Traveling and Inspiration

When people ask me about the most interesting thing I have ever done in my life, I can’t help smiling as I answer without hesitation, “Traveling.”  I visited over fifty countries on vacation or business trips.  Here are some of the fun things I enjoyed and included in scenes of my books:

  • Toast with vodka in Russian countries. (See my contemporary romance TO LOVE A HERO)
  • Exchange a romantic kiss with my husband on the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (See Rx FOR FUN).
  • Sleep in a chateau in the Loire Valley (See my romantic suspense FRENCH PERIL).
  • Walk overdressed in bathing suit along a nude beach in Greece (still working on the scene in my work-in-progress,ISLAND OF PASSION)

But I experienced more exciting adventures that I hope to incorporate in future books: Ride a camel in Egypt around the pyramids and sphinx; feed the turtle in Seychelles Islands; sail through the Norwegian Fjords; photograph the penguins in Chili; swim with baby sharks in Tahiti; smoke the narghile in Tunisia; and many more…

Traveling is not only about visiting monuments and palaces in foreign countries or snapping photos in front of famous landmarks. Traveling opens new horizons, exposes you to different cultures, and teaches you new words. Every time you travel you are indelibly marked by what you see, what you hear, even what you smell.

When I decided to write novels I already knew that my heroine would be an all-American gal, educated, assertive and independent. But I wanted my hero to be different from the men she meets everyday at work. I wanted to gift her with a man who measures up to my special heroine. During my numerous travels abroad, I observed the foreign male and study how he could attract my American heroine and be worthy of her love.

As a Director of an environmental laboratory I traveled to Russia, Belarus, Ukraine andTraveling and Inspiration
Kazakhstan to refurbish laboratories. In Belarus, I dealt mostly with officers, handsome, reserved, aloof at first sight. While writing TO LOVE A HERO, I practically relived my fantastic trips to Belarus and kept a detailed journal. My story highlights the hospitality and warmth of the gorgeous and valiant Belarusians officers who sing, toast with vodka and make a woman feel like a goddess.

The Russian hero, such as the handsome Major General Sergei of TO LOVE A HERO, is a perfect example of alpha hero: a patriotic officer, authoritative and chauvinistic but protective and gallant, honest and loyal.

In France, the old gallantry has survived and many Frenchmen would not hesitate to write a poem to their beloved. The aristocratic male greets a woman by bowing over her hand for a kiss while the average Frenchman kisses her three times on the cheeks. That custom is not only used with relatives and friends but also with colleagues every day at work. Frenchmen love wine and will have un petit vin, a little wine, at lunch on a daily basis. At dinner, a whole bottleTraveling and Inspiration is a must.

 The French hero is a playboy and a womanizer, determined not to be entrapped, but also a generous and passionate lover.

FRENCH PERIL was inspired by a vacation in the Loire
Valley. I was so impressed by the magnificence of the French chateaux and the wealth of history of that area, I visualized gallant aristocrats entertaining beautiful women in lavishly decorated galleries and plush gardens. Stories played in my mind. I upped the stakes with a missing statue and the murder of a professor to create a romantic suspense, FRENCH PERIL.

The Greek hero is also an alpha hero. In ISLAND OF PASSION, Greek billionaire Stephanos is broody, passionate, athletic and valiant, in love with the sea, he listens more than he talks and has trouble trusting a woman or handing his heart.  

In Mexico, Puerto Rico and South America, I was impressed by the joyful atmosphere. Large families with three or more children are the norm. People dine at late hours. They like music and dance. The father is respected as head of the family.  

The Latino hero is romantic, more of a beta hero. Fun-loving, easy-going.    

In BABIES IN THE BARGAIN, my sweet and spicy medical romance that will be released on July 03, 2009, Dr. Marc Suarez is adored by the female population of the hospital. He is said to collect sport trophies and nurses’ hearts. But a tragic accident changed him into a dedicated father to his orphan nephew.

If you like to travel and love to read, come tour my European romances and read my blog.

I will take you to the exotic Belarus, the plush French Vallée de la Loire, or the romantic Italian city of Napoli, and even the ancient Egyptian civilization and the fabulous beaches of the Seychelles Islands. You will discover various cultures and different customs, drink Vodka, Cognac, Margarita, Amaretto or Ouzo, and experience scrumptious food from faraway places.

BABIES IN THE BARGAIN will be released on July 3rd, 2009 at the Wild Rose Press.  It is a sweet and spicy medical romance in the genre of Grey’s Anatomy and ER,  that has garnered several wins in contests: The Beacon; Launching A Star;  The Suzannah; Great Expectations; Golden Gateway; Gotcha,  Enchanted Words; Winter Rose; Duel on the Delta; Linda Howard Award of Excellence….

A video trailer: 

Short Synopsis: With only one year left to complete her medical training in NeonatoloTraveling and Inspirationgy, Dr. Holly Collier vows not to let anyone mess up her sacrosanct schedule. Especially not the drop-dead gorgeous Dr. Marc Suarez who broke her heart seven years ago. 

When a tragic accident transforms the carefree playboy into a dedicated but novice father to his nephew, Holly gives in to her maternal instincts and turns her structured life upside down for the orphaned preemie. But can she learn to trust Marc again and believe in true love? 

Thank you so much for having me on your blog.

19 Responses to Traveling and Inspiration

  1. Pam S


    What a great post! Has me wanting to pack my bags and head out on my own adventure :).

    Your work looks wonderful, will have to go check it out.

    Best Wishes!

  2. Jacqueline Seewald

    I enjoyed reading your blog. You’ve traveled widely and it’s obviously benefited your writing.

    Jacqueline Seewald
    THE DROWNING POOL, Five Star/Gale romantic mystery

  3. Mona Risk

    Thank you Fran, Mickey Flagg, Mary, LK and Paisley, I appreciate the support and hope you will enjoy BABIES IN THE BARGAIN. Happy reading.

  4. Paisley Kirkpatrick

    Mona, I am so happy that your stories are doing so well. You are the expert when it comes to hunky foreign heros With all of your travels and your interesting job, no wonder you are an expert.

    Good luck with Babies in the Bargain….

  5. LK Hunsaker

    Fun blog, Mona! I also love to travel and incorporate some of it in my work, but I don’t have the kind of exotic experiences you’ve shared! I agree that we are marked by our travels and makes us rounder people.

  6. Mary Ricksen

    How fortunate you are, Mona, to have visited all over the world!
    What a world of stories you have to tell.

  7. Mickey Flagg

    How wonderful to incorporate your travels into your books. That’s neat! Best of luck with your new release tomorrow. I hope it tops the charts 🙂

  8. Fran Lee

    Great article! You are a fabulous author, Mona!

  9. Mona Risk

    Hello Tanya, there was a time ten years ago where I went to the airport as frequently as I visited the grocery stores. It wasn’t always fun and became exhausting but it was part of my job. Come and visit my blog I will take you around the globe in armchair traveling

  10. Mona Risk

    Hi Tricia, if you love to travel, stop by my blog at

    Today we are visting Polynesia and Bora-Bora. I take my readers to different countries around the world at least twice a week.

  11. Tanya Hanson

    Fantastic blog, Mona! Wow, how lucky you are to be so well-travelled. We took our very first trip to New York City not long ago and that to me was a biggie!

    I look forward to you incorporating more travels into stories. How great to have that first-hand insight.

  12. Tricia Schneider

    Wonderful blog, Mona! I am a fellow travel lover as well. I’ve been to several places in the US, Canada and Germany. I have alot more on my wish list! You are blessed to have had the chance to go to so many places. It’s fun to learn about another culture first hand.

  13. Guestauthor

    Judy, thank you for your wishes. I’m very partial to this book. I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

    Hi Helen, can you believe I am in love with my sexy foreign heroes? LOL. Marc is the most romantic one.

    Joan, thank you for stopping by. I agree with you about Marc.

  14. Joan Leacott

    Ah, handsome Marc of the twinkling brown eyes–my first of your heroes–will always be my favorite. I think the lovely Olivia in Rx for Trust will be my favorite heroine. Though all of your characters are delightfully unique no matter where they live. Good luck with your launch of Babies in the Bargain.

  15. Helen Scott Taylor

    Interesting blog, Mona. Sounds as though you have visited some fascinating places. I can vouch that you heroes are wonderful, sexy foreign guys. I’m so pleased that Marc now has his book out. I’m sure it will be a big success.

  16. Mona Risk

    Mary, I wish I can take you with me, but meanwhile I offer armchair traveling through my books.

  17. Mona Risk

    Thank you Kim for inviting me to talk about my numerous trips abroad and the knowledge I gathered during these trips. It’s a real new education, not counting the fact that you have to learn a few words to survive and learn to deal with foreign currencies.

  18. Judy

    Mona, great blog! it’s marvelous that you can combine your life experiences in books in such an intriguing way. Each of your books is unique… Good luck with them!

  19. Mary Marvella

    Awesome blog, Mona. Makes me want to hop a plane and go somewhere. And the heroes! YUM! I’m glad the Romance Junkies invited you!

Back to Top