Title: Becoming Mona Lisa
Author: Holden Robinson
Length: 234 pages
1 Month Book Tour 1-31st October
“We are not invisible because the world does not see us. We become
invisible when we can no longer see ourselves.” In a moment of epiphany, Mona
Lisa Siggs, scratches a poignant quote on a lavender envelope. Faced with the
daunting choice of saving her marriage, or killing her husband – which modern
forensics has made nearly impossible to get away with – Mona decides to make one
final effort to rekindle a relationship seriously on the skids. Cue the birds.
Hours into their reconciliation, Mona and her husband Tom, find themselves
surrounded by hundreds of crows who have made their home in Aunt Ida’s trees.
With the help of brother-in-law Robbie, the duo find themselves engaged in
radical crow relocation methods. Effort leads to mayhem for the Siggs, as they
dodge bird goo, a crazy neighbor armed with a potato gun, and local law
enforcement. From the chaos, lessons emerge, those that save a relationship, and
shape a life. Becoming Mona Lisa is a delightful story of love and
self-discovery, delivered with side-splitting laughter.
Interview with Holden Robinson author of Becoming Mona Lisa
1. Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
Writing is not my only passion. I am also a devoted animal activist, and I hope to live to see the day when the world’s animal shelters are empty. Although every writer aspires to hit the best seller list, my motivation for wanting to hit the big time, so to speak, is to fund AngelKat Senior Sanctuary. I lost my best friend Kat in 2006, and to pay tribute to a woman with a heart of gold, I plan to one day open a sanctuary for senior cats, as they are the least likely to get adopted. We all dream of what we’ll one day be. My dream is different. I dream of what I’ll one day say. One day I’ll hold an old, blind, frightened and abandoned kitty in my arms, and whisper into its ear, “no harm will ever come to you again. Not on my watch.”
2. What do you do when you are not writing?
Today I washed my grandmother’s hair. Now, this might not seem like a big deal, and in a world full of apps at our fingertips, it may seem a bit simplistic, but there’s a beauty in doing something kind. Something loving. She is 92, and a remarkable woman, a true testament to a woman’s strength. It is these simple things that bring me great joy.
To keep myself in nail polish, earrings and shoes, I work in retail, which is its own animal entirely. You haven’t lived until you’ve worked retail. It is a far cry from any of my true passions, but to make it bearable, I created a fictional tool store, Tommy’s Tool Town, and created a blog by the same name, featuring characters based on my co-workers. To use an old expression, it’s a real gas.
3. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I started writing seriously in 2005, after my dad was diagnosed with Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer. I had a lot of feelings and emotions, and it was a very difficult time. I had to put it all down, to free myself of it, to be able to live again when he was gone. I finished that book in 2007. I plan to rewrite it beginning early next year.
4. How did you choose the genre you write in?
I chose what I knew. I wrote in the genre in which I was well read. I love a great love story, and I love to laugh, especially out loud, and especially at sarcastic wit. Comedy rather chose me. Becoming Mona Lisa is based in part on real life events. My best friend was surrounded by black crows. It was a dreaful ordeal. I had to make her laugh. What other choice did I have?
5. Is there any particular book or author that influenced you as a child?
My all time favorite book is The Boxcar Children. It gave me freedom to dream, to go on an adventure without leaving my favorite chair.
6. What was your favourite chapter(part) to write and why?
I absolutely love the part about the potato gun, and Marilyn losing her head. I think we’ve all felt that crazy, frantic fear, and later laughed at ourselves.
7. What are the challenges you faced in getting your first novel published?
The door to the big publishers is pretty much closed, but I think there’s a misconception that if you’re not published by a big house, you won’t be read. That isn’t true. It’s also frustrating to get the “canned responses,”. One I heard a lot was “I couldn’t connect with the characters.” I think that’s a typical response, and what is said when a publisher doesn’t want to publish your book simply because you’re not a Kardashian.
8. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Never give up. Keep writing. Learn everything you can about your craft, and use it to become a better writer. Believe in your project, your words, your thoughts. When rejection comes, and it will, have a margarita, dust yourself off, and keep going. Oh, and get a great editor, and if he or she likes margaritas, that’s a bonus.
9. What project are you working on now?
I am working on creating a book from my blog, Tommy’s Tool Town, and am writing a poignant animal rescue story titled, And Her Name Shall Be Beloved. I am also working on a sequel to Becoming Mona Lisa.
10. Is there anything you would like to tell your reader or fans?
Thank you. Thank you for telling a friend about a book you loved, even if it’s not mine. Word of mouth is still the best marketing.