Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tour Take: Dark Mirror by M.J. Putney

Dark Mirror
by MJ Putney
Blog Tour

Released: March 1, 2011

Description from the amazon:
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 stops:

Tuesday 1-Mar: Culture Mob
-giveaway offer ends Mar 14
my take: interview
Q&A to note:
Dan Coxon: What made you decide to write Dark Mirror for a young adult audience?

MJ Putney: I really wanted to write more fantasy and magic, which I love. The Young Adult genre has a great deal of freedom—more than romance, my original genre—so it seemed like a good place to tell my story of time traveling mages.

Wednesday 2-Mar: Midnight Blooms
my take: review
She says...
Although elements such a romance, history, magic, and even time traveling are not new, M.J. Putney combines them in a wonderful way that is very much original.

Friday 4-Mar: Eating YA Books
-giveaway offer ends Mar 12
my take: interview
Q&A to note:
Dark Mirror is set in 1803, but due to the magic of the mirror, the characters are transported to 1940. What was your inspiration for these two settings?

MJP: Most of my romances have been set in Regency England, and I’d often thought about the similarities to England in WWII. In both cases. England stood alone against a powerful Continental conqueror, protected by the English Channel, the British Navy, and the fierce courage of her people. From there, it was a short hop to thinking that Regency mages would be drawn to a similar time period where their abilities would be needed.

Saturday 5-Mar: Green Bean Teen Queen
my take: interview
Q&A to note:
If you could travel back in time, what time period would you pick?

MJP: Probably the English Regency, which is the early 19th century. There were so many interesting things going on. Society was changing, becoming more open and democratic. Literacy and opportunities were increasing. There were revolutions in the creative arts. And the clothes were more comfortable than they’d been in a couple of centuries.

Sunday 6-Mar: Love Romance Passion / Literature Young Adult Fiction
-giveaway offer ends Mar 11
my take: interview
Q&A to note:
First Mate Keira: Dark Mirror sounds like the antithesis to Harry Potter. Magic isn’t revered, it’s despised. You don’t go to school to learn it and get better at using it, you go to a reform school to learn how not to use magic. How did the idea first come to you?

MJP: I’m not really sure, but I have a contrarian streak. I look at a usual structure and immediately want to turn it upside down. Come to think of it, that’s exactly what I did with the first romance I ever wrote.

Monday 7-Mar: Words for Teens
-giveaway offer ends Mar 12
my take: interview
this site also offers a 13 page excerpt
Q&A to note:
N: Who would you cast as Tory?
MJP: Hmmm, maybe Natalie Portman as a teen, before she became a crazed ballerina. Or maybe a dark-haired Dakota Fanning? Must think about this more!

Tuesday 8-Mar: Pure Imagination
-giveaway offer ends Mar 22
my take: review
Q&A to note:
All in all this was a good story if you're in the mood for some historical fantasy YA. It kept me turning pages!

Wednesday 9-Mar: The Story Siren
giveaway for 3 books -end Mar 23
my take: interview with MJ
Q&A to note:
Why a historical novel? What is your fascination with the world in those time periods?

MJP: History has always fascinated me because of the similarities between now and then, but also the differences. Plus, in a historical setting, it’s easier to have over the top characters and situations. Not to mention that understanding history if we want to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.

Thursday 10-Mar: My Friend Amy
-giveaway offer ends Mar 17
my take: interview
Q&A to note:
What are some of biggest challenges you faced while writing this story?

MJP: DARK MIRROR was very research intensive. The WWII part is within living memory, and I feel a particular obligation to do my best by the characters of that time, who faced so many challenges with such courage and tenacity. Plus, whenever entering a new genre, a new voice and sensibility have to be developed. At the heart it's still my voice, of course, but tuned in a way that I hope will best suit YA readers.

Friday 11-Mar: YA Bliss
-giveaway offer ends Mar 25
my take: interview
Q&A to note:
Was it hard to balance history with the fantasy factor?

MJP: Good storytelling is always a balance. I have good storyteller instincts, so if I overdo some aspect of the story, a mental alarm usually goes off. But of course, readers vary. One person’s ‘too much history’ can easily be someone else’s “I want more history!”

Saturday 12-Mar: The Book Smugglers
my take: review
Excerpt on Thea's take:
Another parallel that came to mind when reading this theme, although this is just my interpretation and in no way present in the novel, was the comparison between being born with unwanted magical abilities, to homosexuality, for example (much in the way that Stan Lee’s X-Men evokes the same sort of comparisons). This painful idea that there is a “cure” for magical ability, which is an essential part of each of these characters, emphasizes the theme, too. But I digress.

Sunday 13-Mar: Wondrous Reads
my take: review and interview
Q&A to note:
How much research did you have to do in order to make Dark Mirror as historically accurate as possible?

The majority of the books I’ve written have been set in Regency England, and I’d often thought about the similarities to England in WWII. In both cases. England stood alone against a powerful Continental conqueror, protected by the English Channel, the British Navy, and the courage of their people. It was easy to see how Regency mages might be drawn to a similar time period where their abilities would be needed.

But there was a huge amount of research for the WWII part of the story! The war is within living memory, so it was a real challenge to get the details right. I did my best, including having two Englishwomen read the ms., one of the old enough to have some memories. Even so, some errors surely crept in. But I do try to get things right.

Monday 14-Mar: Novel Novice
-giveaway offer ends Mar 21
my take: interview
Q&A to note:
We know you can’t give too much away about future books in the series, but can you tell us a bit about what the future holds for Tory, Allarde, Jack, Elspeth, Cynthia & all the rest?
Well, I can say that the course of true love doesn’t run smoothly when there are conflicting goals. Cynthia gets over some of her snobbery, and Jack—is irrepressible.

my take: Lady Victoria Addresses You (character in book)
Good day, my friends. I’m Lady Victoria Mansfield, which sounds very grand, but really, my friends all call me Tory. When I reached my 16th birthday, my thoughts turned to making my London debut, which would not only be delightful, but give me the chance to survey the Marriage mart to find the best possible husband. read more

Non-stops: with reviews and/or giveaways

The Book Worms
-giveaway offer ends Mar 17

The Crazy BookWorm


The Firefly Book Loft

Long and Short Reviews

Ms. Martin Teaches Media

Peeking Between the Pages
-giveaway offer ends Mar 18

The Plotmonkeys

Reading with Martinis
-giveaway offer ends Mar 18

Excerpt to note:
You’ve heard of the concept of the Big Idea, as it involves books (I mean, honestly, right?). But in describing the construction of her debut YA novel Dark Mirror, author M.J. Putney introduces a new concept to the lexicon: Fairly Sizable Ideas...


* first spotted this at The Story Siren

* Tour Takes - a post where I check out and comment on current blog tour posts that catch my fancy.


  1. Great way to do an interview! Great questions. :) English Regency is indeed a great time period to travel too. ;)

  2. Awesome roundup of an awesome sounding book -- will browse these websites!

  3. It's nice to see more YA stories placed in period settings! I've always loved the Regency novels, especially with the debs and their "coming out" soirees. So romantic, and a little magic goes a long way :D

    Will browse some of these sites!

  4. This book looks really interesting. Excited to check out these blogs!

  5. I love Mary Jo Putney's books and will be interested to see how the YA turns out. I'm looking forward to reading it.

  6. I have this book on my wishlist. I love all Mary Jo Putney's books I have read so far and this one sounds amazing.


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