To start off our Contemporary Romance feature, Megan talks to Sarah Monzon about her debut novel, The Isaac Project, her love of horses, and her bravest moment.
Megan: Hi, Sarah! Thanks so much for writing a great story. 🙂 And of course for letting me interview you!!! I loved that this story is a modern day Isaac story. How did the idea come to you?
Sarah: That’s kind of a funny story. I was talking with one of my single friends and she was bemoaning her relationship status and the bad luck she’d had with guys in the past. Jokingly she said she should just let her friends find a husband for her since she was doing a not-so-great job of it herself. Well, that got my writerly mind turning. What would a modern day arranged marriage look like? One thought snowballed into another until The Isaac Project was born.
Megan: The main heroine, Becky, is a country girl, and she really enjoys her horses. Do you have any background in this area?
Sarah: You know those little girls with the horse posters tapped all over their bedroom? That was me. When I was eleven I came across an ad in the newspaper asking for help on a ranch feeding the horses and mucking out stalls in exchange for riding lesson. Talk about a squeal of delight! Since we didn’t have any money to buy a pony and lessons were expensive, this was my chance. My mom drove me out, and somehow I convinced the owner I was more than capable of handling all the chores she’d listed (I’m pretty sure my mom’s reassurance she’d supervise lent some weight to my pleas). That was the beginning of my equestrian journey. I was able to save up money and eventually bought my own horse…until I had to trade the saddle in for college textbooks.
Megan: Luke Masterson is a fireman and has a lot going for him, but what is your favorite quality of his?
Sarah: That is an entirely impossible question to answer. How could I choose between his self-less pursuit of God’s will, his determination to show love in the face of a false accusation, his bravery in helping others in dangerous situations, and let’s not forget his incredible good looks. =)
Megan: The book cover and title work perfectly with this story. How much control did you have over that creative process?
Sarah: God blessed me so incredibly with the cover of The Isaac Project. Since this book was indie published, I had full control of every single aspect of its production. A daunting undertaking for a newbie…especially one without a budget! I came across the cover image while surfing Pinterest one night and instantly knew it would be perfect for my story. I had to do some digging, but eventually found the photographer and contacted her for permission to use the photo for the book’s cover, which she agreed to.
Megan: Becky and Luke had to face many obstacles and trials throughout their story, and bravery was a common trait that was shown. I want to know what is the bravest thing (to you—even if that’s facing the crowds on Black Friday 😉 ) that you’ve had to face?
Sarah: Our bravest moments are often our hardest moment, aren’t they? The bravest and most difficult thing I’ve had to face is watching my newborn baby hooked up to machines, wires and tubes sticking out from all over his little body. After thirty-seven hours of labor, my son was born. It took far too long and far too many nurses to coax his first breath out of him. There were other complications and, as he was born in a small hospital, they ambulanced him thiry minutes away to a larger hospital with a NICU. They let me hold him for only a few minutes before his transfer. My husband went with our baby while I had to stay behind until they discharged me the next day. I received a phone call from the doctor in the NICU telling me I had a very sick boy. He had shown signs of seizure in the ambulance and so they were monitor his brain waves and had him on full oxygen. I prayed hard that night. The next day I was discharged and immediately drove to my baby. The doctor was with him when I arrived and he was all astonishment. He told me it was if another child had traded places with my son, the improvement was that drastic. It took five days before my baby was released, but I praise God every day for his little life.
Megan: Was there anything that surprised you when you were releasing your debut, and what’s the next project you’re working on?
Sarah: I know I shouldn’t have been surprise by anything with the release of The Isaac Project. Doesn’t God promise to give us the desires of our heart? I feel almost chagrined in my my expectations because God blew them all out of the water and never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined my little book being so well received.
I’m really excited about the project I’m working on right now. I only have a few more chapters to write and the first draft will be complete. It’s a dual timeline novel with a treasure hunter and…well.. here, I’ll just share the back cover blurb with you.
The same evil that stole her mother’s demise stalks Isabella Castellano. Afraid for her safety and with no one to help her, Isabella disguises herself as a cabin boy and hires on to one of His Majesty’s treasure fleet vessels. But has her flight from a known threat only led her to be ensnared in a sea of dangers?
Present Day, Florida
Summer Arnet will go anywhere to capture the perfect shot that will get her marine photography noticed by the prestigious natural magazine, Our World—even diving in waters haunted by Great White sharks. When a treasure hunter with a ladies’ man reputation approaches her about a sunken ship at one of her past dive locations, it might be the chance she’s been looking for to launch her career…if his charming smile doesn’t derail her first.
A past tragedy has left a hole in Trent Carrington’s life—a hole he’s tried to fill with women, money, and adventure. Could the feisty marine photographer be the missing piece or will Trent finally accept that the treasure he seeks can’t be found where rust and moths destroy?
To find out more about Sarah and her books, visit her website or connect with her on FaceBook.