From Business Suits to Yoga Pants and Top-Knots…

About Mandy

Her stories are guaranteed to make you laugh, smile, and ugly happy cry. She is also Supermom to three home-schooled kids–powered by coffee and Dr. Pepper.

Mandy was born and raised in Oklahoma and loves to include local events and places in her contemporary romances. Mandy says, “Oklahoma has such a rich history that it’s a place where anything can happen. It’s a perfect location to showcase how two people can overcome anything that might stand in their way to happiness.”

You can find more of Mandy’s work in sweet romances published under the pen name Elle Ryan. Elle is also a 2x USA Today bestselling author.

A note from Mandy:

A question I hear all the time is, “Why romance?” To be honest, I didn’t always know I would write and I certainly didn’t aspire to write romance specifically. I just wanted to create worlds people could lose themselves in—the same way I would lose myself in the stories of others. I wanted to give someone that same feeling of warmth and acceptance I so frequently found in the stories created by other authors.

My road to writing romance wasn’t always clear to me, but as I look back on my life’s path I realize that this is always what I was meant to do. I’m a little stubborn sometimes, so life had to put me in a few time-outs before I realized it… But this is what I was born to create.
I began reading at 2 and when challenged by adults who doubted my ability to read fluently at such a young age, I jutted out my little chin as my mom told them to pick a novel, she would tell me to read them any paragraph from their chosen novel, which I did… every single time.

I wrote my first story at the age of 6. It was on construction paper and Mom helped me bind it with rainbow colored yarn. It was also fully illustrated in crayon… just saying. At that moment, I realized how much I loved creating worlds on paper. The satisfaction of crafting something that could make someone else smile, just like my little story made my mom smile, was the pinnacle of success in my mind.

My love for romance novels and stories began when I was a teenager with a teen science-fiction drama on the CW network. Yep, I said it. That show was Roswell. Max and Liz were (and still are) goals! For real. But their romance was cut short by an early cancellation despite a valiant effort from their die-hard fans who sent Tabasco bottles to CW execs as a protest.

. . .

You’d have to watch the series to understand, not that I partook in such silly things…
Okay. I did. I was a little obsessed. I admit it. #noregrets

After losing a piece of my heart when the CW eventually cancelled Roswell, I turned to my other obsession: the Elizabethan era. I loved the theories surrounding Queen Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley. Unrequited love due to duty and honor… *swoon*

It wasn’t long before things changed forever. I was only 15 when 9/11 happened. I was scared, as almost everyone was back then. The world looked like an ugly place and innocent people were paying for that darkness.

My heart ached.

My soul needed hope and a ray of light to hold on to. I immersed myself in Shakespeare, Wuthering Heights (another unrequited love… I’m sensing a pattern here), and any other romance or even romance-adjacent titles I could get my hands on.

Those unrequited romances kept me up at night.

They wanted to be together and I wanted them to be together (The Queen and Dudley remain theories, but in my teenage angst I believed it was truth with everything in my soul).

But writing wasn’t a viable career option. That would have just been irresponsible and silly. 

I obtained a degree in English with a minor in Psychology while using my education to spark a career in marketing where I did pretty well, if I do say so myself.

Yes, that was awesome.
Yes, it was great for my ego.
No, it did not feed my soul.

I wanted to create and I realized that while I loved the challenges presented in marketing, using my creative writing skills in marketing alone was not what sparked a fire in my soul. I left the marketing industry and began writing professionally. Now, I get to do what I love with people I adore while never leaving the comfort of my home. My office attire is yoga pants and top-knots. It doesn’t get better than that.

“My office attire is yoga pants and top-knots. It doesn’t get better than that.” 😁

So why romance?

The media and news outlets are so focused on what goes wrong in the world that sometimes it becomes easy to think the world sucks. I wanted something that offered hope and possibilities.

I wanted happy ever after.

I wanted hope in spite of the darkness surrounding each of us. Duty and obligation be damned. Those characters deserved happiness, and so do each and every one of us.

I wanted other people to have beacons of hope in a sometimes UGH world. I wanted readers to have something to hold onto that says “The world doesn’t suck. Good things can still happen.”

Romance authors are often berated in the writing community, as if our chosen genre is easier or somehow less important to the market than others. I think that’s a bunch of nonsense. Any romance reader automatically knows this is a load of crap. It takes strength to see beauty in negative spaces. It takes determination to offer a light of hope in a dark time. Leading two (or more) characters through relatable conflicts and still helping them find ways to come together. To create love and happiness out of thin air… That’s what this world needs more of.

To all other romance authors, I raise my coffee in a toast to our combined strength and determination to bring happiness and unity to our readers.

That’s why I write sweet and sassy romance where the LOLs and HEAs are always guaranteed.

I hope you find something to make you smile when you pick up one of my books.

Stay sassy,

XOXO
Mandy

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