Friday, March 30, 2012

Tour: The Marriage Contract by Lisa Mondello (Guest Post/Giveaway)

Please give a warm welcome to romance author, Lisa Mondello, who is joining us on her tour for The Marriage Contract with a wonderful post and a surprise giveaway!

Thank you for having me on the blog today.  As a thank you, I am giving away a copy of THE KNIGHT AND MAGGIE’S BABY to one commenter.  So don’t be shy.  Leave a comment for a chance to win!

Characters or Plot by Lisa Mondello

Does the story dictate what the characters will do or does it come out of the characters themselves?  There has much debate about this among writers and readers.  What do you think?

For me, depending on the kind of story I’m writing, a certain amount of the story will come exclusively from the characters.  Those character driven stories tend to be very emotion, with characters struggling to overcome an internal wound, a past loss or to overcome a fear that has kept them from moving on with their lives.  Most all of my contemporary romance stories are character driven in this way, whereas my suspense stories have an equal billing of character and plot.  

Sometimes a single event or place can help create the seed of an idea to build on.  In my upcoming romantic thriller, Material Witness, I explore organized crime in Providence Rhode Island.  Seedy bar, a woman who witnesses a gang murder, the FBI wanting to keep their material witness alive and oh, she’s a well-known crime writer who can’t exactly hide.  That alone can color a story.

But without the aid of suspense or external forces that keep you gripped to the pages, you need a compelling character that you can relate to.  In The Marriage Contract, Cara is approaching 35.  Her parents are selling her childhood home and moving away.  Although she’s a success in her career, her biological clock is ticking loudly.  This is a classic crossroad that many women face in their lives.  Add a live-life-to-the-fullest grandmother, a meddling mother and an old birthday card with a scribbled marriage proposal on it and you have THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT, a romantic comedy about two old friends falling in love…with a push.

When I plotted out THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT, most of the story came from Cara’s hidden desires.  Outwardly she wanted success, to control her own life, and to be with her ho-hum boyfriend.  Inwardly, she wanted love, a family and a home.  All character. 

What about you?  Are your favorite stories character driven or plot driven?  Let me know.

"Hilariously funny!" "Delightful!" 4 STARS Romantic Times Magazine (Book 2 of the Fate with a Helping Hand Series) 
What would you do to get a second chance at love? Sometimes fate needs a little helping hand...
When Ruthie Carvalho finds an old birthday card with a marriage proposal scribbled on the back, she figures she's hit pay dirt and is destined to get her 35 year old daughter married. 
The trouble is, Ruthie can't stand Cara's boyfriend and Cara is just stubborn enough to push in the opposite direction of what her mother wants.
When Devin Michaels gets a phone call from his old friend's mom, he knows Ruthie is up to something. But he's at a crossroad. It's been 17 years since he's seen Cara and memories of their soulful talks and walks on the beach make him long to reconnect. 
Going back to the seaside town of Westport Massachusetts to reconnect with Cara seems like just the thing to do. One look at Cara and the years seem to melt away. With a little help and “creative” planning from Ruthie, can these old friends become lovers and have a second chance at happiness?


“Oh, but...what about the wedding?” Ruthie gasped.

“Who's wedding?”

“Why...yours and Cara's, of course. You did read the card, didn't you?”

“Yes, but...” Puzzled by her query, Devin picked up the card again and turned it over in case he’d missed some important piece of information. The search proved futile.

“Cara will be thirty-five next week.”

“Yes, I know.”

“Well, then you know what that means, don’t you?”

He was silent.

“Do you or don't you intend to honor that contract, young man.” 

A grin tugged at his lips. Although Ruthie's voice held a hint of amusement, he sensed her taking this line of offense immensely serious. 

Knowing in advance how Ruthie Cavarlho operated, he proceeded with caution. “Ruthie, it’s not really a contract.”

“It’s in black and white.”

“Yes, but…it’s bogus. There was no serious intention of marriage by either of us, no meeting of the minds. No-”

“Devin, dear, don’t talk to me in legal mumbo jumbo. I don’t understand a word of it.”

“It was a joke. It’s not legal.”

“Not legal,” Ruthie grunted. 

There was silence on the other end of the line for a few seconds. Devin picked up the ball point pen he'd strangled earlier and started tapping in his desk to fill in the void.

“Would Cara know this?” Ruthie finally asked.

“Well, I-”

“I'll bet she doesn't,” she proclaimed, an undertone of hope resonating in her words. He could almost hear the wheels in her head spinning triumphantly when she declared, “What she doesn't know won't hurt her.”

A grin tugged at his lips. “Ruthie, what are you up to?”

Lisa Mondello is the best selling author of 13 published books.  Her first published book, the award winning  ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU, was recently reissued as an ebook and has had over 226,000 downloads worldwide.  In addition to publishing her Fate with a Helping Hand series, which includes THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT and THE KNIGHT AND MAGGIE'S BABY, she is releasing her popular Texas Hearts Romance series as ebooks in early 2012.  She currently writes for Harlequin Love Inspired Romance and is collaborating with a film producer/screenwriter on a screenplay.  She loves to hear from readers.  You can email her at, find her on her blog talking about writing, movies and music at or chat on Twitter at @LisaMondello.


  1. Hi,
    Great post and interview!! I have not read any of Lisa's books before. This one sounds so good and I am going to have to check out more from her!! Thanks for introducing me to a new author!! I think I like more character driven stories.
    Thanks for the chance to win!!
    Happy Friday!
    Mariann at Belle's Book Bag

  2. I, also, have not read any of Lisa's books but she is definitely going on my TBR list. This books sounds great! I prefer character driven books, but lately I have read a lot of plot driven. But hey, as long as it's a good read who am I to complain :) Thank you for this great giveaway!

  3. Great post. I put The Marriage Contract on the top of my wishlist. Lately, I have been reading more character driven books.It normally doesn't matter to me one way or the other,as long as it has a good story behind it.

    Joanne B

  4. Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by. I've always felt that readers fall in love with a character and remember that more than the plot of a story. For instance, when I think of the movie Out of Africa, I think of that incredibly sweet relationship between Karen and Farah. There's so much more to their relationship than just boss/servant. And at the end of the movie she tells him that it will be like when they were on safari when he would go ahead and make a fire and she would join him later. He tells her that she must make the fire big so he can find her. Such a beautiful relationship.

    So glad to meet you all!

  5. Great post i deffiantley want the marriage contract i love books thanks for this chance to win my email is

  6. Honestly I think I could go either way. There are times where I read alot more character driven plotted stories and that can get a little boring and I need something more to kind of spice it up, so I'll purposefully look through my TBR pile for something that sounds like it is more plot driven.

    I have definitely got The Marriage Contract on my wishlist!

  7. Wonderful post.Excerpt was great. The Marriage Contract is definetely on my TBR list

  8. I love the cover, it's beautiful! The plot sounds like it will be a good book too :) edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOtcom

  9. Thanks for a great post! I've actually already had this book on my wishlist since I have read some great reviews :)

    I could go either way. As long as it's well written, I don't care if it's character or plot driven.

  10. I would love to read this book. It sounds very good. Please enter me in contest.

  11. THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT looks wonderful. I prefer character driven stories. No matter what the plot I need to have a vested interest in the characters.


  12. Thank you all for stopping by and commenting. And thank you Reading Between The Wines Book Club for hosting me! I have used to pick a winner of yesterday's contest and the winner of The Knight and Maggie's Baby is Mariann at Belle's Book Bag. Thank you all for participating!

  13. I haven't read any of Lisa's books yet, but her stories look like the kind I adore reading.
    sallans d at yahoo dot com

  14. Plot is important but characters are what really pull me in. If i love a character I can overlook a weaker plot. If the plot is great but the characters aren't likeable then I just can't get attached to it.

    mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com


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