Hello my darlings! Can you believe it’s April already? And no April Fool’s Day jokes here! (I didn’t see any really good ones – did you?) As you see we have the lovely and wonderful Manda Collins today as our special ALBTALBS author of the month! And true to author form, she decided on a special ALBTALBS interview. You’ll notice, if you’re a regular, that I added some new questions – always looking for those!
Anyway, heeeeereeeee’s Manda!!!
1. Do you speak any languages other than English? If so, what?
I speak very rudimentary French. I couldn’t pass a written test in it, but I think I’d do all right conversationally.
Along those lines, if you had to be dropped into a foreign country where you do not speak the language, which one would you pick?
Gosh, that’s a tough one. I suppose somewhere that I’d be least likely to die horribly from an inability to speak the language. Like Sweden or Norway or Finland. Don’t they always seem to come out on top in quality of life surveys? That seems safe enough.
2. What is your favorite snack? Is it the same as your go to snack? Do you prefer sweet or salty? Which is your favorite in each?
My favorite snack is Doritos. But I cannot allow them into the house because I’ll eat the entire bag by myself. My go to snack is popcorn, because if I do end up eating the entire bag by myself I won’t feel too guilty about it. Whether I prefer sweet or salty depends on my mood. Sometimes one, sometimes the other. Favorite sweet snack is Jello Chocolate pudding snacks. I love me some pudding.
3. What’s the name of your first crush? Do you have any idea what happened to him?
In Kindergarten I had a huge crush on a boy named Jake whom I showed my affection for by punching him in the stomach every day at recess. I actually feel horrible about it in retrospect. But I was a kid and for whatever reason stomach punches meant love to me then. I have no idea what happened to him. I’m hoping he’s not out there having flashbacks to the horrible little girl who punched him in the stomach every day of his Kindergarten life.
4. Which deceased author would you most like to meet if you could? Why?
This seems like cheating because her death wasn’t that long ago but I so wish I’d met Edith Layton before she died. She wrote one of my all time favorite Regency trads (LORD OF DISHONOR) and I wish I’d been able to meet her in person at least once to tell her to her face how her books changed my life. She is among a handful of romance writers who quite literally altered my perception of what historical romances could be. Her characters never failed to fascinate and she always, always included some surprising historical detail of the era she was writing about. Whether it was Elizabethan or Georgian or Regency, her stories were page turners and her characters were so freaking real. And when she told the story of a heroine who had to battle her way back from a life threatening illness in TO WED A STRANGER I know I wasn’t the only reader who felt her own story being told at last.
5. Which fairy tale would you most like to be in? Least? Why? Which character would you want to be? And (assuming this isn’t your default) – if you had to be a fairy tale villain, which one would you like to be?
I think I’d like most to be Belle in Beauty in the Beast. I mean come on, I’m a librarian. I covet that library like nobody’s business. If I had to be a fairy tale villain, I think I’d rather be the Evil Stepmother from Cinderella. At least she doesn’t try to kill Cinderella, as opposed to the Evil Queen from Snow White and Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. And the witch from Hansel and Gretel. And the Big Bad Wolf from Little Red Riding Hood….Dang, these fairy tale villains are a murderous lot aren’t they?
6. Celebrity/Author death match – who would you most want to take on? [you don’t have to say why ;)]
Matt Lauer. I’m still not over the Ann Curry business.
7. Who is on your speed dial on your phone? (Or the equivalent)
My sister. My grandmother. My aunt. (I’m southern, we’re all about the fambly.)
8. What was your favorite book as a child? What is one book you think everyone should read?
LITTLE WOMEN. I read it in the second grade and remember being riveted. And heartbroken when Jo rejected Laurie. I’m still not over it. I think everyone should read Hamlet. Not because I think it’s the greatest thing ever written (though it’s pretty freaking awesome), but because it’s one of those foundational texts of Western civilization that informs so much of what came after it that you need to have read it to get the joke.
9. Who are your biggest influences, if you have any, and when did you decide to become a writer or what made you take that step? Have you ever had the chance to talk to that person about it?
Jane Austen, obviously. Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer, Martha Grimes, Margaret Atwood. Among romance writers, I’d say Edith Layton, Mary Jo Putney, Jo Beverley, Mary Balogh, Eloisa James, Julia Quinn, and Lynn Kerstan have all informed my writing style. I always wrote, but I never really thought of myself as a writer but instead as more of a dabbler. I didn’t take the real plunge until I became a part of a group of drabble writers on the Eloisa James/Julia Quinn bulletin board who banded together during the Avon Fanlit competition. I didn’t win any of the rounds but I finaled enough times to make me think I might be able to make something of this writing business and I finished my first novel a year later. I haven’t ever really spoken to Eloisa James or Julia Quinn or the other girls from the group about how much of an influence they were on me, but I have thanked them in the acknowledgements pages of my books.
10. What’s the funniest (or worst) typo you’ve ever found? (Either one of your books or someone else’s)
Worst for me so far has been in my second book HOW TO ROMANCE A RAKE. The heroine has a severe injury to one of her feet and I have it moving from one foot to the other–not unlike Igor’s hump in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. Only that was meant to be funny. Mine is more headdesky.
11. What TV show do you still wish was on the air? Along those lines, what do you think is the best TV commercial of all time?
It’s a toss up between HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREETS and HOMEFRONT. (Yes, I am old.) Best TV commercial of all time is Where’s the Beef?
12. If you won the next SuperPowerBallMegaBucks Lottery (what/whichever), what are the first three things you would do?
1. Donate to St. Jude’s, 2. Pay off my student loans, 3. Pay off my house.
13. Would you shave your head for $50,000.00? If yes, would you do it for a lesser amount/what’s your minimum? If no, how much would it take for you to go bald? And then… would you do anything with your hair?
Sure. I was bald for chemo years ago so I could do it again. It’s just hair. It grows back. My minimum is 10,000 dollars. If anyone wanted my hair I’d donate it.
14. If you were a zookeeper, which animals would you terrify David Letterman with?
Lions and tigers and bears. (*raspberry*)
15. What is one question you wish as an author people would ask but nobody ever does?
“Where would you like me to put your Nobel Prize?”
So! What questions do you have for Ms. Collins? One lucky person will win a copy of Manda’s latest release, How to Entice an Earl. And! Remember the special monthly contest? Someone will win a complete set of her Ugly Ducklings Trilogy!