Author Interview: Mona Shroff – I am such a sucker for a second chance romance and I can’t wait to read The Second First Chance by Mona Shroff. I’m excited Mona joined me for an author interview to discuss her newest novel. This post may contain links to purchase books & you can read our affiliate disclosure here.
About Mona Shroff:
Mona was born in New Jersey and grew up in Bucks County, in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Growing up she was a quiet kid and had few friends but she valued the quality of each of her friends, not the quantity of her friends.
She attended the University of Michigan and graduated with a degree in Biopsychology. Mona continued her education at the Pennsylavania College of Optometry, graduating with her Doctorate in Optometry. Mona married first (and only!) love, Deven, at the age of 25. Deven was a dentist in the army and they spent the next nine years traveling to different parts of the world and country while raising two young children.
Mona always loved to write, but did not get serious about it until 2011. She entered a contest where she had to start a short story with the words “Heads we get married, tails we break up”. She ended up losing the contest but she really loved the whole process of creating a plot, developing characters and putting a thought down on paper. Her first novel, Now, Then, Always, is a romance novel based on that prompt.
When she’s not writing or checking eyes or doing laundry or cooking dinner or chauffeuring around her children, she trains for triathlons and loves to bake. Her favorite part of a triathlon is the bike portion, with swimming a close second. She runs because it’s included in the race. One of her ‘claims to fame’ is a quick appearance on the Today Show in 2012 as a semi-finalist in the ‘Quest for the Best Homemade Birthday Cake’ Contest. She is currently working on her second romance novel.
Synopsis for The Second First Chance by Mona Shroff
Riya Desai and Dhillon Vora grew up together. Sharing secrets, hiding in their tree house, they were playmates, best friends and later—as teenagers—almost something more. Until the devastating house fire that ripped them apart, claiming the life of Dhillon’s father and Riya’s big brother, Samir. Riya and Dhillon have barely spoken since that terrible night, but they both made big decisions based on that fire.
Riya has chosen to fight fire with everything she’s got, but it’s not easy. As the only female firefighter and one of the only people of color at her fire hall, she has to prove herself over and over. Plus, she’s hidden her career from her family.
Dhillon wanted to heal things, so he became a veterinarian. When a chance encounter with a rescue dog throws Riya and Dhillon together again, he’s furious at her career choice. After what happened to them, how can she run into fires on purpose? For Riya, Dhillon’s anger is unacceptable: How can he not see that she’s protecting others from the very losses they both experienced?
Author Interview: Mona Shroff
Mona, I’m so excited to talk to you today about The Second First Chance, out August 2nd, 2022. Thank you for joining me for this Q & A.
Thanks so much for having me!!
The Second First Chance sounds so fantastic. I adore books with a grief and/or a healing element to them. Can you tell readers what tropes and/or themes to expect from your newest book?
So THE SECOND FIRST CHANCE is a second chances book, in that Riya and Dhillon started something as teenagers that was quite abruptly ended. It’s also the ‘girl next door’ trope. TSFC explores recovering from trauma and loss and the different ways that people deal with these celebrations.
Can you tell me a little about the inspiration behind The Second First Chance?
I was inspired by a friend of mine who is an Indian firefighter and it wasn’t easy for him to choose this path, given what familial expectations were. As I started brainstorming, I realized I wanted to investigate an Indian FEMALE firefighter.
Want to stay up to date with our book reviews? Let’s be friends on Goodreads!
Riya is a female firefighter, who hides her career from her family. Can you tell us more about Riya?
Riya is physically tough, but emotionally she is running from her pain and grief. She can confront anything except her loss and her feelings for Dhillon. She is proud of being a firefighter, but is afraid her family won’t understand.
We know from the description that Dhillon is a veterinarian. He and Riya were the best of friends growing up and a chance encounter throws them back in each other’s lives. Can you tell us more about him?
Dhillon has the weight of the world on him, since he lost his father. He decided that he needed to be the one to keep the family together, and that is his focus. He denies himself his feelings for Riya and the older they get, the further they seem to drift, until Scout comes into their lives.
Do you have any favorite scenes in The Second First Chance?
I have so many! I really love the scene where they feed each other cake on the driveway after each of them having been on a date. I love when Dhillon shows up at the firehouse in chapter 2 to confront Riya about being a firefighter. I also love when Varsha Masi shows up at the hospital with bags of food and chai – its so true to life!
Author Interview: Mona Shroff: Let’s Chat About Writing
I would love to know if you’re a plotter or a pantser. What seems to work best when you’re working on a new manuscript?
I do a bit of plotting, but I am a pantser. I need to write and write and that’s how I find out who my characters are. Once I figure that out, I have more of a plan.
Do you have any favorite snacks, music or rituals for your writing? For instance, are you blasting music or need complete silence?
Well, I do listen to a lot of music when I am in my head plotting, but mostly I have my coffee or water in my office or on my sofa with my dog and just plug it out. I do lean toward peanut M&Ms for energy. I love them a bit melty, so I microwave them for 20 seconds.
Do you have any advice for fellow writers?
Don’t let anyone deter you! Tell people what you are doing, put it out into the universe and you’ll get the guidance you need. I told everyone I knew I was writing a novel, and that’s how I met some of my closest writing friends.
What started your foray into reading and loving the romance genre?
I have always been interested in the couple. No matter what I was reading, I wanted to know how the couple got together.
Author Interview: Mona Shroff: Ms. Marvel, Reading Recs & More
What are some romances on your TBR and/or must read romances?
I have Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev on my TBR, as well As Tracey Livesay’s American Royalty. I also have Namrata Patel’s The Candid Life of Meena Dave – and many more! I recently read After Hours on Milagro Street by Angelina M Lopez – soooo good! As well as rom com Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron, and Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma.
I always love talking about TV and movies. If you were to cast an adaptation for The Second First Chance, do you have anyone in mind for your characters?
I do not necessarily have any names, but I would love to see up and coming Indian actors get the chance.
Do you have any favorite TV shows or movie franchises?
I love the Marvel franchise – and I just finished the Ms. Marvel series and I loved it! I am currently binging old episodes of Super Girl.
Who is the ideal reader for The Second First Chance?
Anyone who is interested in the journey toward happily ever after. There are a few TW – dog death, loss of sibling/parent.
Thank you again for taking the time to speak with me, Mona! How can readers best connect with you?
I am most active on IG: @monashroffauthor, but I can also be found on Twitter: @monashroffwrite, FB – Mona Shroff, Author, TikTok – @monaseesandwrites
Enjoyed this Author Interview with Mona Shroff? Check out more Author Interviews here.