Spotlight & Giveaway: The Professor’s Secret by Peggy Bird

Posted April 2nd, 2016 by in Blog, Spotlight / 51 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Peggy Bird to HJ!

Hi Peggy and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, The Professor’s Secret!


Please summarize the book for the readers here:

The Professor's SecretFor most of the year, Claudia Manchester, PhD, teaches English lit at Portland State University. On vacation, however, her alter ego, April Mayes, Queen of Steam, takes over and she writes hot romance, a fact Claudia wants to keep under wraps until she has tenure.

Then her agent convinces her to go to a writers’ conference in a disguise Claudia dubs “slutty romance writer.” She meets Brad Davis, another teacher and romance writer. He’s Mr. Hot and Handsome, and he’s more than interested in her.

But when she finds out the school where he teaches is only blocks away from her university, she panics and invents yet another identity to hide behind. When Brad falls for her she isn’t sure which woman he’s interested in—her real self, her writer self, or the woman whose name he calls when they’re together.

Their chance to find happily-ever-after will depend on whether a relationship based on lies can succeed. And whether Brad loves the real woman or one of the aliases.

Please share the opening lines of this book:

Had she been the woman she was pretending to be, Claudia would walk up to the man who’d just strolled into the waiting area at the gate, smile seductively, and say, “Let’s blow this popsicle stand.” He was so attractive, paying for a drink, a meal, or a trip to wherever he wanted to go would be worth it to have the chance to get to know him.


Please share a few Fun facts about this book…

  • After I sent the manuscript to my editor, I remembered that I’d failed to find out if there were male teachers at St. Mary’s Academy, the private girls’ school where I had my hero teaching. Luckily, a family member is an SMA alumna and she not only confirmed there were male teachers but told me about the time one of them got wolf whistles from the students when he crossed the stage at an awards ceremony. That made it into the book during the editing process.
  • Usually I include something in my books that I’ve done. This time I included the experience of a close friend. Based on her story about what she did on the first of May at the top of Beacon Rock, let’s just say she’s far braver than I am about amorous activities outdoors.
  • I havealways wanted to turn several of Shakespeare’s plays into contemporary romances, giving all his charactershappy endings (well, some of them. I have no idea how to give Lady Macbeth a happy ending.) In this book, I have created someone who has fulfilled that fantasy.


If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?

I’d use the scene where Brad asks Claudia to join him for a drink in the hotel bar after dinner, because it shows the beginning of the attraction between the two. Here it is:

“Why don’t we meet in the bar then?”
“I’m not sure.” (Claudia) was tempted. Maybe it was because she was a little high from playing April Mayes for three hours, but in spite of knowing it was risky, the desire to get to know this man was strong. Stronger than any attraction she’d ever felt before for anyone. But was it worth the consequences she feared?
“Tell you what,” he said, apparently resigned to her not responding, “I’ll be in the bar until ten thirty, looking hopefully at the door every time a redhead walks in, waiting for you. If you don’t show up, I’ll drink myself into oblivion before staggering to my cold and lonely bed where I’ll pass out until the morning. Which will mean my presentation and lunchtime speech tomorrow will probably be disasters, and my career as a writer will be over. But don’t let me influence you. Join me for a drink if you’ve got nothing better to do when you get back. And are feeling sorry for me being so alone in a sea of strangers.”
By the time he’d finished his speech, Claudia was unable to keep a straight face. “So this is what it’s like to cross swords with a writer. You’re good.”
“I’ll only believe that if you show up tonight for a nightcap.”
“I promise I’ll do my best to meet you.”
“I’ll take it.” He touched her face. “And I’ll look forward to it.”
For a moment, as he leaned closer to her and she felt his breath on her cheek, heappeared to be about to kiss her. But he merely tucked a strand of hair behind her ear,
saying, “That’s been driving me crazy for hours. It’s the only curl out of place.” He patted her cheek and sauntered away without a backward glance.


What do you want people to take away from reading this book?

What I set out to do was write a light-hearted look at how romance writers are viewed. It still surprises me how easily the romance genre is excluded from any discussion of good writing. I hope I gave readers some ammunition to use if they ever get in such a conversation.


What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2016?

I’m working on three projects at the moment. The first is a novella called Out of the Game. Itwill be released in Bella Andre’s “Game of Love” Kindle World in May. The second is an as-yet-untitled Christmas novella. The third is a women’s fiction novel that may take me until the next millennium to finish but which had a healthy start during a master class I recently took with Elizabeth George, my favorite mystery writer.

Thanks for blogging at HJ!


Giveaway: 2 ebook copies of “THE PROFESSOR’S SECRET”


To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: So, romance readers, what do you think is the reason novels in our favorite genre are so often dismissed in ways novels in the mystery or western genres are not?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Excerpt from The Professor’s Secret:

The thing was, she wanted to meet him. Wanted to see what it would be like to behave like one of her heroines. She’d actually written a scene in one of her books where her heroine met a man at a conference and began a torrid affair with him. Of course, it was fiction, so by the end of the book, they rode off into the sunset in his cute little convertible for their happily-ever-after. Claudia wasn’t so foolish as to believe something similar would happen with Brad Davis. But still.
What if. That favorite phrase writers use to think up plot points kept coming to her. What if she had the nerve of the heroines she created? What if she fully and completely embraced the persona she was projecting? What if April Mayes took over the life of Claudia Manchester for the evening and did what she bloody well wanted to do? Took the chances Claudia had her heroines take? Walked into the bar with the explicit aim of doing Brad Davis. As thoroughly, completely, and exhaustively as any woman had ever done a man.
No, not possible. She could never do that. Granted, he had a kissable mouth. And he smelled good. Like a freshly laundered shirt overlaid with something subtly spicy. A freshly laundered shirt covering a body that looked amazing clothed but begged to be seen naked. And those eyes. They had never let her out of his sight in the airport, and she had caught them watching her at the book signing more times than she was comfortable admitting.
Claudia Manchester didn’t do things like have a convention hookup. She dated perfectly appropriate men who she met through work and only landed in bed with a few of them and only after the appropriate number of dates. It was an insult to her dignity to even suggest otherwise. But she wasn’t Claudia Manchester this week, was she? And April Mayes sure as hell would have grabbed him and dragged him off to her lair the first chance she had.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Book Info:

English professor Claudia Manchester secretly writes spicy romances as April Mayes, the Queen of Steam. She wants to keep her side job under wraps till she’s secured tenure, but when she’s pressured by her agent to appear at some out-of-state conferences, she agrees . . . if she can go in disguise. Dressed as her sexier alter ego, she meets historical romance writer and high school history teacher Bradley Davis and passion ignites. But can true love be built on lies? And will he still want her when she reveals her real self?

Sensuality Level: Sensual
Book Links:  

Meet the Author:

Peggy BirdBorn in Philadelphia, I’ve spent most of my adult life in the Pacific Northwest where I have happily grown webs between my toes and moss behind my ears. Over my adult life, I pursued a number of careers—nurse, legislative staffer, lobbyist, public affairs consultant, non-profit association executive, workshop teacher, oh, and mother and wife—before deciding to leave it all for what I’ve loved through every stage of life—writing.
But instead of the intricately plotted mysteries and deeply moving memoir pieces I assumed I’d write, the characters in every piece of fiction I started wanted their love stories told. Even when I had many of them hanging around questionable people or involved in murder, intrigue, and general mayhem.
That’s how my Crimson Romances were born. All the stories are set in some of my favorite places in the country—Portland, Oregon,the Puget Sound, Philadelphia. My second series, A Holiday For Romance, includes some of my favorite times of the year—Independence Day, Halloween, Christmas/Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve, Thanksgiving.
Still no mysteries, but I’m working on it.

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51 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: The Professor’s Secret by Peggy Bird”

  1. erinf1

    a bit of sexism and embarrassment 🙂 Romance is “girly” and I think people get embarrassed to admit that they are romantics. Thanks for sharing!

    • Peggy

      Do you suppose if we changed the name of the genre, those non-romantics would be less embarrassed?

  2. Glenda

    Primarily because of their popularity. It’s the elitist attitude that if it is popular it isn’t ‘art’. The sex scenes don’t help either 😉

    • Peggy

      Interesting that the attitude doesn’t seem to transfer to sci-fi, westerns or mysteries, isn’t it?

  3. Karina Angeles

    People consider romance novel to be “smut” because of cover art or the storyline. They overlook the story and just focus on the sex.

  4. lorrainereads

    I think people are embarrassed to admit that they enjoy reading romance novels. I also feel that some of the covers are just a little too over the top for me. I understand that that is the point but not all covers need to look like that. i also think that some people judge people that read romance novels because they are easy fun reads.

    • Peggy

      And yet some of the great romance novels of all time written by great authors like Austen and Bronte are studied in schools and universities.

  5. debby236

    I think we are made to feel embarrassed by reactions when you say you read romance. I am not sure why. I like it and I read it. Not sure why some people do not consider it challenging.

    • Peggy

      Like every other genre, there are good books and not-so-good books. Stories I like and some that don’t appeal to me. Some are more challenging than others. It’s the variety I love the most, I think.

  6. Irene

    I think it’s not only because of the sex, but also because romance is seen as women’s genre. Amd not a “serious” one at that, because what’s so serious about two (or more) people falling in love?? *rolls eyes*

  7. Jenn McElroy

    I don’t think that romance is considered a serious genre, the way other genres are. Romance is my favorite genre, so I only worry about reading the books that enjoy and everyone else’s opinion be damned!

  8. Tammy V.

    The unrealistic love that doesn’t happen very often. People have a hard time believing, I guess. Or just reminded of what they are missing in their lives.

  9. michelleduonlyliveonce

    Because the romance genre is considered a female genre and therefore can’t be taken seriously. Other genres are considered male. There are probably a lot of people who won’t even consider reading a book written by a woman because it’ll be too fluffy.

  10. Karina Angeles

    Most people view sex in books as a taboo. They regard it as smut without even considering the whole storyline. It would take a miracle to get those people to take romance novels seriously, which sucks because MOST books are incredible stories.

    • Peggy Bird

      I know. Of course there are some not as well written and some you won’t like but there are so many great writers out there with lovely stories. It would be hard not to find one that’s incredible.

  11. rachael constant

    i’ll go with what others are saying and say sex.
    I love reading romance of various themes (im very partial to a regency or Scottish highland romance). I have to say one thing that can be off putting about reading a romance in public or at work (I always take a book to read at lunchtime), are some of the racy front covers (or as my mother calls them- bodice ripper novels). not that I read anything particularly racy, just the usual romance with afew sex scenes thrown in, but a lot of covers tend to be couples dry humping each other (usually with the bloke with shirt off or unbuttoned).

    bit easier now with kindles 🙂

    • Peggy Bird

      Not only can you hide the cover but you can carry around hundreds of books. Yay, Kindles.

  12. BookLady

    Romance is written primarily by women for women. The sexy covers, damsels in distress, and happily ever afters are considered frivolous.

  13. Banana cake

    The covers of some books are suggestive, but there are so many genres and sub genres they should not all be lumped together.

  14. laurieg72

    People think romance novels don’t have any depth or substance and that the subject/plot lines are too repetitive. I disagree. I love the covers but some do show suggestive positions.

  15. kermitsgirl

    I think many people consider them as promoting unrealistic portrayals of love and sex – and often people think that they don’t address “deeper issues” which is blatantly false.

  16. Lexi Guardado

    Embrace sexuality and makes you feel like you belong. We live in an age where people are afraid of abandonment or feeling alone so it’s like therapy for the soul.

  17. joab4424

    Romance novels have always been dismissed as fluff stories that are read by women who don’t have brains, therefore, couldn’t follow stories in other genres. The covers of many of these books don’t help change this misconception.

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