Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Dark Mirror by MJ Putney

Welcome to Author M.J. Putney


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.


What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
MJP: Peanut butter ripple. Can I pour hot fudge sauce on top? Pleaaase???

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
MJP: A soft poached egg on whole grain toast with fresh squeezed orange juice on the side. I actually eat this often because it’s nutritious, tastes good, and I can pretty much cook it in my sleep.

Night owl, or early bird?
MJP: Night owl—which is why I need to be able to poach eggs when I’m more asleep than awake!

One food you would never eat?
MJP: Insects, even if chocolate covered.

Pet Peeves
MJP: People who always complain about their problems but never attempt to fix them.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
MJP: You should read Dark Passage because it has adventure, romance, history and fun characters. (Well, I like them!)

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
MJP: I just handed in a historical romance, No Longer A Gentleman, which is the fourth in my Regency Lost Lords series. The series is built around aristocratic young men who bonded when they were students at a school for boys of “good birth and bad behavior.” I’ve contracted for three more books in the series because I really enjoy these characters.
My next writing project is a Christmas novelette for an anthology. (About 10-15K words.) And after that I’ll write my third young adult novel, Dark Destiny, which is scheduled for next summer, I believe. So I’ll have to write fast!

What inspired you to want to become a writer?
MJP: I was an addicted reader from first grade, and what I loved most of all was stories. I thought being a writer would be the coolest thing in the world (and when I thought writer, what I really meant was “novelist”) , but I was raised on a farm in Upstate New York. Becoming a writer was beyond my powers of dreaming. And yet—here I am. You just never know.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
MJP: I think the best part is hearing from people who were really moved by my stories. Sometimes the stories have helped them through bad things like pain and loss, and I’m grateful that I can help them.. Since I love being able to disappear into a story, it’s great that I can give that to readers. Not all readers—no book or author is for everyone. But it’s very rewarding to create appealing worlds that others like to enter.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
MJP: Only one??? I loved books about horses, and Swiss Family Robinson, and all of Robert Heinlein’s young adult novels (they were called “juveniles” when they were written, but they’re still great stories.) Loved books about girl detectives because they got to do interesting things rather than wait on the sidelines. I could go on for quite a while here, but I won’t.

If you could be one of the Greek Gods, which would it be and why?
MJP: I’ve always thought that Athena totally rocks. A goddess of both wisdom and war who presented the olive tree to Athens—what’s not to love?

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
MJP: A traveler. I would have said “writer” if that had seemed possible.

If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play the lead role and why?
MJP: Mmm, Angelina Jolie or Catherine Zeta Jones? Hard to decide. Probably Catherine since Angelina is usually plays very intense characters. I don’t look a bit like either of them, but I’d like to.

How did you know you should become an author?
MJP: I didn’t. But I always had stories in my head, and when I got a computer I decided I should trying writing one down just to see what would happen. It was all kind of accidental. I got an opinion from a romance author who thought my start of a Regency romance looked good, she gave me the name of her old agent, who was fast, the agent took me on, sent the proposal to an editor—and the editor offered a three book contract. I have NEVER gotten over the shock of that! But once I found I could write publishable stories, I finally knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I’ve never looked back.

What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year?
MJP: I’m not sure when it will be out, but I loved the reboot of Star Trek. I’ve heard that the major cast members have signed for two sequels, and I can’t wait for the next!

How do you react to a bad review?
MJP: I try to avoid them. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but negative reviews can be upsetting, especially if they’re deliberately nasty, or they criticize the book for something they’re just plain wrong about. Having that kind of negative energy in my mind is distracting and can get in the way of writing. So people can say what they wish, but I’ll be elsewhere if I can.

What do you do in your free time?
MJP: Free time? What is this thing you call “free time?” Define, please!

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
MJP: It Never Hurts to Ask

What’s your favorite season/weather?
MJP: I love them all, which is why I live in Maryland, a four season state, but autumn most of all. I love the colors, the crispness in the air, and I think there’s an intensity because it will be over too soon.

Who or what inspired you to become an author?
MJP: I had all these stories in my head, and I decided to try putting them on paper and seeing what happened.

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
MJP: I bought a used compact edition of the Oxford English Dictionary because a historical writer needs to know how old words are. It’s about a dozen volumes compressed into two, and it comes with a magnifying glass so you can read the itty bitty mice type.

In your wildest dreams, which author would you love to co-author a book with?
MJP: Co-author a book with ANYONE??!!!! Most authors are like me, I’ve found. My book, my way. Mrrrrowwwr!


Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest daughter of the earl and countess of Fairmount, is destined for a charmed life. Soon she will be presented during the London season, where she can choose a mate worthy of her status.

Yet Tory has a shameful secret—a secret so powerful that, if exposed, it could strip her of her position and disgrace her family forever. Tory’s blood is tainted . . . by magic.
When a shocking accident forces Tory to demonstrate her despised skill, the secret she’s fought so hard to hide is revealed for all to see. She is immediately exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for young men and women in her position. There she will learn to suppress her deplorable talents and maybe, if she’s one of the lucky ones, be able to return to society.
But Tory’s life is about to change forever. All that she’s ever known or considered important will be challenged. What lies ahead is only the beginning of a strange and wonderful journey into a world where destiny and magic come together, where true love and friendship find her, and where courage and strength of character are the only things that determine a young girl’s worth.


The Irregulars return home to 1803 England safely, but their worldview has changed. Not only have their heroic efforts at Dunkirk given them pride and confidence but their dangerous mission has increased their magical powers.

Tory delights in the ever deepening bond she shares with Allarde until she discovers how powerfully he is connected to his ancient family estate—the lands he will not inherit unless he denies his magical powers and chooses a nonmagical mate. If Tory really loves him, she must walk away—but does she have the strength to leave the love of her life?
Cynthia’s heroic efforts at Dunkirk have won her the respect of the Irregulars, but her sharp tongue keeps everyone at a distance. Isolated and very alone at Lackland Abbey over the Christmas holidays, she reluctantly agrees to join Jack Rainford and his family for their celebration even though they’re commoners, far below her own noble rank. The warm welcome of the Rainfords makes her feel happier and more accepted than she has ever been. But she can’t possibly be falling in love with flirtatious Jack! Can she?
Then the Irregulars are drawn into a dangerous attempt to rescue a vitally important French scientist from Nazi-occupied France. Tory and Allarde must work together because countless lives are at stake. Disaster strikes and not only is their mission threatened, but their very lives. Can magic and their loyalty to each other help them survive to return home?

Dark Mirror was released on March 11, 2011 by St. Martin’s Griffin

Dark Passage will be released on September 13, 2011 by St. Martin’s Griffin

To read an excerpt and/or learn more about MJ, visit her website at

3 Readers of this blog will each receive a copy of the first book in the series Dark Mirror
Open to US & Canada only
Ends 10/4/11