A collection of musings, articles and news about romance fiction.

What Gentlemen Prefer… with Joan Kilby

Gentlemen Prefer Nerds, By Joan Kilby

Self-professed nerd Maddie Maloney is an expert on jewels. Jewel thieves are another matter entirely! So when a mysterious Englishman warns her that a thief known as The Chameleon is after the rare pink diamond on display in her aunt’s shop, she tells herself it’s just a joke. Even if she can’t get Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome out of her mind…

But Fabian Montgomery doesn’t give up easily. He’s everywhere she goes, convinced the thief will strike. And when the diamond does go missing—and Maddie is suspected of stealing it—he whisks her away from the police and together they pursue The Chameleon. Fabian plunges her into a glamorous world far from her humble workshop and transforms geeky Maddie into a sophisticated siren capable of espionage. Her mission: to seduce The Chameleon and steal back the diamond.

But Fabian isn’t telling her everything—like who he works for, and why he’s so interested in The Chameleon…

Thanks so much for joining us, Joan! Tell us about yourself…

Hi Shannon, Thanks for having me on your blog! I live on the outskirts of Melbourne with my husband and three grown children. I love to cook (and eat!), read, go to the gym and travel. I’ve published over twenty books with Harlequin, mostly Superromance. Gentlemen Prefer Nerds is my first single title.

Okay, first question – where did this title come from, it’s great!

Author Nancy Warren came up with the title. We were rooming together at the RWA conference in Dallas in 2007. I was about to pitch my book to an agent but I didn’t have a title. Nancy came up with Gentlemen Prefer Nerds off the top of her head. It fits the story perfectly. Thank you Nancy!

What made you want to write THIS story?

I wanted to write a bigger book. I wanted it to be a fun story and a bit of a fantasy, as in romance fantasy. My original plot evolved but the premise remained, an ordinary woman is plucked out of her ordinary life by an extraordinary man and taken on a wild adventure. In the process she becomes the smartest, bravest, sexiest version of herself she can possibly be.

Tell us about Fabian Montgomery – why is he so special?

Fabian is James Bond with a heart. He’s aristocratic, autocratic, intelligent, good-looking and sexy as hell. He’s a pretty sharp dresser, too.

And Maddie Maloney, your heroine; why is she so well-suited to your hero – or not?

Maddie is the perfect foil for Fabian. They come from completely different worlds. He’s from an aristocratic English family; she’s Australian and her father and brothers walk on the shady side of the law. Maddie’s nerdy, gawky and timid but she does have a strong sense of herself. She’s also really smart and like Fabian, family means everything to her.

You have a string of successful novels already in print… what attracted you to digital publishing?

I couldn’t find a home for Gentlemen Prefer Nerds in traditional publishing. Agents and editors I queried all said they loved the premise, the characters and the writing but there was no market for this kind of story. I submitted to Carina Press and was accepted very quickly. Digital publishing can take chances that print publishing can’t or won’t. My experience with Carina and my editor Deborah Nemeth has been wonderful. I’m hoping readers will prove those agents and print publishers wrong.

What draws you to writing in the contemporary romance genre?

I love to read contemporary romance. I like a level of realism with a touch of larger-than-life stories I can conceivably imagine myself starring in. Vampires and shape-shifters just aren’t my cup of tea. I enjoy reading historicals but the research involved seems like too much work!

With such an impressive backlist, and after writing so many books, how do you keep coming up with fresh material?

I wonder that every time I start a new book! Unique characters are the key to keeping it fresh. When I dig into my characters backstories and flesh out their goals and motivations they gradually become individuals to me and the story comes alive. I consciously try not to repeat myself in theme or plot.

What books/heroes did you like to read, growing up, and how have they inspired you in writing this story?

Growing up, I devoured everything from Narnia Chronicles to horse stories to Enid Blyton’s Famous Five to Harriet The Spy. As I got older I loved comic novels such as Nancy Mitford’s Love In A Cold Climate and also PG Wodehouse. One of my favourite books is I Capture The Castle, a coming of age novel set in England. There’s something about a transformation story that appeals to me.

What are you working on next?

I’m working on a Superromance which will be an October 2012 release, TO BE A FAMILY. I also have another single title on the go although I haven’t had time to work on it for many months. And one of these days I want to write the sequel to Gentlemen Prefer Nerds. It’s intended to be the first of a three or four book series.

I’m giving away a copy of Gentlemen Prefer Nerds to one lucky commenter. Just tell me, are you more of a nerd or a glamazon? If you’re a nerd, is there an inner glamazon just dying to come out?

You can find Joan’s book, Gentlemen Prefer Nerds, at these recommended sites:

Carina Press


Barnes and Noble

If you’d like to contact Joan directly, she can be found lurking here:





10 responses

  1. Thanks for posting an interesting interview 🙂

    Joan – congrats on the new release – love the title!!

    PS – I’m def on the nerd side of the nerd/glamazon tug of war 😉

    March 13, 2012 at 9:59 am

  2. Hi Joanne, Thanks for the congrats! I used to be a marine biologist so I’m definitely more nerd than glamazon. In fact if you could see me now in my track pants and comfy shirt… Ah, the glamorous life of a writer 🙂

    March 13, 2012 at 10:16 am

  3. LOL I probably fit in the nerd category, although I’d like the other category better. The grass is always greener 🙂
    Congrats on your new release. I love both the title and the premise. I have a thing for jewel thieves.

    March 13, 2012 at 11:10 am

    • Hi Shelly, I think there are more of us nerds than there are glamazons! My heroine isn’t so sure the grass is greener. She sees uber-sexiness as kind of like ‘having a superpower she can’t control.’ Thanks for stopping by.

      March 13, 2012 at 11:59 am

  4. I’ve just received Gentlemen Prefer Nerds on my Kindle — I can’t wait to read it! I’m not sure I’d call myself a glamazon, but my inner nerd definitely pokes her head out more and more often these days!

    March 13, 2012 at 11:10 am

    • Hi Emmie, nice to see you here. Nerds – 4; glamazons – 0. Thanks for your support! Hope you enjoy Nerds.

      March 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm

  5. I’m sure I’m a nerd!! The only time I try and be a little bit glam is at the RWA conf – and even then I probably FAIL dismally. Don’t enter me in the draw as I already have a copy of Gentleman Prefer Nerds and can’t WAIT to read it 🙂

    March 13, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    • Hi Rachel. Conference is one of the few times I glam up, too. I like pretty dresses. Just can’t walk on high heels!

      But you know what, I think we’re all being too hard on ourselves. Maybe we all need a spa day, lol.

      March 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm

  6. I’m a definite nerd! Not even a hint of glamazon, I’m afraid.

    Love the sound of Gentlement Prefer Nerds. Looking forward to reading it!

    March 14, 2012 at 7:24 am

    • Hi Colleen, I love hearing everyone embrace their inner nerd! Thanks for stopping by.

      March 14, 2012 at 9:24 am

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