This month at Absolute Blank, I interview former TC host and prolific author, Janet Mullany — “Toasted Cheese Success Stories: Interview with Janet Mullany.” (And hey, look, I’m posting about it on the same day it’s published, not 3 weeks later. Go me.)
Janet Mullany was one of our original forum hosts at Toasted Cheese.
Janet’s writing at TC:
- “A Perfect Evening” (fiction in the September 2001 issue of TC)
- “The Companions are Chosen” (Best of the Boards in the December 2001 issue of TC)
- “Snow, the Seven, and the Moon” (Winner of the first annual Dead of Winter writing contest)
- “Enter At Your Own Risk: The Strange, Twilight World of Writing Competitions” (Absolute Blank, November 2002)
In the decade since she left TC, Janet has published more than a dozen books. Amazing right? I figured it was about time we at TC checked out her work, so I headed down to the library and picked up a couple books.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The first book I read was The Rules of Gentility, which was what I’d call a gentle parody of Regency (Jane Austen era) romances. She pokes fun at the conventions of the genre, but in a way that shows her genuine fondness for it. A Bridget Jones influence was apparent here as well, especially in protagonist Philomena’s penchant for making lists of potential husbands, making this a kind of a regency/chick-lit mash-up. Janet’s writing always showed her sense of humor and that was readily apparent here. The story, with its increasingly improbable situations, was at times hilarious. Recommended if you don’t take these things too seriously.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This, as you may have guessed, was a Jane Austen/vampires mash-up (and a sequel to Jane and the Damned). The protagonist here is Jane Austen herself (age 35, an aged spinster), who harbors a secret: she’s not-quite-human. She used to be one of the Damned (see JatD), but she took ‘the Cure’ and now she’s caught midway between human and vampire. She’s busy being a respectable spinster when her vampire buddies reappear as the new tenants in her brother Edward’s mansion. Their presence pulls Jane back to the dark side, which she resists less because she’s worried about her soul and more because she’s worried about not being able to write (a problem when she was previously Damned). I didn’t like this as much as TRoG, but that’s definitely a matter of personal taste; vampires (werewolves, zombies, ghosts, etc.) are really not my thing. Recommended for fans of the romantic vampire genre.