Sunday, March 08, 2009

Wild Card Weekend with Michelle Monkou

Magical Ingredients of the Perfect Romance Story

The other day I spent hours watching the Food Channel and America’s Test Kitchen on PBS. Show after show, the featured chef prepared meals that ranged from the simple, home-cooked fare to an elaborate, advanced-degree required menu. But most notably at the end the segment, the chef grabbed the plate with fork or spoon in hand, and sampled her masterpiece. Some chefs showed restraint with patting themselves on a job well-done. Others, slurped and gushed over the fantastic taste, plowing through the food in wild abandon.

And I had to sit there inspired…motivated…envious? I’m not sure. Because watching them feast not only made my mouth water, but I wanted in on the party. I wanted to taste that perfect recipe.

In similar fashion, I invite you to my world where we will talk about the magical ingredients to making that perfect romance story. We’ll end up with my creation – Only In Paradise. Feel free to use Julia Child’s, Rachel Ray’s, or the Barefoot Contessa’s voice in your mind to set the tone.

Magical Ingredients

Setting: Fictitious island in the Caribbean. Turquoise water, white sands, lush rainforest, moderate temperatures, a hurricane to add a touch of drama.

Characters: A heroine inspired to follow her dream to be a teacher like her recently deceased grandmother and mother. A risk taker who leaves the comfort of home, family and friends to teach on the island.

A hero who could be mistaken for a young Sidney Poitier, full of gallantry, intelligence, and sexy disposition. A born leader who wants to give back to his childhood community with a school.

Story: La Isla del Azur is a piece of heaven, laced with miles of white-sand beaches lapped by crystal clear turquoise water. For teacher Athena Crawford, the lush Caribbean island offers the career opportunity of a lifetime. But there's trouble in paradise: Collin Winslow, the education project's difficult, drop-dead-gorgeous administrator. When they're not locking horns over teaching methods, they're sharing mind-blowing kisses that leave her confused—and craving more.

Collin was ready to dismiss Athena as an empty-headed beauty. Instead he discovers that she's smart, sexy and dedicated to helping his people. Passion erupts as the island works its sultry magic, but can their delicate relationship weather the storms about to break?

Read slowly or read quickly, but enjoy the sensual, contemporary romance – Only In Paradise – in paperback from Harlequin’s Kimani Romance.

Now you share the magical ingredients of a romance story. I’ll pick a lucky winner to receive a copy of Only In Paradise.

Michelle Monkou
Only In Paradise – March ‘09


  1. Mmm, a young Sidney Poitier, your hero sounds delicious.

  2. The Caribbean setting sounds beautiful... the intense clash between the teacher and the administrator....

    Loved To Sir With Love! Sidney Poitier was a wonderful actor and very handsome! He clashed with the administration and the students. Finally, everyone respected him as a teacher and themselves as worthy individuals.

    I like the inspiration aspect too. We've gotten away from appreciating our roots and family values.

  3. I agree on the inspiration of the Caribbean islands. I have only been to the Dominican Rebublic on Hispanola but can easily imagine it as a setting for romance, all the white sand, tourquoise water, sun and warm temperatures. I will look for your book.


  4. Magical ingredients? I think that has to be the hero.
    Passionate certainly - but he can make the heroine laugh out loud when she doesn't want to.
    And for true magic? He sees something in her below the surface - and falls in love with the real and true person he is helping her become.
    The one and only.
    Now that - must be magical. LOL

  5. Every island has the setting for romance. Throw in the right ingredients and there's a romance story in the making.

    Nice post, Michelle.

  6. Only in Paradise sounds like a great read right about now. I love Contemporary romances, my fav. I loved Sydney Poitier so I can use my imagination on this one.