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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Character Interview: Mona Lisa (The lost interview)

The winner of the copy of my Seducing St. Nic is Antonia Pearce! Woot! Congrats Antonia! If you could email me you email addy via my contact page I'll send the book right out to you!


Now on to some good stuff! I had the honor of interviewing Queen Mona Lisa. She dished about her new territory, Sunny and the oh so deliscious Halcyon!


To buy Mona Lisa's story:
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To read an excerpt of Mona Lisa's story: Click Here



EP: Welcome Mona Lisa. Let me just say what a pleasure it is to have you here at Divas. Please, tell us a little about your story?

ML: Hmmm, well...what to tell. There was Before Gryphon, and then After Gryphon. "Before," I was surrounded by a sea of humans on the lonely island of Manhattan. I'd always been different, my heartbeat more sluggish than others. But my strength, my speed, my vision...faster, stronger and sharper. Especially so after I hit puberty. And pain, suffering, darkness...well, they drew me. Called to me. Choose for me my profession-- nursing.

I always knew I was different, but not how different until a beautiful wounded man wanders into my ER late one cool evening. He looked like an angel spilt from the sky...not a sweet cherub, he, but a darker, more knowing being, tumbled...no, kicked out from paradise. Hair dark, skin alabaster white, eyes blue like a dark summer sky, lips red, full, tempting, and sensual. He drew me like none other. My body wanted him, and my heart desired him, too.

Gryphon. My first love. My arbiter into my real life as a Monere--children of the moon. Supernatural creatures that had fled their dying planet, the moon, over four million years ago. I was a Monere...well, three-quarters of me; the last quarter was human....and I was a Queen. The first, ever, Mixed Blood Queen.


EP: Can you tell us a little about Sunny?

ML: Well, Sunny's alot easier. She's pretty much like me, actually, stumbling around life not knowing who she really was. A dutiful daughter to her Chinese immigrant parents, she graduated from Vassar College and became a family practice physician. Her life, up till then, had been on the straight and narrow academic one. Then her husband, Da Chen. a Columbia law-trained investment banker, decided he wanted to be a writer. And Sunny, crazy enough, encouraged him. Weekends and nights were devoted to editing his writing, stories about his childhood, growing up in China during the Cultural Revolution. Four years later, it finally sold. "Colors of the Mountain" went on to become a NYT bestseller.

Inspired, Sunny tried writing about her own childhood. Alas, the writers' group she read her nascent pages to ripped her writing apart...unnecessarily harsh, looking back. A case of good intent causing bad results. It shut down all attempts at writing for the next seven years.

Failed at writing, Sunny became a full-time mom and devoted herself to developing her family's talent. Thankfully, her children had some talent to develop. Dancing, acting, singing, tumbling classes followed. Ballet recitals. Tap, jazz, tumbling, hip-hop recitals. Roles in community theater plays. Beauty contests...Oh my, I'm tired, myself, just listing it all. Then, finally, an agent and manager, and small appearances as extras on Sesame Street, Saturday Night Live, Jodi Foster's new movie, The Brave One, and a Fuji commercial. All were happy, including Sunny, who believed that her talent was in nurturing other people's talent... Until that fateful day when her young son, then age six, was listing everyone's talent, and Mommy's was: "She drives real well." He meant her chauffeuring them to and from their classes, auditions, and jobs.

A child shall lead you...or give you a swift kick in the pants, in this case. A light bulb goes off in Sunny's head. And she realizes that her children would not respect her unless she developed her own talent. A real wake-up call that got her ass in gear once more to try writing. Thankfully, she'd learned some things since the last attempt. One, that there was no one "right way" to tell a story. Just look at movies; you have some lousy ones and some brilliant, magical ones, and all in-between. The most important thing was just to tell it. Write it, finish it, and then do your darnedest to get it published and into the public's hands.

The other thing she fortunately knew by then was how to tell a story, courtesy of Robert McGee's "The Art of the Story," a 3-day screenwriting seminar, which taught her to really nail down her characters in personality, traits, physical appearance, and then box them tight into situations and let them wriggle creatively out of them. Then go from turning point to turning point (or episode to episode), until you reach the end of the book. Okay, it was a little more complicated than that...it was three long days, after all, but that's the essence, the most important things she learned. She came out of that course saying "Oh, so that's how you write a story." Not that hard or mystical. And, as for creativity, which Sunny thought she lacked...well, that came naturally after she nailed down her characters and knew them, and their world, well.

Two and a half months later, she had a book. This book: Mona Lisa Awakening. Several months after that, she sold her first novella to Kensington, and suddenly found herself not just a romance author, but an erotic romance author. Not what she intended when she first picked up that pen, but when she hit the love scenes...well, the words, the emotions, the action just kept flowing...and flowing...and flowing. She's blushing as she's writing this down, but it just kept coming.

So even though this book is about my awakening, it's a little about Sunny's as well.


EP: How did you keep her on track while she was telling your story?

ML: Well, thankfully, Sunny's not too difficult to handle. Mostly it's a matter of just getting a good night's sleep...she likes to sleep in late. Then writing when she's fresh, from around 10am to 2pm. Of course, 2 o'clock is sometimes when my story is just starting to get underway. I hate it when she leaves me hanging...or even worse...one of my beautiful men hanging until the next day. But she needs to go do what her kids said she does best...chauffeuring. Driving her darling brats to their varied lessons.

EP: Do you have any information about Sunny she would rather you not tell us?

ML: Hah! Do I! Sunny is an ugly duckling that is finally, albeit slowly, turning into a swan. Maybe not to gracefully, but a long way better than the chubby, nerdy, shy kid she used to be. Contacts instead of glasses. And a reason to dress up, finally. She didn't spend much money buying clothes for herself before she became an author. Now, well, she's making up for a long drought.

EP: Do you have a favorite author? (Beside Sunny.)

ML: I love authors who write emotionally, with great heart, and hot. Like Lisa Kleypas, Lori Foster, Linda Howard, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Suzanne Brockmann. It doesn't always have to be sensual, but rich in emotion, rich in love, yes, like fantasy writers Lois McMaster Bujold, Anne Bishop, and early Anne McCaffrey.

EP: You're twenty-one, newly crowned and have a territory of your own. What's next for you? How about Halcyon? Does he ever get to tell his story?

ML: Ah, my new territory. Used to belong to Mona Louisa, a nasty Queen who tried to get rid of me. Turned me over to some outlaw rogues who were not too nice to their women. As punishment, she lost her territory, a prime one in Louisiana, and I got it. Too bad so sad. And good riddance, although, of course, bad things never stay far from me...and Mona Louisa is bad. Very bad. In my eyes, at least. What others considered bad, like Halcyon, my demon prince, who saved me, said he loved me...I didn't see him as bad. Bad for me, yes. But bad in essence, in nature, no. He was lonely and alone among the Moneres as I had been among the humans. And his loneliness called to me. Had I not had my beautiful Gryphon, my strong devoted Amber...had I met Halcyon first...I might have loved him. Returned his love. But I didn't meet him first, and Gryphon...Gryphon is intensely jealous of the demon prince. He is not one of us. And being with him does not strengthen but endangers you are Gryphon's words. Perhaps, then, it is good that we leave High Court and the tempting demon prince behind.

EP: Does he ever find true love?

ML: I asked Halcyon to find another to love, because his attraction for me was hard wear and tear on my body--brought me to the attention of other demons who like to snatch me and use me as bait to draw out the demon prince. But he is unable to do so. Perhaps it is both of our faults, for I am as drawn to him as he is to me. You have so much love within you, he says. Can you not spare a little for me? I don't know. I don't know if it would be better to leave him alone and lonely, to sever the branch completely in the hope that one day new life...new love...might spring forth. Or to love him, as he asks me to...and to risk losing Gryphon and Amber.

EP: If you could meet a "character" from any book by any author, who would it be?

ML: Child of the moon that I am, darkness draws me. No surprise, then, that I like guys not too nice. Bad boys who have suffered, like Lisa Kleypas' Derek Craven in Dreaming of You, a notorious gambling house owner who grew up in the slums of London, rising from a poverty that has left him hardened, tough, not kind. Until love touches him.

EP: Do you have any characteristics that you share with your “creator”?

ML: We both dare dream. Dare reach for our dream, although it took Sunny years...decades...before doing so. We both follow our heart.

EP: You're a pretty fierce chick. Is there any creature that goes bump in the night that scares you?

ML: Fierce? Not how I really think of myself, although a part of me is that. A fighter, yes. Willing to fight for others, always...when I might not fight for myself. And I'm not really brave, as I am, determined. To do right, as I see it. To protect those under my care. Lots of things scare me. Love has come so new to me...is so precious. So what scares me most is anything that threatens those I love.

EP: Before you go, do you and/or your "creator" have a website or blog you'd like to share with our readers?

ML: Ah, how kind of you to ask. For more of me and my beautiful men, please drop in Sunny's website at www.sunnyauthor.com Stay safe, stay well. Until we meet again...Mona Lisa.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Ericka Scott said...

Thanks for sharing so much about yourself and Sunny! I can definitely relate to the "driving her darling brats". . . it's what my darling brats think I do for a living ~ don't they know I'm a AUTHOR?????

June 18, 2007 at 9:54 PM  
Blogger Emma said...

LOL! Erica! Hehe. I have no darling brats. I'm still waiting for my biological clock to kick.

June 19, 2007 at 1:00 PM  

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