Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Guest Author, Mona Risk

Today's guest is friend and fellow Rose Mona Risk, who is celebrating the release of her latest novel, Prescription for Trust. I met Mona in Florida this past January, and what a delightful woman she is. I plan to go back some day and watch the sunset from her balcony. Until then, however, I'll have to settle for being whisked off to exotic places and spending time with the stubborn and strong-willed characters in her books. She also has a wonderful blog. Welcome, Mona, and here's wishing you many happy sales.
Thank you, Liana, it's a pleasure to be here. I'm Mona Risk, and I write sweet and spicy medical romances in the genre of ER and Grey’s Anatomy—stories that will make you smile, laugh, and cry.

In BABIES IN THE BARGAIN, a pediatric resident ignores her strict schedule to help a playboy doctor deal with a newborn, after a tragic accident transforms her colleague into a dedicated father to his orphaned nephew.

Rx For Trust is the story of two psychiatrists with conflicting theories on how to treat their patients and tame their own emotions. My readers often ask: Are you a doctor? Not exactly, my friends. Let’s say that I am a self-proclaimed medical student trying hard to learn the professional jargon, in order to stage-direct my protagonists as they perform their medical procedures.

Puzzled, my readers frown: So what about research? Where do you find the medical cases, diagnosis, treatment or surgeries? I rely on real doctors. My daughter is a neonatologist and my sister a psychiatrist. Unfortunately they never have enough time to answer my endless questions. But I am persistent.

My daughter explained her resuscitation procedure several times. I consider myself an intelligent person but for the life of me I could not imagine how my daughter would have the courage to introduce an endo-trach-something that looks like a wire into the throat of a two-pound infant. And I didn’t comprehend the half-a-line long words she used while talking at an eighty-mile-an-hour speed.

Running out of time and patience at my continuous questioning, my daughter gave me a CD and a booklet. “Here, Mom, watch this video. Read the booklet, and if you have more questions, let me know.”

When I watched the video, I understood how the resuscitation procedure was done, and I also realized how those delicate hands manipulating the ETT (endtrotracheal tube) were saving babies’ lives. I was in awe and had tears in my eyes. That’s what my daughter was doing for a living---saving babies’ lives. I was able to write the procedure. Later on, she read my manuscript and changed my resuscitation scene into such an unsavory dry report I almost gagged and re-edited it again to make it more palatable.

For my next book, Rx FOR TRUST, I had to transform myself into a credible psychiatrist. I begged my sister for help. She refused to talk about her cases and gave me a lecture about patient confidentiality.

Did I mention I was persistent? My sister came back to me with two big volumes of psychiatric cases. “Here, read.these, and if you have more questions, let me know.”

Yeah, I heard that before, but my jaw dropped. Was she expecting me to read two big books of psychiatry?

Apparently, she was serious. And I read the two books. Honestly, I enjoyed the reading and couldn’t believe there was so many nut cases in the world. I chose the lighter ones, those that could be funny in a romance. Later on my sister reviewed my manuscript and made the medical scenes look “more professional." I immediately changed them back into “more readable."

As you can see, it’s not easy to transform a writer into a doctor, but it’s possible with hard work and perseverance.

Rx For Trust is based on a real case. Successful physician and loving mother, Dr. Olivia Crane is used to treating victims of domestic violence and has no problem listening to the most complicated cases of abuse, but deep down, Olivia fiercely believes youthful mistakes should be kept secret and skeletons are better left in closets.

Olivia doesn’t want to remember the past, doesn’t want to talk about it and carefully hides it from her daughter and from the man she loves. She has buried her ugly past and convinced herself she’s forgotten it.

Because of her inner fears, she refuses to face her past experience and deal with her problem. In fact, she is so terrified about the past catching up to destroy her daughter’s peace of mind, that one little lie leads to another, and another,… until the past catches up with her.

Unfortunately, Dr. Luc George, the French psychiatrist who loves her, detests secrets and has a professional tendency to dig into people's minds.

Rx FOR TRUST, the first book in the Doctor’s Orders series, was released December 4 by The Wild Rose Press. The story’s theme revolves around a famous saying by Walter Scott:
“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”

Contest Awards: First Place in Central Ohio Ignite the Flame; Second Place in Heart of Denver, The Molly; Third Place in FTHRW Golden Gateway.


“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.”

Mona Risk writes romantic suspense for Cerridwen Press: TO LOVE A HERO and FRENCH PERIL And medical romance in the genre of ER and Grey's Anatomy for The Wild Rose Press: BABIES IN THE BARGAIN and Rx FOR TRUST. All books are available at


Mona Risk said...

Hi Liana

Thank you for having me as a guestblog and thank you for the lovely introduction

Skhye said...

Persistence is a virtue. Or should be. ;) Thanks for the informative post, Mona & Liana.

Huge prize: a cache of Time Guardian treasure. To enter, join me at

Molly Daniels said...

I sooooooo loved Babies and am looking forward to Rx:) Hahahaha...your 'researchers' made changes they liked and you made it readable....Good for you!

I have the same issues when it comes to legal matters in my latest book. I now have to re-do parts of one chapter, lol:) Ah, the things we do to get our facts straight!

P.L. Parker said...

Facts? Do we have to have facts? LOL. If it's a subject I'm thrilled with, I love the research. I buy books and do it the old way. Good Luck with sales.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Skhye, persistence has its rewards. I'll drop by your place later.

Mary Marvella said...

Your research pays off, Mona!

Mona Risk said...

Hi Molly, I am so happy you loved Babies in the Bargain. As an editor at Mills & Boon told me it was written with passion and it shows. I hope you will like Rx For Trust as much.

Mona Risk said...

P.L. reading books for research is a good way when we don't have a choice as I experienced before writing Rx for Trust. But it's such a fun that it's worth it.

LK Hunsaker said...

Mona, I love the back and forth with your sister and the scenes! Too funny!

I think every writer would do well to read a basic psychology book. ;-)

Great scene!

Emma Lai said...

Great post, Mona! I love how you had to change scenes back to make them more readable after the experts got their hands on them. Sometimes preciseness has to be sacrificed!

Jane Richardson, writer said...

Ah, Mona, empathy! About a hundred years ago, (feels like it anyway) part of my job was to produce written training material in a readable, user-friendly, understandable way. Give it to the experts to check the facts, well, yes, that they did, but they turned it all back into jargon - urk! We had so much to-and-fro to get it all into usable (ie, readable) shape, but with persistence, yep, we did it eventually. But what a I totally understand your needs with your writing. Sounds like you've had your tightrope slippers on and got across the void beautifully!
Good for you for finding the right way through.
'Babies' is on my e-reader waiting for some precious holiday reading time (soon, pleeese, soon!) Good luck with your new one - you are on a roll!

Jane x

Mona Risk said...

Hi Mary, my research paid off and taught me to understand what the doctors are saying when they talk chinese.Unfortunately, if I discuss too much, two of them shake their heads saying: she really believes herself a doctor now. Hey, why not. LOL

Mona Risk said...

Lauren, now you talk like my sister. According to her all illnesses start in the head.

Mona Risk said...

Emma Lai, If I've left the medical jargon as is, no editor would have given me the time of the day. But it's all correct. Whatever I left.

Mona Risk said...

I hera you Jane. For years as a chemist, I talked about drinking
H2O and it smells like HNO3. I had to learn to write in actual letters my reports.

Mary Ricksen said...

Mona, your books are amazing. Just like you.
I wish I had a daughter to help me with research. That's the hard part in what I write.

Liana great blog as usual!!

Lynne Roberts said...

I loved Babies in the Bargain and I'm looking forward to reading Rx for Trust.
Research can be fun and it sure pays off.
Great blog, Mona.


Mona Risk said...

Thank you Mary, I am glad you like my books.

Mona Risk said...

Lynne, I am so happy you enjoyed Babies in the Bargain and looking forward for your evaluation of Rx for Trust.

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Very informative post. I had stopped by Emma Lai's blog first and had wondered how you came up with your plot and what research went into your stories. Well now I know. :)

Celia Yeary said...

MONA--you truly are a fascinating woman. Everything you write about is unique, and I admire you so much. Good luck with your book--Celia

Maggie Toussaint said...

Gold Bless you Mona for slogging through those psychiatry texts. Whatta woman you are!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Mona,
Wow, very informative blog. What a wonderful job your daughter is doing with those tiny babies. I used to type medical reports fro a Psychiatrist many years ago. Ooh yeah, there are certianly some wierd and scary people out there. Loved the excerpts. Best of luck with both books.

Cate Masters said...

Hi Mona, it's great you have such wonderful resources in your family! Your meticulous research shows in your work, too. Great excerpt. Best of luck with Rx for Trust.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Karen, thanks for stopping by both blogs. Now that you know how I do my research I hope you will enjoy the books.

Mona Risk said...

Thank you Celia. I am lucky to have wonderful friends like you. And I had to find a way to write medical from the outside. LOL

Mona Risk said...

Actually Maggie, except for a few cases that really scared me, I had fun reading the psychiatric books. Also I was lucky that they gave the diagnosis and treatment in each case which made my life easier while writing.

Mona Risk said...

Actually Maggie, except for a few cases that really scared me, I had fun reading the psychiatric books. Also I was lucky that they gave the diagnosis and treatment in each case which made my life easier while writing.

Mona Risk said...

Thanks Margaret. My daughter is doing a fantastic job. You should see the thank you letters she has on her fridge from her patients' parents. But she often works very long shifts and doesn't see her own kids enough. This is grandma talking.

Mona Risk said...

Cate, I can't afford to have technical mistakes. It would spoil the story. Many readers are nurses or people with medical expertise and would put the book down if the medical procedures had erros.

Francesca Prescott said...

A very impressive blog, Mona. I admire you for reading through those big fat medical books, and loved how you described the discussions with your daughters about making their facts readable!

Mona Risk said...

Hi Francesca, thank you by stopping here. I wasn't willing to read at the beginning but had no choice. Now you can ask me any question. I consider myself a half-doc in theory.

Mona Risk said...

Liana, thank you so much for hosting me on your blog. I had a great time.