We are here today talking with Monica Burns. On behalf of everyone here Monica I want to
say thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with us.
Thanks for having me, Cassandra. I love talking romance with readers, so I’m never too
busy to chat.
Love’s Portrait is to be released soon. This is wonderful story Monica could you tell our
readers about it?
Sure, this story is somewhat of a departure from my usual fare, and I’m looking forward to
readers impressions and thoughts on this story.
When Julia Westgard commissions a nude portrait of herself, her rebellious behavior puts
her at odds with the Marlborough Set’s most notorious rake, Morgan St. Claire. From the
first moment Morgan sees Julia’s portrait, he’s determined to have her. But the woman he
meets is a far cry from the image on canvas. What starts out as a simple exercise in
seduction quickly evolves into a quest to reveal the true Julia Westgard. With each
sensually, erotic encounter, he employs every seductive weapon at his disposal in hopes
of making Julia see she really is the woman in Love’s Portrait.
What gave you the idea to use a nude portrait of Love’s Portrait leading lady Julia
Westgard as a way for her rebuild her spirit?
I love the fine arts, and there are some wonderful nudes done by Titian, Rembrandt,
Bouguereau, Boucher and other artists that I absolutely love. In fact, it was the nude
portrait, Venus of Urbino, by Titian that was the initial inspiration for this story. There
was something of a come hither look in that woman’s eyes, and I came up with the
portrait as a way to bring the hero and heroine together. But, as usual, the characters
took over, and the portrait became pivotal in Julia’s growth.
Monica we all know men do not like to show their weakness. Why did you choose
migraines for Morgan St. Claire, the leading man of Love’s Portrait?
I wanted to show a side of Morgan that illustrated not only his vulnerabilities, but his
determination never to give up as well. Migraines showed him as vulnerable, and it also
shows the reader how stubborn he can be. Something he needs in spades when it comes
Monica how much research did you do before writing Love’s Portrait?
Where I’m concerned, research is on a continuous basis. I’ve been studying the Victorian
era for more than two years now. I find that the more one researches, the easier it is to
write your settings. I’m at a point where the Victorian era just comes naturally to me
when I’m blending in facts with my work. But there are always facts that need to be
verified. With each successive book, my feel for a for the era flows more naturally through
the story. It becomes a familiar character that I get to revisit each time I write a new
Did you learn something new that you did not know about that time period while writing
Actually I did. I learned exactly where the Clarendon Hotel was, and still is, in London
along with a bit of its history. I had originally thought the hotel was closer to the
government seat and the fashionable housing districts. In fact the hotel was nowhere
near this area, and it was across the Thames River in the East End of London. I also
learned the hotel has been in existence since the Georgian era and is still serving
customers today. I’d love to stay there one day just for the thrill of it.
Where will we be able to buy Love’s Portrait?
Love’s Portrait will be available at the end of August, first part of September, at New
What is it about the Victorian era that draws you to write historical romances?
The Victorian era is such a rich period, especially the latter portion of the era. I love the
clothes, the way industrialization is just burgeoning all over the place. It gives an author
so much to work with in terms of characters. I’ve always been fascinated with the past. It’s often a spotlight on where we were and how we got to where we are now. Although
there are times when I think humankind hasn’t progressed all that far.
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you because of your writing?
One of my siblings indicated that they wouldn’t read my erotic romances because they
didn’t want to get that deep into my head. LOL I can understand that in a bizarre sort of
way. A lot of people think that writers put their personal fantasies down on paper. That’s
not true for all writers. My work is based on what my characters insist should be written. I
don’t have a whole lot of control, which is a BIG problem sometimes because I’m a major
control freak. LOL
Do you usually outline your stories before you write them?
I seldom use any type of outline. I’m very much a pantser. For my single titles, I do
generate a synopsis with some details, but as for a specific outline I can’t write that way.
Since my characters are the ones in charge, writing an outline is futile. It NEVER goes the
way I try to create it. The characters are always so emphatic in their demands to have
things their way! LOL
What sorts of things inspire you to write?
Music is a wonderful inspiration for me. I have play lists that I create in my Media Player
that are geared toward specific types of writing. If I have a seductive scene I play one
list, if I have a scene with verbal sparring, I listen to something else. I also love books
and movies. They serve as a great source of inspiration because I’ll see or read a scene
and go, ‘hmmm, what if the hero did something different.’ That makes me grab my ‘idea’
notebook and scribble in it. I do the same thing with any type of books I read. A large
portion of my reading is historical nonfiction. I love my research and research gives me
TONS of inspirational ideas. In fact, a real person was the inspiration for the manuscript
my agent is working to sell now.
Monica out of the characters you have written who is your favorite?
Oh this is so hard to answer. I have so many favorites, a couple of which are not even
published. At the moment, I have to admit that it’s a toss up between Devlyn from Love’s
Revenge and Morgan from Love’s Portrait. I adore both of them. If I were to pick a
heroine, it would have to be Rhea from a book that needs a great deal of revision, but
she's a wonderful heroine. My goal is to see her name in print in the next couple of years.
On a more personal level, do you do something special when you complete a book as a
Finishing a book is usually just such a welcome release that all I want to do is vegetate.
So I do just that. I veg in front of the TV. I seldom turn on the TV unless it’s to check out
a particular historical program, so watching something fun like Star Trek, Xena,
Highlander, Angel, Gilmore Girls or other types of TV shows is a great way to celebrate.
Helps get the creative juices flowing again. I reserve any big celebrations, like dinners out
or a new outfit for special events like a great review, a print release, a new contract,
things like that.
What sort of hobbies do you have?
Camping is one of my favorite ways to spend time with my family. We get to enjoy the
great outdoors and I take my laptop so that I can enjoy some quiet writing time on the
drive to and from the campground. We take the kids bike riding or visit historical places
(sometimes the kids get really annoyed with me for dragging to one museum after
another. LOL). Other hobbies I enjoy, include playing PS2 games with my kids, reading,
cooking for friends and walking.
What is your favorite way to relax?
I’m not sure I know how to relax. I hate not having something to do. I think if I had to
pick a favorite way to relax it would be sitting around the dinner table with my friends
after a great meal and enjoying stimulating debates on all types of subjects.
What is your website address?
Do you have any future project in the works? Can you give us a hint of what that might
I’ve got several irons in the fire. I’m working on the sequel to Mirage, a single title my
agent has out to several NY houses, and I’m working with my critique partner on a holiday
anthology, called Holly, Ivy and Me, for New Concepts Publishing. We don’t have a release
date for the anthology yet. Then there’s the print publication of Rogue in Disguise, which
is due out in Waldenbooks this coming fall. I’m really excited about that. Naturally, I’ve
also got a pot full of ideas bubbling on the burner in the back of my head. I only wish I
had more time. LOL
Thank you again for chatting with us Monica!
Thank you for asking me Cassandra, I enjoyed answering your questions.