What has been one of the hardest things to write?

One of the most difficult things I have done as an author, is write a back cover synopsis for my fourth book, The Aftermath. This story is my favorite of all the books I have written, and it has been a continuous challenge to represent 169 pages of my heart and soul in a simple, paragraph-long description. Within the pages of this book exist so many of my own thoughts, discoveries, and realizations that it is impossible for me to convey to readers or listeners the true essence of The Aftermath in any summation. While below is my latest attempt at trying to communicate the main idea of the story, it fails to capture the deep soul-searching, logical analysis, and honest self-reflection that ensues when one sets off on a quest, such as Jason’s, for self-discovery.


Can faith and reason co-exist? Every day, teenagers are faced with difficult situations that question their faith and moral compass. The Aftermath follows a group of students from Montgomery Lake High School, specifically Jason Davids and Jessie Robins. At age fifteen, Jason appears to have it all together: high grades, popular friends, a beautiful girlfriend, and every drug that promises enjoyment at his disposal. Despite this, there is a persistent emptiness inside his heart. After attempting to fill the void with achievements, relationships, and illicit substances, Jason finds himself drawn to Jessie, a quiet and rather plain girl whom he has never before noticed. He cannot understand the sudden attraction he feels nor the force that is drawing him toward her. How is it possible that she stands for everything he opposes yet possesses the one thing he has been searching for this entire time?




Q&A with Kelly Mitchell

Newton Country Day Class of 2018


Kelly is a very insightful teenager, who has a knack for perceiving underlying meanings and concepts within works of literature. As an author, I am truly blessed to have her on staff as an intern. Kelly is applying to many prestigious colleges this year, and I could not be more proud of her! Below is a short series of questions I asked her to complete about Book #1 “The Right Person.” I hope you enjoy her insight:

How do you, as a teenager, personally relate to this story?

As a high schooler peer pressure surrounds me in all aspects of life. Whether presented with extremes, like Chris, of drugs and alcohol or something as minor as gossiping, high schoolers are constantly put in situations where they sacrifice morals to fit in. Personally, I resonate most with the concept that who I associate with greatly influences my decisions and behaviors. When sitting with girls participating in gossip, I find it difficult sometimes to not engage. I have learned through my years that it is important to surround yourself with people who share similar morals and values as myself; the same lesson Chris discovers.

What do you believe influenced Courtney to turn away from her morals in order to feel accepted?

Courtney’s desire to fit in with a group of kids whom she perceives to be “popular” causes her to turn from her morals. Her values are no longer a priority to her if they interfere with her belonging with the others. Courtney becomes more focused on how her new friends view her than on staying true to herself. 

What is one major theme you noticed running through the story?

The significance of friendship is a common theme in the story. The friendships that the characters form in the story greatly influence their decisions. Courtney’s friendship with people like Cathy causes her to go away from her morals. Other friendships, like Chantal and Marielle, strengthens their morals. Friendship is a core part in each person’s life, this is why Julianna feels lost when she loses her friends.

How does it appear God worked to get Chris’ attention?

Chris was becoming tired of the partying scene and began longing for something more. To get Chris’ attention God brought Courtney into his life. Chris is immediately attracted to Courtney and believes spending time with her will help him gain the strength to abstain from sin as she does. This caused improvement in Chris’ behavior but was not a permanent solution because he soon finds himself back into his own ways. It is not until the end when Chris realizes that it is not Courtney whom Chris should attempt to gain strength from but rather, God: the source of Courtney’s virtue.  



High School can be a difficult time in one’s life and presents unfamiliar situations and temptations that challenge one’s morals. Parties, peer pressure, and popularity can become an attraction and lead students away from God. The Right Person, by Stacy Padula, tells the story of a group of freshmen at Montgomery Lake High as they confront these same obstacles faced as many other high school students around the world.

The story focuses mainly on Chris: an athletic, partier who has spent the past two years reliant on alcohol and drugs. As freshman year begins, Chris finds himself becoming tiresome of his partying ways and looking for something more. He is influenced by his new girlfriend Courtney; a girl who is firm on her morals and opposition to drugs and alcohol. Courtney, however, intrigued by this new surrounding becomes absorbed into the party scene of Chris’ friends and sacrifices her values to fit in.

This book depicts the struggles many kids encounter during their high school years through the eyes of compelling characters. I recommend this book to both students currently in high school and middle schoolers preparing for these tricky years. It is a reminder of God’s presence in our lives and the importance of seeking strength through him in times of uncertainty.

-Kelly Mitchell, Newton Country Day School Class of 2018


The Montgomery Lake High Book Series


Written by Charlotte Moynihan

The second book in the Montgomery Lake High Series, When Darkness Tries to Hide, continues the journey of the students at MLH as they venture further into the depths of high school. After following the stories of Chris and Courtney in The Right Person, the focus shifts to Chris’s wayward, childhood best-friend of almost a decade: Jason Davids.

When Jason is first introduced, he is dealing with many of the same challenges that Chris once faced. Already addicted to multiple prescription drugs, Jason has fallen in with a dangerous and unsupportive crowd. A tragic accident points Jason onto a new path, and he begins to realize how manipulative and unkind his companions are. All the while, Jason struggles to reconcile his dark past with his desire for a meaningful life. Throughout the novel, the reader gains insight into Jason’s true personality and the potential he has to be not only a good person, but also a faithful one. However, because of the darkness surrounding him, he struggles to see the benefit of leading any other lifestyle than his current, party-filled one.

I recommend this book to teens and adults. Jason’s struggles are relatable to anyone who has ever deviated from their beliefs or has struggled to make the right choices.



Written by Charlotte Moynihan, NCDS Class of 2018

The Right Person, the first book in the Montgomery Lake High book series by Stacy Padula, chronicles the difficulties faced all too commonly by high school students. As the story follows a group of friends – some new, some old – as they navigate the beginnings of freshman year, the reader is quickly drawn to two of the main characters, Courtney and Chris.

All throughout middle school and even the summer leading up to ninth grade, Courtney is a person of integrity and great faith. She has no issue standing up for her religious beliefs and saying no to the peer pressure to indulge in drugs and alcohol. However, like many new high schoolers, Courtney is drawn away from her convictions and swept into the world of popularity and the pressures of fitting in. Consumed with the desire to be liked by her new boyfriend Chris and his party going friends, Courtney abandons everything that she once stood for. Chris, on the other hand, begins the story as a diehard party goer and is rarely sober. However, upon reflection on his own life Chris begins to see God in his life again – not through his own actions, but the influence another person has on his life.

This story very accurately details the pressures teenagers face and the feeling that fitting in and loving God may not seem to go together. I think many high schoolers, especially those feeling consumed by the constant social pressure, will be able to relate to the ups and downs the characters in The Right Person face. Their struggles with the sudden prevalence of drugs and alcohol in Montgomery Lake is very real to new high schoolers suddenly faced with these difficult choices. I would recommend this book to all teenagers, but especially those struggling with drug or alcohol abuse or those who feel they might be at risk of future abuse.

I feel compelled to write on this topic, because I am sickened that people are trying to use the horrific Vegas massacre as a platform for political agenda. Until our political leaders stop blaming the other side of the aisle and look at this objectively, nothing is going to get better. I tend to lean more right, but WHO CARES. This is not about party! It is about working together to save lives!

There is so much more that needs to be done with gun permit background checks to protect our citizens. You’re on the terrorist watch list? How about, “Sorry no gun for you.” Is that not common sense? Perhaps the law passed by the Democrat majority senate in 2010 that legalized “bump stocks” (the device used by the Vegas murderer to make his guns automatic) should be repealed. Perhaps people who apply for a gun permit should waive their right to HIPPA protection so the government can do more thorough background checks and avoid licensing people mentally at risk for hurting themselves and others. Perhaps this isn’t one party’s fault or the other – perhaps evil people are at fault.

Our government should be doing EVERYTHING in its power to get already illegal automatic weapons and now-legal bump stocks out of this country. This problem is bigger than politics, bigger than the NRA, and bigger than party. It needs to be addressed by our leaders. A common enemy usually unites people: How much more bloodshed do the republicans and democrats need to put aside their differences and address the real issue? Put politics aside and DO SOMETHING!

Disclaimer: I am all for one’s right to bear arms and protect himself, but that can be done with a small handgun or simple hunting rifle. No bump stock needed.



On September 5, 2017, The Forces Within by Stacy Padula rose to the #3 best selling spot on Amazon Kindle for teen books that address substance abuse.

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This paranormal thriller is the 5th book in the Montgomery Lake High book series.


After being trapped inside his own body, unable to communicate with anyone but his own thoughts, Andy Rosetti finally wakes up from the coma that controlled his life for one month. But upon awakening, Andy finds himself and his friends in an unfamiliar setting: a mansion riddled with secrets and supernatural forces. As his friends fall prey to the entities surrounding them, Andy must figure out if the darkness lies within the mansion’s walls or within the people surrounding him.

Available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon





On Sale This Week for Only $3.99 (Kindle)

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$13.00 (Paperback)
Available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon


I am an ENTP and a Christian. I was initially raised Catholic but drifted away from the religion to go off and explore my own theories on life around age 17.

At age 21, I attended a non-denominational Christian church with my mother and was pleasantly surprised by the message—it was so different from what I was accustomed to. The sermon delighted my Ti* and my Si* because the pastor shared something historical from the bible but related it to life today. I then was able to deduct it down to its core principle and walk away with something to apply to my own life: an experiment. Unbeknownst to anyone else, I decided to try this experiment for a little while—study the Bible, apply its principles to my life, see what happens. Well, as most people can understand, this was very odd behavior for a 21 year old senior in college who was the usual party planner for her friends. But I was on a quest for a deeper understanding of life, myself, my worldview. I NEEDED to understand why I was on Earth.

As I read more of the Bible, I started to recognize God at work in the world around me. You can’t recognize someone if you don’t know what he looks like, so it made sense that I hadn’t really noticed him much before. But once I got to know his character by reading the interactions between him and his people in the Bible, I could see him at work in my own life. The lessons I applied to my life from the Bible improved my relationships, finances, and satisfaction.

I also started researching historical facts and artifacts, comparing what I found to the stories in the Bible for validity. I am a math/science tutor who always needs to logically understand something before I buy into it. I learned that there is a lot of scientific and historical evidence to back up much of the Jewish history in the Old Testament. In light of all this, I drew the conclusion that the Bible was God’s guidebook to help humans live fulfilling and meaningful lives.

During my quest, I studied the Bible, history, and other religions in order to make sense of the big picture (indulging in my Si* & Ti* to fulfill my Ne’s* desire for big picture understanding). So, for me, I utilized many parts of my personality type in order to form a relationship (Fe*) with my creator. Personality type hugely plays a role in the way one approaches religion/spirituality. I am fascinated by the unknown, and I look forward everyday to discovering what my loving God has planned for me.

*Ti refers to Introverted Thinking

*Si refers to Introverted Sensing

*Ne refers to Extraverted Intuition

*Fe refers to Extraverted Feeling

See what readers are saying about the

Montgomery Lake High book series on Amazon!

1 of 1 people found the following helpful
A must read! March 5, 2017
Well written with well developed characters – this book is just as good as the first in the series. The suspenseful plot keeps you wanting to turn the page. Very realistic and relatable.
1 of 1 people found the following helpful
Suspenseful December 22, 2016
Very enjoyable read. The characters are easy to relate to and well developed. The way the author writes makes you feel like you are there in the suspense with Jason and his friends. It keeps you wanting to read more.
1 of 1 people found the following helpful
Must in homes June 16, 2015
Amazing read for any one but every high schooler could use it
1 of 2 people found the following helpful
Realistic book that any young person can relate to and learn from August 30, 2011
A great read for anyone going into middle school, high school, or even college. This book describes a lot of situations that young adults in our society are faced with on a daily basis and brings to life all of the consequences associated with drug use and addictive behavior. It is entertaining to read and each character is very realistic. Every teenager should get their hands on this book and take the time to read it and also…Read More
2 of 4 people found the following helpful
Believable Characters August 6, 2011
I can’t believe I had this book sitting on my shelf unread for so long! Fast paced, edgy, a page-turner! Now that I’ve read the first book of the series, I am looking forward to reading the second book. Stacy has captured the teenaged angst well in her books. Her characters are believable and I found myself drawn into the story.
Well done!
2 of 3 people found the following helpful
beautifully written August 2, 2011
Well this is a book that I received for review a few months back, it has set in my TBR pile now for awhile as I never found time to get to it. But now that I have read it I can only say that I wish I had gotten to it a lot sooner. I found myself completely attached to this book, I was literally not able to put it down. I would stay up to all hours of the night trying to finish it so that I could find out what was going to…Read More
3 of 4 people found the following helpful
Confronts issues in an honest and real way… February 17, 2011
This book does an amazing job capturing the “realness” that is the adolescent experience. It lays the foundation for parents to start talking with their children about the issues they will inevitably confront in their futures. It is enjoyable, engaging and written in a way that seems pure and honest. The religious overtones are faith-based versus advocating for a specific denomination which makes this book accessible to all….Read More
2 of 3 people found the following helpful
Really brings you back! February 16, 2011
This is a great book! It’s perfect for teenagers because it helps prepare them for all of the experiences that high school brings. The book talks about difficult subjects for teens and shows them how to overcome the obstacles. It’s also great for adults, because it really brings back memories of your high school days! You learn so much about the characters, you feel like you know them and can relate it back to your own life….Read More
2 of 3 people found the following helpful
Montgomery lake February 15, 2011
While reading this Book I was taken back to my senior year in high school, remembering all the mistakes and the good choices I’ve made that year. Montgomery Lake will make you remember your high school days and how it was those days that made and mold you into the person you are now. Ever chapter brings in new challenges and new frustrations as you which you can actually go in to the book and say “what are you doing?!!!”. I…Read More

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