My Tote Bag


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Michelle Marcos

Michelle Marcos is a native of Miami, Florida. A first-generation American born of Cuban parents, she became a devotee of the English language. After graduating from the University of Miami with degrees in English and Education, she spent several years as a middle- and high school teacher teaching English to children from other countries. She then began to lead a double life: while working at a university research center, she began writing her first book, WHEN A LADY MISBEHAVES, which was published in November 2007 to rave reviews. Her second book in the Pleasure Emporium series, GENTLEMEN BEHAVING BADLY, received 4Ĺ stars from Romantic Times Book Reviews.

Gentlemen Behaving Badly

She Wanted Revenge

Destitute and alone, Mina Halliday ventured into a notorious bordello and offered the only talents at her disposalóher writing skill and her scandalous imagination. Minaís erotic letters have enticed Londonís wealthiest noblemen to the Pleasure Emporium, but her real goal is to find the person responsible for her fatherís ruin. Even if that means defying the orders of Chief Constable Salter Lambrick, a man who makes her feel like a wanton seductress instead of a plain-faced wallflower.

He Offered Temptation

The only clue Salter has to a government officialís murder is the naughty invitation found in the victimís pocket, leading him to the most intriguing woman he has ever met. Mina may be an innocent in a den of lust, but Salter detects the sensuality beneath her surface. And uncovering the truth about the woman who stirs his deepest desires will be his most dangerous adventure yetÖ

Michelle Marcos on Gentlemen Behabing Badly

Lee : Please tell us a little about yourself.

Michelle: Hmm. Well, my family is from Cuba. I donít know what recessive gene I must have developed, but Iíve always been fascinated by all things British. Iíve lived practically all of my life in Miami, which hasnít exactly made it easy for me to pursue that interest. Culturally speaking, England is about as distant from Miami as New York is to Pluto. I havenít yet married, but thatís largely because I still hold out hope that Britain will produce a prince who likes plump women.

Lee : Why did you choose to write romance? What attracts you most to this genre?

Michelle : Itís funny how I fell into writing romances. I majored in English literature in college, and I thought myself completely above ďthose little pink books,Ē as I called them. As with most things, people hold in disdain that which they donít understand, and up to that point, I hadnít ever read a romance. But my sister, who was crazy about them, urged me to read WHITNEY, MY LOVE by Judith McNaught. I was astonished. I had no idea those little pink books were such white-hot stories. I asked her for another, and then another, and pretty soon I was hooked. With each romance, that secret little Regency fantasy I had always nourished seemed more and more possible, and one day I found the courage to type the first words into the computer. Thatís how WHEN A LADY MISBEHAVES was born.

Lee : Tell us more about the premise of GENTLEMEN BEHAVING BADLY.

Michelle : GENTLEMEN BEHAVING BADLY is the second story set in The Pleasure Emporium, Londonís most notorious bordello. Mina Halliday is a young woman whose father is sent to prison for a crime he didnít commit. Faced with no other prospects, she is forced into employment at the bordelloóbut not as a courtesan. Her secret love of erotica and her writing ability help her to write scandalous invitations to wealthy gentlemen, inviting them to taste the morsels on the Madameís menu of physical pleasures. But when one of her letters is found in the pocket of a dead government official, Chief Constable Salter Lambrick wants to know who wrote it. Posing as the dead nobleman, he infiltrates the bordello to find the temptress, and is surprised to learn that it wasnít one of the beautiful courtesans, but the plain-faced barmaid. His murder investigation collides with her vendetta, but the two soon find themselves inescapably drawn to one anotheróalbeit from opposite sides of the law.

Lee : How was the idea for this story born? Who or what inspired it?

Michelle : Call it a perversity of nature, but I love stories where the characters are flawed people. Iíve read far too many romances where the heroine is so perfect you half expect her to break out into song as bluebirds perch on her shoulders. Yech! Iíd much rather read about people who do or are things theyíre not so proud of. I want to learn how people overcome those obstacles that keep them from being happy. Mina has her share of inhibitions, and working at a bordello doesnít help. But when she meets Salter, she learns the difference between being desired and being loved, and he helps her explore the meaning of true beauty.

Lee : Whatís your writing process? Do you have a set routine?

Michelle : Because I have a second career with Habitat for Humanity, I have to schedule writing time and adhere to that schedule. I get up at four in the morning to work on my book for a couple of hours. At that hour of the day, the brain is really creative and fertile, so itís an ideal time to plot the story line or untangle problems. Unfortunately, itís not a very productive time, so I get some writing done in the evenings when Iím actually awake! The discipline of writing was the hardest to learn. Having to write every day, even when thereís something really good on TV or thereís a new movie out, is a struggle. But the characters themselves convince you that it is more fun in their world than in any other.

Lee : Tell us more about your work with Habitat for Humanity. How did you get started in this?

Michelle : I come from a large familyófive sisters and a brotheróand we were relatively poor. There were eight of us living in a house with only one bathroom, so you can imagine the chaos in the mornings. The house was old and we could never get rid of the cockroaches, and I hated growing up like that. So when the opportunity came along to work in a Christian ministry that helps to provide decent, affordable homes for families just like mine, I jumped at it. I love what I do at Habitat and the families that I meet. Making dreams come true for them is a dream come true for me.

Lee : What do you enjoy doing when you arenít writing or working at Habitat?

Michelle : Iíd love to say that I practice skydiving or martial arts or something like that, but Iím really into stories. Movies are a favorite escape, and so are (I blush to admit) computer games. Iím kind of a computer geek, really. I love PC adventure games with an immersive storyline. Anyone whoís ever played Myst will know what Iím talking about. When I finish my current project, I plan to lose myself for a few days in a new Sherlock Holmes PC game I havenít yet opened. (Wouldnít it be great if they made romance novels into adventure games?) After that, Iíll probably head out to the countryside. Iím passionate about animals, and living in a big city, the most exotic animal one comes across is a stray dog. Itís been a while since Iíve visited Scotland, so Iíll probably take a trip to the Highlands to meet some shaggy cows!

Lee : What can readers expect from you next?

Michelle : Iím almost finished writing the last installment of the Pleasure Emporium novels. Itís called WICKEDLY EVER AFTER. In this story, the bordello evolves into a school for spinsters, with the prickly Athena McAllister as its headmistress. This is definitely the funniest book Iíve written, and I canít stop smiling as Athenaís rapier wit skewers Captain Marshall Hawkesworth, making him all the more determined to teach her better uses for that sharp tongue of hers. You can get a taste from the excerpt on my webpage,

Lee : How may readers contact you?

Michelle : My favorite activity of the whole day is reading emails from readers and other writers. We romance enthusiasts are a cozy sisterhood, arenít we, and sharing our pastime with one another is a joy. Anyone can write me at I answer every email personally. Oh, and someone recently turned me on to Facebook, so readers can also join me by clicking on my Facebook profile.

Lee : Itís been interesting chatting with you! Thanks so much for your time and good luck with the release of your next book.

Michelle : Thanks for the invitation to speak with you!