Everyone Should Have a Mary Jo Putney in Their Life

Next Sunday our guest author is none other than NYT Bestseller and RITA winner, Mary Jo Putney! What a treat!

I can credit Mary Jo Putney with helping me forge my love of Regency Romance. The Rake and the Reformer (re-released as The Rake), recommended to me by my friend Helen, was the very first traditional regency I read. I loved that book! (How many times does The Rake and The Reformer appear on lists of favorite historicals?) The Rake and the Reformer began my love affair with the Regency era and sparked my voracious reading of traditional regencies and as many of Mary Jo’s books I could get my hands on.

Mary Jo gave me many wonderful reading experiences. I fell for her Fallen Angel series. Shattered Rainbows first got me interested in Waterloo. And Thunder and Roses had a perfect level of sensuality. I loved the premise of The Bargain and greatly admired The Bride Series, especially The China Bride with its rich recreation of Regency era China.

I could go on and on…

But I was also lucky enough to get to know Mary Jo through Washington Romance Writers. One of my first WRW meetings was a synopsis workshop given by Mary Jo. Mary Jo had invited members to read her latest book (can’t remember which one it was now) ahead of time and to write a synopsis of it for the workshop. Being highly motivated, I came to the meeting with my synopsis, only to discover I was one of two people who had done so.

We were invited to read our synopses to the crowded room. The other member read hers, which turned out to be merely chapter summaries. I read mine and was applauded. Wow. I’d done it right!

(By the way, the member who had done the synopsis all wrong was Catherine Asaro. Catherine, of course, went on to become a super-mega star author of sci fi and fantasy and a Nebula winner.)

Also about this time, I read Mary Jo’s essay “Welcome to the Dark Side” in Dangerous Men Adventurous Women, an early (1992) defense of the Romance genre, another “Aha!” moment about how to craft a Romance hero.

It took me awhile to gain the courage to write a Regency Historical, to aspire to join the likes of Mary Jo. Gasp! But try I did. I had a chance to discuss an early draft with Mary Jo at a Washington Romance Writers Retreat. I remember it so clearly, standing in the lobby of Hilltop House with Mary Jo and then editor Gail Fortune, explaining my story. Mary Jo gave me some excellent advice, which I took wholeheartedly, but mostly her interest helped me to persevere with the book—which eventually became The Mysterious Miss M.

Recently, of course, Mary Jo invited us to discuss The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor on the Word Wenches Blog, which was great exposure for the book.

And yesterday Mary Jo let me know that The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor was reviewed in The Baltimore Sun.

So, really, look what it has done for my writing life to have a Mary Jo Putney in it!

I’m delighted we at Risky Regencies can help get out the word about Mary Jo’s latest book, Loving a Lost Lord, her return to the Regency era (Yay!). Come back next Sunday July 13 to read her interview and comment for a chance to win a copy of Loving a Lost Lord.

What is your favorite Mary Jo Putney book?
Do you have a favorite Mary Jo Putney moment?

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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