THE MALLORY PHOENIX by Janet Mullaney

A Chat with JANET MULLANY

SUZAN:  I see from the Amazon website that you’ve written many books. What number is The Malorie Phoenix? 

JANET:  It’s more or less my first book, or at least it bears some relation to my first completed mss. which finaled in the Golden Heart in 2003. I couldn’t sell it, mostly because it had an improbable plot involving identical twins (look, I couldn’t help it. Everyone was writing identical twins around that time). The pickpocket/Vauxhall Gardens opening scene was from a partial I wrote for an option ms. after my very first book Dedication; also improbable since it was for Signet Regency and there was instantaneous sex on page 7. Dedication, which was always a hot book by any standards, was rewritten and released by Loose-Id earlier this year.

 SUZAN: What is your favorite part of The Malorie Phoenix? 

JANET: Oh, absolutely the deathbed scene where I channel Brideshead Revisited. It was originally much longer. 

SUZAN: What do you like most about Jenny Smith? 

JANET: She’s courageous and a survivor. 

SUZAN: What do you like most about the Earl of Trevisan? 

JANET: Benedict is a man of principle. He always tries to do what is right. And I love that he adores his illegitimate daughter. 

SUZAN: How long did it take you to write The Malorie Phoenix? 

JANET: The last/second rewrite took about three months on and off. The first rewrite, where the heroine changed names (Sally to Jenny, I’ve no idea why) and profession (actress to pickpocket) took about the same amount of time.  

SUZAN: Was it a difficult book to write or was did the words flow easily? 

JANET: I think because I’d let it sit for so long I came to it with fresh eyes and was able to fix some of its flaws. I also knew how things were going to resolve, which was a great help. I claim to write synopses with sentences that begin: After many exciting adventures… So far I’ve been lucky in figuring out what the exciting adventures are and what they have to do with the plot. 

SUZAN: What is your current WIP about? 

JANET: It’s a historical in the thinking not the writing stage and I’m nervous of jinxing it by talking about it. Sorry! 

SUZAN:  You’ve written many books, mostly in the historical romance genre. Why did you choose that particular genre? 

JANET: Laziness. I grew up reading Heyer, I love Austen, and my crit partners told me Regencies were popular (I had no idea since I really didn’t know anything about romance. I’m not sure I do now). I also love the clothes.  

SUZAN:  Is there a genre that you’re just dying to write in but haven’t taken the plunge yet? 

JANET: I’d like to write a historical novel set in London in WW2, which would probably be more women’s fiction than romance. I also adore reading mysteries and I’d love to write one but … see the next question! 

SUZAN:  Are you a structured writer (outlines, note cards, strict adherence to traditional writing rules & guidelines)? 

JANET: No! I try. I love the idea of structure and I’ve been to workshops where I’m inspired and then come home and stare at the note cards etc. and go absolutely blank. I usually have a rough outline because I’ve sold on synopsis, but as far as pacing, secondary characters, and character arcs go I’m entirely instinctive. I’m planning to try Scrivener, and if it works, great. If it doesn’t, no big deal. 

SUZAN:  What kind of atmosphere do you require in order to write? Such as a certain kind of music playing in the back ground or complete silence?  

JANET: My office has to be clean and tidy. Since I’m a terrible slob elsewhere this is odd. And I like to listen to music, mostly classical. I find large-scale choral works like Handel’s Messiah wonderful for love scenes. I’m not Sure why! I always enjoy the Saturday afternoon Met opera broadcasts too. 

SUZAN: What do you like to do when you’re not writing? 

JANET: I have a day job, working for a baroque music organization. I like to cook, particularly making bread, and in theory I garden but where I live it’s mostly defoliation as you hack back the vines.  

SUZAN: You were born in England. How often do you go back? 

JANET: Every year or so. I have some very good friends there but not much family now. What’s amazing is that people always stop me and ask for directions there. I think it’s because I look harmless. 

SUZAN: Do you have children? Pets? Plants?  

JANET: A grown up daughter, who is a great supporter and fan but won’t read any of my books that have explicit sex, lives fairly nearby. I have a cat who communicates by biting. I have one plant that isn’t looking too good.  Thanks so much for having me visit!

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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).

Website: www.janetmullany.com  Twitter @Janet_Mullany

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Janet-Mullany-Author/144530775580812 

**Janet has gracious offered a $20 Amazon Gift card to one randomly drawn commenter on the tour.**

PUBLISHER’S BLURB:

She plays a deadly game, but nothing is as dangerous as love. 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.

BOOK EXCERPT:

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.

REVIEWED BY:  Suzan Tisdale

RHFL Classifications:

Historical Romance

Regency, 1801

Heat rating 2.5

REVIEW RATING 3

I really liked Jenny and the Earl. Jenny had to make a very difficult decision (leaving her infant daughter with the Earl). I was glad that the Earl was a good guy, not some broody, mean, complicated brute and that he readily took the baby in and gave her a very good life.  Jenny loved and missed her child and that was quite evident throughout. She did what she had to do in order to survive.

Some of my favorite parts were when Jenny was ‘talking’ with Roly! The conversations she had in her mind with him were often very funny. “Good God, girl, can you not wait until I’m in my grave so I may roll properly? Oh, do shut up, Roly.

The main characters were very likeable and I did root for each of them. There was enough intrigue to keep it exciting without being too complex making that part of the story easy to follow. The other characters were well written even if they weren’t very likeable, such as Mr. Forrester. He was very unlikeable but not so over the top that you rolled your eyes at him.

I did enjoy this book. The story, the premise was very good. There were many, many parts that were very well written. My only complaint is that it oftentimes felt disjointed and jumpy in that the story moved along too rapidly. The author didn’t explain why the character was feeling a certain way or coming to a certain conclusion and that got to be confusing. Why is he or she this or that? Why did he or she change his mind or point of view? Generally readers can figure most things out on their own, but when the storyline jumps too fast, it can be a bit confusing. None of the characters were unbelievable and that is a big plus in my mind.

Overall, Ms. Mullany did a fine job giving us a sweet story with enough intrigue to keep you interested and enough romance to keep you smiling.

At the time of this review the book is available at Amazon for 99 cents. 

REVIEWER BIO:

Suzan is both writer and reader of historical romance. Her first novel Laiden’s Daughter was released in December 2011. She is currently working on book two, Findley’s Lass, which is set for release later this year.

0 thoughts on “THE MALLORY PHOENIX by Janet Mullaney

  1. Hi there Suzan, thanks for having me visit today and thanks for the review, even if it didn’t entirely work for you! I’d love to hear other readers’ responses: How much authorial direction/explanation do you want in a book, or do you prefer some sort of expectation from the author that you can work things out for yourself? Can you give examples of books that do this balancing act well?

  2. “I have a cat who communicates by biting.” Hahaha 😉 Oh, those darn cats. So high-handed and temperamental!
    Nice interview!

    justforswag(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

  3. @Trix, well it does and it doesn’t. Baroque music was thought to be old-fashioned, and no one except professional musicians, mainly organists, knew about Bach. On the other hand the Regency is a fascinating time for music with Broadwood and other companies making pianos starting at 20 guineas and Novello producing sheet music, so that music became something the middle class as well as the aristocracy could enjoy. There are lots of transcriptions of opera music, for instance, for piano. That’s why there’s such an emphasis on music in Austen.

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