Welcome Lisa Mondello!

Please welcome to Women Unplugged bestselling author Lisa Mondello! I first met Lisa online through a romance loop for independent authors. Lisa is one of the most forthright authors I have ever met, always willing to answer my questions or provide guidance. I hope you enjoy getting to know Lisa and be sure to say hi in the comment section.

CH: Can you tell me about your ideal reader?
LM: I’m not sure I have an ideal reader.  I want people to be entertained by my stories. For the most part the response to my books has been fabulous.  But every so often I miss the mark with a reader.  And that’s okay too.  I don’t like everything I read either.  So I guess I don’t really have an ideal reader, except I’d love those readers who do enjoy my books to keep coming back to read my back list.

CH: Are you a full time writer? How did you get into writing and why?Her Heart for the Asking by Lisa Mondello

LM: I am a full time writer and have been for several years.  Although I’ve written fiction for over 16 years professionally, my main job while I was trying to break in was freelance work, writing web copy and sales letters.  It paid the bills.  But I’m phasing a lot of that out so I can do more fiction and screenwriting.

CH: What do you do when you aren’t writing?

LM: Listening to music and watching movies.  I’m a big movie buff and I love music of all kinds.  In fact, my kids tell me to turn down the stereo all the time.  What a twist, huh?

CH: Where do you get your ideas?

LM: From everywhere.  I’m working on a story that started out after I read a 3 star review on a book and it turned into a story where a restaurant owner, who has major OCD about her kitchen tools, falls in love with the restaurant critic who had the nerve to give her restaurant a mere 3 star review.  It’s a romantic comedy and I’m having fun with it.

CH: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

LM: Neither, I’m a puzzler.  LOL!  Aren’t you glad you asked me this question?  In fact, I do a workshop on the 4 types of writing profiles for writers, linear, pantser, plotter and puzzler.  I write completely out of order.  It’s not uncommon for me to have an opening scene and an ending written before I even flesh out the story.

CH: Do you design your own covers or use a designer?

LM: I’ve done both. I like having someone else do my covers because sometimes I get tunnel vision.  I like collaborating and getting someone else’s perspective.

CH: Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

LM: I write all over the place; contemporary romance, romantic comedy, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, young adult and inspirational.  I hate limiting myself.  But I do like working on series for the same reason readers like reading them.  I like to revisit characters I’ve become fond of.  And you always wonder how that secondary character you introduced is doing. <G>

The Marriage Contract by Lisa MondelloCH: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

LM: Well, I’ve never been chased by a Colombian drug lord so that is purely fiction.  But the town featured in Cradle of Secrets was clearly modeled after the town I live in.  I wrote a book, The More I See, about a cutting horse trainer who went blind and I’ve never been blind or been on a cutting horse.  But that story was inspired by a friend who’d gone blind for a time and had a guide dog named Otis. I was so impressed by that dog that I had to write a story featuring him!  I also worked with the past president of the National Cutting Horse Association on that book to make sure my research was right.   My book Gypsy Hearts was inspired by my time managing a Boston rock band.  And my Fate with a Helping Hand series is set in Massachusetts in places where I’ve lived and spent a great deal of time.  Other than that, the stories are purely fiction.  I don’t model characters after real life people, although I have used my husband’s stories from when he was a Marine in my books from time to time.

CH: How do you come up with titles?

LM: Sometimes they come before I even start the story and then I change them once I have a handle on where the story is going.  Sometimes, specifically with my Harlequin books, I check out Romantic Times Magazine and see what titles are being used in order to help inspire me so I can give my editor suggestions.  Publishers almost always change the title, so it’s good not to be wed to one in particular.

CH: Do you set writing goals for yourself? If so, are they daily, weekly or monthly?

LM: I do set goals…and I break them.  I’m better with goals and deadlines other people give me.  I know I can break my own deadlines because they’re not set in stone.  Doing freelance for so long I’ve learned to be a back-to-the-wall writer where I can turn out pages fast if I have to.

CH: What do you do when you get stuck while writing a book?LM: Clean the house.  There’s something about facing the toilet bowl that brings clarity. Seriously, I think no-mind work helps to free up the creative side of the brain and get the ideas flowing.  Having said that, I have been inspired while doing housework and have left the toilet brush in the bowl when inspiration strikes.  My family is used to half-done housework.

CH: Tell us about your upcoming book or new release.

LM: By the time this blog is released I will have released 3 of my 4 Texas Hearts Romance back list books as ebooks for Kindle, Nook, Sony, iTunes and Smashwords.  This is a series I wrote for Avalon Books years ago and I’m thrilled to have these books released to a new audience.  The books are Her Heart for the Asking, His Heart for the Trusting and The More I See.  I will also be releasing a new Romantic Thriller in April w/a L.A. Mondello, called Material Witness.  And then a young adult romance I wrote with my daughter will be released in May.  That’s called No Strings Attached.  So 2012 will see a lot of new book releases from me.

CH: If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?

LM: A special education teacher.  I’ve worked in special education as a paraprofessional aid, specifically with learningNothing But Trouble by Lisa Mondello disabled and autistic children and I loved it.  It was one of those jobs where I’d forget I was getting paid to do it.  I’d thought about going back to school and getting my teaching degree at one time, but both writing and teaching are huge commitments and I tend to throw myself fully into what I do.  One or the other would have suffered if I’d tried to do both.  So I went with my first love and continued writing.

CH: What advice would you give to authors considering self-publishing?


a.       Know what you want out of self-publishing.  It helps to know if you’re doing it for the money, to create a buzz with your traditionally published work or if you’re trying to get exposure to attract an agent or publisher.  Then you can plan a strategy.

b.      Make a writing plan – how many books do you intend to self-publish, how often, what do you want to accomplish by self-publishing?

c.       Make a marketing plan and make sure you network with lots of other self-published authors so you can learn the ropes.  Once you self-publish, you’re wearing lots of hats and messing up your hair every time you change them.

d.      Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to spend a lot of money to get published.  You don’t.  There are a lot of free ways to get your books released and get exposure.  Network and keep learning.

CH: Having done both, how does self-publishing differ from traditional publishing?

LM: There is definitely something to be said about writing the book and only thinking about the story.  I like being traditionally published and don’t plan on abandoning that for self-publishing.  However, having published my first book in 1998, I was fortunate enough to have a back list of books and have the rights to those stories reverted back to me.  They were just sitting on my hard drive.  So it seemed like a natural progression to try to do something with them to give my readers a chance to read stories that were published and went out of print before my current releases were published.  So far it’s been working out well.  But self-publishing is a lot of work and you need to be prepared and constantly think about promotion, something that is normally left up to the publishing houses.

Lisa Mondello is the best selling author of 13 published books. Her first published book, the award winning ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU, was recently reissued as an ebook and has had over 350,000 downloads worldwide. In addition to publishing her Fate with a Helping Hand series, which includes ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU, THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT and THE KNIGHT AND MAGGIE’S BABY, she is releasing her popular Texas Hearts series as ebooks in February 2012.  Texas Hearts is HER HEART FOR THE ASKING, HIS HEART FOR THE TRUSTING and THE MORE I SEE.  She currently writes for Harlequin Books and is collaborating with a film producer/screenwriter on a screenplay.

She loves to hear from readers. You can email her atLisaMondello@aol.com, find her on her blog talking about writing, movies and music at http://www.lisamondello.blogspot.com or chat on Twitter at @LisaMondello


About Christy Hayes

A wife, a mother and a writer of romantic women's fiction. I love dogs, exercise and cable news.

Posted on February 20, 2012, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Much thanks Christy for introducing me to Lisa Mondello. I thought I was the only parents whose kids wanted her to turn down the music. Before coming to comments, I looked up Lisa on amazon to get a “feel” for her work.

    Lisa: thanks for your candid responses and for highlighting the different ways we all approach our craft. I enjoy reading about new authors to learn, to get inspiration and to add to my TBR ist of books. I enjoyed this interview. My question to you is: What type of music blares from your speakers? What are your fav type of movies? Thanks 🙂

  2. Christy, thanks for the interview! It’s nice to hear what inspires other authors.

    Lisa, thanks for being so candid and I look forward to reading your Texas Hearts series~

  3. Thanks for sharing Lisa with us, Christy!
    Lisa, I enjoyed reading about how you write, where you get your inspiration, your journey, your life – very varied and full and positive. The interview questions weren’t the “typical” ones I see most of the time. This interview kept my attention throughout and gave me a real sense of Lisa as a person and an author.

  4. As I said in the intro, Lisa has been so generous in helping me and other authors along our journey. I’m so thrilled to have her here today and glad you all are getting to know her!

  5. Good morning everyone! Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the kind words. I always love meeting new people!

    Florence, I listen to just about every kind of music…except jazz. I’m not a jazz fan although I truly appreciate good musicianship and am in awe by jazz musicians. But just to give you an example…this morning I had the head phones on (everyone is home today) and I was blasting LA Woman by the Doors and then went right into Dog Days are Over by Florence and the Machine. These days I’ve been listening to a lot of Motown because of the screenplay I’m working on with a producer. The story is set in 1967 so it’s been fun listening to music from that time.

  6. Florence, just realized I missed the movie question. I love movies. Period. And if I love a movie I’ll watch it over and over again and pick it apart. My family hates that! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Kiss Me Goodbye, Ruthless People or Shining Through. I’m a huge Star Wars fan (old series) and love the Lord of the Rings. I’d love to see What’s Up Doc? again. Haven’t seen it listed. Oh, boy I could go on…

    I usually gravitate to WWII movies, romantic comedy (old and new), gut wrenching dramas (love those), fantasies like LOTR trilogy, edge of your seat suspense (yes, keep me guessing and make me dig my fingernails into the armrest at the movie theater) and Sci/fi stuff that actually has a plot. Wow, in reading that, did I miss a genre? Oh, yeah, horror. Not a fan of horror unless it has a real plot. Then I’m on board. My husband loves those B-horror movies with female characters who do stupid things and you think to yourself, “Is this person too stupid to live?” You know, the ones that get 1 star reviews? He loves them. I usually read or surf the web while he watches those. In fairness, he falls asleep on the sofa when I watch the Hallmark Channel. I love quirky movies, too, that are a little off beat. They usually take me by surprise but I love to see how they’re done.

    What type of movies do you all like? I love talking movies. Netflix and I are best buds. In fact, I credit Netflix for turning me onto the Indie movies that get very little attention from the critics but some are SO good.

    • Oh my, we must be soul sisters 🙂 I love, love movies, watch my favs over every chance I get. I have practically memorized all of the first three Star Wars and recite the opening as it scolls down on the screen. All of Indiana Jones, all of Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and mysteries … old black and white, new romantic comedies like When Harry Met Sally. I had over 400 VCR tapes, now I go to netflix, on demand, free movies, reruns of old noir, Charlie Chan, the Ninja guy and The Thin Man. I just love the medium and used to go to different movie houses in one day. I love the Hallmark Channel, Ted Turner Classics, retro, modern, all of it!!

      Thanks for sharing the love. Motown is a great sound, and who didn’t love Teddy Pendagrass or Barry White. All rock ‘n roll, new rock, old bands … and I did get into jazz and performance artists like Nikki Giovanni and Gill Scott Herron … Blues anyone? I think music and movies are a great way to master our craft and a great way to kick back and hve fun!! Thanks for the visit, it’s been “real.”

  7. Lisa and Christy, I always enjoy hearing how other authors manage their work schedule and come up with ideas. I’m laughing at the half-done housework because I can so relate. 🙂

    Lisa, when and where is your next class on the 4 types of writer profiles?

    Thanks for the wonderful interview!

  8. Great interview for a great author. I have read most of Lisa’s books and whether it was a Love Inspired suspense or on a Texas ranch I enjoyed them all.

  9. Thank you Judy! You’re so good for my ego!

    Sheila, there is nothing planned for a Writing Profile workshop. I know that the Scriptscene chapter of RWA has talked about having me do the online workshop, but no definitely plans have been made.

  10. Thanks for all the great comments, Lisa, and thanks for stopping by Women Unplugged today!

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