Continuing our SCANDALOUS AFFAIR, we would like to welcome Manda Collins today to UTC. She’s just released the last book in her UGLY DUCKLINGS series and has more historical romance in store for us! Please give her a warm welcome 😉
What would be the best way to introduce a new reader to your series?
I would describe my trilogy as Nancy Drew meets Jane Austen. Three couples meet, fall in love, and work together to solve a mystery in Regency England. I’d say the author whose books mine most closely resemble are the regency adventure romances of Amanda Quick.
How did the Ugly Ducklings come to be?
I got the idea for the Ugly Ducklings one night while I was watching an entertainment news show. They were spotlighting the child of a very famous, very beautiful couple and were very subtly snarking about how the daughter just wasn’t quite as beautiful or successful as her mother. As sometimes happens, I started thinking about how that would work in Regency England. I remembered the very famous Gunning sisters who came to London and took the ton by storm, and I wondered what it would have been like to be one of their daughters, perhaps their not so beautiful or successful daughters. From there the Ugly Ducklings were born!
HOW TO ENTICE AN EARL is the last book in the Trilogy. What was your inspiration for Lady Madeline Essex and Christian Monteith?
For Maddie, I took Reese Witherspoon as my inspiration. She’s got just the right amount of sweetness and sass to portray Maddie perfectly. For Christian I chose the handsome and dashing and just a little bit rough, David Beckham. Yummy!
February is our historical romance month and we always want to know … Why historical romance for you, as your genre of choice?
I’ve been a fan of historical romance from my very earliest romance reading days. And more specifically of the Regency period. There’s just something so romantic about a couple twirling through a ballroom locked in an embrace. No matter how many times I explore the history of the era, I always manage to uncover some new detail that makes the period come alive. Especially now, when there don’t seem to be any rules for how to behave or how to interact with the opposite sex, it’s fascinating to read about a time where everything is orchestrated from the first meeting on. Also, the clothes are pretty and the men are handsome:)
Mixing fact and fiction in a historical romance can be hard. What kind of research did you have to do and do you have one fun memory to share?
My most interesting research came when I was researching for How to Romance a Rake. I stumbled across some really macabre details while I was exploring the history of prosthetics during the Napoleonic Wars. Apparently, the Marquess of Uxbridge lost his leg i the battle of Waterloo. And afterwards, some enterprising soul decided to put the actual severed limb on display in a shrine to the great British War Hero. People actually paid money to come and see the decaying leg for a while after the war ended. When the British government got wind of this, they put a stop to it pronto, but that someone thought to do it at all was crazy!
We are always nosy and want to know what our favorite authors are reading… So what book did you just finish and what are you reading next?
I just finished Lisa Kleypas’ wonderful new book, Crystal Cove. It’s quite a departure for her, but I think it works really well. I thought the romance itself was intense and lovely. And the paranormal elements really worked beautifully.
Next up, I’m reading Lisa Garder’s new one, Touch and Go. So far it’s great!
Do you have a favorite scene from HOW TO ENTICE AN EARL? Care to share with us?
My favorite scene comes not long after Maddie and Christian get married, when Christian gives Maddie a particularly appropriate (for her) gift. (I won’t say what it is to keep from ruining the surprise.) It’s such a sweet gesture and it shows that Christian really and truly gets Maddie and sees what’s important to her.
Your series is available on audio! Always something we look forward to here at UTC. How does it feel for you to have someone else reading your book to the world? And were you involved during the recording process?
I love the fact that Tantor Audio has seen to it that the audio versions of the Ugly Duckling trilogy have come out on the same day as the print/digital versions. I think the narrator, Anne Flosnik, has done an amazing job at bringing my characters to life. Unfortunately, I had no hand in the production of the audio versions, but I know that Anne and the whole Tantor team has done an outstanding job on each of the audio books. I could not be happier with them.
Now that the trilogy is finished, what is your next project?
First, there is one little bit of unfinished business where the Ugly Ducklings are concerned. And I plan to take care of that in a novella that will be coming out in the next several months. A novella that will star the very difficult Miss Amelia Snowe.
I’m also excited to say that my next trilogy will begin in July with Why Duke’s Say I Do. The trilogy will focus on three widows who witness the untimely death of the Duke of Ormonde, who also happens to be married to one of the ladies. The trilogy will follow the widows as they one by one fall victim to a ruthless blackmailer who will stop at nothing to see them pay for the duke’s death. It will contain my usual mix of humor and mystery and sweet romance.
How exciting! We can’t wait for both the novella and the new series to come out! Thank you so much for sharing with us today.
Lady Madeline Essex is the last of the unwed “ducklings” in her family—and by far the most outspoken. But when she boldly enters London’s most notorious gaming house in search of fodder for her novel, even her sharp tongue can’t save her from the horrible crime she stumbles upon there. As luck would have it, first on the scene is the last man she wants to see her vulnerable. The one man who could tempt her heart…
Christian Monteith, the new Earl of Gresham, isn’t much for card rooms and gaming hells. But as a favor to his former commanding officer, he’s investigating a gamester for espionage on the night that Maddie ventures in looking more enticing than he’s ever seen her. Suddenly, his feelings for his friend aren’t so friendly anymore. And when her curiosity brings the impetuous novelist to the attention of a madman, Christian will stop at nothing to protect her—from a sinister plot that is far more dangerous than any stolen kiss…
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Manda 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 three cats, sometimes a dog, sometimes her sister, and more books than strictly necessary.
Ms. Collins has a copy of HOW TO ENTICE AN EARL up for grabs.