Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Interview: Lila Munro

Please join me in welcoming Lila Munro to Debbie's Book Bag today. Lila's new book, Bound by Trust is available NOW from your favorite bookseller or from Whiskey Creek Press.

DEB: Lila, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
LILA: Absolutely, I write contemporary erotic romance with a realism twist. I've recently coined my own term for my style: realmantica, which is realistic erotic romance. I'm very much in favor of a believable story. Being a military wife, I tend to move a lot and currently live on the coast of North Carolina in the heart of Marinetown, USA - east coast. I take much of my inspiration for my heroes from the marines I've lived around for the past fourteen years. When I'm not writing I enjoy reading everything I can get my hands on, trips to the museum and aquarium, taking field research trips, and soaking up the sun on the nearby beaches. And I must confess, I have a weakness for caramel frappe. I love to hear from my readers and I can be found a few places around the net.

Lila Munro Website
Wicked Muses, where Lila collaborates with three very talented ladies

DEB: Tell us a little bit about your new book, Bound by Trust?
LILA: I would love to share a bit about Bound by Trust. It came out October 1st, through Whiskey Press - Torrid, and can be purchased at:

Whiskey Press

It's a beautiful emotional story about a war widow, Madi Melbourne, and her journey to finding love and trust again. Here hero, Rafe McCarthy, is all alpha, although he has his doubts at times as to whether he can really live up to the person she needs him to be.


DEB: What was your inspiration for this book? Have you always written about love and romance?
LILA: I have a habit of finding the most difficult problems for my characters to overcome anyone can possibly fathom, but they also have to stem to realistic issues. Living in a military community, I've actually seen how devastating the loss of a spouse to war can be. There have been romances written about such circumstances, but none I've read really did the theme justice in my mind. They only hinted at the problem, they didn't attack it head-on. Anyone who grieves goes through a process that includes a myriad of emotions. Most novels I've read only deal with two - depression an acceptance. I felt I could do a better job of addressing the other three stages, and I believe I was successful. As far as if I've always written about love and romance, well, I'm new to this game and up until now that's all I've attempted to publish. I've written outside that genre to include mainstream fiction and children's literature, but have yet to send any of those out for submission.

DEB: What type of research do you do for your books?
LILA: I research in the most unusual of places as it turns out. I do use the internet and library, but my research extends far beyond those places. Some of my research isn't exactly PG-13 in nature. For instance, for the series I'm currently working on, I've had to take some extensive field research trips. My first hero, Alec gets saddled with a stripper named Piper. In order to get into the head of Piper and feel what she feels, I did my research at a strip club and at my local Adam and Eve where most of the dancers in town shop. I actually stood under the black lights to get the feel of what it's like facing a crowd in that environment. I also talked to some interesting characters about the local underground leather culture so as to be able to understand my second hero's girl, Abby. She's damaged in a way Freud probably wouldn't understand. As far as all things military, having been married to the military for the last fourteen years is a plus as you can imagine. And for those questions I cannot answer for myself I'm fortunate enough to have my own in-house research center in the form of my husband. As you can see, I'm serious about my research and end up in some of the most unusual places.

DEB: What is your normal writing day like? Do you have things that have to be in place to write comfortably?
LILA: I think normal is a matter of perception. No two days are alike because I have so much going on all of the time. I do write full-time as I am fortunate enough to be able to stay at home and not work outside the home. My nest is empty so I don't have the distractions of happy little feet plodding along behind me or the responsibility of making sure there are enough juice boxes in the fridge anymore - I just have to make sure I have big person juice. I love the freedom my life affords me. That being said, my day consists of waking up, walking down the hall in my jammies and going to work. Who knows right? I answer my e-mails, check around to see what happened while I slept, then get down to the real reason I sit behind the keyboard, the writing part. With my local radio station streaming in the background, I crawl inside one of my character's heads and begin to tell their story. This might go on for an hour or several hours. Bedtime is never the same two days in a row, and I've been known to be shaken awake by my muse at two or three a.m. and ordered back to the keyboard. All in all, it sounds a bit like organized chaos doesn't it?

DEB: What was it like when you got the word that your first novel would be published?
LILA: Surreal. I read the e-mail twice, then marinated in it, then read it again. Shock coupled with excitement is an understatement.

DEB: Do you have any advice for new writers?
LILA: For new writers, my advice would be to never give up, and always, always aspire to do better. If you receive a rejection, don't whine or complain. Brood a bit if you must, but move on. Figure out what you are doing wrong and fix it. If grammar is your issue, fix it. If it's spelling, fix it. If it's poor character development, fix it. For me, I have a terrible affliction called MMS (multiple muse syndrome). No matter what I do, I get inside too many heads at once, and heaven help me the points of view shoot off the charts. I am currently learning to reign that in and stay in one characters head at a time. I'm also famous for telling people to write what you know and do your research.

DEB: When your're not writing what kinds of books do you like to read? Do you have a favorite author?
LILA: I read everything and anything, although I obviously do veer toward romance of any sub-genre. Although paranormal isn't really my thing. Being a military wife, I'm alone quite a bit and things that go bump in the night are not my cup of tea, especially on those nights I can't sleep. Not good for ever being able to sleep again. Favorite author. I've been asked that a lot and I must admit, my tastes vary to such a degree that I can honestly say I do not have an absolute all time favorite.

DEB: What are you working on right now?
LILA: I have so many irons in the fire right now I have a hard time keeping up with myself some days. Currently I am working on a series called, The Sargents of Echo Co., which was called Lima Co. until I figured out people associate that call sign to beans. Not a good image for romance. Right? Echo is about three young enlisted marine's - Alec, Hunter, and Brady and the women they find that are almost too much to handle. I'm also working on a wonderful stand alone story called, The Language of Love, about a young graduate student trying to finish her dissertation to obtain a doctorate degree in cultural anthropology. The only thing in her way is her inability to decipher the language of the indigenous people she's studying in the Amazon. Enter right, one doctor of linguistics, who also happens to be the source of her research funding. It's different from what I normally write because it has nothing to do with the military and thus far as been loads of fun. I'm also toying with the idea of a Valentine's Day novella. Along with all that I have two projects in the works with a new publisher I've been working with and as badly as I would like to share them today with you, I cannot. However, let it suffice to say, one is a stand alone project and the other is something that I believe will set the bar for group projects.

DEB: Tell us one thing that people may not know about you?
LILA: I think I've just about shared every secret about myself I ever hoped to keep a secret. Once you've admitted you can tie a cherry stem in a knot with your tongue, theirs not much else to shock your audience. However, here's a juicy tidbit. When I need some inspiration to get fully inside a hero's head, I think in Sam Elliot's voice. That voice... dear goodness. That man could talk me over the edge of a cliff.

Thank-You for your time!

Thanks for having me here today, Deb. It was a pleasure and hope we can get together again soon.