Thursday, November 2, 2017

Interview with Sarah Monzon, author of "The Esther Paradigm"

Join me in welcoming Sarah Monzon to the blog and wish her a "Happy BOOK birthday"!

Sarah's new book, The Esther Paradigm, releases today! Therefore she's celebrating what authors call a "book birthday". Feel free to wish her a "happy BOOK birthday" in the comment section below.

But before you share your birthday wishes with Sarah, please take time to read what she has to say today in my interview about her new novel. 

She's also giving away one digital copy of her book, so remember to enter the book giveaway contest on the Rafflecopter widget toward the end of this blog post.


Interview with Sarah Monzon, author of The Esther Paradigm:

Alexis: Why do you call this book, "The Esther Paradigm"? Explain the significance.

Sarah: Partway through the book the main character, Hannah Pratt, discovers that her perspective, her paradigm, changes to resemble Esther from the Bible.

Alexis: What inspired you to write this book?

Sarah: The idea of it just entered my head one day, took hold, and wouldn’t let go until I got it written.

Alexis: Describe the research that went into writing this book.

Sarah: I researched everything. Location/geography/setting, culture, food, language, religion, lodging, customs, clothing. I had no less than a dozen tabs open at all times to refer to and look more things up. I also watch a documentary series on Netflix and checked out a few books at my local library.

Alexis: Tell us about your story’s heroine Hannah Pratt. Describe her looks, personality, and outlook on life. What makes Hannah well…Hannah?

Sarah: She’s fair skinned, blond, blue eyes—basically the exact opposite of how everyone else in the region (Middle East) would look. She is very respectful of diversity, caring, and vibrant. A little insecure, she often falls into the pit of comparison and finds herself coming up short in her own mind.

Alexis: Why does Hannah want to start a school for the Bedouin clan that she grew up with when she was a missionary kid?

Sarah: She has a passion in her heart for the people, who she considers her family, and their children.

Alexis: Describe the battle that Hannah is in the middle of and share how her faith in God helps her in this situation. What is the mission that she believes God has called her to fulfill?

Sarah: Hannah and her parents are blamed when a mysterious illness sweeps through the clan’s flocks. The situation becomes heated, but Hannah knows she is where God wants her.

Alexis: Karim Al-Amir is a sheikh who is the hero of this story. Describe his looks, personality, and life goals.

Sarah: Black, slightly-curly hair, dark-brown eyes, and a trimmed beard. He is quiet, observant, and responsible. He wants to preserve the ways of his people and the traditional way in which they’ve lived for hundreds of years.

Alexis: What were Karim’s first thoughts when he met Hannah? How does that affect their relationship?

Sarah: Karim and Hannah met as children. He was instantly mesmerized by her blue eyes and golden hair. He’d never seen another person who looked like her before.

Alexis: Why does Karim want to marry Hannah? Does she want to marry him? Explain.

Sarah: He marries her to keep her and her parents safe. The protection of his name and position.

Alexis: Where is the setting for this story? Why did you choose it and how did you make it true to real life?

Sarah: Somewhere in the Middle East. Because the main character is a missionary serving in a country where Christianity is illegal, it would be unwise for her to ever say exactly where she is. However, she serves in the 10/40 Window, the geographical location ten to forty degrees north of the equator where the majority of the world’s “unreached” live.

Alexis: What was the most challenging aspect of writing this story? Explain.

Sarah: Finding a balance. I know there are things in the book that might make some people uncomfortable. The hero is Muslim and to be genuine and authentic to his character, there are Islamic layers to the story. I had to find the balance of keeping that authenticity to the culture while not alienating my audience.

Alexis: What lesson do you want to teach your readers with this book? Why?

Sarah: I never go into writing a book looking to teach readers a lesson. I hope the story is entertaining, relatable, gives hope, etc., but never with an agenda. However, if the Holy Spirit uses the words I wrote to gently move a reader, I praise God for that.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Sarah! Do you have any closing comments?

Sarah: Thank you so much for having me. It was truly a pleasure.

Author Bio: 

Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain's wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world. Playing pretend all day with them isn't enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters.

When she isn't in the world of make-believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.

Her debut novel, The Isaac Project, skyrocketed to Amazon bestseller status while her Sophomore book, Finders Keepers, won the 2017 SELAH award for contemporary romance.

Blurb for The Esther ParadigmHannah Pratt dreams of starting a school for the Bedouin clan she grew up with as a missionary kid, and finally her hopes are coming true. But shortly after she returns to the desert from her college years in the U.S., she discovers her parents have received threats from their Muslim neighbors. As the danger escalates, Hannah finds she’s in the middle of a battle no one seems to understand. 

She must decide to what lengths she'll go to stay faithful to the mission to which God has called her. Even if it costs her everything. 

As sheikh, Karim Al-Amir feels the weight of responsibility as the leader of his people. When a mysterious illness ravishes the clan’s flocks and threatens to destroy their centuries-old way of life, locals believe the American doctors and their daughter, his childhood friend, Hannah, are to blame. Karim must do something to keep them safe—even if the only solution can be found within marriage vows. 

In a society where the line is drawn between us and them, Christianity is outlawed, and foreigners are mistrusted, will their union heal wounds or inflict the final fatal blow?

Connect with Sarah: 

Enter this book giveaway contest for your chance to WIN a copy of this book by filling out the entry form on the Rafflecopter widget below:

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  1. Thank you for having me on your blog.

    1. You're welcome. Thank YOU for being my guest! :)

  2. When he sent me to S.E. Asia as a global worker.

  3. I’m reading The Esther Paradigm right now and I am loving this book! Sarah really did a lot of research and you feel like you are right there!

  4. Happy BOOK birthday! I am looking forward to this book.


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