Thursday, December 3, 2009

Prescription for Reading Pleasure

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,” 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:


Linda Henderson said...

Mine ?

Linda Henderson said...

I think it depends on what the secret is. Sometimes things are better left hidden. And then sometimes the truth will set you free.

limecello said...

Hi Mona- thanks for visiting with us today! Oooo two new posts :D

Congrats on the GR, Linda :)

As for your question... yes. Yes, yes, yes. Some things... are better left hidden. For. Sure. There are some crazy people out there, who do crazy things, and make crazy mistakes. (And... bringing it up just seems cruel.)

Jane said...

Hi Mona,
I agree that it depends on the secret. If the revelation serves no purpose then I guess it should stay a secret.

Congrats on the GR, Linda.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Linda, sounds like he's got a new lady to sweet talk tonight! Congratulations!

Wow, Mona, what an absolutely fascinating post. I grew up on a diet of mysterious and romantic foreign heroes. Mills and Boons in the 60s and 70s and 80s overflowed with men of exotic background. Belarus is definitely pushing the envelope, though. I have an idea for a book featuring a Georgian Prince so I hear you on those dashing Slavs!

Do you have a favorite destination? What's the most unusual place you've ever been? I love to travel too but I must say my destinations are considerably more white bread than yours!

Virginia said...

Congrat on getting that rooster Linda, have fun with him!

Great post! Yes I think some secrets are best left hidden. There are just some things you just don't need to know about. It just depends on the secret.

Helen said...

Congrats Linda have fun with him

Mona and Anna what a great interview. Mona your books sound fantastic I do love foreign heros. You have done some wonderful trips that is one of the reasons I love reading because I get to visit places I probably will never get to.

I do think that some things are best kept secret I am sure we all have things that we don't speak to anyone about and I am sure they don't all cause problems.

Have Fun

Anna Sugden said...

Congratulations, Linda.

I forgot to mention to Mona that the first poster of the day wins the Golden Rooster (though why you'd want that pesky bird for the day ...!)

Very true, Linda. Some secrets are better left hidden. Then again, isn't the tricky thing deciding which is which?

Anna Sugden said...

Sorry, Lime - that was my squib from yesterday *g*.

You raise an interesting point - some people are just cruel and like to tell for the pleasure of being mean, even if it's not right to tell.

Sometimes, the media goes too far on what it feels the public has the right to know too.

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Jane!

Interesting point about secrets that serve no purpose. Sometimes, what you think can serve no purpose can later come back to bite you in the bum - as we often find in romances!

Anna Sugden said...

But you write about England, Anna - so that's perfectly okay *g*.

Must say I'm partial to those dashing Slavs ... Viggo and Travis Fimmel (from The Beast) and Nemanja Vidic, who plays footie for Manchester United ... Yum.

Anna Sugden said...

That's how I feel sometimes about the media. I'm al for gossip - but sometimes I think they go a step too far. Then again, people who court fame kind of get what they deserve.

Anna Sugden said...

I hope you will get to visit those places (including England!) some day, Helen! Maybe your grandbabies will treat you.

Moral dilemmas are interesting - like what if you're asked to keep a secret about a crime? Now, how do you feel if someone else is going to take the fall for that crime?

Or there's that old chestnut about the cheating partner of a friend. Tricky!

s7anna said...

I think that if it serves a greater good and causes no one harm then Yes it is better to keep some secrets hidden. I prefer being as honest as possible but sometimes secrets like white lies are necessary to prevent unnecessary conflicts or hurt emotions.

Happy Reading
Anna Shah Hoque

Beth said...

Mona! Welcome to the lair! What a fabulous excerpt - I can't wait to read Rx For Trust *g*

Are you able to write when you travel?

Thank you so much for being with us today and thanks to both you and Anna for the great interview

Mona Risk said...

Thank you for such a warm welcome and Anna, thank you for inviting me to share my stories with the Romance Bandits.

Mona Risk said...

Linda, I agree with you. There is no right or wrong answer. In my friend's case, the one who inspired my book, the secret is still intact. She refuses to destroy her daughter's happiness with an ugly truth.

Mona Risk said...

Limecello also agrees with us. Why take unnecessary risks? But then in our modern time of computer and communication, can you keep secrets hidden?

Mona Risk said...

Congrtaulations Linda on the GR.

Mona Risk said...

Anna, I am a big fan of yours and saw your name on Barbara Vey's best book list. Congrtas.

A nice place for your Slavic prince to dwell would be Dubrovnik in Croatia. I visited the medieval city set on the Mediterranean Sea less than a month ago. The architecture, churches, streets, palaces are all fabulous. I can see your prince and his heroine kissing against the ten-foot high citywall or running along the drawbridge. If you want pictures I can send you some.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Jane, as you said it just depends on the secret.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Virginia, you seem to agree with Jane and Linda. Let's keep the secrets hidden. But what if her daughter starts asking questions?

Mona Risk said...

Helen, I'd love to take you with me for an armchair traveling to Belarus or the French Loire Valley.

As you say, we all have skeletons that we forgot about in our closets. As long as we don't open the closet, everything is fine. What if someone opens it by mistake or intentionally?

Mona Risk said...

s7anna, I am all for white lies when people ask you too many questions out of curiosity.

Mona Risk said...

Beth, it's so good to find you here. Anna has given me a fantastic interview. I can't thank her enough.

kymberns said...


Celia Yeary said...

MONA--I'm not sure. I suppose if someone had an unpleasant secret and it would hurt the other person, then let it sleep. but if the secret would be a factor in a relationship,then it should be aired. this a a toughie.
I've not seen this blog, the Romance Bandits--new to me! And you know how I love blogs. Very nice interview--but I already know all aobut Luc. Celia

Barbara Monajem said...

Mona, congrats on the release. I agree with many others that some secrets are best left uncovered. However, fiction is different from real life in that often we're exploring what would happen if dangerous or destructive secrets do come out. Or what extreme measures we take to keep them buried! But at least in fiction, no one gets hurt for real.

Mona takes wonderful pictures of her travels! She posted so many beautiful ones on her blog that I'm longing to visit Greece and other Mediterranean destinations.

Christie Kelley said...

Welcome to the lair, Mona. Your books sound great. I love the different settings.

Hmm, I guess since all of my books have dealt with secrets so far, I should say yes. I think in fiction it works out as long as the secret is finally told. In real life, keeping secrets is not the best thing for a relationship.

Good luck with your books!

p226 said...

Secrets? Yeah. There are many best left unsaid. It's a need-to-know world out there.

Keena Kincaid said...

50 countries! I am so jealous. I thought I was a traveler, but you have me beat hands down. I enjoyed your post, Mona, and I love how you weave your travel experiences into your stories.

As for your question: Yes, some secrets should stay hidden, although as a deeply curious person, I'd like to see them have an expiration date (sort of like the president's private papers). I'd like to know what I don't know, if that makes sense.

Donna MacMeans said...

COngratulations Linda on the rooster nabbing!

Welcome Mona to the lair - tell me - what profession were you in that allowed you to travel so extensively? I'm jealous of all you've been able to experience. How wonderful that you have the opportunity to use those experiences in a book.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Celia, thank you for stopping by. I am so glad you already know all about Luc. My French hero is so gallant, the perfect aristocrat and lover.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Barbara, yes, nasty secrets are better left in the closets. Unfortunately, in our modern times and in my contemporaray romance secrets always tend to come out, and then... all hell breaks loose. Barbara, I am glad you like my travel pictures. I have so many on my blog.

Mona Risk said...

I will be back in two hours after my Pilates class. See you soon.

catslady said...

As a grown woman I've kept secrets from my parents (nothing they would ever need or really want to know) but I think a marriage is better when there are no secrets between them (not the little stuff) but something that could come back and bite you in the @ss lol.

We just found out that a 25 yr. old friend of ours that was just recently engaged and had bought her gown and reserved a reception found out that her guy had a history. She met him online (warning) and knew him less than a year. Someone thought to google him and found out he was in big trouble for taking hidden pictures of little girls just two years ago!!!!! Thank goodness she found out before marrying him. If it's too good to be true, it usually is (unfortunately).

Mona Risk said...

Christie, thank you for the welcome. So all your books involved secrets too. LOL. And at the end, during a traumatic black moment the truth comes out to finally lead to HEA. I wonder if in real life things work out so easily.

Kathleen Long said...

Mona--As always, I'm in awe of your travels and experiences! (and a tad envious...) I love how you transport your readers in each of your stories. You have a true gift. Thanks for sharing it with all of us! Best of luck with your newest release and the launch of your first series. How exciting! I'm thrilled for you and wish you much well-deserved success. As for secrets... Who has secrets? *wink*

Mona Risk said...

p226, in the past it was easy to keep secrets. For example, my mother-in-law never told us her age. Never. We knew that she was older than her second husband but... When she died her children didn't know what birthdate to put on her grave.

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Fascinating interview, Mona. I know you have travelled a lot, but I didn't know you had visited so many different countries. The settings of your books are wonderful--almost characters in themselves.

I think there are some secrets that are best keep quiet. Sometimes it's kinder not to reveal all.

I'm sure RX for Trust will be a huge success. Lots of luck!

Mona Risk said...

Keena, some or my trips were business trips like the Russian trips, some were my husband's business trips and I went along, and a few others were vacations. I guess both my DH and I are too restless to stay in place long, but we always take the laptop. I've often started a new story abroad.

Thanks for answering the truth or secret question.

Mona Risk said...

OMG catslady, now you scare the hell out of me because my daughter met her husband on line and never told me until the night before the wedding. But they have been happily married for 8 years so I guess I shouldn't worry. I already have a tendency to worry too much.

But you are right. It doesn't hurt to dig and find the truth.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Donna, thank you for the warm welcome at the lair. I was a chemist and director of the analytical division of an environmental company. A boring job until I started traveling to refurbish laboratories. Then it was really fun to meet handsome officers in Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan...The rest is in my book TO LOVE A HERO LOL

Anna Sugden said...

Greetings all from Amsterdam! Taking a short break - while we're on the subject of travelling *g*.

s7anna - I try to be as honest as possible too. Sometimes though, as they say discretion is the better part of valour *g*.

Anna Sugden said...

I don't know about Mona - but long plane journeys are great for writing and reading without interruptions, Beth.

Anna Sugden said...

Very warm welcome to the Banditas'Lair Celia. We hope you'll stick around, grab a cabana boy and ... well, stick around *g*.

Anna Sugden said...

Fiction is definitely not as clean as fiction, that's for sure. I think if we wrote it like it was no-one would believe us LOL. Stuff like secrets can be so messy in real life.

Mona does take fab pics of her travels and her love of places comes through in all her writing.

Anna Sugden said...

Hmm in your world P226, don't you uncover secrets people would rather were left hidden?

Anna Sugden said...

Oh yes, Keena - maybe there should be a statute of limitations on secrets ... and on vows to keep secrets. That could help some moral dilemmas.

Anna Sugden said...

OMG Catslady - how scary! Thank goodness she found out in time.

I have loads of secrets from my parents *g* especially from my mis-spent youth. Hubby though knows it all - for better or worse *g*.

Anna Sugden said...

Hey Kath - good to see you here! We're too innocent for secrets, my friend - right *g*?!

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Helen - congrats on your fab reviews for your latest book! Still waiting for the Amazon pigeon to bring mine.

We Brits are famous for our secrets and our ability to keep them, aren't we?! Unless they're about the French and then all bets are off LOL.

Joan Leacott said...

HI Mona,

Congrats on your upcoming release. As your devoted CP, I definitely remember this scene. But I won't give away what comes next--that secret is one that must be kept. For now. :)


Mona Risk said...

Kath, I am so happy you took the time to stop by. I really appreciate your nice comment. Thank you soooo much. I know how busy you are. You are right. Secrets??? Who have secrets???

Razlover's Book Blog said...

Hi Mona,

Congrat on your new release!

Great post and your books are ones I would love to read!

Yes some things are better left as secrets depending on what it is especially if it would hurt someone!

Mona Risk said...

Hi Helen, so nice to see you here. I already went to London several times and every single time it was sunny!! We are planning another trip to visit the rest of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and stop to visit my dear CP. Thank you for your good wishes.

Mona Risk said...

Anna, are you at the hotel? I am sorry I keep you there. How is Amsterdam by night?

Mona Risk said...

Joan, I am lucky to have my two CPs here sharing this blog with me. Thank you for coming.

Mona Risk said...

Razlover's Book Blog, good to see commenting again. So you are for secrets being left as secrets. I hope you'll enjoy my books.

Minna said...

It definitely depends on what the secret is.

Merry Christmas Everyone

Leningrad Cowboys - Happy Together


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Linda, CONGRATS of the GR! Is this the first time you've had him at your house? Be sure to keep an eye on him and guard your chocolate. :-P

Mona, Welcome to the Lair!! BIG THANX to VA for inviting you! 50 countries?!?! WOW! You travel even more than I do, and that's saying something. I'm DYING to see Dubrovnik! It's supposed to be the most complete walled city left in Europe and looks fabulous.

So where would you like to go that you haven't been yet?

And I definitely think some secrets are better left untold.


Mona Risk said...

Hi Minna, some secrets make a person more mysterious probably more interesting. Some may costs her a lot.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Loucinda. May I call you Aunti Cindy? Thank you for the wonderful welcome to your Lair. If you have a chance to visit Dubrovnik, don't miss it. Yes, it's completely walled, and the walls are higher than I've seen anywhere else. A very romantic place right on the Mediterranean Sea.

BTW it's my dear friend Anna Sugden who invited me to your Lair and organized that fantastic interview.

flchen1 said...

Hi, Mona!! Congrats on your latest, RX for Trust! I do agree with many commenters that in some cases, some secrets are better left unsaid--if it'll make you feel better than the other person, maybe they don't need to know.

And no need to enter me--I enjoyed Babies in the Bargain!

Congrats on the GR, Linda!

jo robertson said...

Hi, Mona, welcome to the Lair. Congratulations on getting the rooster today, Linda.

I think some secrets are definitely best left secret, especially if revealing them is hurtful to innocents.

Mona Risk said...

flchen1, you made my day. Thank you for telling me you enjoyed Babies in the Bargain.

Yes some secrets are better left secret. I read about a woman who on a guilty spur confessed to her husband that she cheated just once two years ago. He left.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Jo, I enjoyed reading the different opinions. As a happily married woman I don't like secrets between husband and wife, but who am I to judge those who have good reasons to remain silent.

Nancy said...

Linda, congrats on taking home the rooster! Limecello--close but not quite.

Mona, welcome to the Lair. Your books sound wonderful, and I love the stories of your travels. Your impressions of people in different parts of the world are very interesting. I like foreign heroes.

And yes, I think some secrets are best left hidden, especially if airing them will cause pain to no good end.

Mona Risk said...

Thank you Nancy for the welcome. I am always in love with my foreign hero while writing a story. Shsh, that's a secret I plan to keep.:)

Scarlet Pumpernickel said...

Congrats on the new release! I can't wait to hurry over to TWRP and by the ebook! I am enjoying loading my ebook with the stories of my friends! Have to save, yes some truths are better left untold! Getting it out in the open isn't worth the pain some secrets might cause.


Mona Risk said...

Yeah Scarlet on buying my newly released Rx for Trust, officially released an hour ago.

Mona Risk said...

I asked my DH to pull a name.

AND THE WINNER is catslady.


Can you please email me with your name and address at:

It's time to say goodbye or rather au revoir. Thank you Banditas for your warm welcome and for sharing your opinion and answering my questions.

Anna, my dear friend, I can't thank you enough for this fantastic interview and for a fun day at the Lair.

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Mona, I miss visiting the
Playground and all of the antics
everyone would get up to! Such

Some secrets will cause more harm
if revealed. Bringing them into the light of day could cause such pain and distress that it seems better to just leave them unknown.

Pat Cochran

Mary Marvella said...

Mona, your life sounds like a book! Your hubby is so cute!

Mona Risk said...

Hi Pat, I too miss the WAP terribly and I miss you too, and all our friends we saw daily. I hope you can keep visiting my blog. Thank you for coming here.

Mona Risk said...

Mary thanks. You are so sweet.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Better late than never! Hi Mona and Anna. I'm delighted to read this fascinating interview about you, Mona. I truly enjoy your traveling blogs and your very readable books. Thanks for taking the time to share your story here.

Your pal, Maggie

StephB said...

Mona! I love the pic with you and the General Sergi Bear. Great interview. I like how you recap your books. I guess for me, it would depend on the secret and depth of it - how important it is. Of course the hider always has good intentions, but secrets always have a way of coming out.