Blog Tour: Interview & Giveaway w/ Janet Mullany {THE MALORIE PHOENIX}


Please welcome author Janet Mullany to Novel Reflections. She’s here to talk about her book, THE MALORIE PHOENIX.

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.

Please tell readers a little bit about yourself.

I’ve lived in the US for an embarrassingly long time but I grew up in England and still have the accent, to the extent that people think I’m a new arrival or visitor. My home town was Reading, where Oscar Wilde went to jail and Jane Austen went to school (did you know the proprietor of the school had a prosthetic leg made of cork? Trivia fact of the day). I now live near Washington DC and have a day job with a baroque music organization–after reading, music is my great love although I no longer play an instrument.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’m still surprised I am! When I was quite small I wrote Black Beauty (Anna Sewell) fan fiction but I don’t think it counts. Much later I found that I was drawn to work where I had to write and that apparently this was not a skill everyone had. I started writing seriously in a job where I had time on my hands and spent about a year just messing around–writing short stories, starting a couple of books that I recycled parts of later, doing writing exercises. Quite early on I went to a local writers’ group and read a piece aloud which was very well received. That was thrilling!

What inspired you to write this book?

It’s cannibalized mostly from a manuscript that finaled in the Golden Heart in 2003 but which I could not sell. I then started a rewrite for an option following my first book “Dedication,” pretty ludicrous considering h/h have sex on page 7 and it was the Signet Regency (trad) line. “Dedication” got some buzz for its older h/h and grown up sex, although it’s very tame now, but I rewrote it and published it with Loose-Id (available for Nook and Kindle) earlier this year. A theme I return to again and again is people discovering their true identity; whether it’s self knowledge or they are, like my heroine Jenny Smith, impersonating someone else.

Were any of the characters a challenge to write?

The hero, Benedict de Malorie, became a challenge for me. More recently I’ve adopted the rule that the more aristocratic a character is, the dumber he is. I like to write about commoners, so finding that I’d come up with a virtuous aristocrat ten years ago was a bit of a shock! I think at that point I was trying to conform to the rules of romance that everybody insists do not exist. Was Regency London really full of hot 30-year-old unmarried dukes? Ha. Benedict’s a decent guy–he tries to do the right thing, he’s nice to kids and servants and animals … wake up! So I had to give him a bit of an edge by making him very sensitive about issues regarding honor and the family name. And like most of my heroes, he’s sarcastic.

Please share with us who or what is the antagonist of your story.

I think villains can be tremendous fun to write. In the first manifestation of the book I adopted what I call the “writing sideways” technique where I wrote scenes from the villain’s point of view and expanded on his childhood relationship with the hero. That’s something you don’t always have time to do on a deadline, sadly. So I really knew him very well and what a nasty piece of work he was. I don’t necessarily want to give characters a sappy “good” side–I really hate to think what he would have done with a puppy, for instance–but I don’t like the tendency in genre fiction to have clear cut good/bad characters. I like some ambiguity and gray areas.

How do you like your heroes and heroines?

I like to write characters with self awareness smarts, and courage, and who don’t see the central relationship as some sort of therapy. I avoid tortured heroes like the plague (I generally want to slap them and tell them to get over themselves; I’m not even sure I could write one without tongue in cheek) but it’s important that they’ve had some knocking around during life as well as good experiences–like genuine attachments and relationships with family and friends, and previous love affairs.

What does romance mean to you?

I came to reading romance fairly late and I’m a very picky reader. I read for escape but I want to be wowed by language and craft too. I like writers who have great style and wit and a great voice–Julie Ann Long, Pam Rosenthal, Miranda Neville, Jude Morgan in historicals. I hate the mantitty covers, the cliches, and the kneejerk simplifications that plague the genre. I always feel we as readers should demand more. I guess my gold standard romance is “Wives and Daughters” by Mrs. Gaskell.

What was the last amazing book you read?

“One Was A Soldier” by Julia Spencer-Fleming. It’s about returning veterans and PTSD, completely without sentimentality or flag waving. Technically it’s a mystery, one in a series about a fascinating couple–an Episcopalian priest (she’s also a military helicopter pilot) and the chief of police in a small New England town.

Other than writing, what are some of your passions in life?

Music, particularly baroque and early music. I claim to like gardening too but looking out of my window I’m not sure why anyone should believe that.

What can readers expect next from you?

An erotic contemporary coming in Sept, “Hidden Paradise” (Harlequin) which combines my love of Austen and history with hot sex scenes. Really. If you like paint analysis (and who doesn’t) and threesomes, this is the book for you. It’s available for preorder now.

Can you leave readers with a little teaser from THE MALORIE PHOENIX?

She slipped her hand into the silk lining. Her fingers closed on a ring with a large stone. She withdrew it and turned it over in her hand—a woman’s ring, a deep red stone set in gold. She had seen that stone before, but then it had been on a golden chain, stolen from a young soldier she had never thought to see again. It turned out to be useless to her, the stone she could not sell. She had sewn it into her baby’s dress with awkward, jagged stitches, fingers clumsy and swollen with fever, settling her accounts.

He knew who she was. He was testing her.

“What is this, Lord Trevisan?” Despite her fear her voice was steady.

“Call me Benedict, for God’s sake. It’s a ring, what do you think it is? I am not totally unaware of the proprieties of our engagement, and I only just took this from the vault at my bank this morning. It has been in the family for some generations. I thought you should like to wear it.”

She held the ring up to look at the stone in sunlight. “It is very beautiful.”

He reined in the horses and turned towards her. “It is the Malorie Phoenix which I promised you some years ago.”

“I—” What was he talking about? Was not that the name of his horse?

“Please wear it.”

“No. I cannot.” She shook her head and held the ring out to him.

“What do you mean, you cannot?” His hands tightened on the reins and the horses started forward.

“It is not right. I—”


Author Bio:
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).

Where can readers find you on the web?

Twitter @Janet_Mullany



Giveaway Details:

  • Janet will award a $20 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter on the tour.
  • Please leave a meaningful comment or question for Janet along with your broken up email addy.
  • Contest is open the duration of the tour.
  • Winner will be randomly selected and notified via email.

Tour Stops: