Friday, February 3, 2012

Interview with Lisa Mondello Author of The Knight and Maggie's Baby


Please tell us about your latest release. 

Well, by the time you all read this The Knight and Maggie’s Baby may not be my latest release.  I am releasing my Texas Hearts series, beginning with Her Heart for the Asking, the last week or January 2012.  The rest of the series will follow in February 2012.  As for The Knight and Maggie’s Baby…

Jonah Wallace knows what it’s like to grow up without love. Despite having more money than the Queen of England, his childhood was cold and stale as he grew up in boarding schools. He’s dedicated his life to helping homeless and displaced children find the love and support they need by creating the Haven House Foundation, work that resulted in him being Knighted by the Queen.

Now that he’s living in America, his work is going along just fine…until his grandfather gives fate a little nudge by insisting he take a wife before he can inherit.

Coffee shop owner, Maggie Bonelli, is pregnant and the baby’s dad has gone AWOL. She knows too well the pain of growing up without a daddy. So when Jonah Wallace comes into her shop proposing marriage for a year, she takes him up on his offer, even if it’s only for a year. Live in a mansion and give her baby a name and a daddy to call his/her own. But can they keep their perfect arraignment strictly business…or will fate’s helping hand bring them love at last?

Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?

Character names can be difficult.  To me, the name has to fit the character.  Sometimes the name just pops into my head.  But other times I go out looking.  I use baby name books.  I actually got a name off the back of a box once because I really thought it fit a character.  For my book, The More I See, an “ugly duckling” story that will be released in February 2012, the heroine was quite Plain Jane and lacked confidence in herself as a woman.  The very sexy and handsome cowboy hero is blind.  So that created a wonderful dynamic.  I made sure I gave the heroine a name that was the total opposite of how she sees herself, Alyssandra Orchid McElhannon.  I’ve changed character names  mid-way through a book before when it just didn’t fit .  Maggie and Jonah were always the names I was going to use for The Knight and Maggie’s Baby.  They just seemed to fit those characters.  

Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?

Jonah Wallace is a modern British Knight.  So getting British speak down was difficult.  Maggie is Italian, like me so it was easy to write her.  And since I wrote about an area of Boston that I once lived, it was easy to incorporate everything into the story and just work on making sure I got Jonah’s character nailed.

Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?

I have to admit I fall in love with my heroes.  I know that sounds odd since they don’t really exist except in my mind.  But I figure if I don’t love them, how can the reader?  One of my favorite heroes was Tom (Tag) Garrison since there were many things about him that reminded me of my husband, another Tom.  Some of what Tom Garrison does in my book Fresh-Start Family is what I picture my husband would do.  And I used some of my husband’s Marine stories to help color his character a bit.  So that was fun.

Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?

To me a story is all about characters.  I can put my characters into a tried and true plot but what makes the story unique is how the characters reveal themselves.  I don’t use character charts.  I sometimes have a few scenes that pop into my head and I write them down.  Once I have a (very) rough sketch of the story, I do character letters.  I write a letter in the characters point of view and let them reveal themselves to me.  The beginning few pages are all that dry stuff.  You know, I grew up in Boston.  I went to blah, blah, blah high school and I have 5 sisters and brothers, etc.  But usually after 2 pages of writing the good stuff comes out.  I learn about past loves and crushes, tragic things that happened to them in their childhood, turning points in their life that shaped them into who they are now.  It helps to build conflict and gives me some great stuff to include in the story.

What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?

One of my favorite scenes from The Knight and Maggie’s Baby is when Jonah is away in England to see his grandfather, the man who forced him to marry, and Maggie is home in a big Cambridge mansion missing him.  She’s nearly full term in her pregnancy and can’t find anything to wear that fits her so she rummages through his closet and finds one of his shirts.  I just love the scene the follows.  It’s sweet and it still makes me laugh.

Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?

I love researching books, but it’s a dangerous thing.  You can get really caught up in research.  In The More I See I had to learn about cutting horses, because the hero is a cutting horse trainer.  And I also had to learn all about service dogs because Alyssandra is a guide dog trainer.  So that was really cool research and I was able to get help from some professionals that were great about sharing information.

With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as standalones?

Although The Knight and Maggie’s Baby is part of the Fate with a Helping Hand series, which readers can now order as a BOX SET, it is a standalone book.  The series is connecting by someone in the story pushing fate along to help the hero and heroine get together.  And all 3 books are set in Massachusetts.  I plan on doing more books like this in the future.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

Sometimes.   It’s usually because I’m moving in a direction I know I shouldn’t go or I should cut something I’ve already written and I’m resisting.  I usually get up from the computer and go clean the house.  Doing no-mind work, like folding laundry, frees up the creative side of the brain.  I usually get inspired half way through doing housework and get back to the computer.  Unfortunately the housework never gets done.

Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?

Aside from being a compulsive coffee drinker, no.  I listen to music while I write, sometimes so loud it rattles the windows. (I used to manage a Boston rock band so I’m used to loud music!)  I make soundtracks for my stories most of the time.  They help get me into the story. 

Do you write in different genres?

Yes.  I write short contemporary romance, romantic suspense, inspirational romance, romantic comedy, young adult, fantasy.  You name it.  I don’t limit myself.  It makes writing fun for me.

Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?

No.  I don’t like to be bored.  I like writing novels and screenplays and having stories that even fit outside of the romance genre.  But I would say 95% of what I do is romance of some kind.

What can readers expect next from you? 

Right now I’m releasing my Texas Hearts Romance ebook series, originally published in hardback by Avalon Books.   The series includes Her Heart for the Asking, His Heart for the Trusting and The More I See. 

Where can readers find you on the web?

 My blog is http://www.lisamondello.blogspot.com, Twitter @LisaMondello and email me at LisaMondello@aol.com

Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?

The Knight and Maggie’s Baby Excerpt:
“Don't you think you're rushing things just a tad?” She lifted her hand and pinched her index finger and thumb together for emphasis.

“I'll admit my proposal is a bit abrupt,” he stammered.

“A bit?”

“We've only known each other--”

“Forty-five minutes tops,” she blurted out. “Are you out of your mind?”

Her tone was incredulous. And he really didn't blame Maggie if she thought he was nuts. He felt nuts. Desperate, too. But he found himself defending his proposal.

“Quite possibly. But you see, that’s exactly my point. I have a bit of a time-crunch here, and it seems as though--”

Maggie folded her arms across her chest. “How silly of me. Here I thought you were sweeping me off my feet.”

He shook his head with a chuckle. “I do sound mad, don’t I?”

“Recognition is the first step toward recovery.”

Something rumbled up from deep inside him. Jonah laughed at himself, this disastrous day, and the absurd situation he'd been forced into by his grandfather. It felt good to laugh. That in itself was incredibly surprising, considering he hadn't managed to do much laughing at all since he'd learned of the impending plans for Wiltshire.

He peered at Maggie through moisture filled eyes. She wasn't laughing. But she was incredibly beautiful. Her sapphire eyes sparkled when she teased him. There were small freckles sprinkled across her nose that looked adorable with the sun shining on her creamy skin.

When she looked at him the way she was right now, it didn't seem like such a crazy idea to marry her. At least not for the reasons he was proposing. He hadn't given it a second thought. And yet, now he realized just how ridiculous he looked from her eyes.

“I'm not making a pass at you. Truly, I'm not.”

“You just asked me to marry you.”

“I'm asking for your help.”

“Again?”

His lips tilted up to one side. “Again.”

Maggie took two steps down the stairs until they were both standing at eye level. “Forget the phone call, the nice air conditioned ride in the limo, the coffee, the pie—”

“Which by the way was truly inspiring,” he interjected. “If I didn’t already tell you that.”

“You did. You don't even know me. You’re asking a total stranger to marry you.”

He shrugged. “I know that. But I know you make me laugh.”

“So that's all it takes for a happy marriage? Bet we could make a killing with that book.”

“I sound delusional,” he said. “Even to my own ears, which is pretty scary.”

He was delusional. He'd just asked a woman he didn't even know to marry him! And the fact that he was truly considering it was entirely grandfather's doing.




Jan 30 Tour Intro
Roxanne’s Realm

Jan 30 review and promo
A Chick Who Reads

Jan 30 Promo

Jan 31 Promo (review later)
Ce-Ce`s Garden of Reviews

Jan 31 Promo stop
Feb 1 review
Snowdrop Dreams of Books

Jan 31 Promo
Bookin' It reviews ~

Feb 1 Interview and promo
JeanzBookReadNReview

Feb 3 Interview
Fang-tastic Books

February 3 Promo
Lisa’s World of Books

Feb 4 Promo
Flutey Words

Feb 4 Promo and review
Cocktails and Books

Feb 5 Promo and review
Always a Booklover

Feb 6 Promo


The Knight and Maggie’s Baby

By Lisa Mondello

BLURB:

Sometimes fate needs a little help…

Jonah Wallace knows what it’s like to grow up without love. Despite having more money than the Queen of England, his childhood was cold and stale as he grew up in boarding schools. He’s dedicated his life to helping homeless and displaced children find the love and support they need by creating the Haven House Foundation, work that resulted in him being Knighted by the Queen.

Now that he’s living in America, his work is going along just fine…until his grandfather gives fate a little nudge by insisting he take a wife before he can inherit.

Coffee shop owner, Maggie Bonelli, is pregnant and the baby’s dad has gone AWOL. She knows too well the pain of growing up without a daddy. So when Jonah Wallace comes into her shop proposing marriage for a year, she takes him up on his offer, even if it’s only for a year. Live in a mansion and give her baby a name and a daddy to call his/her own. But can they keep their perfect arraignment strictly business…or will fate’s helping hand bring them love at last?


Amazon http://amzn.com/B005K0ECFY

BN http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-knight-and-maggies-baby-lisa-mondello/1105172661?ean=2940013088238&itm=2&usri=lisa+mondello

Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/88367

iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-knight-and-maggies-baby/id467570984?mt=11

BIO:


Lisa Mondello is the best selling author of 13 published books. Her first published book, the award winning ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU, was recently reissued as an ebook and has had over 226,000 downloads worldwide. In addition to publishing her Fate with a Helping Hand series, which includes THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT and THE KNIGHT AND MAGGIE'S BABY, she is releasing her popular Texas Hearts Romance series as ebooks in early 2012. She currently writes for Harlequin Love Inspired Romance and is collaborating with a film producer/screenwriter on a screenplay.

She loves to hear from readers. You can email her at LisaMondello@aol.com, find her on her blog talking about writing, movies and music at http://www.lisamondello.blogspot.com or chat on Twitter at @LisaMondello

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