Author Spotlight Interview: Lilian Monroe
It’s been a while since we last sat down with an author, so today we’re excited to share an interview with Lilian Monroe, author of a dozen successful romance books on Amazon and a rapidly up-and-coming romance writer. While she’s not (yet) in the New York Times bestseller lists, the pace and success of her writing have earned her an increasingly loyal following and hundreds of 5-star reviews, and we’re excited to think that this blog post will be one of those ‘you saw her here first’ milestones in the future.
On Lilian Monroe’s Author Page on Amazon, she jokes about living in a “luxurious jungle treehouse” but that’s not necessarily so far from the truth. Canadian-born, Lilian has used writing as the opportunity to earn a living while traveling the world, with stints in Australia and other far-flung destinations, and currently a base of operations in beautiful Thailand. Lilian’s books have been snowballing in popularity and success, and right from the get-go reviewers like Chrisda praised her writing as “captivating and hilarious” and Charles Smith described her romantic pairings as “really entertaining yet smolderingly hot.”
HG: So, you’re the author of over a dozen successful romance books on Amazon, with an ever-growing fan-base. First off, tell us how you got started writing and publishing in the first place.
LM: I used to work as a civil engineer.
My days were spent either in an office or on construction sites, watching people dig holes and then fill them up with concrete. You think I’m joking… I’m not. It was–how could I put it–less than stimulating. I was bored.
When I found out about self-publishing on Amazon, I knew I wanted to try. I read everything I could find about publishing, slowly working up the nerve to do it. After a couple months, I just told myself, “I can do this.” And then I did it!
As with most things, the learning curve was steeper than I’d anticipated, but the rewards have been more than worth it.
HG: So, your first series of novels was the ‘Doctor’ series. How did that get started, and why did you choose doctors and that niche as your genre? Do you have a medical background? How deep did your research go?
LM: I wish I had a good answer for this, but I don’t. I 100% do not have a medical background. To tell you the truth, I get pretty queasy watching shows about surgery or seeing blood.
Maybe the fact that the medical world is so alien to me is why I think doctors are attractive? That seemed like a good place to start! I used the medical setting as more of a springboard for people to meet and fall in love, rather than an in-depth analysis of medical procedures.
HG: You then moved onto your very popular Knocked Up… series. What do you think the appeal of books with unplanned but happy pregnancies is? And how did you go about choosing the baby daddies? Is there an additional challenge in writing for that kind of character?
LM: I’d say that for young women there’s a lot of fear associated with pregnancy. For most of our adolescence and young adulthood, we’re told that we shouldn’t get pregnant because it would ruin our life as we know it. We watch shows about teen pregnancy and have classes at school about it. All the while, we’re learning about our bodies and about sex, and we’re having all kinds of exciting, confusing, invigorating new experiences.
Maybe having the unthinkable happen, and then having it turn out to be a positive experience is something that strikes a chord with many women. Our adolescent fears turned out to be unfounded!
For me, the challenge with writing baby daddies is making their transformation believable. Usually, the man is going to start off being a bad-boy, or a player, or a closed-off man who’s vowed to never love again, or whatever. Somehow, over the course of the book, you have to make him fall in love with not just the female main character, but also with a completely new life that also includes a child. That can be tough, but if it’s done right it’s very powerful.
HG:My favorite book of yours appeared like a blip during that period. Second Chance is a rockstar romance… set in North Korea! HOW did you come up with the concept for that one, and how much research did you do about life in North Korea?
LM:I love this book, and I had a lot of fun writing it. And you’re right, it was a very random book that just sort of popped out of me, much like one of the babies from the Knocked Up… series.
I did a TON of research for it. It was just one North Korean rabbit hole after another.
About once or twice a month, I’ll get someone signing up for my mailing list after reading Second Chance and it always makes me smile. If someone enjoys that book enough to give me their email, I know that I’ve found my people!
HG: My favorite series of yours, the Clarke Brothers series, followed. I LOVED all three of these books because they just told a beautifully convergent and relevant story and the romance felt really real. What inspired these stories? And how did you come up with each of the distinctly different leading men?
LM: I grew up in Canada, and spent a lot of time in the Rockies. I love the mountains. They are so raw and wild and beautiful. So when all the mountain man books started cropping up on Amazon, I knew I would have to write a series set in the mountains. I chose the Appalachian Mountains, because I’ve always wanted to go spend some time exploring them.
The Clarke brothers were fun leading men to write. I liked writing about siblings that had been through hard times together in their youth. They had all reacted in different ways and grown into distinct men because of it–isn’t that how it usually happens? Having a small-town setting and a complicated family history made it easier to write realistic, flawed, and likable characters.
HG: Out of all the leading men you’ve written about, who would you most be willing to have a Happily Ever After with?
LM: Haha! I’ve never thought of this! I’m a strong independent woman and I don’t need no man!
…But probably Dominic Clarke, if I had to choose.
HG: How does a day’s writing look for you? Do you have a schedule?
LM: I definitely have a schedule!
I usually wake up around 6 and have coffee while I do all my administrative work. Because of the time difference between Thailand and the UK and USA, most of my emails come in while I’m asleep. I deal with those right away, along with managing all my advertisements and social media.
After that, if it’s a writing day, I write! I typically do two to three blocks of writing in a day, aiming for 5000 words per day. In between I’ll eat or go to the gym or to the beach. If I’m really stuck with a book, I try to get away from it and re-attack it when my mind is clear.
HG: What are you working on next? When can we expect to see it?
LM: Rockstars, baby! You can expect to see it NEXT WEEK! I’m dropping three novellas. Each one follows one member of a band during one crazy week, each told from a different perspective.
Super, duper excited about these ones!
HG: What is YOUR favorite book?
LM: My go-to answer for this has always been The Count of Monte Cristo. It’s EPIC.
I’ve read it quite a few times, and it never fails to give me that little satisfying revenge tingle when I get to the end. One of the best stories ever crafted, in my opinion.