When her Ph.D. and work in chemistry landed her international contracts to refurbish laboratories, she traveled to more than sixty countries on business or vacation. To relax from her hectic schedule, she avidly read romance novels and mentally plotted her own books.
Eventually she left a scientific career to share with her readers the many stories brewing in her head. Mona likes to set her stories in the fascinating places she visited from exotic Belarus and historical France, to the beaches of Greece, the monuments of Egypt and the mysterious Islands of Seychelles.
Now, here's Mona to tell you why she set her latest romance novel on the Island of Mykonos, Greece.
by Mona Risk
There is always a special story behind the official story of a book, or a special reason that leads an author to select a particular setting for her novel. Why did I set my latest in Greece?
Granted, it’s a romantic place, an attractive island and a fabulous resort where tourists flock in summer. But then there are so many equally beautiful sites that I’ve visited during my numerous travels. Yet, they didn’t stir a similar yearning in my heart or even talked to my muse. It’s probably the Greek blood running in my veins that makes me love to go to Greece and share its beauty with my readers.
From a book written by my uncle who lived in Canada, I learned that my ancestors dwelt in the Island of Salonika. The father, Yorgho Zanis, was a merchant selling fabrics in the old market area.
After his death, his three sons decided to immigrate to America, build their fortune and come back to their roots as rich men. But after they sailed for two days, one of the brothers became violently ill and had to disembark in the first port where the ship docked. He settled in Alexandria while his brothers continue to New York.
I visited Greece six times over the years and discovered its islands and beaches with renewed pleasure. I knew from the first time that I wanted to set a story there. Here's a sneak peak at Greek Encounter.
Can the pain of the past bring about the happiness of the future?
Stefano Kostapoulos plans to demolish the dilapidated Pink Villa inherited from his grandmother and build a modern resort on the Greek island of Mykonos. But the American co-owner refuses to sell his shares and sends his attorney to Greece—a lawyer Stefano plans to shred to pieces at the hearing.
Except that Counselor Ashley Sheppard is a gorgeous redhead who knocks Stefano off his axis when he meets her incognito. Sparks fly during a first encounter that leads to a memorable night of passion.
In court, Ashley is in for a nasty surprise. Her handsome Greek god is the opponent. Her heart gnaws with pain, yet she attacks him with all her strength to defend her grandfather’s case.
Stefano wins the lawsuit, but is about to lose Ashley. To keep her in Mykonos, he strikes a deal with his old enemy. Does Ashley dare to trust the Greek playboy? Or even understand her grandfather’s strange change of heart regarding the Pink Villa?
Ashley walked to the center of the room, addressing the judge. “Your honor, I came all the way from the USA to attend this hearing. Mr. Zanis is my grandfather. He’s also an eighty-two-year-old man in bad health. In Mykonos, you heard of this scandal and the feud between Mr. Zanis and the Kostapoulos family.” Crossing her arms, she surveyed the audience and studied their expressions, as her words were translated in Greek. Mostly curious smiles, interested looks, and a few sarcastic grins.
“Let me tell you the beautiful but sad story of two young people who loved each other. George Zanis—Yorgho as he was called here—was twenty, from a relatively poor family, who couldn’t afford to send him to college. He made the big mistake of falling in love with the prettiest girl in Mykonos. Elena was the daughter of the powerful mayor and richest man in town. To be able to ask for her hand in marriage, Yorgho worked two and three shifts a day as a mechanic and saved all his money. And then he did a crazy thing for the girl he loved. He bought an old house no one wanted, renovated it, and offered it to his girlfriend.”
During translation, she scanned her audience and let her gaze rest on Stefano. “As a lawyer, all I’ve seen in my life and in my personal experience are jerks who take advantage of innocent girls, or womanizers who collect nights of pleasure.”
A collective gasp answered her bold accusation. Stefano narrowed his eyes.
“But these young people were different. Innocents who believed in love.
Unfortunately, Yorgho was rejected by Elena’s family. As a last resort to win her hand in marriage, he decided to seek his fortune in America and come back a rich man to marry her. Elena promised to wait for him. Like many young lovers, they gave in to their passion and shared a night in each other’s arms. Big mistake,” she spat out, with a disgusted glance toward Stefano who smiled.
God, how she wanted to punch that smile. She spun toward the judge. “You know the rest. A pregnant Elena was forced to marry to save the honor of her family. She lost the child two days before her wedding. What you don’t know is that Yorgho and Elena remained friends all their lives and exchanged letters once or twice a month. Elena visited the Pink Villa regularly to read her best friend’s letters.”
Not The End -- Greek Encounter is available on Amazon.
* * *Joan, thank you for hosting me on your beautiful blog.
It's my pleasure to host authors. Try new authors and new genres. You may find some great books.