Spotlight & Giveaway: The Man Behind The Mask by Barbara Wallace

Posted December 31st, 2013 by in Blog, Spotlight / 67 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome romance author Barbara Wallace to HJ!


 Hi Barbara, welcome to HJ!

If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title of the book should be? Why?

barbarawallacephotoFunny you should ask because just this weekend I was joking with my husband that the story of my life should be Deadlines and Migraines since I seem to have been inundated by both this year. Trust me, it’s not a lifestyle you want.

Seriously though, I think my Twitter handle says it all: Full-time writer; Part-time Neurotic. I like to think that the person you meet online is the real deal. I have a tendency to share just about everything via social media . Well, almost everything – I leave out politics and religion, but everything else is fair game. i don’t have a problem sharing my insecurities and neuroses with the world. In a weird way, admitting our anxieties and flaws helps us bond. Besides, it’s who I am. 🙂

Let’s talk about your newest release: THE MAN BEHIND THE MASK

If you had to summarize the book for the readers here

TMBTMUltimately, The Man Behind the Mask is about not judging a book by its cover. Both Simon Cartwright and Delilah St. Germaine think they know each other. During a weekend business trip, however, they find themselves rethinking their original impressions – and discovering a deep emotional bond in the process.

Please tell us about the characters in your book?

Simon Cartwright is one of Manhattan’s most sought after bachelors. At first blush, he is the stereotypical playboy – gorgeous and completely commitment phobic. Underneath his facade, however, is a man who is deeply emotionally scarred. He IS commitment phobic, but not for the reasons you would think. He thinks he’s too damaged to commit to anyone.

His loyal assistant, Delilah St. Germaine, is just that – loyal, competent, intelligent. She’s been in love with Simon – or rather her fantasy version of Simon – for years, but is convinced a man like him could never fall for someone like her. After all, he dates models and actresses. She’s more the plain Jane in black slacks type.

Was it love at first sight for your characters? If not what was the pivotal moment of change?

For Delilah, yes. For Simon, no. But, as I said above, both of them are laboring under some strong misconceptions. The man Delilah thinks she’s in love with doesn’t really exist. It’s not until she gets to know Simon, warts and all, that she truly and deeply falls for him. As for Simon…well, Delilah simply isn’t on his radar as more than an assistant. Until he sees beneath the surface as well. Of course, it helps that Delilah blossoms on the business trip – that is, she relaxes and shows her true personality.

If your characters could go back in time and change one thing what would it be? Why?

Oh, but if I told you, I would totally spoil the story! Let’s say this: If Simon could go back in time, he would never, ever attend prep school in Boston. Without giving too much away, his time at boarding school completely and irrevocably scarred him.

Meanwhile, I think Delilah would want to go back in time and save her father. His death when she was a young girl sent her mother into a spiral of depression that forever changed Delilah’s childhood. And in many ways, kept her from falling in love.

What scene did you have the most fun writing? Why?

There’s a scene in the story where Delilah and Simon realize they didn’t pack the proper clothes for a New England clambake, so they go to Boston’s Quincy Market to shop. The result is a shopping competition – which, by the way, sparks the beginning of Delilah’s transformation:

She laughed. “Something tells me I’m not like your other shopping companions.”
No, she definitely wasn’t. The other women he knew were obsessively fashion-conscious and self-indulgently extravagant—two traits Delilah definitely lacked.
Another thing—those other women didn’t have laughs that slipped over him as easily as hers did. The sound made him feel lighter than he had in years. “Whether you are or you aren’t doesn’t matter. I’ll still have my errands done in about half the time.”
“Says you.”
She said it softly, almost under her breath, but the challenge came through loud and clear. The craziest thought popped into his head. Went against everything he’d been lecturing himself on the past ten minutes, but what the hell? Why not have a little fun?
“You willing to put your money where your mouth is?”
“What do you mean?”
“I saw on the information kiosk that there’s a branch of my favorite men’s store on the other side of the marketplace. I bet I can walk down there, find something to wear for tomorrow and be back before you’ve finished trying on your first outfit.”
“Of course you could,” she replied. He was about to say something about conceding so easily when she added, “You won’t be looking at price tags. Shopping on a budget always takes longer. Try shopping on my salary and see how quickly you shop then.”
“Are you suggesting I don’t pay you enough?”
“No one at my pay level makes enough.”
This time it was his turn to laugh. The woman had a valid point. He was damned if he was going to peruse bargain racks with a multimillion-dollar account on the line. “Fine, we even the playing field. Buy whatever you want without looking at the tag. I’ll reimburse you.”
“You—you’re going to buy me an outfit?” Seeing her flustered expression, Simon almost laughed again. Whenever he caught her off guard, her lips turned into a small O and moved without sound. Made his offer that much more fun to make.
“Why not?”
“Shoes and all?”
“Shoes and all. Of course, you realize that now you can’t use budget as an excuse.” He was curious to see what Delilah would pick once money stopped being an issue. “Do we have a deal?”
Instead of agreeing like he expected, Delilah frowned. “How do you know I won’t go crazy and buy a thousand-dollar dress?”
“We’re going to a clambake. If you can find thousand-dollar beach clothes, have at it. Although, I know you won’t. Your responsible side won’t allow it. Now, again, are we on? Winner gets dinner at the restaurant of his choice.”
That got her. She immediately folded her arms. “His choice? Someone’s awful confident.”
“Yes, he is,” Simon replied, matching her pose.
“Then prepare to eat your words.”
“No I’ll be eating dinner, and I have the restaurant all picked out.”
In truth, he didn’t care who won; he was having way too much fun enjoying the freedom of the moment. As well as this new saucy side of her. She wore it well.

What scene was the hardest to write? Why?

To be honest, the entire book was difficult to write. I wanted to make sure I told Simon’s story in a responsible and tasteful way. One of the hardest scenes, obviously, is when Simon tells Delilah about being assaulted at prep school. The memories are incredibly painful for him, and yet, at the same time, the story causes Delilah to fall more deeply in love with him.

How many times had she looked at this same profile and felt her heart skip a beat? Tonight, she saw a different man. One who was vulnerable and damaged and that same heart ached like never before. The emotions inside her shifted. Infatuation became something far deeper.
Slowly, she walked toward him and without a word or a second thought, wrapped her arms around him. His body stiffened and his fingers gripped her shoulders to push her away, but she held firm.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered in his ear. “So, so sorry.”
She heard a hitch in his breath as a tremor passed through his body. Another shudder, and he drew her close, burying his face in the crook of her neck. Moved by the unexpected show of vulnerability, Delilah carded her fingers in his curls and pressed soft kisses to his temple. Just thinking about the injustice brought tears to her eyes. Squeezing her eyes shut, she let the moisture slide down her cheeks. She held him tight, offering solace. For what Simon had endured and for the shame he needlessly felt. And for all those years of feeling alone with no one to talk to.

How did your character spend the week just before the story starts?

Good question:

Simon attended a few charity events with his latest paramour, Finland Smythe. One event, at the beginning of the week, was even photographed for the society page. Meanwhile, Delilah hung out with her two best friends, Chloe and Larissa. Maybe grabbing a bite to eat with them at their favorite corner bar.

Most of the week, however, the two of them worked like crazy on the Bartlett Ale account proposal. The account – if they can land it – will mean huge things for Simon’s ad agency.

Who would you cast in the role of your characters if your book was optioned for a movie?

Do you think you find someone to film it? It would be a dream come true.

Delilah is based on a British actress named Caroline Catz. She plays Louissa on the Doc Martin TV series. She has just the right amount of sass and cuteness.
Simon would have to be perfect looking – he’s probably a combination of As the World Turns’ Jake Silbermann (for the way he looks in a Speedo) and Matt Bomer from White Collar. Since I can’t morph the two of them into one person, I would take either. Of course, I would need to personally audition them each to see who would play the role best.

What are you currently working on? What other releases so you have planned for 2013 into 2014?

The Man Behind the Mask is the first book in a trilogy. I’m thrilled that Harlequin is going to release all three books in 2014. The next book, Swept Away by the Tycoon (Chloe’s story) will be out in May. I’m currently working on Larissa’s adventure – it should be out in October. All three books involve trips that change the heroine’s lives.

Thanks for blogging at HJ!

Giveaway: I’m giving away two copies of THE MAN BEHIND THE MASK

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Have you ever misjudged a person or situation? Were the results better or worse than your first impression? And remember – extra points for being neurotic! For example, first time I met my husband, I thought he was younger than I was. In fact, my roommate and I asked him what he planned to do when he graduated college. Turned out he’d been out for a couple years.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


“YOUR BOSS MADE the paper again.”
Plop! The folded tabloid landed smack in the middle of Delilah St. Germain’s desk, sending papers flying. “Hey! I just organized those.”
She threw the two women standing in the doorway of her cubicle a good-natured glare. “Some of us have work to do.”
“Some of us would like to point out it’s seven-thirty in the morning,” Chloe Abrams replied. “We’re the only people in the office.”
Without waiting for an invitation, she and Larissa Boyd grabbed a pair of chairs from the empty cube across the aisle and sat down. “Besides, we brought coffee.”
“Oh-my-God-I-love-you-where?” Spying the two large paper cups in Larissa’s hand, she snatched one. “You have no idea how badly I need this.”
“No,” Larissa said, “but we could guess. How you been, stranger? We haven’t seen you all week. You still working on that client pitch?”
“Bartlett Ale? Not at the moment.” The potential account had her burning the candle at both ends the past couple of weeks. “But I’m behind on everything else.” She lifted off the cup lid and breathed deep. It was still warm, too. “You two are lifesavers.”
In more ways than one. Chloe and Larissa had been her best friends since corporate orientation four years ago. Delilah was pretty sure she wouldn’t have survived her move to the Big Apple without them.
“Hey, what are friends for if not to keep you caffeinated when you’re overworked?” Chloe replied. “What time did you get here anyway?”
“Not that long ago. Six-thirty, seven.” Earlier than usual.
Her two friends shook their heads. “There are easier ways to impress the boss than making sure you’re in before he is,” Chloe told her.
“I’m not trying to impress the boss,” Delilah immediately shot back. Not too much anyway. “And you two should talk. I don’t see either of you sleeping in.”
“Hey, this hour of the day is the only time I can get any wedding planning done, since Tom is always hogging the Wi-Fi,” Larissa pointed out. “I came in to surf for bridesmaid dress ideas.”
“And I like to beat the line at the coffee shop,” Chloe replied.
“So she can have plenty of time to flirt with the barista,” Larissa shot back.
“You’re just jealous because he gave me a free size upgrade.”
“I could so make a joke about that comment right now.”
“Please don’t,” Delilah said. “I already have the image in my head.”
Speaking of images…. She reached for the paper Chloe dropped on her desk. Sure enough, there was Simon Cartwright, a third of the way down the column, a beaming blonde draped on his arm.
“Finland Smythe again,” Chloe read over her shoulder. “She’s lasted a while.”
“Two months.” Longer than most. Their boss tended to collect girlfriends the way Delilah’s grandmother used to collect souvenir spoons. Fashion models, actresses, would-be fashion models and actresses, a literal parade of beauty, every one of them wearing the same thrilled expression.
Who could blame them? Delilah stared at the black-and-white image. What she wouldn’t give to be a woman exceptional enough to capture Simon Cartwright’s attention.
Like that was possible. Simon was… She nearly sighed out loud. What wasn’t he? The man was handsome, intelligent, sophisticated. You could literally feel the energy change in the room as soon as he walked in.
Her laptop had a better chance of attracting his attention.

Book Info:

A weekend to change everything…

Delilah St. Germaine fell for New York’s most in-demand bachelor, Simon Cartwright, the moment she began working for him. Four years later, her heart still flutters every time he saunters into the office—much to her frustration. He’s so far out of her reach it’s embarrassing!

Thrown together with him for a working weekend, Delilah glimpses the cracks in Simon’s glittering facade. Now she’s tasted the sweetness of his kisses, she’s determined to uncover the secrets he’s hiding and learn who the real Simon Cartwright is. But will innocent Delilah’s life ever be the same once the truth is revealed?
Book Links:

Author Bio

Award-winning author Barbara Wallace first sold to Harlequin Romance in 2009. Since then her books have appeared throughout the world. She’s the winner of RWA’s Golden Heart Award, a two-time Romantic Times’ finalist for Best Harlequin Romance, and winner of the New England Beanpot Award.

To stay up to date on Barbara’s news and releases, sign up for her newsletter at The next issue will be mailed out soon – with a sneak preview of Swept Away By The Tycoon.
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67 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: The Man Behind The Mask by Barbara Wallace”

    • Barbara Wallace

      Interesting Mary – I was so focused on how we misjudge – I didn’t think about the other side. You make a good point – especially when people misjudge us negatively. I’ve been on that side once in a while – It is difficult

    • Barbara Wallace

      Oh Debra – that made me want to give you a hug. I bet you don’t make things worse – I think people feel bad for misjudging because they are good people who are sensitive to how they behaved. And sensitive is always good

  1. cahmmerritt

    My best friend flew into visit, we met a guy at lunch; my girlfriend liked him – I was so excited thinking I could fix them up and that she’d move to Oregon (where I live) for the guy and that we’d be close together again. Turned out he didn’t like her, he liked me and well we’ve been married 18 years now….

    • Barbara Wallace

      OMG! I’m glad it worked out for you! What happened with your best friend? Is she still around? If so, sounds like it all worked out the way it should. BTW, that would make an awesome romance story!

  2. Maria Theresa Santos

    The first time i met my bestfriend i dont want to talk to her because my another friends says she is so snubish but i talked to her and i realize she is just shy person actually if you get to know her she is nice and sweet

    • Barbara Wallace

      I think that’s so often the case with shy people Maria. I’ve been accused of being standoffish – in fact, my own husband said he wondered that when we first me – because I am terrible at small talk. And because I inherited my dad’s habit of looking “very serious all the time.” But once I relax, you’d realize I’m a chatterbox. I’m glad you got to know your best friend and weren’t put off by first impressions.

  3. Barbara Hopkins

    Yes, I have misjudged people, but then I think we all do at some point, we are after all human. Was it better or worse, I’m not quite sure it would fit either of those, I do know it was quite embarrassing, though… I was at my nursing graduation party with my fellow nursing students, when I happened to get a glimpse at him. Now, he was so good looking he would have been perfect for the cover of an “H” book. anyway, the crowd moved and I lost him. My girlfriend and I were standing near a railing and I had started telling her about this guy I saw, I was in the middle of saying, “now why can’t I get a hunk like that to ask me to dance, sweep me off my feet, and fall madly in love with me, when he tapped me on the shoulder, and said “can I have a dance before we decide to do all that”? NO JOKE!!!! Our son will be 16 in April… B

  4. Kai W.

    I missed a clerical recently. I thought she was playing video games instead of learning Microsoft Word. Well, it turned out that Microsoft Word has a typing game. Major OOPS!!!

    • Barbara Wallace

      LOL! At least you figured it out eventually. 🙂 And I didn’t know MS Word had a typing game. I’m going to have to check it out so I can procrastinate!

  5. DJ Sakata

    When I was in line enrolling as a freshman in college I was overwhelmed with so many people around me doing the same thing. In line ahead of me was a drop dead beautiful girl, like a model, I had never seen anything like her. She spoke with an accent. I was so stunned I was mute, and green with envy, I instantly decided she would be vane, prissy, and vacuou…, but she turned out to be just as overwhelmed as I was and was really sweet. We ended up in the same dorm and became friends.

    • Barbara Wallace

      Yay you for talking to her! I think, actually, that truly beautiful people have trouble making friends because so many people do make assumptions about them or are intimidated. She was probably thrilled you talked with her.

  6. Margaret

    Although I’m normally a good judge of character, I have certainly had my share of times where I’ve misjudged people, none that results in a really good story though!

    • Barbara Wallace

      They usually are, Carolyn. It’s a good reason not to make snap judgments. But then, like someone said above – we’re human, so we continue to do so even when we know we shouldn’t.

  7. Lori Meehan

    When I first met my best friend I did not like her at all. But when I got passed he tough outer shell she was a very nice person.

    • Barbara Wallace

      Good for you for sticking with your friend and trying to get to know her! That says a lot of about what kind of person you are too – that you are willing to give people a good long look before passing final judgement.

  8. KateS

    I can never tell people’s age…. so when I was a bartender… I carded everyone… all the time…

    • Barbara Wallace

      FWIW, I bet you were a lot of people’s best friend for carding. I know I love when I get carded – because seriously, I’m fifty and it lets me fantasize that I look 21 for a moment.

  9. dutcheja

    I misjudged or was actually misled into thinking a man I met was single when in fact he was married and his wedding ring was in his pants pocket. I found out about the ring later.

    • Barbara Wallace

      Okay, that is just wrong. That’s not you misjudging – that’s falling prey to a liar. And I’m sorry that happened. Thank goodness you met someone nicer (since you’re no longer single!)

  10. Christine L.

    Here I was thinking, “I don’t misjudge people or situations that often, do I?” Then I read Kristi’s comment and literally laughed out loud! I can totally relate. Before we married, I thought my now ex-husband was a good guy and the answer to everything. Turned out he was an abusive, lying cheater. I’m lucky to have escaped that situation! So, to answer the prompt, YES and MUCH WORSE.

  11. Shay

    I try not to judge period, bc I’m usually the one being misjudged & it’s not fun! So, I just don’t have much of a social life.

    • Barbara Wallace

      {{Shay}} That’s hard – I’m sorry you get misjudged so much – you’re right, it isn’t fun. Here’s to a more social 2014 with lots of people who understand us all!

  12. Barbara Wallace

    I have to say, for a holiday, there are lot of people visiting the blog today. Thanks Sara for having me. And hopefully my responses aren’t coming across as super trite. If you all want to ask other questions or just say Hey – feel free!

  13. Jennifer Zorko

    I have misjudged people in the past, and sometimes it has come back to bit me. Thanks for the chance.

  14. ndluebke

    Of course over the past 50 some years, many times, including my husband. However Im misjudged many times, Im short, overweight and no female fatale. However, when I sing, people listen. It has been that way most of my life.

    • Barbara Wallace

      Your story reminded me of Susan Boyle – people misjudged her too. Sounds like you know your strengths though and are comfortable with yourself. Thanks for throwing in your two cents!

  15. Sandie W

    Yes, I have misjudged. Sometimes it’s better than I though, and other times it’s worse. I usually try to err on the side of better. But, sometimes no matter what it’s 10 times worse!

    • Barbara Wallace

      I have to admit, it’s awful when you give someone the benefit of the doubt only to find out that first impression was right after all and the person wasn’t so great. Thanks for stopping by though and weighing in. Like I said below, it’s be interesting reading everyone’s comments. Sounds like we’re all a lot alike!

  16. Jenn McElroy

    I’m sure I’ve misjudged plenty of people and situations. I didn’t always care for my SIL, but once I got to know her (and developed a common “enemy”) we get along really well :-). Thanks for the giveaway!

  17. Janice Unger

    When I first met my hubby, I thought “What a nerd”. He was trying to talk to me and I totally blew him off. Now, here we are having 10 years of marriage under our belt. Good thing I ran into him again. It seems I really do like the nerdy type. 😉

    • Barbara Wallace

      LOL Janice – my son’s BFF was a nerdy quiet kid in high school. Now he’s in college and popular with the ladies. I told me son it’s because he’s finally in a place where being smart and nice is appreciated. (BTW, for those who are wondering, my son is the polar opposite of his BFF – he’s “That Guy” who always says the sarcastic thing.)

  18. Barbara Wallace

    Okay, I have to stop using exclamation points in my posts. I sound way too perky for my own good. Seriously, no one needs that many exclamations. Have a great night, everyone. This has been really fun.

    • Barbara Wallace

      You are lucky – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve misjudged a person – though like many here, usually I was the one who was pleasantly surprised. Thanks for stopping by.

  19. Barbara Wallace

    Hi Olga! Nice to see a familiar name. Thanks for stopping by. And by the way, as far as misjudging situations – you’re in good company. 🙂 Happy New Year everyone!

  20. veRONIca

    I train new employees and they often surprise me. People who seem incredibly incompetent, end up being some of the best employees later on. Others who are friendly and seem smart are the ones who give up and quit the job quickly.

    • Barbara Wallace

      Good point, verRONIca. Interestingly, years ago I applied for a job at a law firm (which I got). Afterwards, my boss told me I was the least impressive in person interview (I came across as shy – go figure) but my writing and recommendations were so strong she went against her gut and hired me. I ended up staying there ten years and became her right-hand “man” whereas employees she hired afterward based on her gut were quickly dispatched. Proving you’re theory (and that she should go against her instincts more often.) 🙂 Thanks for coming by!

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