Friday, July 23, 2010

Interview with Lucy Monroe



I’d like to welcome our guest today, Lucy Monroe. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.


I’m very happy to be here. Thanks so much for inviting me!


You're welcome! I understand you have a new release out called The Shy Bride. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?


The Shy Bride is the first book in the “Traditional Greek Husbands” duo for Harlequin Presents. The second book, The Greek’s Pregnant Lover will be out August 1st. The mini-series is about two friends who grew up on the streets of Athens, but fought for a better life. They left Greece and their memories to join a ship’s crew and eventually make their way to the States, where they began by flipping houses and ended up with a multi-million dollar real estate development company.
Neo gave up his dreams of home and family years before, but Zephyr isn’t content to see his best friend live for the next deal. Enter Cassandra, a world-renowned composer and pianist who has not performed publicly since her father’s death and rarely leaves her house. Neo turns her life upside down and sideways, realizing somewhere along the way that he wants her as much as he wants to help her.


The Shy Bride is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?


I didn’t. I don’t title my own books – or at least do so VERY rarely. Not sure what it is about my titles that don’t stick with my editors, but there you have it. However, the title is extremely apropos to the book.


What made you decide to write in this genre?


I’ve loved reading Harlequin Presents since I was very young. Writing stories about the ultra alpha male and the heroine meant to tame him is fun and truly rewarding. I’m given free rein to deal with social and pertinent modern health issues for both women and men, though I have a tendency to deal more with women’s issues. The Shy Bride is a great example. The heroine suffers from a combination of agoraphobia with tinges of social phobia – a truly distressing problem affecting far more people than most of us realize. It was fantastic delving into the challenges she faced while writing a sexy and romantic story for her.


Are you a plotter or a pantser and how did it affect the writing of this book?


I plotted the first dozen books I wrote and pantsed the next 38 (though when I get stuck, I’ll sit down and do a scene list or plot cards). This book was a combination of both, with small bursts of plotting every five chapters or so.


Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? What are your favorite research books or sites?


I find that I have to do a lot of research for all my books. Something about the things I choose to write about?  Anyway, I read *a lot* of nonfiction for my fiction. And yes, I do an amazing amount of online research as well. For this two-book series, I researched phobias, debilitating shyness, the treatments for them, the classical/new age music industry, pianos, composers, Greece (video travelogs make great research tools for setting), real estate development and interior design. I had my own personal experience to draw on for the agoraphobia and social phobia, but everything else was pretty new to me. I really enjoyed researching for The Shy Bride and The Greek’s Pregnant Lover because I love learning new things.


Where did you get your idea for this particular book?


For me, ideas come from everywhere and I’m not always aware of it when they take root. As I mentioned, the heroine’s issues with leaving her house and performing were something I had experience with myself because of thyroid malfunction. The music? Just seemed to fit Cass. The two Greek heroes? My readers *love* Greek heroes and I love writing them. The second book’s heroine, Piper, is an interior designer and that pragmatically came from the question, where/how would this heroine end up in Zephyr’s life and work place – since I already knew the emotional arc of their story? It’s a very organic process for me.


Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?


That’s a bit like asking which of my children do I enjoy the most? And frankly, they each have their moments of glory. I loved writing about Cassandra’s challenges because they allowed me to work through my feelings regarding my own over the past few years. I enjoyed writing about Neo because he was such a strong character, refusing to let his past or circumstances of birth dictate his future. I adored Piper because she was willing to take a chance on love even though it had burned her badly before. Zephyr caught my heart with his wrenching past and need to come to terms with a family that had abandoned him in the present. What can I say? I’m a sucker for emotion.


Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?


They pop into my head and I get to know them as I write. I used to do character sheets, psychological profiles, the works – but now I treat them like new people I meet and get to know in the situations we share through the book.


Do you have any authors that inspired you?


I have a full list which I call my MVP wall and you can find a blog I wrote about them some time back here: http://lucymonroeblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/lucys-mvp-wall.html


It’s not a definitive list, but these are the authors I read before I published, the ones who had the most impact on my own writing.


What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?


There is no one promotional event or effort that makes or breaks a book. A well-designed marketing campaign uses multi-faceted promotions that dovetail each other so that the book is getting exposure with its target market in multiple outlets. This is crucial to the success of any promotional effort.


My website hosted on Writerspace is a key element to my promotion for all my books, but then the videos and distribution done for me by COS Productions are just as elemental to me at this point in my career.


What do we have to look forward next?


My 50th book, Close Quarters, a Kensington Brava, will be out September 1. I’m so excited about it as not only will readers get to revisit my Goddard Project series, but I’m introducing a new paramilitary organization that will be the focus of a new series for Brava – the Atrati.

Thanks, Lucy!

To celebrate her book release, Lucy Monroe is offering a signed copy of The Shy Bride the 1st book in the “Traditional Greek Husbands” mini-series to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (Please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...


Award winning author Lucy Monroe published her first book in September of 2003. Since then she has sold more than 50 books to four publishers and hit national bestsellers lists in the US and England. Her highly charged, sensual stories touch on the realities of life while giving the reader a fantasy story not easily forgotten. Whether it's a passionate Harlequin Presents, a sexy single title for Kensington or a steamy historical or paranormal for Berkley or Samhain, Lucy's books transport her readers to a special place where the heart rules and love conquers all.


Check out author’s website at http://lucymonroe.com.

11 comments:

Kim Watters said...

Good Morning Lucy. Thanks for joining us today. Your Greek coffee and pastries will be ready in a moment. Congratulations on the number of books you've written. You're a true inspiration! I love Greece, having been there on my honeymoon. And Greek men? I'm married to one. Well half anyway. :) Enjoy your day.

Sherry Gloag said...

I missed this book when it came out in the UK but have read its companion and loved the characters so much I'll keep searching for The Shy Bride.
I have yet to discover your Kensington books - do they sell over here in the UK? - but will have a look round to see if they are available.
I'm so impressed with the amount of research you put into your books, I have several of them, and am always impressed.
Thanks for sharing.

Sherry Gloag said...

Oh my, Kim, I'm doing an Author Spotlight on LASR in October to highlight my debut novel The Brat, releasing 1st Oct, and in it is reference to the Greek Fire brigade.
I'm trying to unearth a site that has infomation on the origin of the Greek fire brigade and am having no luck at all, please will you point me in the right direction?
Unlike Lucy, I am dire at discovering the information I'm searching for, even though I sometimes come up with stuff I never intended looking for and save 'just in case'!
I'd be so grateful if you can help, thanks.

CrystalGB said...

Hi Lucy. Your new book duo sounds great. I love your writing.

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

Wow, 50 books? That's amazing, Lucy -- congratulations! Have they all been for Harlequin Presents, or have you written for other lines?

Laurie, whose first romance read was an HP (waaaay back when)

Kim Watters said...

Hi Sherry,
I have no idea. Hubby is American and doesn't speak Greek. I googled this site. Maybe they can help you. There is a contact place where you can e-mail them. Thanks for stopping by.

http://www.fireservice.gr/pyr/site/home/LC+Primary+Menu/history/stoles.csp

Lucy Monroe said...

Oh, Kim...I can sense a few research questions coming your way! ;-) And a sincere thank you for the congrats. :) It's been a rewarding if challenging 7 years since publication. :)

Sherry...Thanks so much, Sherry. :) The only consistent outlet for my Bravas and Kensington single titles in the UK is Amazon.co.uk. Hope that helps! Oh, and The Shy Bride should still be available both on Amazon.co.uk and Mills & Boons website. Hugs! ~ Oh, and email me off my website and I'll put you in touch with one of my favorite readers whose a fabulous resource for Greek research. :)

Thanks, Crystal. :)

Laurie...thank you! And 25 have been Harlequin, but the other 25 have been released through Berkley, Kensington and I had 2 Inspirationals and a historical released through Samhain a couple of years back. :)

Estella said...

Congrats on 50 books!
Am looking forward to many more authored by you.

Linda Andrews said...

50 books in 7 years. Wow! How do you have time to do anything else? The books sound great. What are some of your favorite websites that you researched the miniseries and the new military book?

peggy said...

Hi Lucy,congratulations on 50 books.I enjoy reading your books

Judy F said...

I just wanted to stop by and say hi. Lucy you are a gem. I love your books and getting to know you. Thy Shy Bride is awesome and it really touched me. I loved The Greek's Pregnant Lover too. Hugs