Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Author Interview: M. J. Putney (Dark Mirror) & Giveaway

I’ve written lots of romances as Mary Jo Putney. M. J. Putney is my YA alter ego, since I didn’t want the romances confused with my young adult paranormals. Hence, a name different enough to show these are a different kind of book, but similar enough that it’s clear who I am.

I’m fond of reading, cats, travel, and most of all, great stories. Dark Mirror is my first young adult novel, but not the last. The Dark Passage series is set in an alternative early 19th Century England world where aristocratic young people who have magical powers are sent to the infamous school at Lackland Abbey to be “cured” of their despised abilities.

The series is, in fact, sort of a multiple character saga with romance and adventure, part of which is set in World War II. I love writing in this world, so who knows? There may be lots more stories ahead!

From author's website.

Dark Mirror is your debut young adult novel. What did you find most challenging about writing in this genre? Do you prefer to write YA or adult romance? 

MJP: The part that worried me most was writing with a voice that would be appealing to YA readers. I wasn’t a very good teen even when I was one! I couldn’t write YAs with contemporary settings, but I figured I could handle historical settings. So far, so good.

As for preferring YA or adult—no preference. I have to love all of my stories or I can’t write them. There are specials rewards to each. 

What inspired you to set up a world in which the nobility found magic too vulgar for their class?

MJP: I don’t really recall the original inspiration, but the concept seemed like fun from the beginning. I first played with the idea in an adult romance called The Marriage Spell, but there was just so much more I wanted to do that I developed a proposal for the Dark Passage series.

The two time periods of the novel share many interesting parallels. Why did you choose these periods? Did you have to do much research for the novel?

MJP: The majority of the books I’ve written have been set in Regency England, and I’d often thought about the similarities to England in WWII. In both cases. England stood alone against a powerful Continental conqueror, protected by the English Channel, the British Navy, and the courage of their people. It was easy to see how Regency mages might be drawn to a similar time period where their abilities were be needed.

And yes, there was a huge amount of research! The Regency I know pretty well, though there were still things that needed research. But WWII is within living memory, so it was a real challenge to get the details right. I did my best, but I suspect that some errors still crept in.

Would you rather live in Tory’s time or Nick’s? Why?

MJP: Nick’s time was more immediately scary, especially where he lives on the south coast with bombers flying overhead, but his time is more familiar to me, so I guess I’d choose 1940. And probably be shocked by the differences between then and 2011!

If you were a mage, what kind would you like to be?

MJP: Being an enchantress with the ability to persuade others to do what I want would be cool but bad. Maybe the ability to teleport to other places. Think of how lovely it would be to visit Venice without having to spend hours on airplanes! Or spend a week in the Caribbean when the snow and ice get be Too Much. (You can tell I’m writing this in mid-February!)

If magic existed, do you think it would be accepted by modern society?

MJP: If it had always been visible, it would be part of modern society already. But if mages appeared and started doing magic in our world, where there is no belief that it exists—well, it could get very interesting. People who have different abilities might prefer to keep them hidden. Which is why it’s fun to imagine that there could be mages living quietly among us!

Did you feel a closer connection with a particular character? Do any of them draw upon yourself or people you know?

MJP: The whole book is written from Tory’s point of view, so she’s the one I know the best. I like her. She smart and has courage and tries to do the right thing.

Any characters I write are rooted in the people I’ve known throughout my life, but none of them are ever based any specific acquaintance or family member.

If you traveled 150 years into the future, would you want to know about things that haven’t happened yet in our time? How do you think that future world will be different from now?

MJP: I’ve read enough time travel stories that I think I’d be afraid to learn what’s going to happen! It would be way too easy to get worried. As to what the world will be like 150 years in the future—I can’t even begin to guess. Look how much our world has changed in the 150 years since 1861, and the rate of change has increased enormously in the last several decades.

What is a random fact readers probably don’t know about you?

MJP: I spent six years in college and ended up with two totally different bachelor’s degrees, which is just odd.

What can you tell us about future books in the Dark Passage series?

MJP: The second book, Dark Passage, which will be out in September 2011, sends Tory and her friends to France. I’m not sure about the third book. I’m debating two quite different plot directions.

Thanks to M. J. Putney for this great interview, and to Sarah at St. Martin's for setting it up!


Thanks to Sarah and St. Martin's, I'm able to give away three (3) copies of Dark Mirror!

To Enter:
  • Leave a meaningful comment about anything in this interview
  • Include your email address so I can contact you if you win
  • +1 extra entry if you comment on my review (put +1 in your entry comment below this post)
  • Ends 3/2/11 at 11:59 pm EST
  • US and Canada Only
  • Three (3) winners will be chosen via and will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing info
  • Prize will be sent directly from the publisher

Good luck!


Tura Lura said...

The concept for this series fascinates me. Of course, I've been a sucker for time-travel stories since I first read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon while in college...

My curiosity was piqued by Miss Putney saying she had two very different Bachelors' degrees. I had to visit her website to see if she listed them! (She did. ^_^)

+1 entry: comment on review (I haven't actually done this yet, but I am going to once I submit this comment.)

Tura Lura said...

Oopsie, I forgot to leave my email address. (Doh!)

luraj2612 AT gmail DOT com

Kristina said...

I agree, I wouldn't want to know the future. I don't want to go to fortunetellers because I just don't want to know. The future is kinda scary, but I think it would be worse know that there is terrible doom ahead.

+1 for commenting on your review

Brenda said...

I love the book sounds great, I'm a sucker for time travel books although I've never read the outlander series I see someone mentioned.
I wouldn't think that Regency period and WWII would have so much in common.
No I would like to know the future
+1 I believe?
dancealert at aol dot com

Vivien said...

I've really been enjoying the concept of time travel lately. There's been a few books that I've read recently that incorporated it. Plus anything slightly historical is great. This really is sounding like one to read.
+1 commented on review.

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

TheGirlOnFire said...

I really like that this book took a lot of research. I usually enjoy reading WWII books and knowing that you did so much research makes me think I will learn something new.
+1 commented on review
thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

Ricki said...

I loved the question about being a mage. I would love to teleport, too.

LunaMoth said...

I would love to teleport too, but i think controling elements would be more fun


Mrs. DeRaps said...

I love it when authors mix genres...Historical fiction is an interesting genre on its own, but it enhanced when time periods are linked in this way. Thanks for the interview!

+ 1 commented on review

mrsderaps @ hotmail . com

Lexie said...

I love historical fiction and love when authors put the time and effort in to creating an accurate history. Beautiful cover too!

Lauren M said...

I love how M.J. Putney mentioned that she wasn't a very good teen even when she was one. I'm the same way! Glad to hear that even if authors didn't have all the typical teen experiences, they can still write the teen voice well.

Thanks for the interview! The parallels between the two time periods sound fascinating!

+1 commented on the review

Jasmine (The Reading Housewives) said...

I'm really looking forward to this one! I love stories about magic! Can't wait to read it. :)


Rummanah Aasi said...

It's interesting that she took two distinctly different time periods and used them in her novel. Come to think of it, I wouldn't necessarily would want to live in either one of them. I'm really curious how she uses the time periods in her book. It sounds really interesting and would love a copy.

+1 for comment on review
rummanaha at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I like the time travel question. I would have a hard time predicting what will happen in the future; I agree that the rate of change is pretty amazing. My husband refuses to read books where the characters travel through time because he insists it "messes" with his head too much.

From a writer's perspective, I think it would be very difficult to write a book set in thr future or one where the characters time traveled... You would have to come up with an entirely new world in addition to the fictional one you've already created in present day.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I guess it would help if I added my email address:

samajama27 said...

this looks so interesting..cant wait to read it, and the author seems like a great person.

Elise said...

It's interesting that the author likes to write historical fiction and that she would be a teleport if she had the power. Glad to know that the sequel will be out in September.

bookishdelightsblog at gmail dot com

Jessica M said...

Dark Mirror sounds so interesting, I'm really looking forward to seeing how the time travel aspects play out. I've seen it in a few other books, but I love the magical aspect that sets this one apart.

And of course thanks for the giveaway!
I commented on your review too, so +1 for me. :)

Jessica M.
jmartinez0415 [at] gmail [dot] com

loveangel132 said...

I love books that have a little bit of time travel in them, this book is def going on my to read list!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Great interview. :) And it is really fun to wonder if there are mages in society, what they are doing, and the difference they could make. :)

Thanks for sharing all this great information and the book really does sound amazing!

+1 I did comment on the review too! :)

Thank you!

Ann_a_reader said...

Yes! I'm so pleased to find out about this series. I'd enjoyed previous Mary Jo Putney books that included magic and was curious about that type of school so I'm anticipating reading the series.

ann (dot) a (dot) reader (at) gmail (dot) com
Plus on my way to the review.

Jennifer said...

I think it is interesting that in the story, people with magical powers are sent to a school to be cured. It definitely gives YA books a different spin on fantasy. Thanks for sharing in the interview.
pinkpeonyblossom at gmail dot com

Nora said...

This book looks great, and I love your interview questions! I never thought to ask authors random facts about themselves.

+1 I commented on the review

nyelekli (at) yahoo (dot) com

IdentitySeeker said...

I agree with MJ Putney about the advantages of teleporting- being able to travel without the tiring flights would be a dream come true. I've often wished for that myself. If not teleporting, I'd like to have the ability to read minds.

+1 comment on review

Dakota said...

I learned that the author did lots of research for her book. I like how her novel incorporates magic, it makes the story interesting.

dakotasky55 at gmail dot com

Terri said...

Please enter me. The book sounds real good and I'd love to read it. I'm a fan of her romances too.

+1, I commented on your review.

niteofblu at gmail dot com

Meredith said...

I agree that I'd be a bit concerned about about what the world would be like 150 years from now.

meredithfl at gmail dot com

vampireprincess said...

This sounds like such a interesting read

winnie said...

Great interview! It's nice to know how the story came together from inspiration to choosing the time period settings. And I really like the cover of the book as well!

Thanks for the giveaway!

+1 comment on review


Lucia said...

I prefer to read YA, and I'm glad this author is trying it out. Would love to win!

Margie said...

Interesting interview! The two timeframes of Regency English and WWII sound intriguing. Thanks for the giveaway.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Erika said...

I really love the ideas behind this book. I didn't think there'd be so much research for the WWII part but it makes a lot of sense that the other world was so well known to you already!


YzhaBella's BookShelf said...

Dark Mirror sounds like a really wonderful reading adventure! What prompted you to cross over into the world of YA?

mleger0546 AT rogers DOT com

Scoot said...

I agree that the changes between 1940 and 2011 would be huge! I also spent a long time in college and ended up with a General Studies degree. I guess that means I am generally educated!? haha. Great interview! I love time travel/fantasy novels and can't wait to read Dark Mirror!

+1 for commenting on the review


Enamored Soul said...

I absolutely love historical fiction, and historical romance - this book incorporates both AND adds magical abilities and persecution to the mix, which just makes the story that much more explosive! I can't wait to read this book.

I find it intriguing that M.J. Putney got two Bachelor's degrees - on two subjects that are completely different from each other. I can totally relate to this, because I just earned my M.D. and now I'm thinking of pursuing a degree in Literature! :D Here's to hoping that works out! :D

+1 - I commented on your review, which i liked very much.

Thank you so much for hosting this giveaway! :D

Penfield said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Penfield said...

I've read her other genres and enjoyed them, so I'm curious about this book.

It's interesting that Ms. Putney got two undergraduate college degrees, then became a writer.

+1 for commenting on the review

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