SPECIAL INTERVIEW WITH MARY JO PUTNEY
Mary Jo Putney is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous historical, contemporary and paranormal romances. Her charismatic and romantic characters have captured readers’ attention. Largely because they tackle real life issues that connect to fans. As one of my all time favorites, she had definitely captivated this reader’s heart!
Recently she has begun a new YA series called the Dark Mirror. She also has a new historical romance called Sometimes a Rogue coming out this August.
But how does she keep her inspiration and love for writing? I excited to have the opportunity to ask her!
1) You have written so many wonderful books! Is it hard to find new ideas? What inspires you about romance?
Mary Jo Putney:
here do ideas come from? It’s a mystery! I think that novelists have a storyteller imagination that is always inventing new endings for movies or stories for people seen on the street, or whatever.
In terms of my writing, about half the time I start with a plot idea and have to figure what characters will work best with that plot. The other half of the time I have a character who appeared in an earlier book, and have to decide what plot will best play into his or her individual nature. Ultimately, though, characters matter most because they are infinitely variable, so no danger of running out of ideas.
I like romance because it concentrates on the developing relationship. The characters grow and change until they’re a perfect match. And of course I love the happy ending! I don’t do unhappy endings.
2) You are such a successful author! What do you think is the ‘secret’ to having such a long and well-lived career in writing? Can you give aspiring authors any tips?!
Mary Jo Putney:
A lot of success is just about showing up. Every author has times when things are going badly, and there’s no shame in deciding it’s time for another path. But I can’t imagine being anything other than a writer—and at this point, I have no other marketable skills. <G> So a writer needs to keep reading, and keeping writing, and telling stories she cares about deeply, because trying to follow trends without the passion will not result in compelling stories.
3) Is there anything you would like to write about that you haven't? Actually, all the books you have written, is there a sentimental favorite and why?
Mary Jo Putney:
I’m lucky in that all the books I’ve wanted to write have been published. Though I’ve sometimes followed my interests into contemporaries, fantasy, and young adult, I’ve always been rooted in romance and history, and I keep coming back to them. If I had to choose a sentimental favorite, it would be The Rake, my Regency historical with an alcoholic hero struggling to rebuild his life and his sobriety, and finding the right woman to love along the way. I observed that struggle in someone close to me, so the story was very visceral. I’m very glad that it has also spoken to so many readers.
4) I have to admit I am a sucker for your historical romances! What draws you to historical romance and the Regency period in particular?
Mary Jo Putney:
Setting stories in the past heightens the escapist fantasy, and allows larger than life characters. Plus, there are all kinds of social strictures that provide useful plot conflicts. <G>
The Regency is as fascinating period because it’s the transition between the old days and what is recognizably modern. With industrialization and more wide spread education, people were gaining more rights and freedoms, and there was a romantic revolution in all forms of creativity. Plus, there was a good war against a tyrant, which allows for lots of heroism and drama.
5) Have you been able to visit the areas you write about? How much of your story to you try to base on facts? Do you ever build a story around a real event in history?
Mary Jo Putney:
I haven’t been to all the places I write about, but I lived in England for over two years. Since I’ve visited most parts of the British Isles, I have mental images of what the country and the architecture look like. I’ve set other books in far flung parts of the globe, and I’ve done some traveling there, also. But traveling needs to be fleshed out with research, always.
While my characters may sometimes act in unconventional ways, I try to keep their behavior within the realm of plausibility. A lot of my stories use real history, often as a framework for the action, and sometimes as a centerpiece of the plot. Some books are very high research. A large part of Shattered Rainbows is centered around the Battle of Waterloo. The China Bride required a lot of research about the tea and opium trades between China and the West. Nowhere Near Respectable involved researching the Houses of Parliament and the State Opening of Parliament. Every book I do requires some new research—that’s part of the fun.
6) Speaking of historical romances, your latest book Sometimes a Rogue is part of your Lost Lords series. Can you tell us more about it and what makes this book and the characters so special?! )
With Sometimes a Rogue, the hero, Rob, had his heart broken in my last book, No Longer a Gentleman, and I couldn’t leave him to suffer for long. <G> Rob is a Bow Street Runner who had appeared in the first four Lost Lords book, so he has an adventurous streak along with a passion for justice and honor.
In SAR, the heroine, Sarah, takes the place of her very pregnant twin and gets carried off by kidnappers. She’s sunny natured and a very well brought up young lady, but she has a secret yearning for adventure. (Which is cured by the end of the book, I might add. <G>) When Rob first sees her, he thinks she looks like a helpless, fluffy golden chick, but she’s intrepid and never complains, and she turns out to have some skills that Rob could never have predicted! Sarah was such fun to write.
But the rescue and the harrowing escape are just the beginning…
7) How did you come up with the premise for this series? How many book do you have planned fore the Lost Lords series?
Mary Jo Putney:
I like building series around strong male friendships. My Fallen Angels series started with four aristocratic young men who had bonded as schoolboys at Eton. When I was looking for something similar but different, I came up with the idea of a school for boys of “good birth and bad behavior.” The Westerfield Academy was founded by a duke’s daughter with tolerance and wide experience, and she wants to create an environment when aristocratic misfits can find themselves. Her students aren’t delinquents (usually <G>) but for one reason or another, they don’t fit with people’s expectations. With Lady Agnes, they find the balance between their natures and what society demands—and they build deep friendships.
The Lost Lords series is open-ended—I’ve already written two books about men who were in the second class Lady Agnes admitted, and I’m planning a third. I’m writing the sixth book now. It features the spymaster, Kirkland, and the working title is Not Quite a Wife. It will probably be released in September 2014. There will be at least two books more. Beyond that—we’ll see!
8) I am very excited about your YA, Dark Mirror series. What inspired you to write this series? Can you tell us more about it?
Mary Jo Putney:
I’d always been intrigued by the parallels between Britain during the Napoleonic wars and World War II. In both cases, the British stood alone on their little island as they fought a continental tyrant. Being an island nation has shaped so much of British history and character.
Plus, I love science fiction and fantasy. The Dark Mirror series enabled me to pull these improbable elements together as my time traveling teen mages go from the Regency World War II to help defend their country. In particular I’ve always been fascinated by Dunkirk, which was truly an extraordinary rescue under impossible circumstances. It was amazing to research, and it became the grand finale of the first book in the trilogy, Dark Mirror. YA books allow for some wonderful writing freedom.
9) I noticed you also have e-books available, can you tell more about them? Do you have other any new e-books or series planned?
Mary Jo Putney:
I love that readers can now easily buy my backlist books, many of which have been out of print for years. No one should have to pay a ton of money for older books. Since I’d requested reversions of rights on my books when they went out of print, I control about half of my backlist, and I’ve been e-publishing them one by one for the last two years. It takes time, but it’s satisfying. I’ve e-published 14 or 15 full length novels and a number of novellas. I have two more novels to go: Uncommon Vows, my one medieval, and Lady of Fortune, a long Regency which came out in 1988 and has never been reissued, so it’s very hard to find.
I’m certainly not averse to writing original books for indie publishing, but I don’t have the time since I’m still writing front list books for a New York publishers. (Kensington.)
10) This has been a dream realized. Your books have been some of my best companions. It was such an honor and privileged to interview you! Thank you.
Mary Jo Putney: Thank you so very much for having me! It’s been a pleasure.
Interviewed by Steph from the Bookaholics Romance Book Club
For Additional Information about Mary Jo Putney check her out at:
Recent and Upcoming Romances by Mary Jo Putney
Sometimes a Rogue (Lost Lords) -Aug. 27, 2013
Sometimes. . .
Even the most proper young lady yearns for adventure. But when the very well bred Miss Sarah Clarke-Townsend impulsively takes the place of her pregnant twin, it puts her own life at risk. If the kidnappers after her sister discover they've abducted Sarah instead, she will surely pay with her life. . .
A Rogue. . .
Rob Carmichael survived his disastrous family by turning his back on his heritage and becoming a formidable Bow Street Runner with a talent for rescuing damsels in distress. But Sarah is one damsel who is equal to whatever comes. Whether racing across Ireland with her roguish rescuer or throwing herself into his arms, she challenges Rob at every turn.
Stirring the Embers -Jan. 11, 2013
Previously titled: The Burning Point
Kate Corsi always dreamed of working in her family's world-famous demolition business—a wish her old-fashioned father denied until his untimely death. He leaves a fortune to Kate and the business to her ex-husband, Donovan—but only if they agree to live under the same roof for a year.
Kate and Donovan married too young and stayed too long in a dangerously destructive marriage. Ten years later, surely they're mature enough to co-exist peacefully. But the embers of attraction swiftly flare into flame again.
Now, they must confront the pain of the past if they are to have a chance for a future and save their business from a saboteur they're beginning to suspect of murder.
No Longer a Gentleman -April 24, 2012
Grey Sommers, Lord Wyndham, never met a predicament he couldn’t charm his way out of. Then a tryst with a government official’s wife during a bit of casual espionage in France condemns him a decade in a dungeon, leaving him a shadow of his former self. Yet his greatest challenge may be the enigmatic spy sent to free his body—the only woman who might heal his soul.
Half English and half French, Cassie Fox lost everything in the chaos of revolution, leaving only a determination to help destroy Napoleon’s empire through her perilous calling. Rescuing Grey is merely one more mission. She hadn’t counted on a man with the stark beauty of a ravaged angel, whose desperate courage and vulnerability touch her frozen heart as no one ever has. With Grey, she can become the passionate woman she has long denied. But a spy and a lord are divided by an impassable gulf even if they manage to survive one last, terrifying mission….
The Rake -March 27, 2012 Reprint
Known as “the despair of the Davenports,” Reginald Davenport lived a reckless, rakish life while waiting for his hated uncle to die and leave Reggie an earldom. Then the rightful heir claims the title and property and offers Reggie one last chance: Strickland, the estate where he was born and the site of his greatest joys and sorrows. Reggie returns to Strickland, resolving to build a healthier, more honorable life—if he can.
Young Alys Weston fled her home in despair, vowing never to trust another man. Over the years, she’s built a good life with a foster family and a position as steward of Strickland. She uses her skills to help her people, and her initials to convince the elderly earl who owned the state that she’s male.
Then the new owner appears in all his dangerous masculinity and threatens everything Alys holds dear. Good resolutions crumble when two passionate, complicated people are drawn together despite their best judgment. Can love lead to redemption and trust? Or is it too late?