Today we welcome contemporary romance author Lila Munro to RomFan Reviews. Lila, thanks so much for taking time out to talk to us today. You just had a book released on October 1st called Bound by Trust. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Thanks so much for having me today Carla. I would love to talk about Bound By Trust. It’s a contemporary romance about a war widow, Madi Melbourne, and her hero, Rafe McCarthy. Madi’s not only been left alone, she’s also been left destitute and trying to piece together the secret life her husband Gage was living. Rafe is a marine and has been known as the unit playboy for years until he happens upon Madi and discovers she’s his next door neighbor. They have a very emotional journey before they find their HEA. Madi has a host of demons to overcome and Rafe has to deal with living in the shadow of a ghost. Now I say this is a contemporary romance, and it is, but I recently coined a new term for my writing. Realmantica. My writing style is based on realism. I want my readers to be able to fall into a world that is completely believable with characters and problems that the average person can relate to. I think I achieved that with this work.
According to your web site, you've been writing on and off since you were a child. What made you decide to start writing professionally?
I’m a military wife, as many of my readers know. Therefore, we move around, a lot. Over the years I’ve managed to accumulate a plethora of degrees and a cornucopia of skills. However, after our last move, due to the flailing economy, I was unable to land a suitable job. I really didn’t have to work; it was more about me having something of my own. After staying home for a while, I took up reading romance again in my spare time and realized a couple of things. First, the quality of what I was reading stunk, and second, I had been writing all my life and knew I could do at least as bad as that author had. So, a career in writing was born. I wrote my first novel, The Executive Officer’s Wife, over the course of about four months, sent it off, and before I realized it I was contracted and being published.
What are your biggest sources of inspiration when it comes to writing?
I find inspiration everywhere I go. As far as my hero characters, I gain the most inspiration for them from my military ties. I like my heroes to be alpha on steroids, and what better example than marines. As far as story ideas, I take them from all around me. Any problem that I use in a book is a problem I’ve seen someone struggle with. Now, I do like to give my heroines a good amount of conflict, so I might ramp up the stakes here and there, but the basis of the issues comes from real life struggles that I see real life people dealing with. I also take inspiration from other writers. I see an idea and think, wow; I could do that but put this twist on it, or make it better by adding that. As far as Madi’s issues in Bound By Trust, being in the military community I’ve seen first hand the struggles of becoming a widow too young. Most people don’t realize the grief isn’t just about the loss. Loss comes with a whole host of side issues and sometimes they are devastating. Another thing I noticed before writing Bound, was that occasionally a writer will go down that path and talk about a widow, but they never really cross the bridge entirely and really get inside the woman’s head. There are five stages of grief and rarely are they all touched upon for the full emotional roller coaster effect for the reader. I tried very hard to allow Madi to display all of her emotions and touch on all the stages of grief.
If we were able to sneak a peek at your bookshelves, what would we find?
A grab bag. I have classics like Hemingway and Poe, childhood favorites like Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Nancy Drew series, poetry, and smattering of short stories, and some authors that are relatively new to me, like Joseph Skibell. On my romance shelf you’ll find Cherie Feather, Nicholas Sparks, BethAnn Buehler, Allison Kent, and Monica McCarty just to name a few. I read voraciously and am not discriminatory in doing so. I can’t really say that I have a favorite author or title.
Are you currently under contract for any more books? If so, how many more can we expect to see?
I am under contract with Wild Horse Press for a Christmas anthology that I participated in with four other great writers. It is due out November 30. Past that, I have no solidified contracts, but do have several irons in the fire. I have an untitled work that is almost ready for submission about a couple that have been apart for some years and reconnect thanks to a little help from some nosey relatives. I’m also working on a series title The Sergeants of Lima Co. about three young marines who think they’ve found the answer to their dilemma of where to get plenty of love before their next deployment. The problem is the women they find themselves with manage to get under their skin and into their hearts and they come with more baggage than Coach. I also have a stand alone novel titled Language of Love about half finished. It’s a great story about a graduate student and the man who funds her expedition to the Amazon jungle to complete her dissertation in cultural anthropology. It’s atypical of what I normally write as Parker is a linguist in the world of anthropology rather than a language specialist in the military. I’ve enjoyed meeting them and telling their story so far. I believe I’ve found homes for all the works I have started but nothing is written in stone yet. As soon as I know, believe me the rest of the world will as well.
How much time on research do you spend on each book?
I spend hours researching, and not just on my computer. I utilize every resource I can find. For the military facts I need, I obviously have an in home research center in my husband. But, I’ve been spotted in some very interesting places doing Q&A’s with some very interesting people. For the Lima series I have visited gentlemen’s clubs (wink), Adam and Eve stores, tattoo shops, and talked to a man who clued me in to a valuable resource for all things leather. I’m currently working on a short story that has led me down the path of cancer research and organ transplant statistics. I have a certificate in Pharmacy Technology, so that is a jumping off point when I do medical research. Like I said before, I write realmantica. I am a stickler for details, facts, and true to life circumstances. Someone out there knows the difference between Nardil and Tergretel, and they will be disappointed if you use them incorrectly.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors wanting to break into the business?
Write, write, write. Research, research, research. And, not just for your books. Research publishing houses thoroughly. Make sure your goals and aspirations will be met at a press before you sign on with them. Really think about where you want your work to find a home and try to find a good match for your style of writing. Also, be open to constructive criticism and use is as a learning tool. None of us are perfect. If you get a rejection slip, there’s a reason. Figure out what you did wrong and fix it.
Where can readers find out more about you and your books?
Readers can find me at my own website at http://www.lilamunro.weebly.com/ or they can locate me at my joint effort website with my sister muses at http://www.wickedmuses.webs.com/. They can also follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Lila_Munro or they can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love to hear from fans. My books can be purchased at http://www.amazon.com/, http://www.allromanceebooks.com/, or http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/.
Lila, I'd like to thank you again for stopping by for a chat today. I wish you the best of luck with your new release, and good luck to you.
Thanks, Carla. I’ve had a great time.
And now for the fun stuff. Lila has agreed to give away a $15 Bath and Body gift card to one lucky person who leaves a comment on this interview by Thursday, October 14th. Good luck!
You can check out some reviews of Lila's books by following the links below.