I’m excited today to have author Lila Munro visiting us. Lila’s books have been on my TBR list for a while, and after reading her responses to my interview questions I’m moving them up in the queue. Please make Lila feel welcome by leaving your questions and comments in the comments section following this post. Lila will be awarding a Godiva Chocolates gift basket worth at least $35.00 to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a Godiva Chocolates gift basket to a randomly drawn host (US ONLY). Be sure to follow the rest of Lila’s tour too. You can find her other stops here.
My Interview With Lila Munro
Q: Please tell us a bit about yourself – when did you first know you wanted to write – what was your journey to publication like – do you have a spouse or significant other – kids? Pets? Where in the world do you live? Where did you grow up? What real life events and experiences fuel your writing?
LOL…Curiosity is a human condition which I’ve found to be an insatiable beast. J Curiosity is one of my driving forces…but, I digress let me address a few of your inquiries first. I grew up in rural America via the mid-west route and have known I wanted to be a writer since I understood what words were. In fact, I think I wanted to be a writer before I could spell. The Little Red Hen was my favorite childhood story and I was eight when Santa brought me my first toy typewriter. It was in sixth grade my first mentor encouraged me in the form of my creative writing teacher who proudly told the class I had a flair for carrying a story-line…I guess! I was the only student who wrote a chapter book for the final project as opposed to the few pages he assigned. What can I say? My muse was in charge even then though I had yet to understand who or what she was. Then she lay dormant for a while only spewing a few lines of love-sickening poetry during the junior high years just to reappear my senior year when I compiled my first novel which made its way into a trash bin. After that the muse erupted at random, writing a few words here and there and I put her in a box when my son was born. I had responsibilities and had no room for what I had determined was a frivolous notion. But that little witch would not be held in that box and kept picking at me until I relented. Once the nest was empty, the idea of becoming published was resurrected and here I am a few releases later and loving life. I am married. The love of my life is a US Marine currently stationed in Okinawa—I miss him like crazy but am getting lots of writing done in his absence. We have two grown children and two four-legged kids running around here. Currently I live on the coast of North Carolina in Marine Corps Central, although I’ve learned over the years that can change on a dime and I never completely unpack after a move as I’ve decided what’s the point? J Real life events…oh, yes. I write quite a bit of military romance and my life as a military wife definitely fuels that…and that curiosity? Well, it is the driving force it would seem. Not only am just nosey about things, I was once a journalism student and now have a few degrees one of which is in sociology. Needing to know why and how and what comes naturally to me and as a result I LOVE research.
Q: Please tell us a bit about the idea behind Assumed Calling. What inspired the story? What part of the story did you get first? How did it build on itself till you had the complete story? What was it about this story versus others that compelled you to write it?
As most of my regular readers know, Assumed Calling is in fact the fifth and final book in the Identity series. And in its case I would have to say the characters came to me first as Allen is someone who’s been spotted in two previous books, Assumed Identity and Assumed Master. The louder he talked, the more I realized he had to have his own story. It was by taking cues from other writers I knew Allen’s story would be the last in the series. I wanted it to go out on a good note and end before I ran out of storyline. Well, that wasn’t entirely the case as a spin-off series had been brewing for a while based on the characters from book two, True Identity, and the club Steele Image. Allen’s story will actually take the readers not just on a journey with him, but will set them up for things to come through the Steele Image series and the finale to the Force Recon books. Look for those to hit e-shelves next summer.
Q: Many of your novels deal with people discovering parts of themselves they didn’t know existed…most often through BDSM experiences. Does Assumed Calling follow a similar path?
It most definitely follows that path. Allen is fifty-six and has lived the lifestyle for over thirty years. He’s seasoned and gritty, although for a while he’s not sure who he is or what he wants. Then Nicki happens along. She’s thirty years his junior, new to the scene, and about as lost as a person could get. While BDSM is the genre of the book, the actual story line is the driving force. The lifestyle and hot sex is really secondary and is a bonus. I’m not one to intentionally plant the sex, it should come naturally to the story and serve a purpose. So far that train of thought has served me well and my readers are well satisfied.
Q: I note with interest that your hero in this book is older than most heroes. At 56 he’s a decade beyond the 45 that guidelines often stipulate. How was writing an older hero different from writing the 30-45 year old hero?
I must confess, until you pointed it out, I didn’t really know this guideline existed and in truth have never adhered to much of a guideline. The beauty of working for Rebel Ink Press is they allow their writers to step outside the normal bounds of what’s considered traditional guidelines. As far as writing the older character, I get to write them like they are. They are matured and have a grasp on the world. Allen has an incredible bed of knowledge and experience to work with and that’s refreshing. Mason was my first true older hero, Julie’s first husband from Assumed Identity, and it was after that the emails started pouring in from my readers who were quite pleased I’d written someone their age. When Assumed Master released, the emails continued with people appreciating the fact I’d taken the time to address the issues often times accompanying age and in the lifestyle in particular. What does a sub do when his knees give way? How do you deal with the aches and pains of aging? People in real life love and have sexual realtionships well past what the guideline says to adhere to and I think there’s a market for expressing that.
Q: What elements are different in Assumed Calling because the hero is older? Are there aspects of this story that required an older, more experienced, hero? Please talk to us about how having an older hero (or heroine) impacts on the conflict, plot, and other elements of a story. Are there elements of the story that wouldn’t have worked, or wouldn’t have worked as well with a younger hero?
It was really a matter of timeline that dictated Allen was fifty-six. You see, with Mason being my first older hero and his story continuing fifteen years into the future when Assumed Master picks up, everyone aged. Assumed Calling picks up where Assumed Master left off, although it doesn’t have to be read in order—it’s stands on its own and backstory isn’t necessary to know what’s going on. So in that sense, no the story wouldn’t have worked on consistency of story alone. However, I’ve found I very much enjoy writing the older characters because of their life’s experience and what they have to offer in that regard. I could make my characters any age I wanted, but I prefer not to pigeon hole them and instead let them tell me who they are, how old they are, what their sexual preferences are, and who they love.
Q: Was there one particular scene that was your favorite in Assumed Calling? Please tell us about that scene. What happens in the scene? Why is it an important scene in the book?
Oh gosh, there are actually a few scenes I really enjoyed writing, but one that sticks out in particular is the scene in which Allen actually pushes the line between him and Nicki and claims her under no uncertain terms. Nicki has extreme highs and lows and anxiety issues and it’s near the end of the book when she goes into a fit of panic. It’s at that point Allen decides it would be all or nothing. Quite tired of playing her way, he tells her such. All or nothing. And claim her he does. I don’t want to give too much away, but it was a pretty intense scene. This is the pivotal point in their relationship where the balance of power and exchange of trust is completed.
Q: Most writers know a lot of things about their characters that never make it into the book. What can you tell us about your characters that didn’t make it into the book?
Oh this is such a good question because there are several characters who make reappearances and are introduced in this book who will be gaining their own stories through Steele Image series and will resurface in the final installment of the Force Recon books. What isn’t shed light on about Allen is, although he’s known Kyle Montgomery for nearly his entire adult life, it will be revealed he helped build Kyle’s empire in an indirect way. Allen will be making shadow appearances in some of the Steele Image books.
Q: Some folks have complained that despite the hype 50 Shades of Grey was pretty tame. Where on the spectrum of erotic do your novels fall?
It depends on the novel. I never plant sex purposely. If the scene warrants sex and it drives the story forward, serves a purpose other than simply I wanted to plant sex, then sex is what the reader gets. I also believe heat is something to be coddled. The entire book should simmer emotionally. The reader needs to feel the tug and pull between the characters well before they fall between the sheets. As for Assumed Calling, if erotic is marked by sex alone, it would fall on the short end of the scale as there isn’t an abundance of physical sex, however the sex which erupts is high on the spectrum. Emotionally it stands on the ten end of the stick.
Now for some just for fun:
Q: On Pinterest are you a A.) Hoarder in disguise (you collect images of everything you like) B.) Minimalist (you only collect images that fit in with some project – my next book – a home remodeling project – etc) C.) you’re not on Pinterest.
C. I was on Pinterest but found it was a time waste and dropped it.
Q: On Twitter are you A.) The life of the party engaging with my friends and followers B.) Mostly a promoter – I use Twitter primarily to promote my books C.) Mostly a lurker. I follow a lot of people looking for useful information – some of which finds its way into my books.
While I do engage people on Twitter, I stay far away from anything resembling drama or scandal and I do use it more as a promotional tool much like I use Facebook.
Q: What’s your favorite social network? Why is it your favorite?
I don’t have a favorite. In truth, I tend to shy away from too much involvement on social media other than engaging my readers with news about my work. I much prefer to fertilize and nurture my blog.
Q: Did you read 50 Shades of Grey? Love it? Hate it? Somewhere in between?
I didn’t read it and have no plan to. At this point I believe the pool surrounding it is tainted and I’m not sure if I’d be swayed by public opinion.
Q: Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
I’m a bit of a hybrid. Typically I’m an introvert by nature insofar as meeting new people, but once I meet them, get to know them, and they’re part of my inner circle of friends I’m a complete extrovert.
Q: Describe your ideal romantic getaway?
I must confess, my husband is gone so often and for such long periods of time, bologna sandwiches and a cheap bottle of wine in our back yard is romantic enough for me.
Q: If you were to be stranded on a desert island with one of your characters which character and why?
Any one of my military characters as they’re self-sufficient and could at least sustain us until help came. J
Q: When it comes to reading do you favor books that are heavy on humor or heavy on angst or is there a happy medium somewhere in the middle that you gravitate to?
I think I veer toward the happy medium. I think you can become emotionally overloaded with angst and need a bit of brevity to lighten it occasionally.
Thanks for having me by today!
It’s definitely my pleasure to have you here today. Thanks for spending some of your valuable time chatting with us.
by Lila Munro
Like the beat of a primal drum whispering the rhythm of an ancient dance, the lifestyle calls…
At the seasoned age of fifty-six, Allen Bourke has resigned himself to the fact he’ll probably never find someone to top he can also love. While he’s had wives and lovers, none of them endured and he’s come to the conclusion the clock’s ticking and age is working against him. Then a very intriguing Nicki Cartwright pings on his radar at what Allen determines will be his last house party. He can’t help but notice while he and his friends are getting older, the players emerging on the scene are forever getting younger. Nicki’s no exception. Determined to resist the vibes humming between them, he only agrees to service her after his old friend, Kyle Montgomery, convinces him it’s entirely feasible. Then it’s brought to Allen’s attention who Nicki really is. Knowing their pasts are forever intertwined, as hard as he tries to ignore his heart, he finds himself yielding to the tides of fate.
Born to senatorial royalty, Nicki Cartwright has spent her entire life trying to shield her mother from her father’s wrath while drifting further and further into a world where panic is normal and anxiety is always on the edge of her reality. Tired of burning the candle at both ends and forever trying to live up to the picture of All-American perfection her father James Cartwright touts as his ace in the hole during election cycles, Nicki finds herself on the path of self-discovery in search of relief from the stressors continually swamping her mind. What she doesn’t expect is to find who she thought she was is truly just a shadow of the person she really is. And what scares her most is the fact Allen, the only person she thought she could trust, has been holding a secret since before she was born which could destroy her entire family.
“Mom’s not with James in Vermont,” Nicki blurted as if she’d been holding the information for so long it was about to eat her alive. “In fact, she’s been out of the public eye for a while now. So far my father’s handlers have been able to convince the press she’s been away visiting family or busy writing her memoirs in private while they’re on vacation. The truth is, only one of those numbers is my therapist. The rest are her doctors. At Cedar Ridge…” She trailed off, a tear rolling down her cheek to meet Allen’s right thumb as he stroked along the corner of her mouth. “She’s an inpatient. He finally ran her crazy and she’s being treated for a psychosis and chemical dependency on prescription meds and alcohol.”
“Can I have something a little stronger? Than water?”
Nicki’s seemingly innocuous question came back to mock Allen. Although there were no signs she was hooked on anything in her apartment, not all addicts failed to hide the evidence. Some were closeted so carefully nothing short of a complete breakdown outed them.
“And you? Do you share your mother’s problems?” he asked.
“I’m not a drunk and I don’t pop pills,” she snapped, anger overtaking her features and overshadowing her fear.
“I wasn’t trying to offend you, Nicki. But I need to know these things. I like you, but we can’t play if I don’t have all the cards face up and I’m too old to allow some things into my life no matter how much I like someone. So if there’s anything I need to know, now would be a good time to spill it. And. I. Mean. Everything.”
Lila Munro’s Bio & Links:
Lila Munro currently resides on the coast of North Carolina with her husband and their two four-legged kids. She’s a military wife with an empty nest and takes much of her inspiration for her heroes from the marines she’s lived around for the past fifteen years. Coining the term realmantica, she strives to produce quality romance in a realistic setting. Her genre of choice is contemporary romance that spans everything from the sensual to BDSM and ménage. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading everything she can get her hands on, trips to the museum and aquarium, taking field research trips, and soaking up the sun on the nearby beaches. Her works include The Executive Officer’s Wife, Bound By Trust, Destiny’s Fire, Salvation, Three for Keeps, the Force Recon series, the Slower Lower series, and the Identity series. She’s a member in good standing of RWA and Passionate Ink. Currently she’s working on sequels to several series to be released throughout 2012-2013 and has a brand new line scheduled for winter 2012-13. Ms. Munro loves to hear from her readers and can be found at:
You can also contact her via email at email@example.com ,
and you can find all her works at:
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