North Las Vegas woman’s book tells ‘Pride and Prejudice’ tale

In the past 30 years, Margaret Mooha of North Las Vegas has written screenplays — one of which was a semifinalist in the Austin Film Festival in 2001 — and a Star Trek novel. It wasn’t until this summer that she received her first book deal, with Boroughs Publishing Group, for a variation on Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” (1813).

Her novel “Elizabeth in the New World” comes 200 years after Austen’s death. The next steps are for the company to review her book and send back editing suggestions.

Mooha, 63, has taught music, English and computer use for 37 years in the United States, the Philippines and Africa. She said she has loved storytelling since she was a child and that she would tell bedtime stories to her younger sister. She got the idea to write “Elizabeth in the New World” about four years ago. It took her four summer vacations to write the book, she said.

She had been a fan of Austen’s work for several years and couldn’t count the number of times she has read “Pride and Prejudice.” Mooha said she wanted to take the story in a different direction by facing the characters with new obstacles dealing with classism, racism and other social issues. Although the period is the same as in the original book, Mooha said, in her version main character Elizabeth Bennet experiences the slave rebellion in Grenada in 1795-96.

As she wrote the novel, she said, she spent several months researching and even traveled to Grenada with her younger sister, Madonna Pence. Mooha hired a guide to take her to the small island country north of Venezuela, and they spent about one week there, she said.

“She wanted to get it right and she wanted to make the storytelling authentic,” Pence said.

After completing the book, Mooha asked her sister, a mentor and a couple of her friends who had experience with writing or editing to read and edit the story. After hearing “no” from several publishing companies, she gained interest from two companies this summer. She signed with Boroughs, which sent her a contract first, she said.

Mooha said she’s excited for the publishing deal because they don’t happen for every aspiring author.

“If you’re writing, you just have to be able to take hearing ‘no,’ because you will hear that more than ‘yes,’” she said. “I’ve been writing since the ‘90s and this was the first time I’m getting published, so you have to be persistent and be able to take criticism.”

Lisa McAlister of Summerlin, a former English teacher, has been going to the same church as Mooha for about six years. She helped Mooha with some of the edits. She said fans of Austen’s will appreciate the novel.

“I think that there’s a real audience for it because there’s been so many different versions and take-offs of ‘Pride and Prejudice,’” she said. “There’s definitely a hunger for that. I think people will be surprised, because I haven’t seen anything like this because it takes it in a different direction.”

Mooha said she thinks people will like the book because of its relevance to today’s social and political climate.

“It’s timely now because of this whole issue of slavery and this issue of white privilege, because the characters start to doubt their place in their little bubble of a universe,” she said.

Mooha said she’s already planning her next novel.

“I think that if you told me 20 years ago, I think I would’ve been hopeful (of becoming an author),” she said. “I had a feeling about this book, though, when I was done.”

Contact Kailyn Brown at or 702-387-5233. Follow @kailynhype on Twitter.

Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Restoring classic Corvettes to perfection
Members of the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention talk about what it takes to earn the NCRS Top Flight Award for a restored Corvette at South Point in Las Vegas on Tuesday July 17, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like