Keira: What are your favorite romance subgenres and why?
Mandy: My loyalty lies in paranormal romance and urban fantasy. It seems no matter how much I try to broaden my horizons I am constantly pulled back to those brooding vampire warriors and devilishly handsome demons. I will never get enough of the amazing world building in paranormals. It is fantastic to step into a world where there is a dangerously protective hero whose love and life is eternal.
Keira: Sum up your top 5 favorite books in one sentence each (no run ons! *g*):
#5 Born a God, yet forced to live a life of shame he walks the Earth untouchable, but fate may have other plans. (Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon)
#4 His gift is a curse that’s darkness will allow him to touch the one female who has brought love to his life. (Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward)
#3 An awakening inside her draws her to the arms of a male of worth among a race she has devoted her life to annihilating. (Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione)
#2 High School bites, but true love is eternal. (Twilight by Stephenie Meyer)
#1 The shadows of a wretched past haunt the hardened brother, as an undying love pulls him to the light. (Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward)
Keira: In romances is it the hero or heroine who makes or breaks the novel? Why?
Mandy: I am a sucker for a good hero, the more damaged the better. There is something about a strong, confident man who has been shunned by the world that melts my heart and makes me swoon. It is vital to find an author who can seamlessly carry you from the pain of the heroes struggle through the beauty in his breakdown. I really enjoy finding the soft, kind hearted interiors in these men that portray themselves as cold hearted and callous.
Keira: My all time favorite hard to answer question… How do you define love?
Mandy: Love is looking in someone’s eyes and seeing who they truly are deep inside. It is seeing the true you reflected in those eyes and knowing that they accept you for your flaws and cherish you for your strengths.
Keira: What are the most memorable sex scenes (good or bad) that you’ve come across?
Mandy: My all-time favorite sex scene is between Bella and Zsadist in J.R. Ward’s Lover Awakened. The beautiful Bella is drawn to Zsadist, the emotionally and physically scarred brother. The other members of the brotherhood warn Bella that Zsadists interior is as dark and scarred as his exterior. Despite all warnings Bella remains physically drawn to Z. She follows him to his room one evening during a party at the brotherhoods mansion. After a brief altercation Zsadist forces Bella facedown onto his bathroom floor. There he is everything short of a gentleman and a potential rape scene ignites. To his surprise he finds Bella turned on by his rough handling and more than willing to take anything that the brother is willing to offer. The scene ends abruptly after he realizes scaring her off with his bad boy act isn’t going to work like it had for him in the past. Despite Z’s reputation Bella longs for him completely.
Keira: All’s fair in love and war. If it came down to a fight who would win: a vampire or a werewolf?
Mandy: Just like my scale is tipped heavily toward the paranormal genre, my scale is equally tipped toward the vampire as well. Speed, agility, fangs, all of these could be characteristics of both, but the vampire is captivating. Having the ability to glamour, compel or however your favorite author chooses to convey it, is a superpower among superpowers. If you throw in mind-reading and some of the many other traits that are written for them, the vampire is a foe to be reckoned with. Oh, and the fact that they are now being written as eye candy would totally throw anyone off of their game.
Keira: What storylines do you love the most? The ones where if you saw any hint of them on the back blurb would make the book an auto-buy?
Mandy: I kind of alluded to this in a previous answer, but I love a scarred hero. If you throw in a human heroine who can hold her own in the immortal world I am a sure in. I like a confident heroine who complements the abilities of her immortal mate, but can do without one who is overpowering throughout the book and feels the need to prove her worth and human ability. Come on, you are a human.
Keira: Now for the reverse. What are some things you can’t stand reading about in romances?
Mandy: The overconfident, borderline cocky heroine is a deal killer for me. If you are a human heroine and you have stumbled across this dark stranger who you only see in the light of the moon, please take it for that and be willing to accept that fate has drawn you to life for him. I don’t need to read a woman fighting the fates on every single page and then at the end melting like putty in the heroes hands. It is not a realistic scenario to be Miss Independent for 495 pages and on page 501 you are meek and incapable.
Can you tell that is a pet peeve of mine? Haha!
Keira: What was the first romance you ever read? Do you own it?
Mandy: Hmmm….Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is the first romance of substance that I read. I know that there were probably some small, teen romances that fell before it, but Heathcliff and Catherine built the love of the romance genre for me. Saying a classic such as Wuthering Heights makes me feel like I have fell so far from the classics by leaning toward paranormals and urban fantasy, but romance is romance none the less. Now write a vampire or demon into the storyline and make it classic and you have me.
Keira: Is there anything else you’d like to discuss? Floor’s open!
Mandy: I have read more in the past five years than I could have ever imagined. My library is extensive and I sometimes look at the masses and wonder how I found the time to read them all. Being a mother, wife and full-time student is hectic, crazy and fun, but nothing beats sitting down at night and wondering into a world of immortals to pass the twilight hours. Long gone are the days of high priced material possessions on my holiday list. Grab me a nice bottle of cabernet and a Barnes & Noble Gift Card and I will be forever grateful. *Hint, hint to those of you reading this that are wondering what to get**