Mary Blayney’s Courtesan’s Kiss

Welcome back my good friend, Mary Blayney, who is here today to talk about her latest book, Courtesan’s Kiss, in bookstores NOW! I already have my copy on my Kindle and have started the book. This is a terrific story!

Mary is giving away a signed copy of Courtesan’s Kiss to one lucky commenter chosen at random.

With the fourth in the Pennistan series Blayney crafts a powerful story with an outspoken modern heroine … who wins readers’ hearts. All of Blayney’s characters leap from the pages into fully realized people you care about….the twists and depth of emotion turn something ordinary into the unforgettable.”
— Kathe Robin, RT Book Reviews

Welcome, Mary! We are delighted to have you back at Risky Regencies.Tell us about Courtesan’s Kiss and how it fits into the Pennistan family saga?
Literally, COURTESAN’S KISS fits into the sage as the fourth in the series with one to books still to go. But it brings the family on stage in a whole new way.
Being the second son (with two more after him) David Pennistan went off to sea at a young age. His ship sank in the Gulf of Mexico and for seven years he was presumed lost. It was an amazingly happy day when he showed up at Pennford, older but otherwise healthy.
He will not talk about his years away, but it is clear to everyone that his experience changed him. In LOVER’S KISS we first meet David as the estate manager for his brother, the duke. As the years pass, David’s ambition pushes him to leave home and work to further the family name and fortune by building a mill. He sees manufacturing as the key to wealth in the future and does his best to convince the duke to support his efforts and to base the Pennistan wealth in more than land.

And that brings us to the opening of COURTESAN’S KISS.

What inspired this story? Was it a character, a setting, a situation, a theme?
And where is the courtesan, you ask?

Yeah, Mary. Where is the courtesan?
Mia Castellano is giving serious thought to becoming a courtesan and she is definitely the inspiration for this story. An important secondary character in STRANGER’S KISS, Mia is now being shunned by the ton after her engagement ends. On her way to visit her guardian, at said guardian’s insistence, Mia is tired of people telling her what to do and how to do it.
We’re all about “risky” at Risky Regencies. What sort of creative risk did you take with Courtesan’s Kiss? Mia and David are as different as two people can be. I wasn’t sure that they would be attracted to each other at all and even if they were, would they have what it takes to make a life together? As I wrote I realized that the two of them were alike in one significant way and that made all things possible.

What interesting research did you come across when writing this book?
During research, I came across exactly the sort of mill that David wanted to build – the Quarry Bank Mill in Styal near Manchester. It is still in existence and operated by the largest water wheel in the world. It was built and originally owned by Samuel Greg and by 1832 it was the largest cotton spinning business in the UK.

Quarry Bank Mill remains an historical site in Manchester, not only because of the size of the water wheel, but also because Greg provided housing and educational opportunities for the young workers. It was great to find out that this concept was not just the brain child of a twenty-first century writer.

Also I had great fun researching “angling with a fly” what we call fly-fishing and was delighted to read classic book on the subject – THE COMPLETE ANGLER and give author Izaak Walton a mention in the book.

What’s next for you?
For Bantam I am working on the last book in the Pennistan series, Jessup’s story. ONE MORE KISS is the title. It takes place in Birmingham and the central theme is forgiveness and reconciliation. Jess meets Lydia Chernov, a widow, who is being threatened by her husband’s family. In the process of helping Lydia, they fall in love, but both have a view of family that must change before they can be happy together.

Before that comes out in 2011 I am one of five authors with a novella in a Berkley anthology entitled THE OTHER SIDE, out at the end of November, 2010. Maybe I can visit again then. . .

You bet you can, Mary!

And what Mary is not telling you is that the other four authors of the Berkley anthology are J.D. Robb, Patricia Gaffney, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Mary Kay McComas. I’ve had a peek at part of Mary’s story in this one and it is going to be wonderful!

Who doesn’t like a courtesan story? What makes courtesan stories so popular these days? Do you have any other questions for Mary? Here’s your chance.

Remember one lucky commenter will win a signed copy of Courtesan’s Kiss!

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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12 years ago

Hi Mary! Your book looks wonderful–love the cover!

And fly fishing is next to impossible. My grandfather tried to teach me, with few results, LOL.

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

Welcome, Mary!
Hi, Michelle! speaking of covers…look at YOURS!

stiletto storytime
12 years ago

Ah…shunned by the ton…gasp!

Christine Trent
12 years ago

“It was great to find out that this concept was not just the brain child of a twenty-first century writer.”

I love those a-ha moments, too, Mary. There’s nothing better than your imagination intersecting perfectly with history.

Congrats on your new release. You’re a busy lady.


12 years ago

I think every reader likes to live out theorically that the hero, the love of her life will finally realize he loves and marry or she will find happiness with someone else as the hero does in To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt.

Diane Gaston
12 years ago

jcp, I haven’t gotten too far in Courtesan’s Kiss yet (read deadlines) but I think Mary is exploring the woman’s reason for being a courtesan, less than the hero’s reaction to her as such.

Mary, can you clarify?

Mary Blayney
12 years ago

Mia is looking for love in all the wrong places — and finds it where she leasts expects it. Her idea of becoming a courtesan is driven by the diea that she can have control of her life.

Given that it is very much about both hero and heroine who find someone willing to love them for exactly who they are.

Mary Blayney
12 years ago

Good Morning everyone — sorry I’m late — I had some computer confusion and have just now figured it out.

Michelle! I don’t fly fish either — but my husband loves it — even ties his own flies.

Christine– welcome, hard to believe you live less than an hour away and the next time I see you will be in Orlando!

12 years ago

Hi Mary, welcome to Risky’s! Your new book sounds fabulous and I would love to read it. Also love the cover, it really catches the eye! I love reading stories about Courtesans. Do you enjoy your research and what type of books do you read most?


Barbara E.
12 years ago

I enjoyed the interview and learning more about Mary’s newest book. I think courtesan stories are fun because of the chance for the hero to fall in love with the women she is and not what she does.

Keira Soleore
12 years ago

Mary, welcome to the Riskies. I just re-read your older Pennistan books last month, so I’m primed for your newest addition. 🙂

Ooh, broody David’s going to have his story finally. Can’t wait to find out what exactly happened to him in the wilds of Central America.

I’m glad to see Mia taking David on. But she must have special depths that we haven’t seen it for her to be able to unlock David’s complex emotions that his brothers have been unable to penetrate.

*rubbing hands* Great setup for a good story.

Keira Soleore
12 years ago

Oh, that should be “haven’t seen yet” not “haven’t seen it”.

Mary Blayney
12 years ago

Thanks for all the kind words. Keira, Mia does have more to her than you would think if you read STRANGERS KISS. I find that knowing a persons origins is all it takes to convince a reader that the characters behavior is/was understandable.

Same goes for David. Like his father and his experience with the French Revoloution, what David faced changed his view of life and the lower orders.

Louisa Cornell
12 years ago

Hello Mary! So glad the next Pennistan book is finally here! I may have to do like my buddy, Keira and read them all again.

I LOVE a courtesan story because so much of a courtesan’s life is illusion. She creates an illusion for her client. She creates an illusion for herself. And more often than not when reality intrudes on the illusion bad things happen.

Congrats on this latest and on the anthology. Can’t wait to see you in Orlando!

Lavinia Kent
12 years ago

Hi Mary! I love Mia. I am so excited to read her story. Now, I just want to know more about Lord William.


Gail Barrett
12 years ago

Mary, when I saw the name Izaak Walton, I straightened up in my chair. I have stayed at the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex Montana, which is at the base of Glacier Park:

I’m not sure why the inn is named after him, but maybe because of his conservation efforts? This inn was originally built to house railroad workers and is located next to the tracks. The trains still pass by there multiple times per day, so you really need to like trains to stay there (or be a heavy sleeper!)

12 years ago

Congrats on the new release, Mary. I have noticed that there are more books where the heroine is a courtesan.

12 years ago

Ooh, this sounds like a very fun read. The cover rocks!

12 years ago

Wow, I’m really glad I stopped by today since now I’m looking forward to reading this book. I have just been introduced to a new author and can’t wait to read your other books. By the way, great cover!

My Eclectic Reads
12 years ago

This sounds so good! I haven’t read the earlier books, but I’ll make a note to go find them.

I love stories with strong women. Becoming a courtesan to take control of her life is great. I don’t suppose becoming the crazy cat lady was an option back in the day? 😉

Mary Blayney
12 years ago

Hey Eclectic, I am sure crazy cat ladies were an option as long as they could support themselves and their cats. Mia talks with her maid Janina about why living as a lady would not work for her.

FYI, the little girl Marie who has a small part in TRAITORS KISS and also in STRANGER’S KISS could well be the owner of many cats later in her life.

Gail, my Walton lived in the 17th century — long before conservation meant squat. His book THE COMPLEAT ANGLER is one of the most successful books published (agaimn and again and again)

It’s about much more than angling. He uses fly fishing as a way to talk about life.

It’s been fun spending time with the Riskies — winner will have the book before I leave for Orlando and the RWA confernce!

12 years ago

roflmao – speaking of crazy cat ladies 🙂 Your book sounds wonderful and what a eye catching cover!!

Keely Thrall
12 years ago

Hi Mary and Diane –

I’m on digest and just received notice that Mary was blogging yesterday. Sorry to be late to the party!!

Mary – the book sounds FABULOUS and I’m looking forward to snaggling up a copy at the Literacy Signing.

See you in Orlando!

Debra Key Newhouse
12 years ago

Mary – what BEAUTIFUL cover art! If I were to judge a book by it’s cover, yours would be judged perfect by that cover alone!

Cannot wait to see you in Orlando!