You can contact Lila through her personal website http://www.lilamunro.weebly.com, her joint effort website http://www.wickedmuses.webs.com, or through facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Lila_Munro.
The Executive Officer’s Wife is set in Jacksonville, NC and rotates around the military community based there. The heroine, Libby Calhoun, is the daughter of a USMC sniper being held captive. Chase Wayland, the hero, is a former marine turned bodyguard who has been charged with her safety. The road to happily ever after is a bumpy one for them and is filled with twists, turns, and plenty of surprises. There’s also a host of colorful supporting characters that help them find their way. At present The Executive Officer’s Wife is available in e-book format through www.amazon.com, www.allromanceebooks.com, www.1romanceebooks.com, and www.omnilit.com.
This fall it should come available in paperback.
1. Why did you become a writer…was it a dream of yours since you were younger or did the desire to write happen later in your life?
I can remember being in love with the written word since I was old enough to understand I was being read to. I suppose that was sort of the seed from which my desire to write grew. My first real encouragement to do so came when I was in sixth grade. Our creative writing teacher recognized my ability to carry a story line forward and thus the idea was firmly rooted. Throughout high school I dabbled in writing, most of my “stuff” ending up in a trash can because I lacked the confidence and, quite frankly, the drive or technical ability to make it work at that point. Throughout the years I continued this pattern of writing and trashing things. I am married to a marine, therefore, we move—a lot. After our last move, I was unable to secure employment. I was sitting one day reading a romance novel and thought to myself ‘I can do this. I write, and I can at least do this bad.’ So, I had a chat with sweetie, who thought it was worth a try and Lila was born. It took me about four months to write The Executive Officer’s Wife and I’ve been at it ever since.
2. What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?
I knew I wanted to write romance without a doubt, and it just happens that my favorite type of hero surrounds me where I live, so I have plenty of live specimens to glean inspiration from, to include the one that lives in my house. The marines are a tough breed that emulate my hero expectation of alpha on steroids. As far as the story line, I also utilized what I know, the hardships of separation and I took it to the edge of the envelope. My heroines are always strong ladies, but they carry a load of baggage.
3. Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
I do extensive character sketches. It is a skill acquired while taking a seminar in children’s literature. I observe people and take detailed notes of them—their actions, mannerisms, physical traits. I try to imagine what is going on inside their head. Then when I’m ready to develop a character I write their complete history. I know what they eat, drink, their favorite music, their family tree, their nervous habits. These are all things I’ve observed in someone else. So, yes, finally an answer she says, all of my characters have traits or looks or habits of someone I’ve observed, but they are not based on those people specifically. Those I observe give me the basis for the characters, but are not in and of themselves the characters.
4. What was the most interesting research you had to do for any of your books?
Some of my research isn’t exactly PG13 in nature. I am currently working on a series of books called The Sergeants of Lima Company. It’s about three men who take on three of the most baggage ridden women to walk the planet. My first hero, Alec, gets saddled with a stripper named Piper. In order to get into the head of Piper and feel what she feels, I did my research at a strip club and at my local Adam and Eve where most of the dancers in town shop. I have also talked to some very interesting characters about the local underground leather culture so as to be able to understand my second hero’s girl, Abby. She’s damaged in a way Freud probably wouldn’t understand. As you can see, I’m serious about my research and end up in some of the most unusual places.
5. How do you go from an idea for a book to the birth of the story? Is the process the same for every book you write?
Once an idea is conceived I get to know my characters first and foremost. As I already talked about, I have a collection of character sketches. I used to have dozens, but my supply is dwindling. After I choose my line-up, we sit and have a nice long chat. I find out what’s going on in their lives and thus a story-line is born. Then I do a bit of what-iffing and develop a basic plot, outline, and time-line. To me the time-line is critical. I don’t want to say one thing happened at x,y,z time and two chapters later my events are out of order. I would say that the process for every book is basically the same. I rarely start without these elements in place.
6. Do you have any advice for beginning writers on how to write a book? Do you have any advice for them regarding promoting that book once published?
I’m not sure there is any advice out there that truly sums up how to write a book. I do stress the need to research. If you do nothing else, do your research. Without the facts, you cannot give your reader a believable scenario and draw them in to your world. Promoting is harrowing and tiring. Again, research is mandatory. Search the net for resources such as sites that offer free ad space, reviewers, blogs that openly accept guest authors. Keep a notepad handy and make notes of all these things you find. Word of mouth is crucial. Let your friends and family help. Facebook is a great tool, but buyer be warned—do not get caught up in the petty games that go on there. This place requires you to maintain focus at all times so as not to lose sight of it as a great marketing tool. Friends are fine, but don’t allow yourself to be sucked in to the mundane games. I hosted a virtual release party through facebook and it turned out to be a great success. Another thing I do is distribute promotional materials to local used and indie bookstores in my area. They are usually more than willing to support a local writer.