Title: Family of Lies
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Synopsis: After growing up poor in Texas, Vera Lomax used every gold-digging trick in the book to land a rich husband. Now living in the lap of luxury in San Francisco, her only job is to fawn over her much-older husband, so it’s been easy for her to balance a life of shopping and affairs with younger men with a major secret: the sixteen-year bribery of one of her husband’s mistresses to keep her pregnancy under wraps. Vera figures that a little hush money every month will ensure her husband’s fortune is hers alone. . .
Unfortunately for Vera, Sarah Cooper is the child Kenneth Lomax always wanted. When the father she never knew shows up at her mother’s funeral to claim her, it’s a fairy tale journey from the ghetto to a mansion on a hill. But Sarah’s life is not as carefree as her father wants it to be . . .because Sarah knows from the start that her step-mother is as two-faced as they come. And after losing all the family she’s ever known, she wants a life that’s richer than what Vera’s got planned for her.
Neither woman can be sure who will win Kenneth’s heart and fortune. But as Vera and Sarah scheme to get what they want, everyone they know will be choosing sides, taking chances, and gambling it all to come out on top.
Author: Mary Monroe
CH: I am so pleased to present to you today, our Celebrity Guest Author, Mary Monroe, who is a New York Times Best Selling Author. She is best known for her novels about contemporary African-American life.
CH: Mary, thank you for joining us and Welcome! Can you sum up your book in 20 words or less?
MM: This book is about a conniving woman and how her plot to steal her elderly husband’s multi-million dollar fortune backfires.
CH: Your books and storylines are very different. Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from when you write?
MM: All of my books are based on my own personal experiences or the experiences of people I know. I also get a lot of inspiration from stories in the headlines. My characters are composites of people I know—including myself.
CH: Since this book is about lies, is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?
MM: It’s a very basic message: there are ALWAYS consequences when we lie. It’s better to be truthful even though that usually includes some consequences too. But lies breed more lies, and more people get hurt by lies than the truth.
CH: Who was your favorite character to write?
MM: I love “underdogs” so, Sarah Cooper was my favorite character to write. She had a rough life, which included poverty and a very dangerous neighborhood for the first fifteen years of her life. She ends up with a mansion and millions of dollars when her biological father finds out she exists.
CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing?
MM: I like to read about things that are “different and exciting,” which is why I write about what I know and things other people would like to read about. I get tons of email from readers who tell me that they can relate to my characters and the situations I put them in.
CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life?
MM: No, it was not hard for me to create believable situations and issues because I take most of them from real life.
CH: Your books are usually very lengthy. How long does it take you to write a book?
MM: I start with a chapter-by-chapter outline, which usually takes about five hours to compose. Then, I do four or five drafts of the whole book. I allow myself at least five to six months to complete the final version, but I wrote Family of Lies in only four months.
CH: Where are you from? Does your background have any influence on your books?
Mary is busy writing one of her story-telling books in her office.
MM: I am originally from a small town in Alabama called Toxey (near Mobile) and I spent my early years in a small town in Ohio called Alliance (near Cleveland). I moved to California in 1973. My background has everything to do with the influence on my books. Some of my relatives and friends are very “colorful,” which means they get caught up in all kinds of situations that involve crime, sex, backstabbing, violence, redemption, and humor. I could write at least a dozen more books based on the antics of the people I know…
CH: What are your three biggest accomplishments?
MM: I taught myself how to write, I survived a very abusive marriage, and I raised two daughters on a shoestring budget.
CH: What was the most exciting thing to happen on your publishing journey?
MM: The two emails I received from Congresswoman Barbara Lee praising my books was the most exciting thing, until I landed a spot on the New York Times Bestsellers List in 2006 with my sixth novel, God Don’t Play.
CH: Which writer do you admire most and why?
MM: I love Toni Morrison. Not only do her books hold my attention, but she’s one of the few authors who encouraged me to keep writing—despite my HUNDREDS of rejection letters before I got my first book contract. She even took the time to critique some of my early work and had she not, I probably would have given up on writing a long time ago.
CH: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
MM: Read as much as you can and as many genres as possible. A good book provides creative nourishment.
CH: What’s next on the agenda in your writing career?
MM: My next release will be a book titled, Bad Blood, and it will be released June 1, 2015. It will deal with revenge and redemption.
CH: Please tell my audience where they can find your website.
MM: My website is www.marymonroe.org.
CH: Where are your books sold?
MM: In all bookstores and online.
CH: Any closing remarks?
MM: I have several new books on my agenda and I hope my readers will continue to support my work!
CH: I’m sure they will support you and your work. Mary Monroe, thank you so much for sharing your literary journey and your latest book with my audience.
MM: You are welcome, Cheryl.
Note: Photos are compliments of Mary Monroe.
CH: Share it, if you like it. I’m counting on you!