Lisa Mondello’s interview

» Posted on Nov 7, 2007 in Blog | Comments Off on Lisa Mondello’s interview

1. What made you start writing?

Tough to define. I’ve always written in one form or another. I wrote my first romance at 10 and then wrote poetry and short stories through high school. I guess I really began looking at writing for publication one day when I was camping with my husband. I didn’t realize he’d been standing outside the tent. I’d just finished reading a Harlequin Romance and muttered those words we all say to ourselves, “I’d love to write one of these.” And Tom said, “Then do it.” That’s all I needed to hear and I started getting serious about writing for publication.

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

Like I said, I’ve been writing forever it seems. I finished my first manuscript the year I was married, 16 years ago. I stopped writing briefly when my daughters were born and then dusted off my manuscript and revised it when my youngest was a little over a year old. I sold my third manuscript 2 ½ years later.

3. How do you handle rejections?

I give myself 24 hours to feel bad about it and then I send it out to someone else. I have a 24-hour rule. Feeling lousy about a rejection more than 24 hours is only a waste of energy and stands to give me a reason to doubt myself as a writer.

4. Why do you write?

I wish I knew. I think it’s a gift I’ve been given. It’s not something I decided to do, it’s something I’ve always done. I enjoy writing romance because I’m a really sap for a happy ending. I love suspense, so I’m glad I can do both. Having an inspirational element to my writing is something that gives me satisfaction and helps keep me in touch with my own faith.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

Reading, sewing, gardening, camping, being with the family. I manage to do all of those anyway, but not as much since I split my time writing. I’m fortunate enough to have writing be my “day” job and not have to take away from family time to get it all in.

6. What are you working on right now?

Right now I’m working on the 3rd book in a series for Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. I’m calling it Stolen Secrets, but that’s subject to change. It’s is a follow up book to Cradle of Secrets and is the story of Cash Montgomery’s rescue and reunion with his wife, Serena, who is featured in Cradle of Secrets. I’ve received a lot of reader mail asking about Cash and Serena and if they’ll be reunited. I have to say that so far this is proving to be a very romantic book. I love reunion stories.

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

Yes. I usually don’t realize it though until I’m editing the book. I’ll read something and think, “Wow, that’s me.” When I wrote His Heart for the Trusting, it was right after my niece and nephew moved in with us and my husband and I became their guardians. It was a rough time for all of us. My daughters getting use to having to share us, my niece and nephew dealing with separation from their parents and all of us trying to bond as a new family. Alcohol was an issue with them moving in with us and I found that crept into His Heart for the Trusting more than I’d wanted it to. I also saw the pain that my nephew was going through as I wrote about the hero, Mitch, as a child, and myself as the Italian next-door neighbor with a strong need to protect him. Writing the book was a good way for me to work through my feelings when so much was up in the air. And of course, I see my husband in all my heroes.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.

Cradle of Secrets which is available 11/6/07 from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense is the story about Tammie Gardner who finds out quite by accident that the people who raised her are not her biological parents. After their death she travels across the country to a sleepy New England town in search of answers only to find more questions and secrets that everyone around her is desperate to keep. She meets Dylan Montgomery, a man in search of his missing brother. When they realize they’re both in search of the same thing, the truth, they work together to find answers, all the while dodging danger from those who don’t want their secrets revealed.

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keeping writing. It’s a simple thing, but it’s true. By writing, you find your own voice and style. From their, you’ll discover the type of story you enjoy writing. When I started writing, I’d intended to write a Harlequin Romance only to have a dead body appear in the book about 1/3 of the way into the story. I let the story take me where it wanted and found that I really loved writing romantic suspense. That’s why I love writing for Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. I can write the stories that pull at me.

10. How important is faith in your books?

I write, and have published, both secular and inspirational stories. I find that because I’m a woman of Christian faith and very traditional, these values naturally come into play as I write my heroines regardless of whether it is a secular or inspirational story. I find that I enjoy writing the faith elements into my stories because, like me, during times of trial, my hero and heroine rely on their faith to help give them strength.

11. What themes do you like to write about?

I love reunion stories and stories of forgiveness. We could all use a little forgiveness in our lives.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

This is a tough question. There are things I like about all my books. I’d have to say that the one I’m most proud of is The More I See, which features a blind hero and a feisty heroine who is a Plain Jane guide dog trainer. The story deals with seeing ourselves for who we really are, not just defining ourselves by our job or our looks. Cody Gentry is an ornery cowboy who was proud of the way he ran his ranch and trained cutting horses. Now suddenly without his eyesight due to a freak accident, he doesn’t know what to do with himself or who to be. The people around him see him withering away and call in Alyssandra Orchid McElhannon, who believes there is nothing extraordinary about her but her name. Cody doesn’t want Alyssandra or her guide dog and fights her at every turn. But Alyssandra is determined. As they fall in love, she gentles his spirit, yet fears that if he can truly see her with his eyes, he won’t think she’s the beautiful woman he keeps telling her she is.

13. What is your writing schedule like?

Writing schedule? I don’t have one except that I write every day. I do best in the morning after a strong cup of coffee, but I’ve been known to stop folding socks half way through the laundry basket or leave the toilet brush in the bowl when inspiration strikes.