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The accidental novelist

Brook Mounsdon, 15, recently published her first novel, The Secret Passage.

Brook Mounsdon doesn't have much experience with romantic love. In fact, she has never even been on a date. So it's a little odd that her first published novel is a romance.

Especially since she is only 15 years old.

"If you would have told me that I would write a romance novel, I'd be like 'Yeah, right,' " said Mounsdon, the daughter of Andy and Janel Mounsdon of Evansville. "Never in a million years would I have thought I would do this. It's still hard to believe."

Mounsdon's novel, The Secret Passage, was a bit of an accident. Now a sophomore at Evansville High School, when she was in 8th grade, she was assigned to write a short story for English class. It could be about anything she wanted.

"I pulled it out of thin air," Mounsdon said of the subject of her story. "I was staring outside and it just came."

Mounsdon's "short" story ended up being 20 pages long, and when she handed it in, she still wasn't done. Intrigued by how the story was moving along, she wrote a different story about a horse for the assignment, and continued writing what would end up being her first novel.

There was no one more surprised than she was at the turn of events. She admits that although she loves to read, at the time, writing wasn't really much of a hobby. Encouraged by her pastor, who told her she was a good writer, and her parents, she continued with the story.

"I never thought about writing. It was just a fluke thing and I fell in love with it," she said with a giggle. "It kept me out of trouble at least."

The Secret Passage is a story about Alice, an ex-supermodel, who is in hiding after the car accident that killed her husband and unborn child. Back in her small town of Evansville, she meets Keith Trevor, a firefighter whose wife died. It's a "heartwarming story of love, forgiveness and second chances."

Mounsdon incorporated her love of horses into the plot by having Alice try to escape her pain by rescuing abused horses, which was the original premise for the story.

"I have always been a horse lover and I've always wanted to be a vet who saves abused horses," explained the bubbly, smiley teen. "Somehow, Keith Trevor worked into it. I'm not really sure how. I didn't even have a crush at the time so it's really weird."

After four months, Mounsdon completed her story. She planned to have it printed for her family only, but her parents had other plans. As a surprise for their budding new author, around Christmas last year, they sent it to four publishing companies.

A couple months later, at 14 years old, Mounsdon found out that her book had been accepted for publication.

"Shock!" she said of her reaction to the news. "It was really weird."

After four edits, The Secret Passage was officially in print as of December 6. Mounsdon thought she was busy when she was writing the book, but has realized that much of the work has just begun. She will spend the next few months going to book signings and marketing her romance novel.

"It's a big accomplishment," she said humbly about whether she is proud of her work. "I know everyone else is proud of me.

"My friends think it is cool," she continued. "They are all happy and hyped up. They think I'm going to get famous and rich. I look at them and say, "Yeah, right.' "

Bitten by the writing bug, Mounsdon has already started her second book - another romance. This time it involves a small-town girl who works at a diner and a cowboy.

"I am surprised I like writing romance," she giggled again at her choice of genre. "I don't understand how I really got into it."

Mounsdon still considers writing just a hobby, and has put romance number two on hold to keep up with her schoolwork. She plans to finish it this summer. She also hopes that perhaps writing an occasional piece can help pay her way through college.

While being a published author has made her "grow up a lot more" and made her "manage time a lot more" than she has before, there's one thing her newfound "fame" has not done. It hasn't changed her idea of what she wants to be when she grows up.

An accountant.


Book signings


Friday, January 14

3:30 to 4:40 p.m.

Echo Press

225 7th Ave. E., Alexandria

Saturday, January 15

11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Caribou Coffee

307 N. Nokomis, Alexandria

Saturday, January 29

10 a.m. to noon

Promise Shop, Fergus Falls


The Secret Passage is

available at Book World in the Viking Plaza Mall, Alexandria, or online at;