Friday, January 16, 2009

Getting to know you! Craftie Ladie of Suspense Lisa Mondello

My this blog has grown and I'm so glad it did! It's great to be hear in such wonderful company. If you're a veteran reader of this blog, you know me. But if you're new, my name is Lisa Mondello and I love writing inspirational romantic suspense for the Love Inspired Suspense line! I'm a Gemini, so I'm use to splitting myself in twos. Part of the day I'm a freelance writer and part of the day I write my stories. I'm the mother of 4 teenagers and am currently elbow high in financial aid forms for my son, who will be going off to college next year. (I can sympathize with those of you in the same boat!)

Here's a little more about me:

1. I have no idea how my parents came up with the name Lisa. I just know that when I was pregnant with my daughters my husband wanted to name both of them Lisa. I nixed that. I wanted them to have their own identity.

2. My writing name is my maiden name. My married name is...well...unusual. Hard to pronounce and hard to spell. I figured if anyone was ever going to find my books on a bookstore shelf I'd better stick with something phonetic!

3. My characters names just pop into my head. If I'd decided a character is going to be part of a particular ethnic group I go searching online at name sites until one jumps out at me.

Three Really Interesting Tidbits about me? My kids will tell there aren't any. But they're teenagers so mom is totally uncool anyway. I'm used to it.

1. I used to manage a regional rock band called Childhood. We did a lot of recording studio time, showcases and even got an all expenses paid trip to NYC to be interviewed by Julie Brown on MTV. Fun days.
2. I'm a huge Elton John fan. I'm not sure there is anyone who's known me for more than 5 seconds who doesn't know that.
3. Oh, man, we have to have 3? Pam? Help me out! You don't I'm uncool like my kids do.

All About My Books:

1. I didn't set out to write suspense originally. Dead people just started showing up in my books. For instance, my first manuscript was supposed to be a Harlequin Romance until a dead body wash up on the Cape Cod shore. Pretty soon my heroine was running for her life from a man she didn't remember because she had amnesia and didn't realize she'd witnessed a murder. After a while you stop fighting it. The rest is history.
2. Ooh, that's hard. It's usually the one I'm working on because that's the one I'm most excited about at the moment. Bird of Prey is a story I'd originally targeted for Harlequin Intrigue when they were having their big writer's contest and it was ultimately requested for a full read. It didn't end up at Harlequin Intrigue, so I am in the process of revising it for Love Inspired Suspense. I'm thrilled to know readers are finally going to be able to read this story because I just love the hero!
3. I'm going to have a hard time remembering the title but it was an Alicia Scott story from way back. I couldn't put it down because I had to see them get away. There was this one scene where they had to crawl through this crevasse to an open cave. The heroine made it through but the hero had filled out a bit since the last time he'd tried to crawl through when he was in high school and got stuck half way through a 20 or 30 foot crevasse. The heroine had to save him when he started turning blue. I remember reading the book and curling into a ball because it felt like I was right there stuck with him. Great book.

I really don't have a favorite author. I love reading a while variety from Nora Roberts, to Gayle Wilson, Lisa Jackson, Suzanne Brockmann, Dee Henderson, Karen Kingsbury and the whole lot from Steeple Hill.

I'm blessed with a lot of writing buds and I don't want to exclude any of them. This group is fantastic. I met a lot of my writing friends way back when on the AOL Series Romance Message Board. Don't go looking for it because it's not there anymore. When it closed, we all picked ourselves up and moved to a new yahoo group we affectionately refer to as the Series Mafia. There are about 30 of us there. Of course Cathy McDavid, Tracy Madison, Natalie Damschroder, Cathy Andorka and Pam Tracy have been my biggest champions throughout the years and have seen me through a lot of personal and professional...stuff.

I think my most loyal fans are my mom and my sisters and sister in law.

Hmm, funniest thing that ever happened to me as a writer??? My friend Jeannie, who is a huge Linda Howard fan, likes to tell the world that I'm a writer. No matter where we are. No matter who is there. I suppose it's funny only if you know Jeannie because, well, she loves me and is proud of me and well, I should really hire her as my publicist.

The craziest thing I ever did to research a book was send a letter to Bernie Taupin's ranch asking for info on cutting horse training. I'd gotten the idea for my book The More I See after reading an article on his ranch and then contracting the book through Avalon. I figured one of my horse owning friends would know SOMETHING about it and help me out, but none of them did. Finally with a deadline looming over my head and no research gathered, my friend Natalie said to me, "What is WRONG with you? You never hesitate to pick up the phone for research." My reply? "But it's Bernie Taupin. You can' t figure out why I'd be a little nervous? You do know who he is, right?" "He owns a ranch, right?" "Yeah." "Oh, he's the rodeo guy you were telling me about?" "Not the reason I'm nervous." And then I told her and she understood but still urged me to make the call. I didn't think I'd actually talk to him but I'd hoped for a ranch hand or manager or stable boy or someone who could point me in the right direction for research. I wimped out and sent a letter and was very surprised to get an email back from someone at the ranch giving me info on who to contact. Very nice of them. I ended up getting in touch with Punk Carter, who was fabulous and The More I See is still one of my favorite books to this day.

A real life murder(s) that still fascinates me to this day is the still unresolved New Bedford Highway Murders. Women were found just a few feet from the side of the road on the highway I traveled every day to go to work. It affected me so profoundly because for a year and a half I drove by these poor women on my way to work and no one knew they were there. The press had all but convicted a boy I'd graduated high school with as the killer, but he was later found to be innocent based on DNA evidence before it ever went to trial. But the damage had been done and he was labeled a killer. (The press hadn't been so quick to scream his innocence in the headlines as they were his supposed guilt.) It was a tragedy on so many levels and the case is now cold.

I'm really thrilled to be on this blog with such fantastic writers. Until next time, many blessings, Lisa Mondello


Ramona Richards said...

One of the first time I ever stayed up past midnight was when our local stations ran a documentary on Elton John. I must have been about 14, and mother thought I'd lost my mind. I totally get the nerves about Bernie Taupin.

Ah, the things we learn about each other while blogging. Thanks for sharing, Lisa.

Lisa Mondello said...

YES, Romana! Someone who gets me! Remember Don Kirshner's Rock Concerts? I'm so dating myself. I pulled a late night when I was 12 because it was only on at like 2 in the morning. I remember keeping the TV really low and wrapping myself in a blanket so I could watch Elton perform and not wake up anyone else in the house.

PamelaTracy said...

Oh, Lisa, what fun. Daniel is still one of my shower songs, as is Yellow Brick Road. I'm not a fan of Benny and the Jets.

Lisa Mondello said...

You don't like Bennie and the Jets? One thing I'd love to do is teach all the DJs in America that Crocodile Rock is NOT the only Elton John song worth playing. He did record a "few" more.

PamelaTracy said...

Oh, and I forgot Crocodile Rock!

Margaret Daley said...

Although I know you, I love reading about you. What an interesting life, Lisa.