Greek Encounter

My guest on SlingWords today is Mona Risk who told me that she never thought that hazardous waste analysis would lead her to writing novels!

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.

Greek Encounter
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.

Takeaway Truth

It's my pleasure to host authors. Try new authors and new genres. You may find some great books.


  1. Good morning, Joan. Thank you for hosting me on your beautiful blog.

  2. OK...I'm hooked. I love your excerpt, Mona. And now I know how you have family in Egypt. I can get mildly sea sick but I can't imagine how sick he must have been to prefer staying in a strange port and let the rest of his life sail away.


  3. I love these kinds of stories. Lovers separated by consequences of life, wishing and hoping and loving their whole life for the one person who completes them.

    The fact that you set it in Greece makes it a real tourist attraction for me!


  4. Keena, somehow I have relatives and friends in so many countries, I lost track, but Greece is so much the country of my heart after the US.

  5. The story of old Yorgho and Elena is based on a story I heard my mother say about a friend who was engaged to a man when she was 17 and then the parents didn't let them marry, but they found each other 50 years later in Canada. No happy ending together. They were happily married to other people.

  6. I agree--this is a beautiful blog site. Love the format Joan uses.
    Yes, the excerpt and blurb are very good attention-getters, but that cover? Wow, do know how to make a cover. I wish you all the best with's got to be a winner!

  7. Sounds like another winner, Mona. Thanks for sharing the true back story. Isn't it interesting how certain places call out to us?

    I do worry about Greece currently though. I hope they don't go bankrupdt!
    Beautiful cover, BTW. :)

  8. Good morning, Mona. I'm happy to have you as a guest star today.

    Your new book sounds wonderful!

    Best wishes for mega sales!

    Joan (Up in the Texas Hill Country enjoying the wildflowers and beautiful spring weather today.)

  9. Celia Yeary said... "I agree--this is a beautiful blog site."

    Thanks so much, Celia. That's very kind of you.


  10. My daughter went to Greece a few years ago and just fell in love with the country. Simply beautiful, and that was the year they were ravaged by wildfires. She said it didn't take away from the beauty of the ocean and the islands.

    At the moment, she and her new husband are on their honeymoon in Tuscany.

    Thank you, everyone, for visiting and for your comments. Have fun today. I'm off to the golf course with my darling husband.

  11. Loved the post and must read your book! Wishing you much success!

  12. Loved the post and must read your book! Wishing you much success!

  13. Mona, I'm really looking forward to reading this book! I love the cover and I'm a sucker for anything Greek. Thanks for sharing the back story with us. It's interesting how we can draw on our personal back stories and weave into new stories that entertain.


  14. You have done it again! Must make time to read this one!

  15. I've been to Amazon's website so many times today that when I log in I hear, "Vonnie's back!" But I do want to get his book. Loved the excerpt. And...I love the format/heading of this blog. Serious blog envy here.

  16. Hi Celia, so glad you like my Greek hunk. He's really Greek, you know!

  17. Hi Lynne,so glad to see you here. Joan has an amazing blog.

    Don't worry about Greece. They are survivors. They'll bounce back.

  18. Joan, I left a comment on your post about the wedding wishing them happiness.

  19. Isabella, you made my day by saying you want to read Greek Encounter. It's such a funny story.

  20. Hi Steph, I can't wait to hear your comments on my Greek Encounter. Like you I love Greece, Athens and its old monument, the islands and gorgeous beaches.

  21. Hi Vonnie, thanks for stopping by. Happy reading.

  22. Vonnie Davis said... "love the format/heading of this blog."

    Thanks, Vonnie. The talented Edward Caissie is responsible for this blog design.

    Edward aka Cais is a WordPress Theme Review Admin.

    Best wishes,
    Joan Reeves

  23. Hi Joan, thank you again for having me on your blog.

  24. Mona Risk said..."thank you again for having me on your blog."

    My pleasure, Mona.