All blogs are property of authors and copying is not permitted.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Interview with New York Times Best Selling Author, Mary Jo Putney

Please welcome best selling author, Mary Jo Putney, I am interviewing her today.  We are so lucky to have this busy lady here. She's not only on the New York Times and USA Today best selling lists, but also on the Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly lists. 

I have to admit I didn't know the Wall Street Journal had a best selling list for books.  Any of you who have read Mary Jo's books are craving more information about her. I for one am eager to hear the answers to all the questions, Mary Jo.  

***For more information about Mary Jo Putney, visit her author page at

A New York Times bestselling author, Mary Jo Putney was born in Upstate New York with a reading addiction, a condition with no known cure.  Her entire writing career is an accidental byproduct of buying a computer for other purposes.  Most of her books contain history, romance, and cats.  Her current Lost Lords series include No Longer a Gentleman, May 2012, and Sometimes a Rogue, September 2013. October sees the release of the mass market edition of Mischief and Mistletoe, a Christmas anthology by the eight authors of the Word Wenches blog, and also an e-book Christmas novella anthology called Christmas Roses.  She has had ten RWA RITA nominations, two RITA wins, and in 2013 is the recipient of the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award.

Q.  Mary Jo, I understand you have written over forty books since 1987.  Is it difficult to write so many books?

A. Like any other job, you have to keep showing up and doing the work, but once I started writing, I couldn’t imagine anything else I’d rather be doing.  That, plus the need to pay the mortgage and feed the cats, keeps me showing up.

Q.  I understand you have written in other genres besides historical.  Do you have a favorite genre?  Is there another genre you would like to write besides the ones you have tried?

A.  I’ve been lucky enough to be able to write most of the stories I want to write.  I love history, and relationships, and happy endings, so clearly I belong in romance!  I also love writing fantasy, and I’ve been able to do some of that as well.  Usually with history and always with romance. 

Q.  How many times have you been on the New York Times best seller list?  Or any list?

A. I have no idea.  Lists are lovely, but when a book comes out, I’m usually locked in mortal combat with the next book, so I don’t really keep track.

Q.  How do you come up with your story ideas? 

A.  It’s a mysterious process.  Sometimes I have a plot idea, like “how would a man survive ten years in a French dungeon, and what kind of woman could bring him back from the edge of madness?”  That was the premise for NO LONGER A GENTLEMAN.  Or maybe I have a character, and I need to find a story that will allow that character to grow and change.  Both hero and heroine of my new book, SOMETIMES A ROGUE, were iceberg characters—they’d showed up in previous Lost Lords books, but hadn’t revealed much about themselves.  So I needed an adventurous plot that would test them, and that was the beginning of their story.  Once I have a basic idea, the lizard brain gnaws away at it, adding layers and new characters and new research.

Q.  Do you have a set schedule for writing?

A.  The closer the deadline, the longer the hours of writing!

Q.  Is there any part of a novel hard for you to write?  I can't imagine you having a problem, but I'll ask.  lol

A.  For me, the hardest part is actually getting the right words down.  Ideas are easy—finding the best way to convey the story clearly and effectively is seriously hard work.

 Oh gosh, I certainly understand the difficulty of getting the right words.  I know what I want, but the word slips my mind. lol

Okay, it's time for some fun questions:

Q.  What did you want to be when you grew up at the ages of 6, 13 and 24?

A.  A cowgirl, an engineer, and an industrial designer, respectively.    I did become a practicing designer for years, but always in the back of my mind, in the impossible dream category, was the idea that it would be really cool to write novels.

Q.  What is your favorite color?

A. Burgundy.

Q.  What is your favorite movie?  And why?

A.  Sorry, but there is never just one favorite book, or movie, or author.  How can one compare Shakespeare in Love to Galaxy Quest to Legally Blonde?

LOL  You're definitely diverse. 
Q.  If you could be anyone in the world who would it be?  And why?

A. I’d like to be a novelist.  So I could tell stories. Oh, wait…


Q.  Do you have a bucket list of things to do when you have time?

A. Not really.  I love to travel and have been to lots of places, and hope to get to lots more, but I can be happy with different trips and experiences, so I go with what seems most reasonable at any given moment.  We just returned from a cruise on the Danube, and it was great, even though I’d originally wanted to cruise France, but those trips were sold out.

You can always cruise France next year, Mary Jo.  You'll know to buy those tickets early now.  Smile!  I like the Caribbean and many of my friends like the Mediterranean.
Mary Jo, would you please tell us about your latest book.  Is it your favorite?  Smile!  The author's I talk to say the one they just finished is there favorite or the one they're working on now is. 

  1. Sophie’s Choice!  I love them all.  But I do tend to be particularly fond of a book that I’ve finished and don’t have to worry about any more.
Sometimes a Rogue is half adventure story and half domestic drama.  It begins when the heroine, Sarah, is taking her very pregnant sister for a quiet drive.  When kidnappers show up looking for her sister, Sarah takes her place and is taken off to Ireland.  Luckily, Rob Carmichael, a Bow Street Runner, is after her almost immediately.  But rescuing Sarah is only the first step of their adventures!


Even the most proper young lady can yearn 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…

Rob Carmichael survived his disastrous family by turning away from 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 anything.  Whether racing across Ireland with her roguish rescuer or throwing herself in his arms, she’s all Rob could ever want—and can never have.

Sometimes a Rogue Excerpt

Rob Carmichael, Bow Street runner and graduate of the Westerfield Academy for boys of “good birth and bad behavior,” is particularly good at finding damsels in distress.  Instead of a runaway heiress, he is sent to rescue Miss Sarah Clarke-Townsend, a petite and well-bred young lady who put her own life at risk to protect her pregnant twin sister.  Rob has followed the kidnappers to Ireland, and has found where Sarah is being held captive.

It was hours before the lights in the house were extinguished, but Rob had years of practice in patience.  The light rain stopped and the sky cleared, revealing a waxing moon that would provide light for another few hours to aid an escape. 
Eventually the house became dark, except for a small light on the ground floor level that appeared to be in the kitchen.  Since that might mean the captive was guarded, he’d enter through the front door rather than the one Bridget had suggested. 
He was good with locks, so the massive front door presented no great challenge.  He eased inside, scarcely breathing, then pulled the door almost shut so it would be ready for a quick escape.  As he studied his surroundings, he pulled his fighting stick from an inside pocket.  He’d acquired it in India, and it was shaped and knobbed to be held in one hand to add extra striking power in a fight. 
The house appeared to have a standard layout with stairs coming down the center and rooms on each side.  A sitting room was on the right, the dining room on the left.  Since Bridget had said the kitchen was behind the dining room, he moved between the table and sideboard to the door that should lead to the kitchen.
            Fighting stick in his left hand, he slowly opened the door—and froze when he was greeted by a raucous snore from inside. 
Not moving, he studied as much of the room as he could see.  The snoring man was seated on a bench by a long work table on the right, his head resting on his crossed arms.  Next to him was an empty whisky bottle and the lantern that lit the room.  The man seemed to be in a drunken sleep, so Rob decided not to retreat.  Not when he was so close to the abducted lady. 
            Silently he crossed the kitchen along the left side.  The snoring man didn’t stir when Rob passed less than six feet away. 
He reached the pantry door.  The key was in the lock, which saved him having to pick it.  The key made a slight scraping sound when he turned it. 
He held still, not even breathing, but the drunk snored on.  Praying the hinges wouldn’t squeal, he inched the door open and entered, closing it softly behind him.
A shaft of moonlight from the pantry’s high window illuminated most of the tiny room.  His first reaction was disappointment that the floor held only a clutter of sacks and boxes and broken crockery, not a sleeping captive. 
Something moved on a shelf to the left and a delicate face surrounded by a fluffy cloud of blond hair peered up at him.  Miss Sarah Clarke-Townsend looked like an adorable little golden chick.  Harmless and helpless and prey to the first fox or hawk that came along. 
Hoping she wouldn’t squeal or otherwise draw attention to them, he said in a barely inaudible voice, “Ashton sent me.  Shall we be on our way?”
            Her eyes widened like a startled kitten and she swung her feet to the floor.  “Yes!” Wrapping her ragged blanket firmly around her shoulders, she continued, “Lead on, sir!” 
            Though her voice was low, he held a finger to his lips to emphasize silence.  “There is a man sleeping in the kitchen.  We must leave very, very quietly.”
            She nodded and pulled her ragged blanket close around her.  When they got to the horses, he’d find her something warmer. 
He opened the door again and moved into the kitchen, beckoning for her to follow since the drunk was still snoring.  Silently she wafted behind him.
            They were halfway across the kitchen when disaster struck.  Something clattered to the floor and Miss Sarah gave a squeak of dismay.  As the drunk came awake with a growl, Rob saw that her trailing blanket had snagged a broom leaning against the wall and knocked it to the floor.
            The drunk’s eyes widened as he focused on them.  “The bitch is trying to escape!” he roared as he hauled himself from the table. 
            Two more heads appeared on the other side of the table.  Rob swore as he realized the men had been sleeping there out of sight.  Outnumbered three to one, Rob had only the advantage of being awake and alert.  As the two other men scrambled to their feet, Rob lunged for the drunk, who was closest.  “Run!” he barked at Miss Sarah. 
            Before the drunk could react, Rob slammed him in the temple with his fighting stick.  The man collapsed backward from the bench, sending his whiskey bottle flying to crash on the flagstone floor. 
Not pausing, Rob leaped over the table and attacked the closer of the two men,  a wiry fellow who was pulling a knife from the sheath at his waist.  Rob slugged him in the belly, then bashed the man’s head as he folded up, gasping. 
            As the wiry man collapsed, Rob swung to face the last opponent—and stopped cold when he saw the barrel of a pistol pointing at him.  As the third man cocked the weapon, he snarled in Irish, “I don’t know who you are, boyo, but say your prayers!”
            Rob was preparing to hurl himself back over the table in hopes of evading the shot when the air resonated with a deep, gong-like sound.  The armed man crumpled to the floor.  Behind him, smiling gleefully and holding a massive cast iron frying pan in both hands, was his helpless chick, looking absurdly pleased with herself. 
            Backlit by a lantern, Miss Sarah’s hair was a golden cloud shining like a halo around her exquisite face.  A crippling emotion he couldn’t name twisted inside him.  Yearning, perhaps, because in her beauty, joy, and innocence, she represented everything he’d ever loved and lost.
            The feeling passed in an instant because his job was to save her life, not wallow in his personal sorrows.  “Well done, princess.  Now it’s time we are on our way.”
            He would have preferred to bind and gag the three men, but reinforcements would arrive at any moment and he had no desire for a pitched battle.  He scooped up the dropped pistol and gestured toward the kitchen’s door to the outside. 
            “I couldn’t agree more!” she exclaimed as she darted toward their exit.
            A dozen steps brought him to the door.  He unlatched it and ushered her outside.  Once they were in the damp, chilly night air, he clasped her small hand.  “Now, princess, we run!”
Sometimes a Rogue sounds exciting, Mary Jo.  I can't wait to read it.  Thank you for being with us today.  We have enjoyed getting to know you. 

Thanks so much for having me, Sandy!

It's been my pleasure, Mary Jo.  Even though you've been sick, you have been an absolute delight to get to know. 


Melissa Keir said...

What great advice! Thanks for sharing your stories with us. Hopefully you will get that cruise this year.

All the best!

Sandy said...

Mary Jo was great to interview. Thank you, Mary Jo.

I love the power of a woman to think fast on her feet as your heroine did. Smile!

Cara Marsi said...

What a great interview, Mary Jo. I love your books. Sometimes a Rogue is on my list to read. I liked getting to know you better, and I, too, love cats.

jean hart stewart said...

Loved the excerpt. A too-experience hero and an feisty innocent girl...Can't go wrong with that.

Paris said...

Mary Jo,

I loved the interview and excerpt and will be adding these titles to my TBR list! I have to say that No Longer a Gentleman has a very intriguing premise and just the kind of story I love to read.

Fran Lee said...

Nice to meet you! I adore your books!

JL Walters said...

Great Interview. Her books helped keep my eyes moist after cataract surgery. Of all the books of hers on my shelf, I've read The Rake the most

Molly Daniels said...

Wonderful interview:) And I will definitely put your books on my TBB list:)

Stephanie Burkhart said...

What a nice interview with Mary Jo. I read 'Loving a Lost Lord" and really enjoyed it. Mary has a wonderful way of taking the reader on a romantic adventure. I do think burgundy is definately her color!

Thanks for visitin Mary Jo!

Back in 1989 I was stationed in upstate New York when I was in the Army, in the Finger Lakes region. It is beautiful up there, especially this time of year. Lots of inspirational autumn scenes.


Crystal Benedict said...

Great Interview, that was fun to read :)

Cynthia Arsuaga said...

Great interview, filled with humor which must translate into your writing! Nice excerpt too.

DeanY said...

great interview and love your books.

Rose Anderson said...

Thanks for coming today Mary Jo. I love the "mysterious process" :)

Sarah said...

I Love Historical Romances; That is how I started reading so much. Great interview.

DeanY said...

I agree with Sarah about loving historical romance. I always learn something new, and love looking back.

vickyb said...

Have loved your books since the beginning and this one looks great Thank you for being here and you're right about it being hard to choose a favorite book or movie!

darlene deluca said...

Always fun to hear the thoughts and processes of a bestseller!

Katalina Leon said...

Love Mary Jo Putney, this was a treat!

Karen McCullough said...

That was a really fun interview, and the new book sounds fabulous!

Berengaria Brown said...

"keep showing up and doing the work". Awesome advice, Mary Jo. That's the only way to succeed.

Rose Gorham said...

What a fun interview, Sandy and Mary Jo. Loved the excerpt.

Marianne Stephens said...

Thanks for doing an interview here at RB4U...very detailed!

Di said...

I've always adored Mary Jo's books and look forward to reading this one - Love that gorgeous cover!

Anonymous said...

I love your books, Mary Jo, and especially like your historical novels. This one will be another fun read. Thank you for sharing with us!

Gemma Juliana said...

Welcome, Mary Jo, and thanks for giving us a glimpse into your world. You are a remarkable and gifted author. Can't wait to read sometimes a Rogue!

Mary Jo Putney said...

Thanks for giving me such a warm welcome here! I had great fun with the interview--It's lovely to connect with readers.

Steph--Finger Lakes! My old stomping grounds, since I spent 6 years at Syracuse University.

Berengaria--I've always loved that name--Richard the Lionheart's queen. (Not that he treated her very well!)

Share buttons