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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Welcome, Mary Balogh!



Today we have as our guest, New York Times best-selling author, Mary Balogh. Author of more than sixty novels and thirty novellas set predominantly in the Regency and Georgian era, she is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 1993 Romantic Times Career Achievement award for Regency short stories.

Welcome, Mary and thank you for being with us and sharing a bit about yourself, today!  


NOTE: Visit Mary Balogh's Author Page at: http://www.romancebooks4us.com!      

Q: What are your fondest memories of growing up in Wales?
A: I grew up in post-WWII Wales, in the heavily bombed city of Swansea. Although we were surrounded by rubble, it didn't seem strange to us children. We used to talk about going to play on the bomb-buildings as if they were playgrounds. We had very little. Everything was rationed and had to be bought with precious coupons. We had few clothes, few toys, few books. But—before anyone rushes into pitying such a deprived childhood—let me say what a rich, happy childhood it was. What we had we treasured. When we were taken to a park or the beach or on a train ride, we thought we were going to heaven. Our imaginations became our best friend. We created a world out of next to nothing, and what a magical world it was. I could write a book about growing up in Wales, but these were the memories that rushed to mind when I read the question.

Q: I’ve always lived in the same state, so the idea of packing up everything at twenty-three to accept a teaching position in another country, seems glamorous. How glamorous was it?
A: It was a bit scary. I knew I was going to have to leave home to teach. Teaching positions were scarce in Britain at that time, but, strangely enough, there seemed to be a huge shortage almost everywhere else in the world. I thought that if I wanted some adventure in my life, here was my chance. I would travel around the world for a few years, teaching. The first interview I had was for Saskatchewan, Canada, and the interview basically consisted of a contract being slid across the desk for my signature. I signed for two years and set off on my adventure before moving on. I arrived in a small, prairie farming town of 1,000 people. Glamorous it was not! But there I met the man who became my husband, and I am still in Saskatchewan more than 40 years later.
 
Q: In 1985, after the publication of your first novel, MASKED DECEPTION, you received the Romantic Times award for Best New Regency Writer. I know there’s an interesting story behind your journey to become a romance novelist. Would you mind sharing how the manuscript for your first novel ended up with Signet?
A: I wrote my first Regency romance longhand at the kitchen table and then typed it into an old typewriter. I didn't have a clue what to do with it at that point. There was no internet in those days, and I didn't know of any other writers or writers' organizations. I looked inside the front cover of a Signet Regency romance for an address and found a Canadian one. I sent off the whole manuscript with a very brief covering letter (more or less saying—I have written this and wonder if you would like to publish it). Two weeks later I had a letter back informing me that I had sent it to a distribution center—a big warehouse, in other words. But someone there had read the manuscript and liked it and had sent it on to New York. A couple of weeks after that I had a call from an editor, offering me a two-book contract. It really doesn't seem fair, does it? I did everything wrong, yet it turned out marvelously right! 

Q: You’ve managed to produce an impressive body of work during your writing career. What would you consider your most satisfying achievement?
A: As a writer? That's a difficult one. I suppose the most satisfying thing at the moment is just to have produced that large body of work. It's a bit mind-boggling sometimes to look at the shelves of my books and know that I wrote them all. If I had to pick out one book or one series of books that has been most satisfying, I would probably pick the Bedwyn series, the SLIGHTLY books, and all the other books that connect with them—the SIMPLY quartet, ONE NIGHT FOR LOVE, A SUMMER TO REMEMBER. It was lovely to be able to create a whole world in those books.

Q: What is the best career advice you have ever received? Have you ever received advice that you wished later that you hadn’t taken?
A: After I had fifteen books in print, I told an agent who spoke to me at a convention that I really did not need an agent. She phoned me when I was back home and advised me to reconsider and asked if she could send me some of her own promotional information. She convinced me and she has been my agent ever since. And what a difference she has made to my career! I can't think of any advice I have regretted taking, for the simple reason that as a writer I don't look for advice. I am my own person.

Q: If you were to offer any advice to a romance novelist at the beginning of their career, what would you want them to realize?
A: My advice to any writer just starting out is always the same—don't listen to advice! All people are unique, and all writers are unique. It's a delicate thing, though, uniqueness. All of our lives we are bombarded with inducements to give up some of our individuality in order to be more like the crowd. This can be quite detrimental to a writer. Every writer has a distinctive voice and it is her/his most precious asset. Every writer has a unique vision. Yes so many feel they have to seek out all sorts of help-me books and/or conference workshops so that they can write like everyone else. Don't do it! It's harder these days, I know, when there is so much access to the world out there. But somehow shut yourself away and write your book. And there!—I have just broken my own rule. Here I am giving advice.

Q: In regard to the writing profession, what would you say has changed the most since you were first published? Stayed the same?
A: Oh, goodness, everything has changed! I think the only thing that has remained the same is the necessity of sitting down and writing the best book that has ever been written. And that is far harder to do than it used to be. Now one is expected to have an active web site and to be involved in social media, constantly relating to readers and advertising one's books and oneself as a person. I can remember asking my first editor if I should take out a print ad for one of my books. She asked me why I would want to do that—you write the book, we sell it, she told me. It's hard to imagine now, isn't it? I enjoy all the extras, but they certainly take away from writing time. And of course, the advent of the e-book and the ability to self-publish, whether it be new books or one's backlist, have complicated the whole publishing scene.

Q: If you had to choose among all of your books, could you pick a favorite?
A: It's difficult. I love all my books when I send them in. I suppose a few stand out in my mind—THE NOTORIOUS RAKE, A PRECIOUS JEWEL, LONGING, A SUMMER TO REMEMBER, SLIGHTLY DANGEROUS, SIMPLY LOVE, SIMPLY PERFECT, A SECRET AFFAIR, THE PROPOSAL. And I will keep on thinking of others I could have added to the list.

Q: What prompted you to start writing longer books?
A: I loved writing the 75,000 word Signet Regency romances. They fit me like a glove. However, though they had a very loyal readership, it was a comparatively small one. And there were rumblings of rumors about the Regency romance as a separate entity dying. I was asked to write a few longer Regencies (125,000 words) and found I could do it. I finally decided that it was in the best interests of my career to switch entirely to writing historicals (100,000 words). At first I struggled a bit as I thought they had to be a different type of book, more "historical." But I had one editor who rejected a synopsis I had labored over for a long time (I just don't DO synopses) before telling me that she had been reading some of my old Signets and loved them and wanted me to write THAT type of book for her. The next morning I sent her a brief outline of MORE THAN A MISTRESS and I have happily written my old style of book ever since, though a bit longer.

Q: I’ve always been drawn to a wounded hero and was excited to find out about your newest series “The Survivors' Club”.  The first book, “The Proposal” has garnered some stunning reviews and has recently been released in paperback. Could you tell us a bit about the series and if you have any upcoming release dates?
A: The Survivors' Club consists of six men and one woman, all of them variously involved and variously wounded in the Napoleonic Wars. The Duke of Stanbrook, one of their number, turned his home in Cornwall into a sort of hospital/rehabilitation center, and the group once spent three years there together. Now they meet there for a few weeks each spring to renew their friendship and discuss their progress and any problems that have resurfaced. The duke is a member by the fact that he lost his only son in the wars and his duchess committed suicide a short while later by leaping over the cliffs on their property. The Proposal, out this month in paperback is Hugo, Lord Trentham's story. He was rewarded with his title after showing extraordinary bravery while leading a Forlorn Hope on a seemingly impregnable fortress in Spain. He emerged without a scratch but then went out of his mind with guilt over surviving when almost all his men had died. He had to be brought back to England in a straitjacket. The Arrangement is due out at the end of August. It is Vincent, Viscount Darleigh's story. In his very first battle at the age of 17, Vincent was blinded and deafened by a cannon blast. His hearing came back, but his sight never will. The Escape is due out some time after Christmas. March has been mentioned though I don't think the date is quite set yet. It is Sir Benedict Harper's story. He was very badly wounded in a cavalry charge, and now he can walk only with the aid of two canes. Yet he cannot think of another life than that of a cavalry officer. I am currently writing Book 4, Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby's story. Flavian suffered a bad head wound, which left him unable to understand what was said to him and unable to speak coherently. It left him with headaches and towering rages. Now it seems the only lingering problem is a slight stammer as he talks. There is an e-novella coming out at the end of July, The Suitor, which is linked to the Survivors' books. The heroine is a young lady rejected as a bride by Vincent in The Arrangement, and the hero is the nephew and heir presumptive (heir unless the duke produces another son before his death) of the Duke of Stanbrook. 
 
Q: You mentioned on your website that you were considering electronically publishing some of your backlist. Have you decided which titles to make available?
A: All of them, I hope! But I am tied up with contract talks at the moment re. both frontlist and backlist books and will have to wait a few months for the dust to settle before I can make any definite decisions and announcements. I would like to see the longer historicals in both print and e-book format, but I will have to wait and see. I have been doing a poll at my web site and on my FB page about what titles readers would particularly like to see available again and have made an interesting list of the responses.

Q: On a more personal note, how do you like to spend your time when you aren’t writing?
A: Well, there is always housework and shopping and cooking—all the fun stuff. Mostly I read—and I read anything that takes my fancy, though I suppose I have a slight preference for mystery. I like doing puzzles like Sudoku (but only the beastly hard ones—I get bored with the easy ones) and Cryptograms. And sometimes I have knitting binges.

Q: Where can we find current information about new releases and upcoming books?
A: You can find information about all my books as well as excerpts and buy links at my web site—  www.marybalogh.com . I have a weekly blog there too and usually give away a book to one person who leaves a comment. I have an active Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AuthorMaryBalogh .


GIVEWAWAY ALERT!
Q: I’m really enjoying reading the first book in your new series, THE PROPOSAL. Could I entice you to leave us with a peek at the next book, your August release, THE ARRANGEMENT?
A: Yes, and I will be happy to send an autographed copy of the advance reading edition of The Arrangement to someone who leaves a comment.

BLURB:
Although Vincent, Viscount Darleigh, is only twenty-three years old, his female relatives are pressing him to marry. He is blind and he has recently inherited his title and vast estate. When they produce a potential bride for him, he feels trapped and flees with his batman-turned-valet. He ends up six weeks later at his old home and almost gets trapped into another unwanted marriage. A young woman rescues him, however, and then faces destitution as a result. When Vincent finds out about what has happened to her, he has to decide what he is going to do to help. Sophia Fry grew up with a rakish adventurer for a father, her mother having abandoned them when Sophia was still very young. Then, when she was fifteen, her father was killed in a duel. She was taken in by first one aunt and then another, but neither of them wanted her or gave her anything but the most basic of care. By the time she steps in to rescue Viscount Darleigh from the matrimonial schemes of the second aunt and her uncle and cousin, she looks like an unkempt scarecrow dressed in ill-fitting hand-me-downs. Her relatives turn her out of the house in the middle of the night with nothing but a small bag of her meager belongings and the exact fare for a stagecoach ride to London. She is offered temporary refuge in the vicarage near her uncle's home before boarding the coach, and it is there that Viscount Darleigh finds her…

EXCERPT

Vincent has just arrived at Covington House, his old home in the village of Barton Coombs in Somerset. It is very early in the morning, and he hopes to stay there without anyone in the village knowing of his return. He does not want to be fussed over by people who knew him before he was blinded in battle and before he came into his inheritance. He wants some peace and quiet before going back to his new home at Middlebury Park and explaining to his mother and sisters that he is quite capable of living his own life his own way. His hopes to remain undiscovered are doomed from the beginning, however.

Vincent's arrival had not gone unobserved.

Covington House was the last building at one end of the main street through the village. To the far side of it was a low hill covered with trees. There was a young woman on that hill and among those trees. She wandered at all times of day about the countryside surrounding Barton Hall, where she lived with her aunt and uncle, Sir Clarence and Lady March, though it was not often she was out quite this early. But this morning she had woken when it was still dark and had been unable to get back to sleep. Her window was open, and a bird with a particularly strident call had obviously not noticed that dawn had not yet arrived. So, rather than shut her window and climb back into bed, she had dressed and come outside, chilly as the early morning air was, because there was something rare and lovely about watching the darkness lift away from another dawning day. And she had come here in particular because the trees housed dozens, perhaps hundreds, of birds, many of them with sweeter voices than the one that had awoken her, and they always sang most earnestly when they were heralding in a new day.

She stood very still so as not to disturb them, her back against the sturdy trunk of a beech tree, her arms stretched out about it behind her to enjoy its rough texture through her thin gloves—so thin, in fact, that the left thumb and right forefinger had already sprung a leak. She drank in the beauty and peace of her surroundings and ignored the cold, which penetrated her almost threadbare cloak as if it was not even there, and set her fingers to tingling.

She looked down upon Covington House, her favorite building in Barton Coombs. It was neither a mansion nor a cottage. It was not even a manor. But it was large and square and solid. It was also deserted and had been since before she came here to live two years ago. It was still owned by the Hunt family, about whom she had heard many stories, perhaps because Vincent Hunt, the only son, had unexpectedly inherited a title and fortune a few years ago. It was the stuff of fairytales, except that it had a sad component too.

She liked to look at the house and imagine it as it might have been when the Hunts lived there—the absent-minded but much-loved schoolmaster, his busy wife and three pretty daughters, and his exuberant, athletic, mischievous son, who was always the best at whatever sport was being played and was always at the forefront of any mischief that was brewing and was always adored by old and young alike—except by the Marches, against whom his pranks were most often directed. She liked to think that if she had lived here then, she would have been friends with the girls and perhaps even with their brother. She liked to picture herself running in an out of Covington House without even knocking at the door, almost as if she belonged there. She liked to imagine that she would have attended the village school with all the other children, except Henrietta March, her cousin, who had been educated at home by a French governess.

She was Sophia Fry, though her name was rarely used. She was known by her relatives, when she was known as anything at all, and perhaps by their servants too, as the mouse. She lived at Barton Hall on sufferance because there was nowhere else for her to go. Her father was dead, her mother had left them long ago and since died, her uncle, Sir Terrence Fry, had never had anything to do with either her father or her, and the elder of her paternal aunts, to whom she had been sent first after her father's passing, had died two years ago.

She felt sometimes that she inhabited a no man's land between the family at Barton Hall and the servants, that she belonged with neither group and was noticed and cared about by neither. She consoled herself with the fact that her invisibility gave her some freedom at least. Henrietta was always hedged about with maids and chaperons and a vigilant mother and father, whose sole ambition for her was that she marry a titled gentleman, preferably a wealthy one, though that was not an essential qualification as Sir Clarence was himself a rich man. Henrietta shared her parents' ambitions, with one notable exception.

Sophia's thoughts were interrupted by the sound of horses approaching from beyond the village, and it was soon obvious that they were drawing some sort of carriage. It was very early in the day for travel. It was a stagecoach, perhaps? She stepped around the trunk of the tree and half hid behind it, though it was unlikely she would be seen from below. Her cloak was gray, her cotton bonnet nondescript in both style and color, and it was still not full daylight.

It was a private carriage, she saw—a very smart one. But before she could weave some story about it as it passed along the village street and out of sight, it slowed and turned onto the short driveway to Covington House. It stopped before the front doors.

Ah. Her eyes widened. Could it be…?

The coachman jumped down from his perch and opened the carriage door and set down the steps. A man descended almost immediately, a young man, tall and rather burly. He looked around and said something to the coachman—Sophia could hear the rumble of his voice but not what he said. And then they both turned to watch another man.

He descended without assistance. He moved sure-footed and without hesitation. But it was instantly obvious to Sophia that his cane was not a mere fashion accessory but something he used to help him find his way.

She sucked in a breath and hoped, foolishly, that it was inaudible to the three men standing some distance below her. He had come, then, as everyone had said he would.

The blind Viscount Darleigh, once Vincent Hunt, had come home.

Her aunt and uncle would be over the moon with gratification. For they had made up their minds that if and when he came, Henrietta would marry him.

Henrietta, on the other hand, would not be gratified. For once in her life she was opposed to her parents' dearest wish. She had declared more than once in Sophia's hearing that she would rather die a spinster at the age of eighty than marry a blind man with a ruined face even if he was a viscount and even if he was even more wealthy than her papa.

Viscount Darleigh—Sophia was convinced that the new arrival must be he—was clearly a young man. He was not particularly tall and he had a slight, graceful build. He carried himself well. He did not hunch over his cane or paw the air with his free hand. He was neatly, elegantly clad. Her lips parted as she gazed down at him. She wondered how much of the old Vincent Hunt was still present in the blind Viscount Darleigh. But he had descended from his carriage without assistance. That fact pleased her.

She could not see his face. His tall hat hid it from her view. Poor gentleman. She wondered just how disfigured it was.

He and the burly man stood on the driveway for a few minutes while the coachman went striding off to the back of the house and returned with what must be the key, for he bent to the lock of the front door, and within moments it swung open. Viscount Darleigh ascended the steps before the door, again unassisted, and disappeared inside with the larger man behind him.

Sophia stood watching for another few minutes, but there was nothing more to see except the coachman taking the horse and carriage to the stables and coach house. She turned away and made her way back in the direction of Barton Hall. Standing still had thoroughly chilled her.

She would not tell anyone he had arrived, she decided. No one ever spoke to her anyway or expected her to volunteer any information or opinion. Doubtless everyone would know soon enough, anyway.
* * * * *
Unfortunately for Vincent and his hope for a quiet stay at Covington House, Sophia Fry was not the only person who observed his arrival.

A farm laborer, on his way to milk the cows, had the distinct good fortune—of which he boasted to his colleagues for days to come—of witnessing the arrival of Viscount Darleigh's carriage in Barton Coombs and its subsequent turn onto the short driveway to Covington House. He had stayed, at the expense of the waiting cows, to watch Vincent-Hunt-that-was descend after the steps had been set down by Martin Fisk, the blacksmith's son. By seven o'clock in the morning he had told his wife, having dashed back home for that sole purpose, his baby son, who was profoundly uninterested in the momentous news, his fellow laborers, the blacksmith, the blacksmith's wife, and Mr. Kerry, who had come in early to the smithy because one of his horses had cast a shoe late the evening before.

By eight o'clock, the farm laborers—and the original farm laborer's wife—had told everyone they knew, or at least those of that category who came within hailing distance; Mr. Kerry had told the butcher and the vicar and his aged mother; the blacksmith's wife, ecstatic that her son was back home in the capacity of valet to Viscount Darleigh, Vincent-Hunt-that-was, had dashed off to the baker's to replenish her supply of flour and had told the baker and his two assistants and three other early customers; and the blacksmith, also bursting with pride even though he spoke with head-shaking disparagement of his son, the valett, told his apprentice when that lad arrived late for work and for once did not have to recite a litany of excuses, and Sir Clarence March's groom, and the vicar, who heard the news for the second time in a quarter of an hour but appeared equally ecstatic both times.

By nine o'clock it would have been difficult to discover a single person within Barton Coombs or a three-mile radius surrounding it, who did not know that Viscount Darleigh, Vincent-Hunt-that-was, had arrived at Covington House when dawn had barely cracked its knuckles and had not left it since.

Though if he had arrived that early, Miss Waddell observed to Mrs. Parsons, wife of the aptly-named vicar, when the two ladies encountered each other across the hedge separating their back gardens, he must have been traveling all night and was enjoying a well-deserved rest, poor gentleman. It would not be kind to call upon him too early. Perhaps Mrs. Parsons would inform the reception committee? 

Or should she? Actually, she would since she was in need of some exercise. Poor dear gentleman.

The vicar rehearsed his speech of welcome and wondered if it was too formal. For, after all, Viscount Darleigh had once been just the sunny-natured, mischievous son of the village schoolmaster. He was, in addition to everything else, though, a war hero, who had made a great sacrifice for his country, even if not the ultimate one. And he did now have that very impressive title. Best to err on the side of formality, he decided, than risk appearing over-familiar.

Mrs. Fisk baked the bread rolls and cakes she had been planning in her head for weeks. Her son, her beloved only child, was back home, not to mention Viscount Darleigh, that bright and happy boy who had used to run wild with Martin and drag him into all sorts of scrapes—not that Martin had taken much dragging. Poor boy. Poor gentleman. She sniffed and wiped away a tear with the back of her floury hand.

At ten o'clock Miss Pamela Granger, aged eighteen, and her younger sister, Julia, sixteen, walked the length of the village street to call upon their bosom friend, Miss Pauline Hamilton, aged seventeen since last Thursday week, to discover what she planned to wear to the assembly, which would surely happen now that Lord Darleigh had come. Was Pauline as excited as they were? Squeals and hugs were as eloquent as any verbal answer might have been. And the three of them proceeded to put their heads together and draw out memories of Vincent-Hunt-that-was winning all the races at the annual village fĂȘte by a mile and bowling out every cricketer on the opposing team who had the courage and audacity to come up to bat against him and looking so very handsome with his always over-long fair curls and his blue, blue eyes and his lithe physique. And always smiling his lovely smile, even at them, though they had been just little girls at the time. He had always smiled at everyone.

Ah, it was such a shame, they agreed, that… The trio of young ladies shed a few tears apiece. For Viscount Darleigh would never now win any race or bowl at any cricket game or look handsome—or perhaps even smile at anyone. He would not even be able to dance at the assembly. They could conceive of no worse fate than that.

Vincent would have been horrified to know that, in fact, his arrival in Barton Coombs had been expected. Or, if that was too strong a word, then at least it had been looked for with eager hope and cautious anticipation.

For Vincent had forgotten two overwhelmingly significant facts about his mother and his sisters. One was that they were all inveterate letter writers. The other was that they had all had numerous friends at Barton Coombs and had not simply relinquished those friends when they moved away. They might not be able to visit them daily, as they had been used to do, but they could and did write to them.

His mother had not been reassured by the two notes that had arrived, scrawled in the inelegant hand of Martin Fisk. She had not sat back and waited for her son to come home. Rather she had done all in her power to discover where he was. Most of her guesses were quite wide of the mark. But one was that Vincent might retreat to Barton Coombs, where he had spent his boyhood and been happy, where he had so many friends and so many friendly acquaintances, where he would be comfortable and would be made much of. Indeed, the more she thought of it, the more convinced she became that if he was not already there, he would end up there sooner or later.

So she wrote letters. She always wrote letters anyway. It came naturally to her.

And Amy, Ellen, and Ursula wrote letters too, though they did not share their mother's conviction that Vincent would go to Barton Coombs. It was more likely that he had gone back to Cornwall, where he always seemed to be so happy. Or perhaps to Scotland or the Lake District, where he could escape their matchmaking clutches. All three of Vincent's sisters rather regretted the aggressive manner in which they had pressed Miss Dean upon him. She was a sweet and biddable girl, it was true, but it had been crystal clear that she was not as eager as she might have been to marry their dear, precious brother. Well-bred though she was, she had been unable quite to hide her relief when it was discovered that he had left Middlebury Park in the middle of the night and taken his valet and his carriage with him.

Long before Vincent actually did arrive in Barton Coombs, then, there was scarcely a person there who did not know for a near certainty that he would come. The only question that had caused any real anxiety was when. Everyone, almost without exception, was enraptured as the news spread through the village and beyond that the wait was at an end. He was here.


I’m certainly intrigued! Thanks so much for leaving the wonderful excerpt and giving us a glimpse of what’s in store for another member of the Survivors’ Club. 

*Don’t forget to leave your contact information when you comment so that Mary will be able to inform some lucky person that their autographed ARC of THE ARRANGEMENT is on its way!

82 comments:

Rose Anderson said...

Enjoyable post Mary, and wonderful books. I've read several over the years..I had no idea there were more than 60! I'll have to read more! Thanks for coming.

Paris said...

Welcome, Mary and thank you for sharing your wonderful story!

Cara Marsi said...

What a great interview. Your bio could be a terrific romance story. Loved learning more about you. I would love to win the advance copy of your next book.

R. Ann Siracusa said...

Mary, I followed you and your work for years, and I remember vividly when you spoke at RWASD. What I'd really like to read is that "novel you could write" about growing up in Wales during the war years and in general. Your story sounds fascinating. Thank you for all you've contributed to the profession of romance writing.

Nancy said...

A blind hero is an unusual story line, yet I am intrigued! Sounds like another winner, that I would love to own. Thanks for the fantastic excerpt.
Nancy Lee
badgerpress (at) yahoo (d0t) com

Anonymous said...

Great interview. I have read many of your books and have enjoyed them all. You are one awesome Lady.
Rose

Sandy said...

Mary, I really enjoyed getting to learn about you and to read your excerpt.

I have a friend who loves your books. She is on one of my Yahoo loops, and recently she sent out a request for a Beta reader. I volunteered, but after reading your excerpt and answers to questions I'm afraid I gave her bad advice.

My books are romantic suspense, and although I've read a few historicals, Julie Garwood and Eloisa James; they aren't my genre.

One of the things I told her is that she needed to intertwine dialogue with action and introspection instead of having huge blocks of thoughts by the characters. I'm afraid I told her wrong and it's worrisome to me. I'm going to invite her to come and read your blog here.

Melissa Keir said...

What a great cover and I love the idea of the blind hero. Thanks for stopping by!

Melissa
daringzoey@yahoo.com

Beppie Harrison said...

I admire you immensely, Mary, and have since I first stumbled on the Bedwyn books, I think. Since that time I've read everything of yours, old and new, that I could find. I'll have to check your website to see if there's a comprehensive list and then what joy! New ones to discover.

I was so disappointed when you were unable to make the Chicago conference (I'm in Michigan), but of course understood entirely. I saw a picture of you with your mother (and your sister?) and your closeness was almost tangible. I hope doing without her is getting a little easier, if never matter-of-fact.

Thank you for all the pleasure you've given me over the years.

Mary Balogh said...

Thank you all for your comments. Sandy, I don't think any advice to writers is bad advice as long as they are made to understand that they are the ultimate authority on their own writing and must find what works for them. Beppie, I will be in Chicago next year--I hope! I am looking forward to it. I felt wretched about having to cancel out last year at the last moment.

Charlene Roberts said...

Hi Mary,

I loved your post! And I've always enjoyed your stories. And your excerpt was intriguing - I love the premise.

Charlene
charlene.lokey@gmail.com

Fernandez Family of Estero said...

Love the cover on this one! Enjoyed the interview!!!

Tawnya Bentley said...

Love your books, you seem to have the ability to turn a hero that we love to hate into someone we love.

anna marie Stewart said...

I was a fan long before facebook came along. i will you continued success and look forward to many more novels. No pressure or anything. ;-)

Marguerite Butler said...

I'd love to win a copy of The Arrangement. What a great interview!

margueritewrites AT gmail DOT com

Cari said...

I MUST HAVE a preview copy of The Arrangement. Please, please, please! I am a teacher myself (So funny how so many of my favorite authors are former teachers) and won't have time to read it when it comes out. I'll have to wait until Thanksgiving Break. Love Mary Balough's work!

Sharon Fournier said...

Can't wait to read The Arrangement!

Kahterin Martell said...

I read my first romance at 16, fell in love instantly! Love all the books I've read of yours so far, and really looking forward to the continuation of the Survivors Club!

Marti said...

Mary snippets as always leave me wanting more from the romance writer who was my second after Georgette Heyer (my first romance author) . I have introduced you to my sisters who also love you. My favorites include the Slightly series, the Simply series and Irresistible. I would love a copy of this book.

Cinderbella said...

This book sounds intriguing; but then, I enjoy all of your books.

Anonymous said...

Awesome interview! I have read and own almost all of your books and have enjoyed most of them so much that I can't put them down. I look forward to the newest as well! Thank you and PLEASE keep writing!

Kellianne said...

I loved The Proposal and cannot wait for The Arrangement. I've had it pre-ordered on Amazon since it was available. Winning a copy would be super. I enjoyed hearing your story. PS It was thrilling to meet you at RT.

Erin said...

I love your books, Mary! I can't wait to read this one!

DL said...

I am really looking forward to The Arrangement, it sounds like such an interesting set up; The Proposal was great, looking forward to the whole series :)

Kathy said...

After reading the Proposal I bought One Night For Love and all the Bedwyn novels for my e-reader.It's a revisit, I've been a fan for over 15+ years.

Deb Sollman said...

Very much enjoyed your blog Mary! Hope to win the 'early read' of your new book. My contact info is dsollman53@yahoo.com

Meryl Oliver said...

I have loved your books forever, you are my favorite romance author of all time and I can't imagine this book could be any less wonderful than all your others. I can't wait to get it!!!

Meryl Oliver said...

Oh...forgot, my contact info is moliver@eyot.net

jabookmom said...

I've read all the Mary Balogh books that I can get my hands on - always a fun read. Thanks for the interview

Mary Balogh said...

I am loving all your comments. Thank you! This is also the stage of any blog at which I WISH I had a copy of the book for each of you. Alas, most of you will have to wait until the end of August. I hope it will be worth the wait.

Sue London said...

Mary has been one of my favorite authors for a long time and is the one who really diverted my reading interests to historical romance. This was a great interview and my favorite quote was "My advice to any writer just starting out is always the same—don't listen to advice!" Awesome. Now I have someone to cite when I refuse to listen to well-intentioned advice. :)

Kit said...

A great interview! I've been a fan since the Signet Regency days! :)

Ruth McCarty said...

I always fall in love with your characters and say to myself this is the best book yet! And then I pick up another one and fall in love all over again.

Polly O'Donnell said...

Mary is a great writer. She captures the regency period. I look forward to all her books and she often reminds me of Jane Austen.

Donna Gropper said...

Such an interesting interview...I thought I'd read every Mary Balogh book in print and then I saw the reference to Longing. Now I'll track that one down and read it too! Looking forward to The Arrangement - I almost hate to read the excerpts for books not yet available. I want to see what happens next, but I can't yet. Oh well, something to look forward to :D

jean hart stewart said...

I love anything by or about Mary Balogh. We met once at a talk she gave, and her words still rule my writing world. I asked what she did when she hit the soggy middle and was stuck. Her advise was simple and I pass it on whenever anyone now questions me. "Make it worse"
This really works, you authors our there, do try it.
Thanks again, Mary!

Louisa Cornell said...

Having a tremendous fan-girl moment here. Your books are an absolute touchstone for me, Mary Balogh! Your books have their own section of wall space in my library. My Mom knows what a huge fan I am of your work and when she found a hardbound copy of Slightly Dangerous she knew it was the perfect birthday present for me. One of these days I hope to meet you at a conference and get you to sign it.

How funny that all of the books you list as your favorites are also mine, especially Slightly Dangerous and Simply Love.

My father's family came to America from Wales in 1892. I've been doing some research and found marriage records in Bangor, Wales for my great grandfather and great grandmother. My Dad grew up hearing Welsh spoken in his home as his grandmother lived with them.

I absolutely LOVED The Proposal and I cannot wait to read The Arrangement. Thank you so much for penning so many of my comfort reads!

louisa@louisacornell.com

Arizona Dutt said...

Love your work Mary, I have a have been an avid reader of yours for quite sometime! Looking forward to this new series!

dawn noonan said...

I love your characters! They are never perfect but when two meet, their destiny allows them to complete each other in such a way that they remain true to themselves. Thank You!

Mary Balogh said...

Jean Hart Stewart, did I really give that advice? But it is what I do in my books. It is tempting to sort of tiptoe comfortably through the middle of a book and head for the grand conclusion. But sagging middles can be fatal (on a body or in a book!) and making the situation worse gives a writer and the characters something to work on before the happily-ever-after can be allowed.

Connie said...

Once again, Mary, you have obviously penned yet another gem. I am so anxious to get this novel to read and review. I love your novels and I know “The Arrangement” will be just as delightful! Please pick me for an ARC. Oh, dear. I’m begging! :-)

Congratulations on your incredible successes. All the best.

Connie Fischer
conniecape@aol.com

Judy Burr said...

Love the interview, love your books, love Constantine ! This is the second time I've tried to post a comment. Hope this one makes it.

Lady Wesley said...

Wonderful interview!

Brenda Soules said...

Wonderful interview. So looking forward to your next book!!

anna koehler said...

I have been reading and enjoying MARY BALOGH BOOKS NOW FOR OVER 20 YEARS. I EVEN HAVE SERCHED FOR OLDER COPIES SO THAT I CAN COLLECT ALL HER BOOKS. I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO THE ARRANGEMENT.

paintedpapercraftin@gmail.com said...

Ms Balogh, I have been reading your books for many years, and, in fact, still have all that I have ever read(a conssiderable number). I would often reread them, and always found something new each time. I lost my husband last year, and for quite some time after that I was unable to read, I could not read about some one else's happy ending when I had lost my own. But, three weeks ago I forced myself to read, and the story I chose was Wulf's and Christine's, one of my favorites. I have since re-read the entire Huxtable series. I thank you for giving me back one of my faorite hobbies, reading. I
cannot wait until the new book comes out.

Anonymous said...

I love to read all your new books as they come out. Am reading The Proposal now and am enjoying it.
Thank you for sharing with us.

Elizabeth Langston said...

I loved The Proposal and can't wait for The Arrangement. (And one of my favorite earlier Mary Balogh books is The Secret Pearl.)

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

There is such a 'realness' about Balough's work. The way news spreads in a small town is just one example. Thank you for this excerpt, I'm looking forward to the entire series. People seem to think that only our recent conflicts and their soldiers had issues after their return home.

Annie McWilliams said...

Really enjoy reading Mary Balogh's books. Wouldn't it be great to have her whole library?

Susan McQuade said...

What a wonderful interview. I love your stories and I am so looking forward to The Arrangement.

Susan McQuade said...

Forgot to include contact information for when I win the ARC of The Arrangement sjmusk1@aol.com

moodymolly said...

Hello Mary. I absolutely love your writing and always have. I know whenever I pick up a book you've written that it's one I'll enjoy and probably reread at some time in the future. Your interview was very interesting and I enjoyed reading it as well as the excerpt you provided. I would be absolutely thrilled to win the ARC and if by some chance I do you can notify me at: moodymollyr@gmail.com

Romina Planas said...

I love Mary Balogh! Especially her Welsh books...

Annah Schoonover said...

That was a fabulous interview, I really enjoyed reading it. It sounds like growing up in Wales had its ups and downs for sure. And I would be terrified to just up and move somewhere without knowing anybody or the area. Scary! I can't wait until the backlist is available in ebook format. Congrats on such a successful career!!

Celia Yeary said...

Dear Mary--I see I got here rather late, and have much competition to get that autographed advance copy of The Arrangement. I've read so many of your books I lost count, all the while saying, "I don't read Regencies." But I read yours.
I particularly enjoyed the Simply Series, and I have discovered the Survivor's Club.
Our library faithfully buys all your books, and while I am an author, too, and love my two Kindles, I still must have a hardback or paperback once in a while. It's like a treasure when I study the new book shelf and find a new book by one of my favorite authors. I'm one of those who still love a library.
I read your interview inbetween baking oatmeal/pecan/chocolate chip cookies. Wonderful.

Judy Goodnight said...

I've been enjoying your books since I first started reading Regencies. The Proposal was wonderful and I'm definitely awaiting the next book of The Survivors Club.

judy (at) gwd (dot) org

Angela KTM said...

Just started reading "The Proposal", and I'm already completely drawn in by the Survivors Club. Can't wait for the next one!

Arline Todd said...

Mary, I thoroughly enjoyed your post. I remember reading your books and enjoying them. They were Signet "classics" in my mind. I'm looking forward to your new books!

Wendy Anderson said...

I really liked the"Slightly" series by Mary. Looking forward to the "Survivors Club" series
Wendy Anderson
go8wa@yahoo.com

Shore Gige said...

Looking forward to the "Survivors Club" series

Ora said...

I love your books, and can't wait for The Arrangement.

Katherine Martell said...

I read my first romance at 16, fell in love instantly! Love all the books I've read of yours so far, and really looking forward to the continuation of the Survivors Club!
I posted earlier, but actually misspelled my own name in my excitement!
katherinemartell@yahoo.com

Marianne Stephens said...

Thank you for being her for an interview! We're happy to have others learn more about you...and we have your author page at our website!

Michele Hatch said...

I hope this is the right place to leave my comment to possibly win the book! I love all your books and wish I could start from number 1 and work my way through all of them.

hatchlings@gmail.com
Michele :-)

nbquilter said...

Thanks for the teaser. I am so looking forward to all the next books in this series. Thanks again Mary for all the wonderful stories you write. Joan

Donna said...

Hi,
Just read Mary's Christmas Bride & Christmas Beau this week. Great! Thanks so much for the stories. I love the Bedwyn family! I would like a pronunciation key though. How is Aleyne pronounced?

Di said...

I loved The Proposal and am looking forward to the rest of the series. I'm anxious to find out that Vincent has his HEA.

sallans d at yahoo dot com

CatLadyF &O said...

Mary I have loved your books since the first time I read one, and just a few minutes ago finished reading "The Counterfeit Betrothal"/"The Notorious Rake". As always they were thoroughly enjoyable! I can't wait to see if your back books come out as e-books. I look forward to the new series.

CatLadyF &O said...

Mary I have loved your books since the first time I read one, and just a few minutes ago finished reading "The Counterfeit Betrothal"/"The Notorious Rake". As always they were thoroughly enjoyable! I can't wait to see if your back books come out as e-books. I look forward to the new series.

CatLadyF &O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Balogh said...

Thank to all of you again for the lovely comments. And thanks, Marianne Stephens, for having me here. Donna, Alleyne would be pronounced u-LAIN.

SE Hudnall said...

Wonderful interview, Mary! I'm so glad I found it. I'm afraid I scrolled completely through the excerpt. I didn't have to read it, you see. I know I will be picking it up the moment I see, much like every other book you've written. You wrote it; I will be reading it. And I have never been disappointed. Don't ever stop. . .please!

Sandy Pochapin said...

I loved the interview, it was fascinating to read about your childhood and your move to Saskatchewan...I enjoy your books so much!

Sandypo

jmcgaugh said...

I enjoyed the interview. This sounds like a great new series of books.
jmcgaugh (at) semo (dot) edu

Mary Aguiar said...

Mary, now that I read the excerpt, I can't wait to read the rest of the story. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I love your writing! You have a style that makes it impossible to put down the book even when it's way past bedtime. My favorite is the "slightly" series because the characters all came to life in the surroundings as if I knew exactly where it took place. Marlene LeJan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada

Joyce said...

Thanks for a very enjoyable interview. Love your,writing Mary, and can hardly wait for your next book!
Cheers, Joyce

Patricia Kuna said...

I love your books. I just go the Proposal. I will be reading it soon. Pat Kuna

Karri Rance-Heredia said...

Hi Mary- I have been collecting and enjoying your books for years. Always love to find an old Signet regency written by you. I thought The Proposal was terrific and am, not so patiently, waiting for The Arrangement to be released.

Diane aka cameldiva said...

Here's hoping I will be lucky as I cannot wait for the second book of the Survivor series.

Thank, you as well to this blog for doing a feature interview with Mary Balogh. I am gratified to know that there are over 60 books since I think I have read most of them with the exception of those out of print.
Thank you for writing, Mary and providing your loyal followers with such a vivid and rick world to get lost in.

Diane

cameldiva at yahoo dot ca

Rappleyea said...

What a wonderful interview - I really enjoyed reading it! And selfishly, my favorite part was reading that the next couple of books of The Survivor series would be out so quickly.
Donna

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