Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Today's Special - - Manda Collins



It's always a pleasure to welcome Manda Collins here at The Romance Dish. Manda has been a friend for many years and over the past few I've been delighted to add published author to that friendship label. Manda writes the kind of books I love to read, filling them with vibrant characters, fast-paced stories and a perfect blend of mystery and romance. She's here today to chat about her new book (out today!) that kicks off an exciting new series about a curricle racing club in regency England. I've read it and it's terrific; in my opinion, her best work yet. I can't wait for her to tell you all about it. Please give Manda a warm welcome! 


Welcome back, Manda!  You have a new series that kicks off today.  Who are the Lords of Anarchy and what will their series be about?

Thank you so much for having me back, PJ! I love visiting The Romance Dish! The Lords of Anarchy are a Regency-era driving club who are notorious as much for the things they do aside from driving as they are for their skills with the reins. The series focuses on stories that have some connection with the club, either peripherally, or on club members themselves. It will vary from book to book.

A GOOD RAKE IS HARD TO FIND (love that title!) is the first book in the series. What should readers expect from this story?

Thank you for the title compliment! I love it too. This story centers around Miss Leonora Craven and Lord Frederick Lisle (whom you might remember from his cameo in his brother Archer’s book, WHY LORDS LOSE THEIR HEARTS), who were betrothed once upon a time, but for reasons broke it off. But when Leonora’s brother—a member of the Lords of Anarchy—is killed during a curricle race, she has to seek out Freddie’s help to find out the real story of what happened. Readers should expect romance, angst, humor and mystery—all rolled into one!

I love second chance romances.  What is it about this trope that inspires you as an author? How did Leonora and Freddy convince you they deserved a second chance?

Obviously it’s a trope I love too. There’s just something inherently fascinating to me about the possibility of a love gone wrong being righted. And to many other authors, too! When I was brainstorming this story, I already knew Freddie from Archer’s book and I wanted to tell his story. But he’d just come back to England after years on the Continent. And as I started to unravel why, it came to me that he had gone away because he’d had his heart broken. Freddie is a pretty strong character so I knew he needed an equally strong heroine. And who better to tame a player like Freddie but a woman who is famous in her own right and an intellectual to boot. I knew these two crazy kids needed to get a second chance and so I started writing their story.

What inspired you to create a series of books centered around the members of a driving club? Were there actual driving clubs of this type in England or is this a product of your imagination?

The current popularity of Motorcycle Club romances (thanks, I think, in no small part to the television show Sons of Anarchy) got me to thinking about how I could adapt that concept for the Regency audience. I knew a bit about The Four Horse Club, aka The Four-in-Hand Club (though this is often referred to as a misnomer), from other Regency stories. They were pretty notorious during the Regency era and the Prince Regent was their most famous member. By the time my story begins, the original FHC had been dissolved then re-created, and they were known for driving coach and fours. So, I decided to create a variation of my own. A club for curricle aficionados. I couldn’t find any proof that any curricle clubs actually existed, but I decided to create one rather than tampering with the actual historical FHC.

I really enjoy the mysteries that you weave through your stories. To which authors do you turn when you want to read a good mystery or mystery/romance?

Thank you so much! A Nancy Drew book was the first chapter book I remember reading, so I’ve been reading mysteries longer than romance. So I enjoy stories that blend together my two favorite genres. I am a huge romantic suspense fan, so Karen Rose and Laura Griffin are essential reading for me. I also enjoy the romantic suspense stories of my blogmates Rachel Grant, Gwen Hernandez, Carey Baldwin and Krista Hall. And for straight up mysteries, I love Karin Slaughter, Jane Casey and Sharon Bolton. There are a lot of fantastic writers of suspense and romantic suspense out there these days.

The Easter Bunny will be making his rounds in a few days which, of course has everyone voicing their opinions on that age-old question: to Peep or not to Peep.  What goodies would you want to find in your Easter basket? Cadbury eggs? Marshmallow filled bunnies? Peeps? Or maybe something else?

I definitely have a soft spot for Peeps! I prefer chocolate, of course, but Peeps will do in a pinch. And I like Cadbury eggs, but I try to eat them in moderation. Since I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, I’ve actually had to search out alternatives to the usual candy treats. My favorite discovery is stevia sweetened chocolates from Chocorite. It’s actual chocolate, it just uses stevia instead of sugar. With one carb and few calories, it’s guilt-free and hits my chocolate spot!

I saw a segment on TV recently about it never being too late to learn a new skill. Leonora, the heroine of A GOOD RAKE IS HARD TO FIND is a successful poetess while one of her best friends, Hermione is a skilled carriage driver. What new skill would you like to learn?

Oh gosh! That’s a tough one. Something I’ve been thinking about lately, though, is that I might like to learn how to draw or paint. My great-grandmother, grandmother and sister are all visual artists and I’d love to be able to follow in their footsteps.

Will you be attending any conferences or book signings where readers will have an opportunity to meet you this year? 

I’m planning to attend the Romance Writers of America in New York City this summer. I had to get waitlisted for the Literacy for Life signing, but I will definitely be at the St. Martin’s Press signing. And it’s always possible that I’ll attend some other smaller conferences this year. I tend to play those by ear.




What's next?

I just turned in edits for the second Lords of Anarchy book, GOOD EARL GONE BAD, which is the story of Leonora’s friend, Lady Hermione Upperton and the Earl of Mainwaring. I’m hoping readers will like this opposites-attract story as much as I enjoyed writing it!


I'm really excited about this one!








Thanks so much for visiting with us, Manda.  Would you like to ask our readers a question today?

Thanks again for having me here, PJ! And I’d love to know what your readers think about reunited lovers stories! I’ll give a copy of A GOOD RAKE IS HARD TO FIND to one lucky commenter!


Find more information about Manda Collins and her books at her website.  To connect with her online, visit her on Facebook.

53 comments:

  1. Manda Collins is a new author to me. This book is definitely going on my wish list. How could it not with a cover like that Absolutely sexy! I will look on Facebook for the author page.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, Ann! Be sure to check back in a couple days. You could be our lucky winner! :)

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    2. Thanks, Anne! I hope you enjoy it!

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  2. Manda, did you just hear me squeeing? Jo Beverley shared the cover, Booklist quote, and link for AGRIHTF on FB! How great is that!

    The reunion trope is my absolute favorite--one more reason to love your new book. I agree with PJ that it is your best yet. Also like PJ, I am so-o eager for Hermione's story.

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    1. Squeeing right along with you, Janga! Off to check out Jo Bev's FB page!

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    2. Thank you, Janga! That's pretty much a dream come true, so I can check that off now;) Very cool and surreal!

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    3. Thank you for the squeeage, PJ! And for hosting me today! You guys rock!

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  3. Congrats on today's release, Manda. I already know I'll love this series just because I've loved your writing since Day One! :-) Reunited lovers. Yes, I have a soft spot for those stories. Eloisa does a fantastic job of it. "When The Duke Returns" comes to mind, but I can't quite make up my mind if it's a "reunion" story or not since Isadore and Simeon were children when they were betrothed. And then, of course, "This Duchess of Mine" has Jemma and Elijah. I loved the conflict between those two. Gotta get in a few more writing hours, then I'm headed to B&N to pick up my copy of Good Rake.:-)

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    1. Thank you so much, Cinthia! That means so much:) I'm in total agreement with you about EJ's reunited lovers. She really has a knack for writing them and infusing them with such passion.

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  4. If there was a good reason for the separation like in A Rake to Rescue Her by Julia Justiss I like second chance stories

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    1. Good point, JCP! The separation does need to make sense. I guess it's in the hands of the readers now to decide if mine does!, Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I've enjoyed her stories but have not read this series. I love variety so I enjoy almost any story line - this would be one that I would enjoy!

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    1. Catslady, this is the first book in a new series. I loved it! :)

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  6. I enjoy the reunited lovers trope. There's a guarantee of character growth--if everything stayed the same, they wouldn't reunite. Thanks for the post and giveaway.

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    1. I agree, LSU. I think that character growth is one of the reasons I enjoy this trope - and A Good Rake is Hard to Find - so much.

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    2. Good point, LSUReader. Maybe that's why writers and readers both like this trope so much!

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  7. Congratulations on the new series. I always enjoy the reunited lovers trope. There's something about a couple having a history together and getting a second chance to make things right.

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    1. I think we can all appreciate the opportunity to have a second chance. Hope you enjoy the book!

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    2. Thank you, Kim! I agree about second chances:)

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  8. love reunited lovers stories--lots of "stuff" to get through to get to the HEA
    Denise

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  9. I love the covers for both books! Second chances are kind of hard for me to get into because they already know each other and have skipped the first encounter and the reader gets to miss that part! :( However, there's been a few that have positively been amazing and I have loved!
    I have added both your books to my TBR =D

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    1. Thanks about the covers! I understand about missing the spark of the first meet. Though I did try to give that to their first meet here. Hope it works for you! Thanks for the TBR add!

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  10. I love them!!! I love the spark and the "dance" of the reconciliation :) Congrats to Manda on the new release! Love her books!

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    1. Thanks, Erin! There's a definite choreography for reconciling an estranged couple! Great metaphor!

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  11. Congrats on your new release! I love reunited stories because it is something that can happen in real life.

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  12. Hi Manda, I was pleased to receive a copy of A Good Rake is Hard to Find in the mail today. I didn't order it so it must have been a contest win of some sort, but I don't remember which one. In any event, I'm happy to have it and thank you so very much! I was wondering how many books will be in this new series?

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    1. Hi Karen! You're welcome! I can't remember which contest it was from. But congrats anyway! Right now this is just a trilogy. I might try working within this same "world" after these three are finished though.

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  13. Why was I thinking this came out next month?? Congrats on the release, Manda! I second Karen's question and add one any idea how many books in the series and any idea when book 2 will be out?

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    1. Hi Glenda! Book 2 is set to release October 6. Right now the description for it is wonky on the retail sites, so be sure to check out my website for the correct one. Maybe you thought it was a true April book? (We call books out in the last week of March "April" books though it makes no sense.)

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  14. Why was I thinking this came out next month?? Congrats on the release, Manda! I second Karen's question and add one any idea how many books in the series and any idea when book 2 will be out?

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  15. I love it when misunderstandings and difficulties are cleared up when lovers are reunited - the couple can really appreciate things that much more.

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    1. Me too, Di! I love leading them into their HEA!

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  16. I love second chances/reunion stories because my husband and I have been together 30 years because we took a second chance. Like the idea of the driving club stories and look forward to reading A Good Rake is Hard to Find.

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    1. Aww, how great, Laura! I love real life HEAs! Thanks so much for sharing yours!

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  17. Maturity opens our eyes to what we let go of in the past, so I like to root for the H& H the second time around and cross my fingers they get it right! I hope Leonora and Freddy are listening!

    I'm looking forward to reading about all of Lisle brothers and the Curricle Riders Club members.

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    1. So true about maturity, Laurie! Hope you enjoy Leonora and Freddy's story!

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  18. Congrats, Manda! I'm so excited for this new book! And by the way, I have to say I adore your covers - they're beautiful! :)

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    1. Oh, and I LOVE reunited lover stories! <3

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    2. Aren't these covers gorgeous? I've been so lucky with them St. Martin's does great work! Hope you enjoy the book!

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  19. I always love to find out what pulled the lovers apart in the first place & watch them overcome this.

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    1. Me too, Mary. I think it adds an extra depth to the story.

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  20. Those covers are awesome. This is going on my TRL. Thanks for the post.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. Aren't they beautiful? The story within is pretty awesome too! :)

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    2. I forgot to mention that I do love reading second chance love stories.It's interesting watching them reunite.
      Carol L

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    3. I forgot to mention that I do love reading second chance love stories.It's interesting watching them reunite.
      Carol L

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  21. I love second chance love stories,they are one of my favorite!And the cover is so yummy :D Sounds great this book,looking forward to read!
    Thanks for the amazing intereview Manda and TRC :)

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  22. I love reunited lovers stories. They are one of my favorites. Love your books, Manda!

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  23. I've always loved to read a story where the characters get that second chance to get things right, especially if things had gone so horribly wrong the first time. :D

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