by Anna Sugden
I'm delighted to welcome my dear friend, Mona Risk to the Lair. Mona has been getting rave reviews for her sexy heroes and fabulous foreign settings and joins us today to celebrate the release of her sweet and spicy medical romance, RX for Trust.
So, without further ado, here's Mona.
Thank you, Anna and Banditas for having me here today.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, Mona?
When people ask me about the most interesting thing I have ever done, I can’t help smiling as I answer without hesitation, “Traveling.” I visited over fifty countries on vacation or business trips, learned to drink vodka with colonels and generals in Russia; exchanged kisses with my husband on top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris; fed the turtles in the Seychelles Islands; sailed through the Norwegian Fjords; smoked the narghile in Tunisia; and many more… Did I mention my husband proposed at the foot of the Egyptian Pyramid? I experienced enough adventures to fill several books. To relax from my hectic schedule, I avidly read romance novels and mentally plotted my own books. I was in a hotel room in the Ukraine when the clamor of the characters in my head made me decide to take an early retirement and write the numerous stories I had in mind.
I know many of us love to read about foreign places and sexy heroes, so can you share a little about your books?
When I started plotting stories, I already knew that my heroine would be an all-American gal, educated, assertive and independent. But I wanted my hero to be different from the men she met everyday at work. While traveling abroad, I observed the foreign male and study how he could attract my American heroine and be worthy of her love.
During my business trips to Belarus, I dealt mostly with officers, handsome, reserved, aloof at first sight. While writing To Love a Hero, I relived my fantastic trips to Belarus. My story highlights the hospitality and warmth of the gorgeous and valiant Belarusians officers who sing, toast with vodka and make a woman feel like a goddess. The Russian hero, such as the handsome Major General Sergei of To Love a Hero, is a perfect example of alpha hero: a patriotic officer, authoritative and chauvinistic but protective and gallant, honest and loyal.
In France, the old gallantry has survived and many Frenchmen would not hesitate to write a poem to their beloved. The aristocratic male greets a woman by bowing over her hand for a kiss while the average Frenchman kisses her three times on the cheeks. Frenchmen love wine and will have un petit vin, a little wine, at lunch on a daily basis. At dinner, a whole bottle is a must. The French hero is a playboy and a womanizer, determined not to be entrapped, but also a generous and passionate lover.
French Peril was inspired by a vacation in the Loire Valley. My husband and I spent two nights in a modernized chateau. I was so impressed by the magnificence of the French chateaux and the wealth of history of that area, I visualized gallant aristocrats entertaining beautiful women in lavishly decorated galleries and plush gardens. Stories played in my mind. I upped the stakes with a missing statue and the murder of a professor to create a romantic suspense, French Peril.
In Mexico, Puerto Rico and South America, I was impressed by the joyful atmosphere. Large families with three or more children are the norm. People dine at late hours. They like music and dance. The father is respected as head of the family. The Latino hero is romantic, more of a beta hero. Fun-loving, easy-going. In Babies in the Bargain, Dr. Marc Suarez is adored by the female population of the hospital. He is said to collect sport trophies and nurses’ hearts. But a tragic accident changed him into a dedicated father to his orphan nephew.
We love Call Stories, here in the Lair. Please tell us yours.
The Call came at 7:35 am in the form of an email offering a contract, only a week after I sent my full manuscript for To Love A Hero to Cerridwen Press. My husband surprised me with a box of red pens labeled with: “To Love A Hero, Mona Risk, www.monarisk.com” My friends at the Writers at Play set a tradition of sending to the play pal who sold her first book a bear dressed as the hero and a pen marked with the title and sale date to sign the first contract. My lovely bear came dressed as a Russian General. We called him Sergei like my hero. From that day on, Sergei went with me to every book signing. [Sergei is pictured with Mona at the top of the blog]
Your latest book is Rx for Trust, which is released tomorrow from Wild Rose Press. Can you give us a sneak preview?
Rx for Trust, the first book in the Doctor’s Order series, is a sweet and spicy medical romance that will make you smile, laugh and cry— the story of two psychiatrists with conflicting theories on how to treat their patients and tame their own emotions.
The story’s theme revolves around a famous saying by Sir Walter Scott: “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”
An American psychiatrist, with a troubled past and secrets by the bucket-load has built a successful career where love has no room. The French psychiatrist, she loved ten years ago, detests secrets and threatens to unravel the secrets of her thorny past. Can he win her trust and love before her inner fears destroy their second chance at happiness?
“Fine.” He raised both hands in a conciliatory gesture. “But I am stunned by this situation. Help me understand you. We dated for a year. I loved you. Why did you not trust me?”
Loved. He used the past tense. Even if his love had survived for ten years, she’d killed it with her confession. The sadness underlying his question went straight to her heart. She dropped back into her chair, rubbing her forehead to lessen the tension.
Why did he have to linger over the painful past?
Luc touched her hand and enfolded it in his large one. “Olivia, you are a psychiatrist. You know you can’t bury your past forever. Not when you have a teenage daughter. At some point, you will have to deal with it. Can you please tell me why you hid your daughter from me?”
“Why can’t you understand?” She snatched her hand from his and exhaled, wishing she had a magic formula to erase her bitter past. “When I was a student, I was still hiding her from everybody at med school.” Resting her head against the back of the chair, she closed her eyes. “I told you I was terrified for her safety. Melissa is unfortunately the mirror image of her father. I was afraid that he’d find out he has a daughter and hurt us both.”
“Did he ever threaten you?”
Olivia blinked and struggled to suppress her bitterness. Threaten was putting it mildly. “He told me to ‘get rid of it’ when I said I was pregnant. And he got upset when I protested.”
“How upset?” Luc punched the palm of his left hand with his fist.
Feeling her control slipping under his scrutiny, she turned her head.
“Did he hit you?”
She didn’t answer. But he must have read the humiliating truth in her eyes.
“Mon Dieu. I wish I had known. I would have killed this monster. Is that the reason you turned away from me?”
She bit her lip, loathe to tell him how much she’d cried after he left. “Listen, we dated on and off during that year, but you were going back to France, and I wanted to concentrate on my career. Why would we start a long-distance relationship? Besides, I couldn’t trust anyone. Any man after...” Shaking her head, she averted her gaze. Luc was far too perceptive. “I was too frightened.”
“And you still are. You sacrificed a lot because of your inner fear. Don’t you think you need help, Dr. Crane? You need to learn to trust people again.”
“I’m fine now. When Melissa started high school, I introduced her to my boss and colleagues. I’m very proud of her.” She stood to signify the end of this conversation that had drained her.
Damn it. She didn’t need a shrink. After sampling his kisses last night, she roused to a surprising reality. She wanted him again. She wanted her French lover who lavished her with pleasure and tenderness during steamy nights.
His eyes narrowed, Luc crossed his arms over his chest. “But you still have not told your daughter the truth.” The archetypal psychiatrist, he followed the same line of questions.
Irritation flickered through her, and she struggled not to shout at him. “That’s not your problem.” The minute she’d confided in him, he tried to impose his views. “You see why I couldn’t tell you my secret? I didn’t want anyone interfering and destroying my daughter’s peace of mind.”
I have a question for all of you - are there some secrets that are better left hidden, even if concealing them is considered lying or altering the truth?
I'll give one lucky commenter a signed copy of Babies in the Bargain.
Mona Risk grew up in a house overflowing with books. As far as she can remember she has been an avid reader and writer. Her parents, both professors, encouraged her to discuss her reading at the dinner table. Yet she chose a career in chemistry.
Now Mona lives in sunny Florida with her husband. She writes full time taking inspiration from the ocean view, brainstorms plots while walking on the beach and sets stories in the fascinating places she visited.
Her romantic suspenses, TO LOVE A HERO and FRENCH PERIL are published by Cerridwen Press and her medical romances, BABIES IN THE BARGAIN and Rx FOR TRUST, by the Wild Rose Press.
You can find out more about Mona at her website: http://www.monarisk.com/