The daughter of a professor and writer, I grew up surrounded by books and started writing my own stories at an early age but I also wanted to be a doctor. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stand the sight of blood or dissect the adorable rabbit in my premed lab. It was easier to shift to a different major such as chemistry.
Mixing solution seemed like a lot of fun for a college freshman, but standing on your feet all day long to prepare samples for analysis and operate analytical instruments when you are working eight to ten hours a day resulted in a boring predictable routine and a back problem exacerbated by work and time. To improve the situation, I went back to graduate school, studied and passed exams again, and obtained a Ph.D. in Chemistry.
As Director of the Analytical Division of my company, I won a contract to refurbish a laboratory in Belarus. I thought I would collapse when the boss said, “Now that you won your contract, you need to go to Belarus and work on this refurbishment.”
Suddenly my career and life changed. I opened the Internet to find out as much as I could about Belarus, capital Minsk, located South of Russia, East of Poland and North of Ukraine. After learning a little bit about the food, I decided to play it safe and took with me green apples previously washed and individually wrapped in plastic bags, a box of crackers and a bag of mini BabyBel (the Gouda cheese wrapped in red wax) and of course a dozen bottles of water.
We left for our first trip to Belarus at the end of October. We included: a government person and his interpreter, me, my lab manager and computer specialist. The first chapter of my book relates my first impressions: cold weather, gray skies and cigarette smell everywhere. The curious looks of the local people made me feel as if I was wearing the wrong clothes. Of course I didn’t have a chapka (that fur round hat). I remedied the problem on my first visit to the bazaar where I bought myself the cutesy real mink chapka. I still have it. Between May and October there is no heat in Belarus. I literally froze in my drafty hotel room and continuously requested and begged for a hot cup of tea. Of course I was often offered vodka instead.
More foreign assignments lead to business trips—fun trips--to Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. I traveled a lot, organized laboratory refurbishments, visited environmental sites in Germany, Egypt, and in the USA, and attended conferences in various places. Over the years, I visited over fifty countries on business or vacation. To relax from my hectic schedule, I avidly read romance novels or mentally plotted my own books. I was in a hotel room in the Ukraine, typing my latest work report, when the clamor of my characters in my head made me decide it was time to take an early retirement and write the numerous stories I had in mind.
Many of my special stories are related in my book, TO LOVE A HERO, available at Cerridwen Press.
I even included my fall on the broken escalator of the airport. I was rescued by my lab manager while my heroine (the smart woman) fell in the arm of a hero to die for, the handsome Major General Sergei who made her pulse race and stole her heart.
My story, TO LOVE A HERO, highlights the hospitality and warmth of the gorgeous and gallant Belarusian officers who sing and toast, and make a woman feel like a goddess. I had a lot of fun writing this book and I hope you will discover a new country and interesting civilization while reading TO LOVE A HERO.
Mona Risk writes romantic suspense for Cerridwen Press: TO LOVE A HERO and FRENCH PERIL and medical romance in the genre of ER and Grey's Anatomy for The Wild Rose Press: BABIES IN THE BARGAIN, Rx FOR TRUST and PRESCRIPTION IN RUSSIAN. All books are available at Amazon.com.