I’m thrilled to have my good friend and talented historical romance author Manda Collins on the blog today. Mandy writes witty and charming Regency-set historical romance with a dash of mystery. Her first book, How to Dance With a Duke, debuted to great reviews and spent several weeks on the Bookscan bestseller list. Let’s have a chat with Manda, and see what she’s up to with her latest book, How To Romance A Rake.
Your series is called The Ugly Ducklings. Can you tell us a little bit about it and what inspired the premise?
The concept of three cousins who are considered ugly compared to their glamorous mothers grew out of a story I read somewhere about the famous Gunning Sisters. They were real life Regency characters who came from no-one knows where and took the ton by storm with their beauty and married very, very well. I did a “what if” and wondered what it would be like to be the daughter of such a famed beauty–especially a daughter who suffers by comparison. I came up with the Fabulous Featherstone sisters and out of that grew their daughters, the Ugly Ducklings.
The heroine of How to Romance a Rake, a tremendously appealing character, is not your conventional Regency miss. Can you tell us a little bit about her?
Juliet Shelby is the daughter of Rose, Viscountess Shelby, who is, unfortunately, the vainest of the Featherstone sisters. And when Juliet suffers a disfiguring accident in her teens, Rose thinks not of how awful it must be for Juliet, instead she thinks of how having a daughter who is less than perfect will reflect upon her. So she does her best to make sure that Juliet gets very little notice from the ton. Along with her cousins, Cecily and Maddie, Juliet spends a lot of time sitting out dances with the other wallflowers. But despite her mother’s restrictions, Juliet has managed to become an accomplished pianist. And when her music teacher goes missing Juliet joins forces with swoony Lord Deveril to search for her.
Your stories often revolve around a mystery element. What do you like about combining mystery and romance?
I really like having a strong external conflict for my hero and heroine to work together to solve. My favorite romances are the ones where there is teamwork between the main couple, and what better way to put them to work than in solving a mystery in which the stakes are high for one or both of them?
You’ve recently ventured into the realm of indie publishing. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
In May, I self-published a contemporary novella called LEGALLY YOURS. It’s a reunited lovers story about two former law school classmates who meet again years later. One is a corporate lawyer and the other, who didn’t finish law school is working as a paralegal. Sparks fly, and one thing leads to another and…well, you get the idea. I hope to publish a follow up story in the coming months but it depends on my historical writing schedule. I’ll keep you posted!
What’s up next for Manda?
In January, the third and final Ugly Ducklings story, HOW TO ENTICE AN EARL will be released. It’s Maddie and Monteith’s story and I think readers are really going to love seeing these two together. I know I had a lot of fun writing them!
Thanks so much for being with us today, girlfriend! And here’s the blurb for How to Romance a Rake:
Dancing with Danger
What’s a nice girl like Miss Juliet Shelby doing in a place like Lord Deveril’s ballroom? With her shy demeanor, she’s a total stranger to the dance floor and a source of mockery for the ton. So imagine her surprise when Deveril gallantly comes to her defense—and offers to teach her to dance! Juliet can hardly believe the most handsome bachelor in London would notice her, until he takes her in his arms and sets her heart ablaze…
Playing with Fire
Lord Alec Deveril has never felt such a spark of attraction for an unmarried lady before. Unlike the “fashionable” women he’s accustomed to, Juliet possesses a generous spirit, a fiery intelligence—and an explosive secret. Deep in the London underworld, a dear friend has vanished, and Juliet fears the worst. Deveril insists on helping, escorting her through the darkest alleys in town. But he too is hiding a shocking secret—and the only way he can defeat the devil in his past is to seduce the angel in his arms …
Sounds great, doesn’t it? I had the good fortune to read this book in advance, and I can tell you it’s a tremendously charming and heartfelt book. If you enjoy Amanda Quick’s historical mysteries, you’ll love Manda’s books. And for my readers today, Manda is giving away a copy of her first book, How to Dance With a Duke to one person who comments. Just tell us about one of your favorite mystery or suspense books for a chance to win.
And don’t forget to check out Manda’s website for excerpts and more interesting stuff!
43 thoughts on “Guest Author: Manda Collins & Giveaway!”
I do love John Grisham’s books. Easy, edge of your seat reading. I love the glimpses into the world of law, and law breakers, that I know little of.
I enjoy Grisham, too, Mary! Thanks for coming by!
I’ve always like Robin Cook’s books- medical mysteries.
Sheila, I used to read Robin Cook back in the day. Then I discovered romance;) But he is good stuff!
Mary Higgins Clark and Dean Koontz. Before I fell in love with historical romance, I was a sucker for suspense, thriller and mystery. I still read them though, but not as much as the other. 😀
I used to read everything by Mary Higgins Clark, then I got frustrated with the romances and moved to romantic suspense! I haven’t read Koontz, though my sister loves him.
I also loved John Grisham’s books, but not the ones he writes lately. “How To Dance With A Duke” sounds really good. I have kept my eye out for it to come out. Thanks for the giveaway!
Thanks, Mary! Another Grisham fan, great! He’s a Mississippi boy so as an Alabamian I think of him as a cousin at least!
I’m a fans of Sandra Brown’s book and her book i love is envy 🙂
You know, I haven’t ever tried Sandra Brown! I need to remedy that I guess, but where to start? Thanks for coming by!
Manda, thanks so much for coming on the blog today – always love to have you here!
Hey Vanessa! Thanks so much for having me here today! Sorry for the lull. School starts next week so the day job is sucking up my time!
Loved the first one and I’m very excited about this one!
It’s a lovely book, Erica!
Thank you so much, Erica! You’re a sweetie!
Hi Manda and Vanessa!
Big congrats on your new book, HOW TO ROMANCE A RAKE, I’m looking forward to reading it.
I read HOW TO DANCE WITH A DUKE, great read! Happy to know that book #3, HOW TO ENTICE AN EARL will be out soon….YAY me! LOL!!
I can’t wait to have all the ‘UGLY DUCKLINGS’ in my hands. Thank you Manda!
P.S. ~ please do not enter my name in giveaway. 🙂
It’s a great series, isn’t it, Dalila?
Thank you so much, Dalila! You have excellent taste;) But seriously, thank you. I hope you enjoy HOW TO ROMANCE A RAKE as well!
I really like anything by Heather Graham. Thanks for the chance to win!
HG is pretty awesome, Natasha!
Great choice, Natasha! Thanks for stopping by!
Kinda old school.. but I love re-reading the Sherlock Holmes…
Thanks for the giveaway..
I LOVED those stories in high school, Cate!
Ah, the classics! I admit, I’m a total sucker for Holmes and Watson! Great choice!
Historicals are my favorite, followed by suspense and there are so many authors I enjoy. For romantic suspense Allison Brennan and Beverly Barton are two to come to mind.
Both really good writers, catslady!
Great choices, catlady!
Hi Manda! Hi Vanessa!
Manda, congrats again on the release of HOW TO ROMANCE A RAKE. I loved this book and can’t wait to read Maddie and Monteith’s story in January! You’ve become an auto-buy author for me. Keep writing and I will happily buy! 🙂
One of my favorite romantic suspense authors is Roxanne St. Claire. She’s writing women’s fiction nowadays but has an extensive r/s back list. An author I recently discovered is Linda Castillo. She writes terrific mystery/suspense thrillers set in Ohio’s Amish Country. I highly recommend them!
Vanessa, please exclude me from the giveaway.
Thank you, PJ! I am just so happy you loved Juliet and Alec as much as I did! And great RS choices! I hope that one of these days we’ll get another Roxanne St. Clair romantic suspense. Though I like her straight contemps too. I’ve read Castillo, but I need to catch up on her Amish mysteries. Thanks for the reminder, PJ!
Mystery and suspense stories are always thrilling. I really like when they have elements of other genres blended in. Like Amanda Quick’s mysteries which has historical and paranormal elements in them. I also really like Brenda Joyce’s Deadly series which are historical mysteries. It’s interesting to learn the techniques used to solve murders or pursue criminals in the past and it’s even better when there’s a couple who fall in love doing so.
Love old school Amanda Quick, Na! I’ve never tried, Brenda Joyce. I guess my TBR pile is going to be growing again!:)
my favorite suspense is in death series by jd robb. these books are so awesome, i still love to re-read them even though there’s 30+ books in the series
congrats for the book manda!
Thank you, sienny! I’m slowly working my way through the JD Robb books. But it’s going to take me a while!
I like Christina Dodd’s Betrayal book.
I love Christina’s RS novels, bn.
I haven’t read a lot of mystery or suspense books, but I did like Hounding the Pavement (a dog walker mystery) by Judi McCoy. It was cute and fun.
The Judi McCoy books are on my list to get to, one of these days!
My favorite books have always been historical romance then mystery. I love when the two are mixed together. I haven’t yet read one of your books, but look forward to doing so. I’m always looking for new authors to me. Thank you Vanessa Kelly for introducing me to an unknown author to me. I hope to become a fan.
April, sounds like Manda’s books are right up your alley!
I like anything by Agatha Christie actually… 🙂 Very old school….
Modern day books, I like Christina Dodd. 🙂
Both excellent choices! I’m a big fan of old school, too. Loved the Lord Peter Whimsy series by Dorothy L. Sayers.
Thank you for the give away ! Your books sound wonderfully delightful ! For me it is Grisom all the way I love his books !
I don’t really just read mystery or suspense books as I need some romance in them, but I do love reading romantic suspense! My favourite romantic suspense books are the I-Team series by Pamela Clare. I would definitely recommend them as they have a great balance of suspense and romance.