Hooray! One of my favorite people is visiting with us today. She’s Manda Collins, who writes delightfully charming historical romance with a dash of mystery. The third book in her Ugly Ducklings Trilogy is now in stores, and Manda is here to tell us all about it.
The trilogy follows three not-so-popular cousins who are the daughters of the famous Featherstone sisters who took the ton by storm a generation ago. I got the idea one evening while watching Entertainment Tonight and thinking about how difficult life must be for those children of celebrated beauties who, for whatever reason, don’t replicate their famous mothers’ successes. I transposed the notion to the Regency period, added some mystery capers, and the Ugly Ducklings were born!
What can you tell us about Madeline and Christian, the heroine and hero of How To Entice an Earl?
Maddie is the most outspoken and irreverent of the Ducklings. While Cecily had her scholarly pursuits and Juliet had her music, however, Maddie has had a hard time carving out a niche for herself. She wants to do this by writing a novel. Like many young ladies of the period she is a great novel reader and hopes to use her novel as a means of casting a light on the dangers of many gentlemanly pursuits like gaming and drinking to excess. Pursuits that the men in her own family have…uh…pursued. You get the idea.
As a military hero, one would think that Christian (newly made an Earl) would be the most serious of his friends. But quite the opposite. Like many young men who have survived harsh circumstances, Christian finds an escape from his past through humor. And thanks to his connections with the War Office, he has been asked to do a bit of investigating from time to time. When his latest assignment brings him literally head to head with Maddie, a heretofore unrecognized attraction blooms between them. And Christian being Christian, he handles the situation with his usual humor and bull-headedness.
In your day job, you’re an academic librarian. Has that made life easier for you as a historical romance author?
Yes and no. Yes, because I know where to go if I need to find some little known historical detail. But, I work at a small liberal arts college and we don’t really have the budget for the kind of super-fancy databases and expensive books that I would truly need to track down every last detail. So I’m rather in the position of knowing it’s out there, but not being able to access it short of a Lear Jet and an unlimited budget. Also, no matter how grateful I am to have it, it’s a day job. Which puts a damper on the writing output. Still I think I’m in a better position than most, and for that I’m grateful.
What’s next for Manda Collins in the book world?
Well, I don’t have a release date for it yet, but I am currently working on a novella that will tie up the Ugly Ducklings Trilogy and offer an introduction into the world of my next trilogy.It is called The Perks of Being a Beauty and tells the story of the girl you love to hate. I won’t say more than that, but rest assured that we learn why she is the way she is and she’ll atone for her past misdeeds.
My next trilogy, the first of which will be called Why Dukes Say I Do will follow the exploits of three widows who are being blackmailed for a murder–a murder that they did not commit. Look for Book 1 in July of 2013.
Vanessa, here. I just love the idea for Manda’s new series, don’t you? And I’m really looking forward to reading her upcoming novella! For my readers today, Manda is giving away one of her books in the Ugly Ducklings Trilogy – reader’s choice. Since Manda always has a mystery element in her books, let’s talk about that. Do you like a little mystery in your romances? What are some of your favorite romantic suspense or mysteries? One person who comments will win a book from the Ugly Ducklings Trilogy.