Megan's 5 star rated Contemporary Romance

Monday, 16 July 2012

A Warm Welcome to Janet Mullany
Janet Mullany, granddaughter of an Edwardian housemaid, was born in England but now lives near Washington, DC. Her debut book was Dedication, the only Signet Regency to have two bondage scenes (and which was reissued with even more sex in April 2012 from Loose-Id). Her next book, The Rules of Gentility (HarperCollins 2007) was acquired by Little Black Dress (UK) for whom she wrote three more Regency chicklits, A Most Lamentable Comedy, Improper Relations, and Mr. Bishop and the Actress. Her career as a writer who does terrible things to Jane Austen began in 2010 with the publication of Jane and the Damned (HarperCollins), and Jane Austen: Blood Persuasion (2011) about Jane as a vampire, and a modern retelling of Emma, Little to Hex Her, in the anthology Bespelling Jane Austen headlined by Mary Balogh.
She also writes contemporary erotic fiction for Harlequin, Tell Me More (2011) and Hidden Paradise (September, 2012).
Here's Janet's latest release:
The Malorie Phoenix by Janet Mullany 
Benedict de Malorie, Earl of Trevisan, can never forget the masked woman he met one night at a London pleasure garden. The clever pickpocket stole his heart and his family's prized jewel – the Malorie Phoenix. But the family treasure reappears in Benedict's darkest hour, returned by its thief, along with the unexpected gift of his infant daughter. 
Believing that she is dying, Jenny Smith leaves her daughter in the custody of the baby’s blueblood father. Seven years later she finds herself in good health and alone, yearning for her only child. To raise enough money to support them both, she takes part in a daring escapade that requires her to impersonate a woman of quality. She fools the ton and Benedict himself.
When Jenny finds herself entangled in a murderous plot against Benedict, the father of her child, her carefully laid plans begin to fall apart. All she wants is her daughter back, but she never thought she'd fall in love with Benedict. Revealing her part in the plot means she will almost certainly lose Benedict and their daughter forever. But continuing to play her role puts them all in terrible danger.

Before treating us to an excerpt, Janet Reveals:

From where do you get inspiration and what inspired you to write The Malorie Phoenix?
The Malorie Phoenix is based mostly on a manuscript that finaled in the 2003 Golden Heart. I recycled the hero and the villain but I recycled the heroine from another ms. I’m very big on recycling, sometimes hunting through fragments to find one sentence I can’t bear to waste. I became fascinated with the idea of a heroine originally from a very poor background impersonating a gentlewoman. How could she get away with it? Why wouldn’t anyone recognize her? What would she need to know and how would she learn?

In a couple of sentences, describe the hero’s character.  What do you like best/least about him?
Benedict de Malorie inherited his title unexpectedly and under tragic circumstances, and on the worst night of his life discovered he had an infant daughter to care for. He’s determined to protect his name and family honor and do his best for those in his care. It’s only that he’s so proud and sarcastic (like most of my heroes) that stops him being absolutely unbearably perfect. And, oh yeah, he’s hot. What’s not to love … well, I don’t like that he’s an aristocrat. I prefer to write about commoners now, but then I was trying to crack the romance code.

And the heroine? How do you relate to her?
Jenny Smith is a survivor in a time when women and the poor are of little account and steals and lies to make a living. She makes the terrible decision to give her child into the care of the baby’s father when she thinks she’s dying. And later she’ll do almost anything to get her daughter back. I loved the idea of having a very low born woman masquerade as a woman of quality, and had to come up with a plausible backstory to make it possible.

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your books?
A sense that they’ve been moved and entertained, and that the characters will stay with them for a while. And naturally that they’ll rush out to buy my backlist! I think one of the things we’ve lost with ebooks is that you can no longer press a book into someone’s hands and say “You must read this!” It’s a shame.

What do you think are the main ingredients for a successful book?
Strong writing. I can forgive a lot if the writing has style and flair. I tend to judge books by how well they distract me on my commute (by Washington DC Metro). If I miss a stop, that’s a very good book. If I get on the wrong line because I’m reading at the station and not paying attention and don’t notice until it’s too late, that’s an excellent book.

Have you ever suffered from writer's block?

I don’t suffer from writer’s block as such—I can always squeeze something out knowing I can go back and clean it up later. I think it’s important to keep the story going, if necessary jumping ahead and returning later. The most successful writers I know are ones who regularly write a couple thousand words a day: productivity is so important in genre fiction. A kitchen timer set for 20 minutes works for me, as does having music playing. It’s a wonderful feeling when the words just flow, but it can be hard to get to that point.

What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
I’ll turn this around by saying that hearing “You can’t do that in a romance,” and ignoring it and doing it anyway because I knew it was right was the best writing advice I gave myself. The other advice, which I knew instinctively, was to read, and read very widely, something I’d done for years before I started writing. It’s the way you develop your voice, and you get a feel for what works in fiction and what doesn’t.

What can we look forward to from you in the near future?
My next book is an erotic contemporary from Harlequin, Hidden Paradise in September 2012. It’s about an Austen-themed resort where people lose their inhibitions and their authentic Regency clothes. What happens at Paradise Hall stays in Paradise Hall!

What was your favourite book as a child/teen/adult? Are you currently reading anything?
I loved the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis. I still do, despite their heavy handed religious message (and sexism, racism, you name it). I’m currently reading Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady by Kate Summerscale. It’s about how things were changing for women in the mid nineteenth century when the divorce laws changed, and how a middle-aged, middle-class woman kept a diary of her love affairs.

What is your culinary speciality?
I make very good bread. I find getting my hands in dough very calming and the process is always surprising and wonderful. I blogged about it here.

Now A Taste of Janet:

She recognized him immediately although he had changed. The man who stood there was taller, a little broader in the shoulder, with a wary, damaged look in his eyes—a man who had reason to mistrust the world. His hair sprang back from his brow as she remembered, a streak of white where seven years ago she had seen the raw red of a burn.
"Ladies." He bowed. His voice was as she remembered, deep, resonant, beautiful.
 "You are come at a happy time, Trevisan. Look who has arrived this hour from the Continent!"
 He straightened, his golden eyes cold as he looked at her. "Indeed. The lost lamb is returned to the fold."
He looked down to one side as a small figure stepped from behind him. "Ladies, I should like to introduce my daughter, Miss Sarah de Malorie."
My friends call me Malorie.
His face softened as he placed one hand on the child's shoulder. She looked at them with solemn eyes beneath a cloud of dark curls.
Her eyes had changed color, now the same dark-rimmed golden eyes of her father, and her face echoed his, in a smaller and more feminine form—the promise of high cheekbones above childishly rounded cheeks. Jenny remembered the cloudy blue eyes of an infant who had just learned to smile, the wide stretch of her tiny pink mouth. Forgive me.
Beside Jenny, Mrs. Stanley sucked her breath in sharply. "Good afternoon." Sarah's voice was soft and sweet. She looked at her father for approval. None of the Stanley family moved. Jenny stepped forward. "Good afternoon, Sarah."Her daughter hesitated before an answering smile lit up her face. She tucked one foot behind the other and dropped a neat, elegant curtsy.
Forgive me.
Follow the rest of Janet's tour here

Janet's Links: Twitter @Janet_Mullany Facebook:
  Amazon buy linkclick here

Thanks for having me visit! 
Thank you for dropping by. Pleasure to meet you!
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  1. This seems interesting! Love the first lines from the blurb.

  2. Hi Leah and Megan. Thanks so much for having me visit today. I'll be dropping in during the day (dayjob intervenes).

  3. Hi Janet,
    Pleasure to have you here. Love the way you have fun with your writing.

  4. I agree-writing quality is definitely paramount. Congratulations on the release!


  5. Good afternoon, everyone, I'm back! I'm wondering, since I talked some about Benedict, what do YOU look for in a hero when you read?

    1. Interesting question,Janet. I quite like to see shades of beta in romance heroes. Out and out alphas can be unbearable.

  6. Love you Janet, can't wait for this one. I too love a common man, I mean just how many devastatingly handsome dukes can there be?

  7. Megan, I think I tend toward the gamma heroes! I agree, after a while I find I want to slap alphas and tell them to get over themselves. Benedict is about as alpha as I get, but he's alpha in a Georgian aristocrat way--very protective of his honor and of those he loves. He is an ex-soldier but I don't really get into that at all; it was just one of the professions open to a younger son (which he was then) and for plot reasons I had to get him out of London! He could quite as easily have been a clergyman busy classifying snails or something.

    Trace, this is such a favorite gripe of mine. Obviously there must be dozens--at least three for every woman on the Regency marriage mart!

  8. I also like the idea of a "lowly born" woman masquerading as a highbrow lady. It does raise the question of, "How does she pull it off?" Where does one go for instruction in how to pull off such a ruse? It sounds like a book I would enjoy!
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

  9. THE MALORIE PHOENIX is just my kind of book. I can't wait to find out how you go about pretending to be high born.


  10. Hi Catherine and marybelle, thanks so much for stopping by! Without undue spoilers, Jenny takes a shortcut by becoming a courtesan in a rather minor, domestic sort of way and learns manners and how to read and write. So that helps a lot, as does the fact that the woman whose identity she assumes has been abroad for seven years. No FB, no skype, no cameras ... physically someone can change a lot in seven years (mid teens to mid twenties). Also the Stanley family are not that well born--they're nouveau riche and clawing their way into society.