Tag Archives: three quick questions

3QQ for Mary Blayney

Three Quick Questions (3QQ) is an ongoing feature at Fall Into the Story that highlights some of the authors scheduled to join Nora at a Turn the Page signing.  This week, we’ll meet three authors who will be at the Turn the Page’s 18th Anniversary signing on July 13 from noon – 2 pm.

mary Baboutphoto

Mary Blayney recently completed her Pennistan series for Bantam with One More Kiss, the fifth story about the Duke Meryon’s unconventional siblings.  After writing two books for Silhouette in the late 1980s, Mary has focused on one of her favorite times in history — England’s Regency.   She’s even brought the Regency to the novellas she writes for the annual anthologies with JD Robb.  Her six novellas have the continuing element of Poppy’s Coin, a magic coin that changes the lives of everyone who wishes on it, whether they know they are wishing on a magic coin or not.

When she’s not writing, Mary is an experienced and inveterate traveler.  Next week she’ll travel to Atlanta with Nora for the 2013 Romance Writers of America conference where they will join over 450 writers at the annual Readers for Life Literacy signing.  But one of Mary’s favorite places to visit is Inn Boonsboro where she’s been frequent and welcome guest since 2009.

Onto the questions:

1. One More Kiss is the last book in a long line of stories about the Pennistan family. Each book needs it’s own particular type of research, but overall what was it like to return to the world and characters you created.? And was there something new you learned as you wrote about Jess and Beatrice?


After five books going back to Derbyshire to see the Pennistans is like checking in with old friends.  I love the chance to think about and explore how their marriages have changed them and how the three brothers and one sister appear to the newcomer, Beatrice. But there was a long road to that final epilogue. Along the way it was tremendous fun to do my version of a Regency house party where more than one relationship is explored and where that perennial secondary character William Bendasbrook finally found his own happily ever after.

Something new I learned? No doubt about it.  The secret behind the brilliance of Rembrandt’s drawings fascinated me and the way Jess used it to explain his love for Beatrice was like icing on the cake, an idea that came out as though I was channeling his thoughts.

2. This fall you are reteaming with JD Robb, Ruth Ryan Langan, Mary Kay McComas and newcomer Elaine Fox for the Mirror, Mirror anthology coming in late September. The stories all take their cues from fairy tales — what can you tell us about yours?

hard at work
Mary signing The Unquiet anthology with Ruth Ryan Langan and Nora at RWA 2012

If Wishes Were Horses” in the MIRROR MIRROR anthology is a riff on Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Yes, set in the Regency and yes the magic coin is an essential part of the story as it has been in all my novellas. Goldi is the maid Martha Stepp and the “Three Bears” is Sgt Jack Tresbere, a soon to retire infantry aid looking for someone with whom to share life’s next adventure. Jack and Martha get off to a rocky start when he realizes that she is the woman sleeping in his major’s bed the night he and the major arrive at Craig’s Castle

3. You’ve been a frequent guest at Inn Boonsboro since it opened in January 2009. Do you have a favorite room? And what is the ONE thing you recommend a first-time guest do while they are at the Inn?


It’s hard to pick a favorite room. All the beds are fabulous so it’s impossible to pick using that as criteria. I love Eve and Roarke. I do believe it has the best bathroom configuration. And I love the lighting, the covered grey button and the Galahad pillow. Of all of them it’s the one where I feel like Eve and Roarke are in the room next door. But then Elizabeth and Darcy has access to the fabulous front balcony where you can watch Boonsboro pass by and the most comfortable of reading chairs. No, I have never seen the ghost, not any of them. I think they understand that while I totally accept their existence I have no need to actually meet any of them.

My biggest recommendation is to treat the Inn like home. To ask for anything you need or want and not to miss the chance to talk with other guest at the wine and cheese service You’ll be amazed at how much you have in common. Yes I’m aware that’s TWO things and not ONE.

If you would like a signed copy of Mary’s books, just click on one of the links to Turn the Page, place an order and the fabulous TTP staff will make sure Mary signs them before she finishes up on Saturday.

And if you have any questions for Mary, post them here and I’ll be sure to ask her, then post the answers in the recap of the signing weekend (scheduled for the evening of July 14).

Three quick questions for Kristan Higgins

Three Quick Questions is a new, ongoing feature at Fall Into the Story that will highlight some of the authors scheduled to join Nora at a Turn the Page signing.  This week, we’ll meet three authors who will be at the July 13 signing (Turn the Page’s 18th anniversary signing) from noon – 2 pm.

TTP manager Janeen Solberg and Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins is a New York Times best-selling author of contemporary romances.  She won the RITA for best contemporary romance in 2008 for Catch of the Day and again in 2010 for It Had To Be You.  Her current book The Best Man was named one of Amazon’s top 10 Romances for the first half of 2013.


BTW, Kristan is performing feats of great endurance by flying in for the signing early Saturday morning, driving out to the bookstore, chatting with everyone on line, signing books, then driving back to the airport to fly to Atlanta that night.  I bow in awe because after chatting with all the lovely readers who come to the signings, snapping photos when necessary and lending a hand to the TTP staff, all I want to do is be served food and drink.

Here are Kristan’s three questions:

  1. After the signing at Turn the Page, you head down to Atlanta where you are the RWA Awards Luncheon speaker on Friday, July 19, do you remember the speakers at your very first RWA conference?

I sure do! It was Lisa Kleypas, and she was magnificent! Very down-to-earth and funny…and she made me cry, which I love for some masochistic reason. I also heard Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Suzanne Brockman speak, and at the time, I could barely even look at them directly, because they were just so fabulous. I didn’t know any published authors and was too busy being in awe to have very clear memories of that conference. My first book had just come out; it was my first National conference, and I alternated between embarrassing fan-girl moments and hiding in my room.

2. The RWA conference is the place where romance writers mix business with pleasure — meeting with editors and agents and hanging out with pals.  What’s your favorite (non-RITA award winning) memory of the conferences you’ve attended?

I love the big signing (Kristan will join Nora at the Readers for Life Literacy signing on July 17). It’s a little terrifying; you think, “Please, please let just a few people come to my table” and then holy heck-o-rama, there’s a whole bunch! It’s so thrilling and fun, and it makes all those hours hunched over the keyboard in stretched-out yoga pants and stained t-shirts completely worth it.

3. You’re known for writing witty, award-winning contemporary romances.  In your current book, The Best Man, you write in third person rather than the first person, which you’ve used successfully in other books.  What prompts that change? Is it harder or easier to write?

The first time I made the switch, it was for the simple reason that the hero (Liam from UNTIL THERE WAS YOU) had too much to say. Same with James in SOMEBODY TO LOVE, and yes, definitely with Levi in THE BEST MAN.

It was hard to make the switch at first; my men kept waxing poetic and talking, dropping flowery descriptions of sunsets and food. Then I’d look over at McIrish, my sainted husband, and think, “Does he even know what ‘cerulean’ means? Would he use it in a sentence? Would I respect him if he did?”

The harder part came from having to cut back on what I could show the heroine doing. In first person, you know everything about a character. In third, you only get half as much space, so it was a little tricky. But I love it! That being said, I imagine I’ll write another book in first person, just because sometimes the story is better from one person’s point of view.

BTW, Thanks for having me at TTP! It’s a tremendous honor.

Where else can you find Kristan other than Turn the Page this Saturday?  Take your pick of fun: on her blog, on her Facebook page where she has deliciously fun Man Wars with her pal Jill Shalvis or as a regular contributor at The SIsterhood of the Jaunty Quills.

If you would like a signed copy of Kristan’s books, just click on the link to Turn the Page, place an order and the fabulous TTP staff will make sure Kristan signs it before she jets off into the night.

And if you have any questions for Kristan, post them here and I’ll be sure to ask her, then post the answers in the recap of the signing weekend (scheduled for the evening of July 14).