Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Guest Author, Mona Risk

Today's special guest is Cerridwen and Wild Rose Press author Mona Risk, who has a new release coming out in two days! I met Mona at the Florida Romance Writers Cruise with Your Muse Conference in January. I am a big fan of sunsets (can you tell from my website?), and Mona has generously invited me to come back to Florida and watch a sunset over the water with her any time. I know from experience they are some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. Mona is also a regular over at The Bookspa during my Tuesday Balance With Liana chats, where we learn ways to maintain our health and sanity in this busy busy world from each other. That said, please take a few moments out of your day to relax with a cup of tea and get to know Mona.

Who are you?

From as far as I can remember, I have been a dreamer and a writer, staring at the blackboard during a math class while re-plotting Cinderella and Aladdin tales, or hiding from the coach during gym to pursue my latest self-told story. At night, I was the one telling Mom the bedtime story while she tucked me. By the time I was a teenager, I wanted to be a doctor and messed it up because of the damn rabbit I had to dissect in premed biology lab. Even anesthetized, he was so cute I couldn’t stab him with a scalpel and cried during the whole lab session. It was easier to shift to Pharmacy and Chemistry than hurt the poor thing. But I never forgot my medical dream and indulged in creating gorgeous doctors and handsome specialists for my medical romances.

What type of stories do you like to read and why?

I love contemporary romances, romantic suspense (Roxanne St. Claire, Gemma Halliday, Christie Craig), sweet romances (Karen Kendal, Beth Andrews, Cynthia Thomason) and medical romances (Dianne Drake, Janice Lynn, Sarah Morgan). Since I write in those genres, I usually read with a pencil in hand and critique as I read.

If I read to relax, I favor historical, mostly Regency, but also any historical by Stephanie Laurens, Tracy Grant, or the oldies by Kathleen Woodiwiss, Johanna Lindsey, Heather Graham…

When do you read? Where?

Before I had children I used to read two books a day or night. My uncle timed me once. Apparently, I was an amazingly fast reader. It helped me a lot with my studies. Now I mostly read when traveling on vacation. I usually drag a carry-on full of books and make sure I save my ebooks on my laptop.

What type of stories do you like to write and why?

I traveled to fifty countries on business trips or vacation and have been exposed to many different cultures. As a result my contemporary novels and romantic suspense are set in foreign countries. TO LOVE A HERO takes place in Belarus and FRENCH PERIL is set in a chateau in the historical Loire Valley. In my next story, my heroine is going to Greece. By the way, all my heroines are American but all my heroes are gallant, hot and sexy foreigners.

My medical romances follow the genre of ER and Grey’s Anatomy. With nine doctors of various specialties in my family all you hear at holiday gathering is medical jargon. I have also shared the struggles and problems that medical residents face when my sister and then my daughter did their respective training in psychiatry and neonatology. My daughter inspired BABIES IN THE BARGAIN, the story of a resident in neonatology torn between her career and her love, and my sister led me to write, Rx FOR TRUST, a romance between two psychiatrists who excel at hiding their own issues..

When do you write?

Seven years ago I quit my fulltime job as a chemist and director of a chemistry lab to indulge my long time dream of writing romances. Gluing myself to my chair, I typed day and night. As a result, the stories flowed out without interruption. Five books came alive during three years of serious writing. Cerridwen Press contracted TO LOVE A HERO and six months later FRENCH PERIL. The Wild Rose Press will release BABIES IN THE BARGAIN on July 3, 2009 and Rx FOR TRUST on December 04, 2009. Rx FOR TRUST is the first book of a medical romance series called DOCTOR’S ORDERS.

Unfortunately, heavy responsibilities slammed me. Caring for my sick mother or babysitting my adorable grandchildren became top priorities. So now I write whenever I can, stealing an hour here or there, or staying awake till dawn when the muse kicks me out of bed.

Why do you write?

I write when I’m happy because I want to share my stories. I write when I’m depressed because my stories make me forget reality and soothe me. I write when I’m lonely because my hero and heroine keep me company and fill my life. I write when I’m excited because my muse flies and won’t be denied.
I write all the time. And when I don’t write I read what other authors write. Writing is good, uplifting but sometimes depressing. Rewarding and yet frustrating. But a writer can’t stop writing no matter what.

Where did you get the inspiration for BABIES IN THE BARGAIN?

The story is based on my daughter’s professional experience. Needless to say, the book is dedicated to her as she read and corrected the medical cases.

My heroine is a pediatrician and a neonatologist finishing her residency and training in a children’s hospital in Washington. Same as my daughter did. And my heroine Holly “coincidentally” shares some of the medical cases and emotional career turmoil that my daughter faced during her tough training. But the coincidental similarities stop here.
The story behind Babies in the Bargain started on a Christmas Day, a few years ago, when my daughter was still a first year neonatology fellow. She was on-call on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day—as she’d been for the previous three years.

To celebrate the holiday season as a family, my husband and son helped me carry an elaborate home-cooked meal and the wrapped presents to the hospital cafeteria. We shared a happy lunch with the guest of honor wearing green scrubs.

Later, she invited us to visit the NICU. We slipped yellow gowns over our clothes and scrubbed before entering the room where five preemies fought for their lives. I approached one of the isolettes and noticed that the preemie wore a dress with Christmas prints. My daughter explained that a nurse sewed the tiny outfits for the babies in residence over the holiday. I realized that the dedication of the NICU personnel, including my daughter, went beyond the performance of a well-done job. They gave a hundred and one percent to the babies they helped save and did it happily. On that Christmas Day, I decided to write a story featuring the wonderful doctors and nurses who treated our loved ones.

BABIES IN THE BARGAIN is a sweet and spicy medical romance that garnered several wins in contests: Launching A Star, The Beacon, Great Expectations; Golden Gateway; Gotcha; Enchanted Words; The Suzannah; Winter Rose; Linda Howard Award of Excellence. The story is based on my daughter’s professional experience. Needless to say, the book is dedicated to her as she read and corrected the medical cases.

Short Synopsis:
With only one year left to complete her medical training in Neonatology, Dr. Holly Collier vows not to let anyone mess up her sacrosanct schedule. Especially not the drop-dead gorgeous Dr. Marc Suarez who broke her heart seven years ago.

When a tragic accident transforms the carefree playboy into a dedicated but novice father to his nephew, Holly gives in to her maternal instincts and turns her structured life upside down for the orphaned preemie. But can she learn to trust Marc again and believe in true love?

Here is a trailer about BABIES IN THE BARGAIN.

BABIES IN THE BARGAIN will be available in ebook and paperback at The Wild Rose Press, and, and can be ordered from your favorite bookstore…
You can learn more about my books at:
Thank you Liana for hosting me today. I love your blog and your fascinating articles on Balance in Your Life.
Thanks, Mona. Here's wishing you many happy sales!


Mona Risk said...

Thank you Liana for this interview. You know I am a big fan of your Balance in your life column that has often helped me look positively at life.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Mona,
It was delightful to read more about your journey to publication. I certainly understand the trials and tribulations of aging parents and balancing care with taking charge. I'm sure your daughter must be extremely proud of her Mom for working so hard to come to the top of a second profession. Well done!

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Hi Mona,

I didn't realise you had so many doctors in your family. You certainly have a wonderful pool of expertise to draw on for your stories.

Lots of luck with Babies In The Bargain. I loved the story and I'm delighted to see it come out in print.

Mary Marvella said...

Hey, Mona, I keep learning new stuff about you. Very complicated, aren't you?

Liana, you made a good choice when you invited Mona to be your guest.

Hi, Helen, LOVRD the Magic Knot.

Hi, Maggie.

Joan Leacott said...

HI Mona, No wonder you write such realistic medicals with all those doctors in the family. And your daughter is a sweetheart. Good luck with Holly and Luc's wonderful story.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Maggie, thank you for stopping by. Starting a second profession and a writing one was certainly a challenge but a fun one.

Mona Risk said...

Helen and Joan, my dear CPs, what would i have done without you and your endless reading.

Mona Risk said...

Oh Mary, me complicated and here I thought my life was an open book.

Susan Macatee said...

Great getting to know you, Mona! And mega congrats on your new release!!

Fran Lee Romance said...

Great interview, ladies! Great books! I have read your others, dear, and if this one is even half as good, you can bet I'm gonna read it!

Hywela Lyn said...

Great interview Liana and Mona

Congrats on the new release, Mona, I hope it sells loads for you!

Mary Ricksen said...

Mona you are just amazing!!
I hope you sell a ton of books!


You said that you have 9 Doctors in the family. I need to be in your family, I could use 9 Doctors. I know you are busy taking care of your parents and your grandkids, but be sure to take time for yourself.


LK Hunsaker said...

Nice Q/A! Hey, you're everywhere today. ;-)

Mona Risk said...

Hi Susan, nice meeting you too. I saw you on the loop.

Mona Risk said...

Fran, you made my day by saying you love my books. Babies in the Bargain scored well with contest judges. I hope readers enjoy it as well.

Mona Risk said...

Hiwela, thank you so much. I hope it sells well too.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Mary, waving frantically. Did I tell you I missed you a lot?

Mona Risk said...

Yes Loretta, nine doctors. Everytime someone is sick, we spend hours on the phone consulting and asking for second opinion. I used five of them as consultants for my books. Daughter (neonatologist) and a cousin (radiologist) for this book and sister (psychiatrist) for Rx For Trust coming in December. DH's nephew (Surgeon) for Rx For Fun, and uncle (pathologist)for Rx for Hope.

Mona Risk said...

LK yes, I noticed I am at a lot of nice blogs today. Hey the more the merrier.

Mona Risk said...

Liana, I can't thank you enough for being such a gracious hostess and let me linger for two days on your blog. I am glad that some of my friends had a chance to check your blog and get to know you.