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October 2nd, 2006

It's Monday Baby...

I used to hate Mondays. They still aren't my favorite day, but I've sort of started looking at them as new beginnings. Like, "On Monday I'll start eating right again." Okay, so that one didn't go so well. Or, "On Monday I'll organize my desk." Huh. Maybe I don't like Mondays after all.

One thing I do like is Sunny Chen's book "Mona Lisa Awakening." It's one of those books I started reading because I knew I'd be interviewing her for the blog, and finished because it was amazing. She's got the kick-butt chick thing down, and you know how much I love that. But I'd like to let Sunny do the talking, so here she is:

1. Tell us briefly what "Mona Lisa Awakening" is about?

“Mona Lisa Awakening” is about a young twenty-one year old orphan named Mona Lisa who lives on the lonely island of Manhattan , surrounded by people, but none of them her own. She’s always been different, never fitting in. Faster and stronger than others, drawn to the night, to darkness, to pain and suffering, and the desire to ease it. She’s surrounded by humans, by strangers, and doesn’t know who she is until one night a wounded man comes to her emergency room. Gryphon, a warrior fleeing his cruel Queen, poisoned by her. A man most beautiful and sad, with skin alabaster white and hair dark as midnight, he draws Lisa, and is drawn by her in turn. He tells her that she is like him. She is a Monère, a child of the moon. Supernatural creatures that fled their dying planet over four millions years ago. They are the truth of what the legends of vampires and werewolves are based upon. And she is a Queen, although not pure…human blood runs in her veins…a Mixed Blood Queen; their first, ever.

2. How did you come up with this fantastic idea for a book?

I had a rich well to draw upon…my Chinese heritage. Just a few days from now, on October 6th, is the Moon Festival, the second most celebrated holiday in China, where people eat special moon cakes to celebrate the autumn harvest, and to give thanks to a special deity, the benevolent moon goddess that resides in paradisal heaven. When humans sleep, she flows down from heaven and binds two lover’s hearts together with a pure silk sash. When the lovers awake, their bound hearts will find each other.

This story sparked my imagination, and the concept of “children of the moon” was born.

3. Tell us more about Mona Lisa and what kind of heroine is she?

Mona Lisa is a child of the moon, lost and lonely, who has to find herself, discover who and what she is. Who discovers love for the very first time, more than one. To save her beautiful men, she ventures into the cruel and shadowy world of the Monère. A world filled with jealous rival Queens , warrior lords, outlaw rogues, and a dark and dangerous demon prince.

4. Tell us about some of your other books and anything you have coming up?

“Mona Lisa Awakening” is my very first novel. Sort of like my own awakening as well, where Dr. Sunny Chen traded in her black stethoscope and white coat for a pen…and the pen name of Sunny…and much more colorful clothes J. Mona Lisa’s story (Mona Lisa Three – a novella) continues in the January ‘07 Berkley anthology, “Over the Moon,” with Angela Knight, MaryJanice Davidson, and Virginia Kantra…all New York Times and USA Today bestsellers, LOL, all but me.

“Mona Lisa Blossoming” comes out in February ’07. For excerpts, please visit my website at www.sunnyauthor.com.

My little novella ( Chinatown ) in the Kensington Aphrodisia anthology, “The Hard Stuff,” which opened the door to my publishing career, is a Golden Leaf finalist, to my delight.

5. Also if you would tell us about your husband's book and what it's like living in a two writer household.

Oh, darling. Now that’s an interesting question…and thank you for asking about Da’s book, “Brothers.” My husband, Da Chen, is a most unusual man. He grew up in China during the Cultural Revolution, the descendant of land owners, and endured much hardship during that black time. Sounds like an old man, doesn’t he? Nope, only 43, and a little hottie, if I do say so, myself. Check out his picture at www.dachen.org. He came to America at the age of 23, went to Columbia University School of Law, and wrote two bestselling memoirs, “Colors of the Mountain” and “Sounds of the River.”

His newest book, a literary fiction just released last week, is about two half brothers who fall in love with the same woman, set against the backdrop of lush China during its tumultuous rise into capitalism. “Brothers” has been wonderfully received, with a starred Kirkus Review, and a starred Booklist review. For my humble self, I’m pretty darned thrilled with the Publishers Weekly review that called Mona Lisa Awakening “a sizzling debut.” My book, by the way, also involves a love triangle, but, well, I gotta say…ahem, my guys have a lot more fun.

And I must say, it’s a lot more fun being an author myself, instead of just the author’s wife…and his first-pass editor and reader. Now he edits my books, in turn…which is a most odd experience. That first time, when he finished reading “Mona Lisa Awakening,” he looked up with this totally dazed, totally shocked _expression, and said, “Sunny, you are a naughty, naughty girl. I was delighted! First, because that told me that my love scenes were good. And second, because I’d never been seen as a naughty girl ever before in my life. Kinda fun to be kicking up my heels alittle now.

6. Is there anything else you'd like readers to know?

Yes, that I LOVED your book, “Charmed & Dangerous,” just took my first delicious bite out of “Charmed & Ready,” and want you to write much, much faster!

(You can see why I adore her so much!)