Friday, November 15, 2013

A Chat with Hayson Manning || Winning the Boss's Heart #Book Review

The author is offering a $10 Amazon gift card and (2) WINNING THE BOSS'S HEART ebooks to randomly drawn commenters.

Mason Christian has twelve weeks to flip something old into something new, and then he's getting the hell out of Footsteps Bay - a tiny New Zealand coastal town. Not even his temporary secretary and personal assistant--the feisty, luscious Billie McLeod--will deter him, but there's no denying she makes him feel alive. More alive than he's felt in three years...
Billie has one dream: save enough money to finish her degree. That's why she's agreed to work for hard ass, all-business-no-pleasure Mason Christian--a man who has every intention of destroying through modernization the town's most cherished historical home. Before she can say 'see ya' she's signed on the dotted line and is contractually bound to be Mason's forty-second assistant. But working with male perfection every day is awesome with a capital A--as long as they can stick to a hands-off policy that gets harder every day...

Available for purchase:

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Hi Hayson, please tell us about yourself and your writing.

I am a rather boring author who sits at her desk dreaming up worlds I’d love to visit. I’m in a constant battle with the good side of my brain who’s there with her sleeves rolled up and ready to go, vs. the bad side which is telling me to chill out and take a break. Quite often I can be seen roaming the streets muttering.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing solidly for four years now. Having an agent who asks what you’re working has made me more disciplined, which I need, just quietly.

What inspired your current book?

I set Winning the Boss’s Heart in a small coastal town in New Zealand. I wanted the feeling of community that small towns bring. When life throws a curveball, a neighbor will drop off a casserole, Stan from across the road will walk Sigmund the dog, milk will be left on the doorstep. My heroine, Billie, never stayed long in one place growing up and yearns for roots. (I think I subconsciously wrote a bit of myself into this book. Off to Google Freud.) My hero, Mason, loves the anonymity of a large town. For him roots are shackles. He’d rather stick a fork in his eye than have a goat named Ethel as his lawnmower. 

I had a lot of fun writing these characters, and I had a lot of fun visiting New Zealand again, if only in my head.

Please tell us about your current work in progress.

Hopefully a Brazen submission for Entangled. A dirty-talking bounty hunter who has to team up with a preacher’s daughter PI, to take down a resident bad dude, but finds that what’s been under his nose the whole time will bring in the biggest case of his career but will destroy her in the process.

How do you come up with your book titles?

Coming up with a book title is tough because you have so few words to convey exactly what the book is about. Winning the Boss’s Heart went though many names, most not printable here.

Name one person, living or dead, you'd most like to meet.

I know it’s cheating but I’d kind of like to go back and spend some time with my mother. She died when I was in my early twenties. It would be fun to grab some hang time with her.

Has anyone in particular been an influence on your writing?

When I was in grade school if I came across a word I couldn’t read I’d substitute it for one I’d make it. The word Sapphire and Europe still haunt me. Our principal, Mr. Boyd picked it up and I attended remedial reading classes for a year. If I hadn’t, I don’t think I’d be the writer I am today.

Do you have a favorite character from your books? Who is it and why?

I really loved Billie in Winning the Boss’s Heart. She’s someone I’d love to spend time with. She’s smart and doesn’t take Mason’s crap but gives it back. I like woman who aren’t afraid to go after what they want. I’m not a fan of whiney woman in life or in books. I just don’t relate to them.

Tell us something strange or interesting about yourself.

I can make my eyes shake. How’s that for a fun fact? My brother and I used to do this for hours. Clearly the smart gene didn’t roll the Manning way.

I’ve watched every season of Deadliest Catch. Talk smack about my crab dudes and I will take you down. I have no love of crustaceans and I’m not the boating type. It’s the dude’s. All that testosterone. Yum. I swear there’s more drama on Sig’s Northwestern than between the feuding Abbot’s and Newman’s on daytime TV.

Who is the sexiest man/woman alive and why?

Michael Fassbender. The man is pure man magic but there’s an intensity about him that melts all parts of me.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three modern conveniences would you take with you?

  1. My Kindle loaded with millions of books that would never run out of juice.
  2. I’d say Hub’s but he’s not modern or particularly convenient.
  3. A huge tent that would keep every flying insect out. Me and bugs are not besties.
  4. My phone so I could listen to music whilst calling for help.
Quick quiz:
·         Favorite food? Peanut butter
·         Favorite color? Turquoise
·         Favorite animal? Sloth (could you imagine lying around all day and sleeping?)
·         Biggest pet peeve? People who are in a turn lane then suddenly decide they need to cut in after you’ve been sitting there for hours. Um, no.
·         Dream car? As long as it goes I don’t care.

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WINNING THE BOSS'S HEART wasn't what I expected at all and fit with none of my preconceptions of 80s Harlequin romance centered about a stereotypical boss/secretary courtship. This contemporary romance takes place in the intimate setting of a live-in architectural renovation. The author has a solid style—active voice, smooth pacing, and excellent flow. The dialogue gives good ear and the word choice is crisp and vibrant. (Man Magic, hee!)

Billie McCloud is a smart, driven widow who needs to take a short-term admin job in order to pay her tuition to culinary school. She's sentimental about the small town she lives in, which is the only real home she's known following a bohemian childhood with her single mother. She craves permanence, stability and the sense of home derived from tradition and history. She has romanticized the historical home that Mason Christian wants to renovate into a "minimalist retreat".

Initially, I didn't like Mason very much. He came across as cold, distant and arrogant. His redeeming quality seemed to be his willingness to tolerate/show affection for the heroine's slobbering Great Dane. His icy facade cracks as the story progresses and the reader discovers a man who has suffered a great personal loss. His infant daughter died of SIDS and his wife left him, so he has built his fortress of solitude and dedicated his life to his work. Deep down, he's a considerate lover, a kind soul and desperately in need of love.

I loved how Billie shook up Mason's orderly existence with her unconventional whimsy. The author adds an excellent zap of humor with the string of nicknames the heroine slaps on the hero. Sexual tension sizzles between the pair and intimate scenes are spicy. The hero and heroine are obviously meant together and the HEA-ending will not disappoint.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Hayson Manning writes fun and flirty romances with alpha dudes and sassy woman. She lives in the bush in Sydney where she avoids anything scaly, with her lovely sloth children, infuriating but much loved shoe-dropping husband and a tubby opinionated cat (as if a cat doesn't ever not have an opinion). There will often be a foster dog parked on the couch waiting for their forever home. She loves a good glass of wine, dreams of winning the lottery, cries while watching Antiques Roadshow and cannot speak she's sobbing so much by the end of Undercover Boss. She is also an expert at finding new and inventive ways to avoid exercise.

Learn more about Hayson Manning:
Twitter: @HaysonManning

The author is offering a $10 Amazon gift card and (2) WINNING THE BOSS'S HEART ebooks to randomly drawn commenters. 


  1. Good morning, Hayson. Welcome to the Snarkology! It's great to have you here and I really enjoyed WINNING THE BOSS'S HEART. I have to confess, I REALLY want to know what the other working titles were!

    1. Thanks so much for hosting me on your site, Melissa. I'm excited to be here. Oh, the names. Off the top of my head. Flipping the Boss's Heart. Renovation of the Heart. The Boss and the Bohemian. I could go on and on and on....


  2. Great review! I have a soft spot in my heart for Great Danes, so I was excited to see that there is one in the book. The black and white cover rocks too!

    Great interview. Off to share.

    1. Thanks, Sandy for stopping by. I too have a soft spot for Great Danes. Any type of dog, but especially one that has been abused. We've fostered 35 dogs and everyone of them tugs at my heart.

      Hayson x