By Mona Hodgson
Women inspire me. Women from my past and women in my present. Women from history. Contemporary woman.
The experience and reasoning behind their ability to inspire may vary some, but the inspiration itself stems from the spirit of a woman. Character, and the courage to hold to it. Compassion, and finding creative ways of expressing it. The moxie necessary to fight for the oppressed and the needy. Grace in the face of tragedy. A faith that drives them deeper into the heart of God.
It stands to reason then that the various women who have inspired me personally, also inspire my work as a novelist.
A WOMAN FROM MY PAST
Mrs. Heflebower was my fourth grade Sunday School teacher at Trinity Baptist Church in Indio, California. She came to our home to visit me during a bout of illness that kept me out of her class for a couple of Sundays. And she brought a gift! My first Etch-a-Sketch.
I quickly discovered that it was a lot more fun (for me anyway) to doodle words on the Etch-a-Sketch, than to draw pictures. A nudge toward my present career as a wordsmith?
A WOMAN IN MY PRESENT
My dear friend and prayer partner, June Adams, is nearly eighty-eight. A widow with severe arthritis, June has been uprooted at least five or six times in the past dozen years. In November 2008, June stood by with one cardboard box of belongings at her feet while her home burned to the ground in the Sylmar fire in California.
Through it all, June is a prayer warrior with a ministry that rocks Heaven. And June continues to mentor women. Women off the street. College age women. Women struggling in their marriages. Women with young children. Old women. And when her gnarled hands allow it, June lifts her praises to God from her electronic keyboard.
If you know June, you’ll recognize her heart shining through Miss Hattie, the proprietor of the boardinghouse in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series.
A WOMAN FROM AMERICAN HISTORY
Someone once asked me this question: If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
My answer? Tea and snickerdoodles with Harriett Beecher Stowe would be fabulous. Harriett was a woman of character with compassion. A courageous woman, who found creative ways to fight for the oppressed.
Harriett Beecher Stowe was faithful to write out of her convictions and passions.
A WOMAN FROM CRIPPLE CREEK HISTORY
Thanks to the insight of my brilliant editor, each book in my Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series features at least one real life woman from Cripple Creek history. In Two Brides Too Many, the character of Sister Mary Claver Coleman was based upon a real reverend mother by the same name. The Sisters of Mercy, Sister Coleman among them, traveled to the United States from Ireland to serve communities in need of hospitals and schools. These women of character and compassion were responsible for providing the first general hospital to serve the Cripple Creek Mining District.
THE SINCLAIR SISTERS OF CRIPPLE CREEK
Although Kat and Nell, the two middle Sinclair sisters, whose fictional stories I tell in Two Brides Too Many, are two very different characters, they both embody those same characteristics that have inspired me in the lives of real women. The same is true of Ida Sinclair, the oldest sister, the heroine in Too Rich for a Bride.
There you have it—at least in part, why I’m driven to write stories about stalwart women of strong character and a deepening faith.
They inspire me to follow in their footsteps.
QUESTIONS FOR YOU:
What woman from your past has inspired you? Why, and in what way?
MONA HODGSON is the author of Two Brides Too Many, Too Rich for a Bride, and The Bride Wore Blue (May 2012), the first three books in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series (WaterBrook Multnomah). You can learn more about Mona and her books at www.monahodgson.com and connect with her on Facebook at Mona Hodgson Author Page.