Q&A with M.J. Putney
(author of Dark Mirror)
1. What books did you read growing up that inspired you to write?
MJP: I read everything: horse stories, science fiction, girls’ mysteries, boys’ sports series. But always it was stories. Popular fiction.
2. Was there any specific person that made you a better writer, or inspired you to want to write?
MJP: I always had stories in my head, but writers who particularly influenced me are Mary Stewart (romantic suspense}, Dorothy Dunnett (historical adventure), and Georgette Heyer (Regency romance.)
3. How much of the final version of Dark mirror came from your first draft vs. rewriting?
MJP: I’m a plodder, editing as I go along, and not proceeding until I feel that what I’ve done so far is right. So I don’t do a first draft. What I send in to my editor is pretty much the final book, with the addition of whatever tweaks she asks for.
4. What kind of research did you have to do for Dark Mirror?
MJP: I’ve written enough Regency romances that I didn’t have to do much on that time period, but WWII is far more difficult, and within living memory. I read books on life in England at that time, and visited any number of websites about Dunkirk and that phase of the war. One of the most useful pieces of research was the Weather Channel’s “When Weather Changed History” show on Dunkirk. I taped that off the air and watched it about four times with a notepad in one hand and the remote in the other to insure I got the weather patterns right for the days of the evacuation.
5. Are you like any of your characters? Are any of your characters similar to people you know in real life?
MJP: All of my important characters have to resonate with some aspect of me, but none of them are me. Though I’ll use traits I’ve see seen in others, ultimately the characters are creatures of my imagination. The cats, however, are real cats.
6. What is your writing process like?
MJP: I spend a lot of time feeling guilty about wasted time until panic sets in and the book starts to move. The hardest part of writing for me is not the actual writing, but sitting down and getting to work.
7. With this series, do you know how it’s going to end or does it just come to you as you go along?
MJP: I have ideas for future books, but really, it’s pretty much up in the air until we see how well the books sell. I’ll do my best to insure that my characters end up in satisfactory places.
8. What book or character do you wish you'd created?
MJP: Tough question! I love Sherri L. Smith’s Flygirl. And Sharon Shinn’s Archangel. And Dorothy Dunnett’s Francis Crawford of Lymond. And…I could go on all night!
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!
MJP: Thanks for having me~