Author Shoots for Gold Medal

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When Marie Masterson, No. 2 on the U.S. gymnastics team, meets her pen pal, Günter Hoffmann, for the first time, she has no idea how drastically their love will reshape her gymnastics career. After she wins the #1 berth at the Olympic trials, Marie must forfeit. Later she is devastated to learn Günter is married.

Carol Hegberg's new novel, “Pen Pals,” is an inspirational story that encourages people, through the persona of Marie Masterson, to forgive those who have wounded them. likened it to “The Notebook,” a bestseller made into a movie.

Over half of “Pen Pals” is set in Germany. Several years ago Hegberg and her family hosted her own pen pal's family from Germany, and from there and research she gleaned ideas to include the information into a novel.

“Pen Pals” takes place in Munich and its Olympic Park, built for the '72 Olympics.

“The Park contains interesting webby, tent-like structures. They immediately caught my eye, and I knew my protagonist would be a gymnast,” Hegberg commented on her choice of Germany. “It helped that my daughter studied gymnastics, and Sue Plapp, a former gymnast, forced me to find a good reason to allow my character to travel to Germany so close to the Olympics.”

She also chose Olympic Park because of the story of the old holy man, Timothy, who was real. According to one German source, he died last year around the age of 115.

“It is said God told Timothy to travel to Munich (from Poland) to build a church on the Oberwieisenfeld, where the city dumped the war ruins, and 'The world would come and see,'” Hegberg added. "He had no money, so obediently he built it out of war ruins, and when the world decided to hold the Olympics in Munich, they left the church intact."

Hegberg's purpose was to see if she could accomplish the process.

“I've always been a writer, and it was a natural progression from child writer to adult journalist, editor, story writer to novelist. The hardest part was finding the process that worked for me. While I learned techniques and read about other writers' ways, I had to discover the way the artist developed in me. And with each novel it is not easier or clearer. Writing a novel takes immense faith in your muse and your writer self, self-discipline, and obsessive delight in writing.”

Hegberg is a freelance writer and editor ( and with her Bachelor's Degree in journalism, was a journalist before writing her novel "Pen Pals." She has been published in several anthologies and magazines, and her children's plays and skits have been published through Meriwether Publishing. Her poems have been published in paper and online literary magazines. She writes a feature and a column for the Daily Chronicle and a column for her church's website., and has written a third novel.

"Pen Pals," published by PublishAmerica, is available directly from PublishAmerica ( or 1-240-529-1031, through Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and Brodate Co. (1-800-233-8467), through bookstores, or online at or or The price is $16.95.

  • “Carol Hegberg, a seasoned editor and now a novelist, performs exceptionally with the writing of 'Pen Pals.' This first effort is clearly worthy of the gold medal.” John Albion, author of "Beyond Fate," available through
  • “I was captivated and absolutely taken in by this book! I felt like I was there! I can't wait to read your next book!” Nancy Mure?, author of "The Caterpillar Who Wouldn't Change," available on CD-Rom and in E-book through

  • “I bow to the author. She is what I hope to become as a writer.” Season BubbleGirl, author of "A Doggy Diary," available through

To contact, Carol Hegberg, call 815-756-2520.


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