When my friends ask me about the most interesting thing I have ever done, I can’t help smiling as I answer without hesitation, “Traveling.” I visited over fifty countries on vacation or business trips. Here are some of the fun things I enjoyed and included in scenes of my books:
• Toast with vodka in Russian countries. (See my contemporary romance TO LOVE A HERO)
• Exchange a romantic kiss with my husband on the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (Rx IN FRENCH coming soon).
• Sleep in a chateau in the Loire Valley (See my romantic suspense FRENCH PERIL).
• Walk overdressed in a bathing suit along a nude beach in Greece
(still working on the scene in my work-in-progress, ISLAND OF PASSION)
But I experienced more exciting adventures that I plan to incorporate in future books:
Ride a camel in Egypt around the pyramids and sphinx; feed the turtle in Seychelles Islands; sail through the Norwegian Fjords; photograph the penguins in Chili; swim with baby sharks in Tahiti; smoke the narghile in Tunisia; and many more…
Traveling is not only about visiting monuments and palaces in foreign countries or snapping photos in front of famous landmarks. Traveling opens new horizons, exposes you to different cultures, and teaches you new words. Every time you travel you are indelibly marked by what you see, what you hear, even what you smell.
When I decided to start writing novels I already knew that my heroine would be an all-American gal, educated, assertive and independent. But I wanted my hero to be different from the men she meets everyday at work. I wanted to gift her with a SPECIAL man. During my numerous travels abroad, I observed the foreign male and study how he could attract my American heroine and be worthy of her love.
As a Director of an environmental laboratory I traveled to Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan to refurbish laboratories. In Belarus, I dealt mostly with officers, handsome, reserved, aloof at first sight. While writing TO LOVE A HERO, I practically relived my fantastic trips to Belarus and kept a detailed journal. My story highlights the hospitality and warmth of the gorgeous and valiant Belarusian officers who sing, toast with vodka and make a woman feel like a goddess.
The Russian hero, such as the handsome Major General Sergei of
TO LOVE A HERO, is a perfect example of alpha hero: a patriotic officer, authoritative and chauvinistic but protective and gallant, honest and loyal.
The Greek hero is also an alpha hero. In ISLAND OF PASSION, Greek billionaire Stephanos is broody, passionate, athletic and valiant, in love with the sea, he listens more than he talks and has trouble trusting a woman or handing his heart.
In Mexico, Puerto Rico and South America, I was impressed by the joyful atmosphere. Large families with three or more children are the norm. People dine at late hours. They like music and dance. The father is respected as head of the family.
The Latino hero is romantic, more of a beta hero. Fun-loving, easy-going.
In BABIES IN THE BARGAIN, a sweet and spicy medical romance, Dr. Marc Suarez is adored by the female population of the hospital. He is said to collect sport trophies and nurses’ hearts. But a tragic accident changed him into a dedicated father to his orphan nephew.
In France, the old gallantry has survived and many Frenchmen would not hesitate to write a poem to their beloved.
The aristocratic male greets a woman by bowing over her hand for a kiss while the average Frenchman kisses her three times on the cheeks. That custom is not only used with relatives and friends but also with colleagues every day at work. Frenchmen love wine and will have un petit vin, a little wine, at lunch on a daily basis. At dinner, a whole bottle is a must for Count François in FRENCH PERIL and for Dr. Luc George in Rx FOR TRUST.
The French hero is a playboy and a womanizer, determined not to be entrapped, but also a generous and passionate lover who recognizes a perfume aroma, writes poems and kisses a woman to distraction.
FRENCH PERIL was inspired by a vacation in the Loire Valley. My husband and I spent two nights in a modernized chateau. I was so impressed by the magnificence of the French cháteaux and the wealth of history of that area, I visualized gallant aristocrats entertaining beautiful women in lavishly decorated galleries and plush gardens. Stories played in my mind. I upped the stakes with a missing statue and the murder of a professor to create a romantic suspense, FRENCH PERIL.
Rx FOR TRUST, the first book in the Doctor’s Order series, is a sweet and spicy medical romance that will make you smile, laugh and cry—the story of two psychiatrists with conflicting theories on how to treat their patients and tame their own emotions.
It will be released on Friday, December 4, 2009, by The Wild Rose Press and is already available in paperback at Amazon.com. The story’s theme revolves around a famous saying by Walter Scott: “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Walter Scott.
Blurb: An American psychiatrist, with a troubled past and secrets by the bucket-load has built a successful career where love has no room. The French psychiatrist, she loved ten years ago, detests secrets and threatens to unravel the secrets of her thorny past. Can he win her trust and love before her inner fears destroy their second chance at happiness?
Mona Risk writes romantic suspense for Cerridwen Press: TO LOVE A HERO and FRENCH PERIL And medical romance in the genre of ER and Grey's Anatomy for The Wild Rose Press: BABIES IN THE BARGAIN and Rx FOR TRUST. All books are available at Amazon.com