Good Afternoon Ms. Mila Ramos and welcome to Coffee Time Romance. I am thrilled to be able to speak with you today about your Torrid Teasers book Smoldering Ember, Touch of Fire. To anyone who has yet to read this, have a cold shower or a ready partner handy, because you are sure to need it! Thank you for allowing us a glimpse into your life Ms. Ramos.
Thank you Lori!
I would like to start out by getting to know you a little better. We always like some good dish, so how about it? Do you still reside in Puerto Rico, or are you in the States and what about your fiance? When is the big day? We are so excited for you!
Well currently I reside in Texas between Dallas and El Paso lol. I'm either traveling home to see my parents and brothers or back to Dallas to be with my fiance, but a true Southwest girl at heart. Have to love those sunsets! I try to go home to Puerto Rico at least once a year to see my other relatives but lately I haven't been able to; I recommend EVERYONE to go to Puerto Rico. As for my fiance, very wonderful man, he's in Dallas finishing up his studies.
Don't be fooled though that he's wonderful, he's also cunning. Never knew he was going to propose to me, and I'm pretty good at guessing his surprises. It was the day of my birthday March 25th and I knew he would be visiting to take me to dinner. It was really rainy that day, lightning and dark skies; absolutely gorgeous. He arrived when I was lecturing to the Organic Chemistry students about what they would be doing for the day. As I sat down to answer some questions, I didn't notice he walked in behind me with multicolored roses. Well we went outside and I gave him a hug, thanking him and he handed over one of my presents. I was so eager to open it that I didn't notice he had dropped to his knees. I looked back to him and asked him why he was down there and he showed me the ring and I screamed. My students on the other hand popped out their head and asked if that counts for extra credit. lol Let me tell you that was a day! Definitely a memberable birthday. The big day is next year August 7th, 2010 and extremely nervous fiance I am!
I also read that you are about to receive your Masters in Chemistry; that is absolutely fantastic, congratulations! I find this so fascinating. What field of study are you working in?
Thank you again! I'm deliriously excited about finishing my Master's. I finish my paperwork and defense at the end of June/early July and then I'm free! Yay! Well for at least a couple of months before I start my doctorate. I am in the field of Organic Chemistry, hoping to specialize in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. I've always been fascinated as to how stuff works, especially medications and vaccines. Why does it react one way with one person and not another. I could go on for years about how much I love it. So yes the advisor I work for is very much used to my far out questions and theories.
You must be a very studious and driven individual. Do you utilize the same principles to produce a work of fiction that you would for a class assignment?
Yes I do. I tend to get very focused on a project, whether its an outline, or a working draft I try to go a piece at a time in writing and break it up over a period of time. Depending on my mood that day I have been known to literally write for 8-9 hours focused on the book. Other times I'll gloss over it and add notes left and right or I'll just hiss at the writing and take a nap. Strange enough I sometimes study the same way. Lately its my writing has been needing to take the back burner since I'm trying to finish my thesis on time. Be a little easier after July.
Do you think your background in Chemistry will enter into your writing at some point, maybe a steamy sci-fi or a sexy who-done-it?
Actually yes, I have two books being worked on that I plan on using my degree. One is more biochemical engineering base, big words to mean paranormal heaven. And the other is a contemporary where the students are chemists themselves.
Writing lusty romance is something you do so well. When did you get the bug to produce such enticing work?
I mostly did sensual poems actually, never thought about books until a friend said I should try to write a book. No clue how to do this at all, but always wondered. Then I won a contest with Midnight Showcase and my first book Prophecy of the Boar of the Jaded Beasts/Destinies anthology come out Dec 2006. Shortly thereafter I had another paranormal story Smoke & Mirrors come out. Since then I've attended conferences, read a million how to books, and just analyze great writing by some awesome authors. I'm still keeping that dream that a book makes it to the top sellers.
Your Torrid Teasers book is a virtual steam bath of romance. The main character in Smoldering Ember is Dr. Cassandra Vance. A woman that is smart, beautiful, and curvaceous. I love that she is luscious and embraces her body. Was this an important aspect to you when you developed her character?
Oooh I like that 'steam bath of romance'. In general, yes, I love my females to be luscious and curvy. Curves were the best things invented! My characters never have been by the book, so usually they way they come out is by me catching them doing introspection and that tells me right there the person they are. With Cassandra she always came across as a strong woman in my mind and loves who she is, feels good about herself. To me, I think a combo of brains and confidence with your inner beauty is a great hit to a man's senses.
How hard was it to redeem Ethan’s character? He seemed so despicable at first, but you accomplished this without turning him into a saint, or having Cassandra look weak.
Extremely hard. It actually was the hardest part to write in the whole book. I treaded on some very sensitive ground and spoke to various friends who went through that situation on different levels to understand Ethan. I honestly am humbled to people when they open up to you and allow you to use some things to improve a character. But to me that makes the stories authentic in the person-to-person aspect.; I would like someone to go 'you know that could really happen'. Those people that allowed me to speak to them about the premise of the book helped immensely understand the thinking, reasoning, even as to the approach for each character. For Ethan, he always came across as a good guy and writing this initially I was going to keep him as the bad guy. But it was a friend words that brought perspective. What if a good guy was forced into a bad situation; is he still a good guy? That gave me direction as to how to redeem Ethan.
Do you usually know the outcome of a story before you begin, or does it take on a life of its own and tend to rewrite itself as it goes along?
Sometimes I know the outcome and its great, I can sit down and focus on each scene and not even worry about the big finale. Other times I have absolutely no clue and try to flesh it out. Sometimes that approach doesn't work. My book Dual Natures took me three months to figure out, and it drove me absolutely nuts. I could feel where I wanted to go. I had the HEA ready, no clue how to get there. Then one night my fiance and close friends had a huge brainstroming session went back and forth with me to get the plot rolling. And boy did it roll, the best night ever actually.
Touch of Fire is the second story in this book, and once again you have a woman emotionally torn apart by a man she loves. Katherine is actually betrayed by her ex-boyfriend, as well as being left behind by her lover Ben. I can easily envision this as a full-length novel. Do you ever use your short stories as a jumping off point for larger works, or are they completely separate entities?
Yes I do. There are a couple. Reel-to-Real, which will be re-released with an expanded version this summer will have its own full-length novel. As will Prophecy of the Boar. I'm currently dabbling whether to go back in the life of Ben and Kat to tell the tale of their past, when they first met since it is a major part of the short story Touch of Fire. Nothing is settled but I'm thinking about it.
Prophecy of the Boar, actually leads to a whole world that I have made up of three different factions (Yay more books!). Due to time constraints I haven't been able to work on it as much but I would really love to focus on those three worlds. Prophecy deals with the members of Cyrenius Core, and talks about two other groups Knights of Epsilon and Mists of Zye (paranormal talk for really cool groups lol). As far as other contemporary works there is only one that I am trying to introduce that would be great, but that area I'm keeping under wraps for now.
How hard is it to flesh out a man like Ben, without making him look like every other hunky hero in romance novels? Is it difficult to maintain a fresh perspective with guys like him?
*sighing as I look at Ben* He's so yummy isn't he?
It’s very hard actually and I love my hunky men. But I tend to think that just as we have different types of heroines, our heroes need that special thing about them to make them so unique. Some type of quirk that makes you wonder why he did it, why he does it at certain time, and could you get him to do it again? It’s those quirks I tend to focus on to heighten some emotions between the couple. As far as perspective, I try with every male character to give them one thing that is essential to them; something that distinguishes them in the personality. There is only so many ways you can describe hair color and height but there's an infinite amount of ways you can describe a man's character. Its that part I focus on when writing my men.
Touching base with you today has been so much fun. Thank you!
And thank you!!
I want everyone to wish Mila Ramos all the best in her future, with her Masters degree and upcoming doctorate, fiancé, and an exciting writing career; she is one very busy lady. Also be sure to check out her story Prophecy of the Boar, as well as Smoke & Mirrors and Reel-to Reel are all being re-released with expanded versions this summer. Prophecy & Smoke will be combined together in the anthology Jaded Destinies and Reel-to-Reel will be a single title. You have the world by the tail Ms. Ramos, and I want to thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today!