Interview with romantic suspense novelist Vella Munn

suspense author Vella Munn is kicking
off a new week talking with me about Death
which has paranormal elements. This is the first day of her tour, too.

During her virtual book tour, Vella will be
awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a
lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your
chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there,
Vella Munn freely admits to being a dedicated and sometimes demented
fiction writer. She has always been drawn to nature and those who feel at home
in it. A career writer, she has had way over 60 books published, most of them
romances both past and present. As far as personal statistics go, she has one
husband, two sons, four grandchildren, and is owned by two rescue dogs. Home is
southern Oregon within a two-hour drive of Crater Lake. She frequently visits
Montana in her mind and heart.

Please share a little bit about your
current release.
Death Chant takes place in what
might be the most amazing place I’ve ever visited, Washington State’s Olympic
Forest. This dense and isolated rain forest grabbed me by the throat the moment
I entered it. I knew I’d found the perfect setting for a story about a woman
looking for her heritage and the answer to the question of who murdered her
mentor, the man she calls Doc. Death
is part romance, part mystery, part suspense, and part paranormal.
Winter Barstow is an anthropologist and Jay Raven is a Native American forest
ranger who resented Doc’s presence in the forest. Much as she’s drawn to Jay,
Winter doesn’t dare entirely trust him. She suspects several people, including
her boss at the university where she works, the regional director, the park
librarian, and Jay’s brother. However, the threats they represent come second
to trying to make sense of the wolf that might or might not be real.

What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve been wanting to write a story about Winter Barstow ever since she
introduced herself to me. She was given that name by the people who found the
toddler wandering around Barstow, California in the winter. She has Native
American features but that’s all she knows about her heritage. She tries to
convince herself that it doesn’t matter but it does. Also, I’ve written a
number of books with wolves in them and the one featured in Death Chant
insisted on a role. Jay, who must find a balance between his career and his
tribe, asked me to help him with his journey. In other words, I was along for
the ride.

Excerpt from Death

She went into the kitchen for a knife and then cut
through the layers of tape. Inside the
package sat a reinforced
cardboard box. She untangled the flaps to reveal a small mountain of wadded
A crawling sensation stopped her from removing the newspaper.
Suddenly, she wished she could walk out of the room. And yet, at the same time,
anticipation made her pulse race. She pressed her hand against her chest then
tossed the paper aside. Closed her eyes and reached in. She touched wood.
Wood. Smooth, with intricately carved curves and angles. She
opened her eyes, carefully freed the object from its cocoon, and lifted it with
numb fingers. Her heart rate kicked up even more as she placed it on the table.
Then she stepped back to study what her mentor, a man who’d given her life
focus, had sent.
A large, intricately decorated mask.
Of a wolf.
Painted red, black and white, and with pointed ears, abalone eyes,
long snout and sharp teeth—teeth capable of tearing and killing.
Childhood memories washed over her and her legs grew weak. Unlike the predator
that had once been a vivid part of her dreams, the mask didn’t look alive. Yet
it took her back to when her dream wolf had been the one good thing about her
world. Either Sitka spruce or western hemlock had been used to form the base shape.
Dried but intact hide stretched over the bridge of the nose, and tufts of
brittle hair formed a dark halo. The teeth were bone fragments that had been
glued or drilled into the jaws.
“Wolf symbolism,” she managed, her hand now at her throat. Native
ceremonial. Surely
stolen. “My God, Doc, what have you done?” Doc was a university anthropology
professor, currently on a grant-supported field project. A professional like
him didn’t remove artifacts from national parks. He didn’t break the law.
And yet he had.
She pulled her gaze away from the mask and stared at the road
beyond her living room window, as if to assure herself that no one could see
what she’d just unveiled. Fortunately, living in a small rental in the desert
east of San Diego gave her elbow room and relatively few neighbors.
The mask was real. But why would Doc violate the Native American
Graves Protection and Repatriation Act getting it to her? The mask wasn’t worth
a one hundred thousand dollar fine and a year in prison.
She circled the table, studying the mask from all angles. There
was something compelling about the cold, lifeless eyes, as well as the
challenge shown in the flared nostrils and fierce open mouth. A master carver
had created it, as evidenced by the lack of tool marks. Her educated guess was
that it had come from either the Makah or Quileute tribes living along the Washington
coast. Then she noted the black accenting the eyes. No. This was more likely
Hoh. Turning from the mask, she dug through the wrapping for a note, but she
found nothing.
Suddenly weary, she pulled her cell phone out of the backpack that
served as her purse and sank into her recliner. She had a message.
It had better be from the man who’d given her equal parts
encouragement and lectures about doing something with her life. According to
the automated voice, he’d called this morning.
“Where are you?” Doc started. “Winter, this has to be
between the two of us. You’re the only one I can trust.”
Trust? What was this about? She shivered.
“I need you up here as soon as possible. There’s—I can barely
bring myself to speak the words. I’m on to something beyond incredible.
Something I believe is worth the risk I took. The danger.”

What exciting story are you working
on next?

Thanks for using the word exciting because that’s how I feel about the romantic
suspense series I’m doing that draws on my loathing of animal abusers. Punish,
the first book in the series, just came out and I’m working on the others.
There’s violence in Punish, but I hope readers agree with me that this is a
subject that can’t be soft-peddled. Each book focuses on a different couple as
they come to grips with the reality of several large dogs that exact their code
of revenge on animal abusers.

When did you first consider yourself a
LOL. I can’t remember when I didn’t think of myself as a writer. I was
raised in a remote mining/logging town where my mother was the only teacher at
a one-room school. There was no such thing as TV, even radio reception but we
had books. My first creative creation was a comic book with the Lone Ranger’s
horse Silver. My younger sister wisely praised it so my career is all her

Do you write full-time? If so,
what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do
you find time to write?

Writing has been my career for so long I no longer have any other marketable
skills. That said, I don’t write all the time. I’ve found that my brain is good
for about 3,000 words a day. I was responsible for my mother up until her death
this spring. My husband is disabled and our son who lives with us has had four
back surgeries so I balance writing and everything that goes with the title
with Life 101.

What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?

Hmm. Good
question. I love having Pandora radio on. Even if I’m not actively listening to
it, the songs take me out of myself and into my fictional world. I write
barefoot in summer, in slippers come winter.

As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?

My sister
and I were going to raise and train thoroughbred horses.

Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
Just that setting is an important element in most of my writing. I’m a
country hick. I don’t write about city settings because I can’t connect with
something I’ve had very little experience with. Also, I’d rather dust than go
shopping and I can put of dusting for forever.

Website | Facebook | Facebook
Author Page
| Amazon

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!
No, thank
you for having me!

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8 thoughts on “Interview with romantic suspense novelist Vella Munn

  1. Unknown says:

    Wow, Lisa, what a great promo. I always feel a little strange tooting my own horn. You've done a spectacular job of it. BTW my one and only niece's name is Lisa so of course I love you even more. 🙂

  2. Unknown says:

    As I close things down and wait for the super moon to show up on the west coast, I want to again thank Lisa and everyone who responded. Reward time for all those solitary hours with the 'people' rattling around in my head.

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