Friday 21 September 2018

Interview with Manda Mellett & Review of Rock Bottom

I am delighted to be joined on the blog today by Manda Mellett for both an interview and my review of her latst book - Rock Bottom. Here's a little about Manda:

Manda Mellett writes romance, but not your typical everyday boy meets girl stuff. Using her research and psychology background she takes flawed, real life characters and puts them into situations full of suspense where their characters gradually emerge. Expect to find nail-biting moments and be brought to tears and laughter as you turn the pages of her full-length books. 

While she writes series, each book can be picked up and read as a standalone, or the books read out of order. Manda lives in the beautiful countryside of North Essex in the UK with her husband of thirty years and two lively Irish Setters. Needless to say she enjoys walking, but time at home is normally spent reading or writing. 

Manda previously enjoy riding and had her own horse, and enjoyed time in a different saddle when she owned her own motorbike. Manda’s son lives away from home now, but her remains her best supporter. 

And onto the interview!

How long have you been writing?
The short answer is all my life. The longer answer is that although I previously attempted to write full length novels, I didn’t have the discipline required to turn them into something marketable. It wasn’t until four years ago I was lucky enough to get a contract from a publisher for a non-fiction book. Working with an editor taught me that discipline I lacked before, and how to produce a polished product.

When I’d finished the non-fiction book, I decided to turn my hand to fiction. It took me eighteen months to make my first book as good as it could be, but then I began to speed up. I now have thirteen published fiction novels and produce one every two months or so. I can only do this with an excellent team behind me; my wonderful beta readers, cover designer, formatter, editor and proofreader.

Do you write in the genre you love to read?
Yes, I do. But I do have a varied reading taste.

Do you have any favourite authors to read?
Too many to mention. Lexi Blake and Cherise Sinclair are two of my one clickers.

Are you an organised writer or not?
I’m organised in that I sit at my desk writing from about 7am to 3pm (with a break to walk my dogs at lunchtime). Even if the words don’t flow, I make myself write, and often the scenes I need to squeeze out like blood from a stone turn out to be the best.
If you’re talking about my desk I’ve got paperwork piled up and in no particular order. As long as I can find my mouse and keyboard that’s all I need. So, as a person, I’m not very organised.

One thing I do insist on though, is having a schedule. I try to turn out at least 5,000 words a day, and always have a timetable for my next release. That way I can ensure the people I rely on can deliver to the timescales I need.

Do you like editing or is it something you loathe?
I love it. I never write a plan, so the first draft of my book is just the story as it comes out of my head. Sometimes the characters take me in directions I haven’t thought of. I usually get down around 100,000 words the first time. Editing enables me to fill in the blanks and flesh out the text. After a few rounds of editing the book goes to the editor and beta readers, then I work on their suggestions. In the end I can have 130,000 words for my finished book.

Do you do character profiles? If so, why/why not?
Yes and no. I don’t sit and flesh out their characters before I start writing. By the time the idea for the book has germinated in my head, I usually have a pretty good idea of who they are and what they look like. Brief details, I’ll keep in my character spreadsheet. I know who they are when I start the book, and often they’ll develop through the story.

Who each character is, is important to me, as my plots take them on a journey. They become as real to me as any flesh and blood friend. I feel if I wrote a description of them before I started the book, they wouldn’t develop so naturally. I do try and make all my characters different, with little foibles and mannerisms unique to them, but that’s not hard as they are all individuals.

How would you describe your writing process?
Seat of the pants. I write as though I’m reading. I never know what’s going to happen next. In one book the characters decide to get piercings. Yes, they decided. Not me. Had to do a whole lot of research I wasn’t expecting. But that’s how I write, I let the characters talk to me and listen to what they’re saying.
I figure if I don’t know what’s going to come next, my readers will be surprised as well. I start with a general idea and a blank sheet of paper, then just start typing.

Do you prefer ebooks or paperbacks? Why?
I love the feel of a paperback in my hand, but find ebooks much more convenient. I like being able to alter the font size so it’s comfortable for my eyes, and being able to carry lots of books with me.

What's your favourite idea of a cozy afternoon?
Curling up with my dogs and reading a good book.

How often do you write? Do you have a schedule?
I’m lucky enough to be able to write full time. I write Monday to Friday for about seven hours. After that time I’m worn out, so I then switch to reading, research, and using social media to interact with readers and friends. In the evening I’m often doing takeovers. I work harder than I ever did in a full time job.

I don’t write at weekends and holidays as my husband is at home then. It’s hard when you’re in the middle of an intense scene and he interrupts me, even if it’s to ask whether I want a cup of tea. I’ve had times where someone’s just about to strike a killing blow, or have to evade it, when I’m forced to come to an abrupt halt. So I find it easier to take both days off to catch up on my chores.


Rock I’ve committed the ultimate crime. To repay my gambling debts, I’ve stolen from my MC. Now, I’m out in bad standing.
Cast adrift from all men I called Brother, I approach a rival MC. They let me join on the basis I share all the information about my previous club. In other words, they want me to help them take out the Satan’s Devils. What option have I got? I can’t ride alone, and no other club would take me.

Having to start from the bottom as a prospect is a shit job, but I’m just grateful they’ve given me a new home. It’s not as if I don’t know what I have to do to get my patch.

The Chaos Riders are a completely different type of club to what I’m used to. As I betray the Devils, I slowly learn their secrets. Including what they keep in the cellar.


I’m held captive. Kept chained in this filthy place which reeks of blood. I can’t remember the last time I showered or had a change of clothes, and I’m fed only enough to keep me alive. My sentence to remain here for thirty-six months until my husband is released from prison.

I’m not going to last.

They feed me twice a day and empty my disgusting bucket only once. The same unsympathetic man each time. Until, one morning, a new man appears. Do I read sympathy in his eyes? Will he help me? Or is getting his patch and becoming a member of this hateful motorcycle club more important than helping me?

My Review: 5 stars
I picked this one up and wasn't sure if I'd enjoy it. I was hooked by the end of the first page and sat down to lose myself in a excellent tale of romance, action, mystery and intrigue. I loved this book, and even though I've not read the previous ones, I felt like this one could be a standalone. The author has a way of selling you the characters and their stories that you feel pulled in and along with them. Very much enjoyed!

You can follow Manda on Facebook.

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.

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