Rule #1: Never play by the rules...You can lead a wallflower to the ball, but you can’t make her bloom—unless one daring young bachelor turns up the heat…
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...
About the Manda CollinsManda Collins spent her teen years wishing she’d been born a couple of centuries earlier, preferably in the English countryside. Time travel being what it is, she resigned herself to life with electricity and indoor plumbing, and read lots of books. An affinity for books led to a graduate degree in English, followed by another in Librarianship. By day, she works as an academic librarian at a small liberal arts college, where she teaches college students how to navigate the tangled world of academic research. A native of coastal Alabama, Manda lives in the house her mother grew up in with two cats, sometimes a dog, sometimes her sister, and more books than strictly necessary.
I first met Manda last February (through online and email) when we were Febutantes together! About six us got together––all of us new historical romance authors, and all with debut novels releasing within days of each other: Heather Snow, Kristen Callihan, Samantha Grace, Ana Randol, and Manda and I. We did a fabulous game show blog starring our heroes and heroines. So much fun! And we still stay in touch.
Jillian: How often do you get lost in a story?
Manda: Every day! I am still a voracious reader. I am almost always in the middle of a book. And it carries over into television shows, movies. Pretty much I’m all about the stories.
Jillian: What’s the first book you remember reading?
Manda: As a very young child I remember loving a large picture book of THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. But I don’t think I actually read it. The first book I remember reading by myself was a Weekly Reader book called ZED AND THE MONSTERS about this little kid named Zed who rids his small southern town of a family of monsters. I loved that book. It’s surprising I didn’t turn out to be a paranormal romance author, I suppose.
Jillian: Describe your favorite kind of hero to read/write?
Manda: I’m a huge fan of beta heroes. I think they’ve gotten a bad rap in recent years because we’ve moved toward this kind of super-extra-alpha hero. But betas are not wimps. They are just as strong and can be just as fierce as alphas. They just take care of things without having to get all the glory. Alec, the hero of my new release HOW TO ROMANCE A RAKE is a beta.
Jillian: I totally agree, Manda. My soon to be released Yard man is also a beta. Not only are they as as brave and fierce as alphas, they're team players and they take care of business.
Jillian: Be honest, when reading 1st person...do you miss the hero’s POV?
Manda: Yes! It’s one of the reasons I’m so reluctant to read 1st person stories. Though some authors get away with it by writing 1st person alternating between hero and heroine.
Jillian: Is writing or story-telling easier for you?
Manda: Story telling. I can always get words down on the page, but crafting the words into a coherent, well-thought out story, is HARD.
Jillian: LOL! I can relate!
Jillian: What’s your favorite kind of story to get lost in?
Manda: I’m a huge reader of romantic suspense. I love that mix of my two favorite genres (mystery and romance) into one. Also, I feel like I am multi-tasking because I’m trying to figure out who done it while I’m reading. An illusion, I know, but it makes me feel like I’m getting something done.
Jillian: You know that I'm with you there. ;)
Jillian: What do you do to unwind and relax?
Manda: I watch reality shows. I never thought I’d be a convert to competition shows, but I love PROJECT RUNWAY and TOP CHEF and I’ve even started watching RESTAURANT IMPOSSIBLE and RAMSEY’S KITCHEN NIGHTMARES. There’s something comforting about the reliable formats. Not unlike that of romance novels. And like romance some are great and some are crappy. It just depends on the skill of the editors.
Jillian: You ought to check out Abby Zidle's blog, as well as her reality TV twitter comments. Pretty amusing! http://abbyzidle.blogspot.com/
Jillian: Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?
Manda: I hate to admit this since I write Historical Romance set in England, but coffee. I take it with lots of cream and lots of sugar.
Jillian: What’s your favorite kid joke?
Manda: Person A: Ask me if I’m a truck. Person B: Are you a truck? Person A (scornfully): No.
Jillian: Haha! Dry for kid humor. I like it.
Commenters take note:
Manda is offering a copy of HOW TO ROMANCE A RAKE to one lucky commenter selected at random. Here's her question: Who is your favorite beta hero?
Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.