When people ask me about the most interesting thing I have ever done in my life, 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 (See Rx FOR FUN).
- Sleep in a chateau in the Loire Valley (See my romantic suspense FRENCH PERIL).
- Walk overdressed in 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 hope 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 write 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 man who measures up to my special heroine. 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 Belarusians 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.
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.
The French hero is a playboy and a womanizer, determined not to be entrapped, but also a generous and passionate lover.
FRENCH PERIL was inspired by a vacation in the Loire
Valley. I was so impressed by the magnificence of the French chateaux 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.
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, my sweet and spicy medical romance that will be released on July 03, 2009, 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.
If you like to travel and love to read, come tour my European romances and read my blog. www.monarisk.blogspot.com
I will take you to the exotic Belarus, the plush French Vallée de la Loire, or the romantic Italian city of Napoli, and even the ancient Egyptian civilization and the fabulous beaches of the Seychelles Islands. You will discover various cultures and different customs, drink Vodka, Cognac, Margarita, Amaretto or Ouzo, and experience scrumptious food from faraway places.
BABIES IN THE BARGAIN will be released on July 3rd, 2009 at the Wild Rose Press. It is a sweet and spicy medical romance in the genre of Grey’s Anatomy and ER, that has garnered several wins in contests: The Beacon; Launching A Star; The Suzannah; Great Expectations; Golden Gateway; Gotcha, Enchanted Words; Winter Rose; Duel on the Delta; Linda Howard Award of Excellence….
A video trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQaxyIdXuAc&feature=channel_page
Short Synopsis: With only one year left to complete her medical training in Neonatology, Dr. Holly Collier vows not to let anyone mess up her sacrosanct schedule. Especially not the drop-dead gorgeous Dr. Marc Suarez who broke her heart seven years ago.
When a tragic accident transforms the carefree playboy into a dedicated but novice father to his nephew, Holly gives in to her maternal instincts and turns her structured life upside down for the orphaned preemie. But can she learn to trust Marc again and believe in true love?
Thank you so much for having me on your blog.