Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Author Manda Collins interview – A Good Rake is Hard To Find

Since March came in like a lion I thought we'd take it out with a Rake so today I welcome back historical romance author Manda Collins chatting about her latest release, A Good Rake is Hard to Find.


Heartbroken by the loss of her brother, Miss Leonora Craven vows to uncover the truth about his "accident," which seems to have been anything but. Jonathan Craven was involved with the Lords of Anarchy, a notorious driving club, and Leonora can't help but suspect foul play. But the only way she can infiltrate their reckless inner circle is to enlist the help of Jonny's closest ally, Lord Frederick Lisle. If only he didn't also happen to be the man who broke Leonora's heart…

Frederick isn't surprised to find gorgeous, headstrong Leonora playing detective, but he knows that the Lords of Anarchy mean business--and he has no choice but to protect her. A sham engagement to Leonora will allow Frederick to bring her into the club and along for the ride. But it isn't long before pretending to be lovers leads to very real passion. With everything to lose, is their tempestuous affair worth the risk?

Manda Welcome back to The Reading Frenzy.
I LOVE the title to your new Historical Romance, A Good Rake Is Hard To Find.
Tell us a little about it.
Thanks so much for having me back! I’m so excited to talk about this book. It’s a reunited lovers story mixed in with a murder mystery. Our heroine, Leonora, is desperate to discover what really happened when her brother died while racing with his driving club, The Lords of Anarchy. And being a lady, and non-member, she needs a man to help her get access to the club. Her one hope is Lord Frederick Lisle, her brother’s best friend, and also, her former fiancé.

The Title is so catchy; it makes me want to smile and read the book.
Did you choose it?
Thank you! I did choose it. Creating titles is one of the most fun parts of my job. In this case, I knew my trilogy would be centered around the controversial Lords of Anarchy driving club, so I came up with three titles that played on the concept of good versus bad. So we have A Good Rake is Hard to Find and Good Earl Gone Bad. What’s funny is I always think I’m being so original, and then after the books are already in production I’ll hear about someone else with a similar title. It’s just the nature of the beast, I guess. Lots of creative minds out there swimming in the same literary pool.

This is the first book in your Lords of Anarchy series.
How are they connected?
The books are connected by the driving club The Lords of Anarchy. In the first book, the heroine’s brother is the actual club member. In the second, the heroine is the club member. Through the series, the club undergoes a lot of changes because of things happening in its leadership. Which makes for a slightly different club each go round. It keeps the stories fresh, I think.

Now let’s talk about the cover.
Is the naked chested hero on the cover still coveted or is it on it’s way out?
As far as I know, the naked chested hero is here to stay! We wanted this series to start out with a bang, and that’s certainly what this cover delivers. It’s a much more high-octane, alpha male cover than I’ve had before. And it’s the perfect splash for a series centered around a scandalous driving club.

Manda last time we chatted you said you’d love to write full time but it just wasn't feasible.
Are you any closer to realizing that dream?
With every book I’m getting closer. Now it’s just a matter of taking a leap. And I’m still not quite ready to do that yet. At the moment, I still enjoy my day job too much to give it up.

Manda you’ve got a few books under your belt now and are no longer a novice novelist :)
What about the entire writing a novel process is the most difficult for you?
You’d think after eight novels and two novellas I’d have the formula down pat. But every book is different. And still, the most difficult part of it is actually getting myself in front of the computer and writing. Once I get started and am in the world of the story, things are okay, but sometimes it’s just hard for me to get started.
And if I don’t have a strong idea of where I want the story to go, then it’s doubly hard. So, I try to make sure my well is full, so to speak. I give myself time to think and to let my subconscious work out what the best hook will be. I watch a lot of television dramas and read a lot of books by other authors. Just basically lookiat the way other writers tell stories and consider what might work in my own writing. And once my story has had enough time to percolate, I begin to write.

Manda we’ve talked before about your love of writing and how long it’s taken you to become a published author. (link to the last interview)
But who were the authors who inspire(d) you?
Outside of romance, I’d say my biggest influences have been Jane Austen and Carolyn Keen (the pseudonym for the multiple authors of the Nancy Drew Mysteries).
And since I’ve been reading romance for 20+ years there are more romance authors than I can name who have inspired me. When I was first discovering romance there were Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley and Mary Balogh (who still inspire me to this day), then came Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Julie Anne Long. And now I can count too many romance writers as friend to single any one out. Suffice it to say that there are some spectacular writers in the Regency historical sub-genre right now. And I’m proud to be one of them.

Manda what are you reading right now?
I’m constantly reading and recommending things. Right now I’m about half-way through an ARC of Jill Shalvis’s STILL THE ONE, which is fantastic. Her books are so funny and smart and give such a great sense of place.

The last book you enjoyed so much you recommended it?
That would have to be MISTRESS FIREBRAND by Donna Thorland. She writes this amazingly well-researched historical fiction with a romantic edge. I just love it. I wish she could write faster, but if she did that then we’d miss out on all that wonderful research she puts into each book. If you haven’t tried her, you definitely should. The first one of hers I read was THE TURNCOAT and it blew me away. And so did THE REBEL PIRATE. They’re all set during the American Revolution, which is a time period I’d love to see come back into vogue for historical romance. 

Manda will you be touring with this book?
If you mean, like, physically touring, then no. But I will be doing some interviews and blog appearances at some select few spots online. It just takes too much time and effort to do too many stops—especially since I’m still balancing writing with the day job. But I love coming to places like The Reading Frenzy where I can chat about the thing I love most in the world—books!

Thanks so much for answering the questions. Good luck with the new novel!
Thank you so much for having me! It was fun!

Here's Manda's 4Star review from RT Magazine

 Connect with Manda - Website - Facebook - Twitter 

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. When she's not writing, she's helping other people use books, as an academic librarian.

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  1. Out like a Rake, I love it!
    This looks like it will be a fun read, great interview Debbie!

    1. Ha, glad I could get a chuckle out of you Ali :)

    2. Isn't it great? I love plays on words:)

    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    4. Hi Manda, it looks like good old blogger is doubling up your replys ;) sorry.
      Thanks a bunch for stopping by!!

    5. Sorry, Debbie! Thanks for hosting me!

    6. Manda it was my pleasure. I'll be chatting with you again I'm sure

  2. Oh my gosh. NEED!! That's like all my favorite things wrapped up into one pretty historical package. lol