or editing a piece of work?
I need coffee and water for sure. If I’m drafting – I NEED peanut m&m’s. Like NEED, NEED!
Thanks so much for the answers to our questions, Mona! I also look forward to hearing more answers from you in our interview on March 18th, which will be posted on Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester’s YouTube channel.