Monday, August 29, 2011

Interview with romance author Mandy Harbin + giveaway!

Please welcome romance author Mandy!

Hello Mandy thank you for the interview. Would you tell us a little about yourself?

Hi! Thanks for giving me the opportunity. I’m in my mid thirties, married with some teenaged kids, and have a couple of cats—one which likes to walk around and meow at the top of his lungs when I’m trying to write.

When did you start writing?

I’ve always had a love of writing. When I was in high school, I wrote poems and song lyrics, which I’d probably run and hide if I’d actually saved those and read them again. I studied writing in college but also focused on professional and technical writing and applied that to my day job. Over the years, I’d started a few different books, but never finished them. But about four years ago, I got an idea for a young adult series that just wouldn’t leave me alone. I did a bunch of research and started writing, but put it aside since I’d gone back to school to work on my master’s degree—my way to beat the recession. But two years ago, I decided enough was enough; I wasn’t getting any younger, and I wanted to write. I pulled that manuscript back out and finished it within a month, and then I wrote two more books in that series within the next couple of months. I’ve been writing non-stop ever since.

Do you do something special to get into your writing grove?

I love listening to music. Sometimes just the tone can inspire certain feelings and get the creative juices flowing. I mostly listen in the car and when I’m working out, but when I write, I prefer quiet. I don’t always get what I want, though.

Why did you choose to write novellas?

After finishing the first three books in my young adult series, I took a step back and really looked at what I liked to read. I knew I loved romance, but I noticed that many of my books were nowhere near as large as the young adult novels I’d just finished. And most of them—large and small—were erotic romances. Surrounded by Woods was the first erotic romance novella I wrote, but I originally wrote it to submit to another publisher who had an open call for books under 15,000 words. The first draft came in just under that requirement, but I felt like it just wasn’t enough. I knew I could tell a quality story and keep it short, so rather than submit the short story, I decided to go back and expand on it without keeping to any word length requirements. When I finished, it was almost twice the original size, but I was much happier with the final manuscript.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Now this is a toughie since I love to read, and I know I’m going to forget someone, but I love Megan Hart, Lauren Dane, Crystal Jordan, Shelli Stevens, Shayla Black, Maya Banks, Evangeline Anderson, Jaci Burton, Lora Leigh… The list goes on and on.

Now, let’s get into your book Surrounded by Woods. Would you tell those who haven’t heard of it a little about it?

Sure. Mikaela Patterson is an attorney who’s recently broken off her engagement. Since the sting is still a little new and she’s a prideful attorney, she doesn’t come right out and tell her colleagues the wedding is off. Her boss assigns her to work a two week project on location with one of his clients, Thomas Woods, because he’s unavailable to go out to the Woods estate himself. When she tries to pawn it off on the newbie in the office, her boss tells her that Mr. Woods doesn’t allow available women on his property. Mikaela fits the bill because she’s engaged. Of course she’s not, but she doesn’t tell him this.

Josh Woods is Thomas’s oldest son, and he’s immediately drawn to Mikaela when she arrives. He knows his father would never allow an available woman on the property since they are mountain lion shifters with the instinct to mate with any available woman. Only that instinct has a black widow effect, since a forced mating causes the female to attack after she’s been turned.
Josh and Mikaela fight the attraction brewing between them for their own reasons but denial only lasts so long.  

There are 5 total brothers and one single father are you planning on making this a series?

Yes! All living brothers will have their own book, so there’ll be at least four books total. I haven’t decided if I’m going to write one on the father.

Do you have a favorite character in the Woods family yet?

Hmm. Right now it’s Toby because, well, I’m currently writing his story. I also like Jack because he’s more arrogant than the others and that’s fun to write. I’m looking forward to doing his story—it’s always fun when a strong woman can go toe-to-toe with someone like that.

What are you working on now?

I’m finishing up book two in the Woods family series. Then I’m going to write a novella that is a follow up to another book I have being released in October, Digital Possession (contemporary erotic romance). After that I’ll be writing the third and fourth books in the Woods family series back to back.

Anything else you’d like to add?

When I decided to write this book, I’d been reading a lot of paranormal books, but I wanted to do something different. I not only wanted an animal that hadn’t been heavily written about—nothing against wolves, I love ’em, too!—but I also wanted a premise that felt different. The whole black widow concept appealed to me because it’s not a simple issue a couple has to overcome to get to that happily ever after. What good is getting a mate if she’s just going to kill you as soon as you’ve mated with her?

On another note… Remember that newbie, Krista, mentioned at the beginning of the book? She’ll be your next heroine.

Fun questions
What’s your favorite color?
It changes, but right now it’s blue.
What’s your favorite food?
I love to eat, and I’m not picky. Pizza is always yummy, but if it’s a special occasion, I like to have sushi. If we’re talking junk food here, then it’s cheesecake, hands down.
Do you have a favorite TV show at this time?
I don’t watch too much television. If I have free time, I’m usually reading. But I do love True Blood! No matter what I’m in the middle of, I always stop what I’m doing and watch it. And I have it set to record just in case I miss it for some crazy reason.
Favorite movies?
I love Pretty Woman. It was the first movie I’d ever watched where I rewound the tape (remember those days?) and watched it again. I also love When Harry Met Sally and the Princess Bride. I’m a sucker for a good romance.

The link to the book on my website, which has buy links and an excerpt:

Mandy is giving away a free PDF copy of Surrounded by Woods. 


  1. This sounds like a great book. Thanks for taking the time for this interview and giveaway. Since this is a new author for me, I really love to win.
    WildAboutBones {at} gmail {dot} com

  2. Aww, who doesn't love Pretty Woman? I know, the entire interview was great and I choose to comment on the movie choice, LOL. Anyhow, thanks for the interview, the book sounds like a great read! Book Savvy Babe
    booksavvybabe at gmail dot com

  3. *thunk* That's the sound of Surrounded by Woods hitting the top of my TBR list.

    Happy Reading & Blogging,
    Bona Fide Reflections

  4. At first I was not sure about this one, but I loved your review and I appreciate the author's interview. Tank you for sharing today and for the fun giveaway opportunity.


  5. I do enjoy novellas every now and then. Sometimes you just need a break from the long novels. This sounds really good and I would love a chance to win a copy. Please count me in. Thanks

  6. This one sounds really good, and Josh and Mikaela seem like they would be really interesting.


  7. Love shifters stories, and this one sounds great!

    Thanks for the international chance!


  8. Your book sounds awesome, Mandy! I would love to win a copy! Thanks so much for the giveaway :)
    jwitt33 at live dot com

  9. Hi All,

    Thanks for all the comments. Book two will be here before you know it, so grab this one up today. :) If you have any other questions, I'd be happy to respond.


  10. This book has gotten my attention!!! Sounds interesting!!! :-) I enjoyed the interview & the fun question section!!! One of my all time fav movie is Pretty Woman, too!!!! ;-) I can watch over & over again!!! Gotta luv Richard Gere!! Thanks for the chance to win!!!


  11. I agree - the black widow concept is appealing to me as well! Please enter me in the draw!

    darlenesbooknook at gmail dot com

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  12. The review written by Laurie really wet my appetite for this book. Sounds great!

  13. I love that you included the Black Widow concept in the story. It really would make for a sucky day. Thanks for the giveaway! (If this comment is a duplicate, forgive me. Blogger ate my comment again!)

  14. Enjoyed the interview and like the sound of this book. Love shifter stories so would like to win a copy,thank you for the giveaway.

  15. This story sounds great! I love shifter series and I'd love to read this one!


  16. This looks like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway.

    smccar1 at hotmail dot com

  17. Great interview and I really like the premise of this book! Thanks for the giveaway!


  18. Holy cow this looks hot!

    rootml1 AT hotmail DOT com


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