Mary Jo Putney – Believing in Joy and the HEA

August is Read-A-Romance Month.


I hope you’ll visit every day in August to see what 93+ of your favorite authors have to say about the Joy of Romance.

(Check out the calendar. And follow RARM on Facebook!)

Do you love Romance? Let’s celebrate. xo

The Joy and Fear of Romance

Romance is joy.  Joy and fear and panic, actually, because falling in love is equally joyful NotAlwaysASaint--finished coverand scary.  Love, finding a mate, and building a foundation for the future are some of the most important issues in life.  The stakes don’t come any higher.  The joy is obvious: the excitement of a phone call, the first time holding hands, the first kiss.  The crazed way the object of affection hijacks your whole mind!

But the fear is equally powerful because falling in love makes us so vulnerable.  We care, we hope, we dream—and our hearts break if it doesn’t work out.  There is nothing quite like the kicked-in-the-stomach feeling of a bad break up.  And one tends to be just as obsessed with lost love as one was happily obsessed with found love! 

A great romantic novel has both the joy and the fear.  The larger and more challenging the conflict and the darker the Black Moment, the greater the joy when the characters NotQuiteAWifeMMwork out their love story to make a lasting commitment to each other.  Which is why we love reading, watching, and of course reading romance.

One of my very favorite joyous romantic scenes is at the end of the movie Ladyhawke, a medieval romantic fantasy set in Spain.  Beautiful Isabeau is the ward of a bishop who is obsessed by her, but she loves Navarre, the captain of the bishop’s guard.  The bishop lays a curse on them–by day, Isabeau is a hawk, by night Navarre is a wolf, and they can never be human together.  At the end, when the curse is broken, Navarre sweeps Isabeau up in his arms and whirls her around in the sunshine.  Pure joy. 

Any good romance has that moment of joy when two people commit to love, trust, and Ladyhawke joyous endinghonor each other forever.  And after we read and believe in that joy, we close the book with smiles on our faces.

Mary Jo Recommends:

Sarina Bowen is a wonderful New Adult author, and I love her “The Ivy Years” series.  Set at a small fictional Ivy League college in Connecticut, her stories are wonderfully plotted and intensely emotional.  Her young protagonists are very real and very likeable as they grow, face serious issues, and fall in love.  Most of the heroes play ice hockey. <G>

Sarina did a Read-A-Romance Month post too! (thanks Sarina xo)

Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy. 

I love to travel, and it’s joyous to arrive at a place I’ve read and dreamed about.  When weGiant water lilies visited South Africa, I looked at the tawny lion colored plains with the dark elongated forms of the acacia trees, and I breathed, “Africa….”  Or in the upper Amazon, looking out at the lush jungle foliage and feeling far, far off the grid and thinking, “The Amazon…”  Joyous delight in sights long dreamed of.

Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

The Chesapeake Bay divides Maryland into the larger, busier Western Shore and the quiet agricultural Eastern Shore, which lies between the bay and the ocean.  I grew in farm country, and the Mayhem Consultant has pointed out that whenever we drive over the Bay Bridge to the Eastern Shore, I give a happy little sigh of relief and recognition and I smile.  I didn’t grow up there, but something deep inside me recognizes the Shore and a kind of homecoming.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

I have a lovely little set of Woodstock chimes hanging in my garage by the short flight of steps leading into the house.  When I come home, I touch the chimes and the garage fills with clear, exquisite, beautifully harmonized notes.  Lovely.

What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?

I love urban fantasy author Patricia Briggs and this year’s Dead Heat, the latest in her Alpha and Omega series, has made me fall in love with this series as much as I love her Mercedes Thompson series.  She’s a wonderful character-driven writer who is marvelously inventive and who writes great romantic relationships. 

And for fun, the joy of choice ~

Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) – trying for a little diversity! ;o)

You’re going to make me choose between Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pine and Chris Evan?  Thor and Captain Kirk and Captain America?  Nooooooooo…….

Mary Jo is generously giving away a copy of Not Quite a Wife to one domestic and one international reader. 

Mary Jo PutneyNew York Times list bestseller Mary Jo Putney was born with a reading addiction, a condition with no known cure.  Her entire romance writing career is an accidental byproduct of buying a computer for other purposes.  Most of her books contain history and cats, and there is always a happy ending.  Not Always a  Saint, #7 in her Lost Lords series, will be released on August 25th, and the Word Wenches anthology The Last Chance Christmas Ball will be an October release.

Find her online at and at the collaborative historical romance author blog, The Word Wenches.

Buy Mary Jo’s books:

availableon-amazon  availableon-nookavailableon-kobo

(Please note that the Amazon button and most cover images link to an affiliate page that supports Read-A-Romance Month. Thanks so much for your help!)

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  • Etienne Navarre was one of my first ideal lovers! And I love Anna and Charles too. Thank you for your beautiful words about joy and fear!

  • Marissa Yip-Young

    Nice interview

  • Karen

    I was also born with that reading addiction!

  • Amy Livesay Hart

    Thanks for the Q & A! And for the giveaway!

  • Jennifer C

    Oh how I love history and cats…and books/reading addiction! 🙂

  • girlygirlhoosier52

    I always enjoy Mary Jo’s books

  • Anna

    Your travels sound amazing!!

  • alisha woods

    Chris Pine

  • Sarina White Bowen

    Thank you so much! <3

  • mariannewestrich

    OMG – I’m so glad to see someone who still remembers and loves Ladyhawke. It was one of my first favorites and still is today.

  • Dorothy Salvagin

    I truly find joy in Mary Jo’s novels.

  • Molly

    I love and really enjoy your books.

  • Sue G.

    I’m a fan of wind chimes too! I love hearing them during the winter when the snow is 3 feet high…reminds me of summer!

  • Karen Mikusak

    Thanks for the giveaway. Would love to win!

  • Patty Vasquez

    I’m totally intrigued by the movie, Ladyhawke; it sounds exactly like a movie I would love. A quick search shows I can watch it on Amazon Prime. I’ll have to ask my son to set me up!

  • Kareni

    I’ve already read and enjoyed Not Quite a Wife, so I didn’t enter the drawing. I did want to say thank you for this post, Ms. Putney, as well as thank you for many hours of reading pleasure!

  • Make Kay

    I ealready read Not Quite a Wife (and loved it) so I didn’t enter. Thanks for the lovely interview and your even lovelier writing, though!!

  • jcp smith

    I enjoy your books!

  • Diana Michelle Tidlund

    looking forward to your next

  • Debbie Fuller

    Thank you for sharing and your insight.

  • Juanita Decuir

    A fantastic interview it’s been a while since I thought of the places that brings me joy or is attached to a memory of joy.

  • Kathryn Trask

    One time I turned up my nose at paranormal! Then I read Nalini Singh and was converted! I have read one Patricia Briggs and want to read more when I get the time!

  • Cindy A

    Enjoy all your books. I like the MJ Putney books, too. Too bad they weren’t around when I was a kid.

  • Jerry Marlatt Pierson

    I enjoy reading your books Thank you for your giveaway and a chance to win.

  • Sheryl N

    Enjoyed the post, thanks for the chance

  • Sheila M

    Thanks for the reminder about Ladyhawke. I love that scene.

  • Diane Blaser

    Discovering new authors brings me joy! Thank you for participating!

  • Julie Ford

    I love reading and I love your books. Thank you for the chance.

  • Christyna

    Love, love, LOVE that scene in Ladyhawke! If ever there was a visual for joy, that would be it. Something we all do at the end of such great romance novels such as yours, Ms. Putney!

  • Sharlene Wegner

    I agree that the bigger the heartache, the sweeter the HEA is in the end! Thanks for the post!

  • Aleen D

    I have not seen Ladyhawke but it sounds good!

  • Glenda

    Excellent post Mary Jo! I love your reaction to the Chris question. Mine was pretty much the same, only Chris Pratt (Star-Lord and sometimes dinosaur wrangler, Owen) is also a wonderful Chris!

  • Erin F

    spot on!!! While love and romance can be the greatest high, a bad break up or heart ache is the worst emotional pain.. But worth it in the end to get that elusive HEA 🙂 thanks for sharing!

  • Marcy Shuler

    I enjoyed your post and I love your book covers!

  • Michele Hayes

    I love your books and love my HEA. Thanks for the chance to win.

  • Bernadette Long

    I remember watching the movie “Ladyhawke” and enjoying the ending! Their love seemed to be doomed, until the very end of the movie.

  • catslady

    One of my favorite movies – Ladyhawke! Looking forward to another of your stories.

  • Linda Henderson

    I love the movie Ladyhawke, my daughters and I used to watch it every time it came on tv when they lived at home.

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    The way you weave your words together in this post was just spellbounding to me. The joy of places you have and the way you described it was amazing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on romance.

  • Pamby50

    I love the movie Ladyhawke. I watch it every time it comes on. Joy of finding new love. Fear that it may not work out. So true.

  • Sharon Forbes

    I really enjoyed your post! Thank you for the chance to win a copy of one of your wonderful books!

  • Carol Luciano

    I enjoyed your post. Mary Jo I have enjoyed every book I’ve read by you. Thank you for so many reading hours of enjoyment. Thanks for the giveaway chance also.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  • Range Girl

    I love every book of yours I’ve read. Your characters are so wonderful. Of course, you’d write a wonderful post, too.


  • Betül

    I recently read Dead Heat, love that series so much! I am huge fan of Urban Fantasy series! Have you read The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews? It is really good, I highly recommend it if you havent read it yet 😉

  • Texas Book Lover

    I don’t watch a lot of movies or TV…I’ll have to check out Ladyhawke.

  • May

    I love your books. 🙂 So terrific!

  • kirsten west

    I love your books. They always make me smile!

  • Rhi

    Thanks for the giveaway! I love the Chesapeake area. One of my favorite vacations as a child were to the islands of Chincateague and Assateague.

  • Dawn Anderson

    I’m envious, I would love to travel to South Africa.

  • Seanna Yeager

    I love Hawaii. But our next big trip is to WDW.

  • Janie McGaugh

    I love Ladyhawke, too, and that moment of joy when the curse is broken. Also, that moment of poignancy when they briefly see each other as human and almost touch, just before the sun strikes her, and she becomes a hawk, again.

  • flchen1

    What a lovely truth–the joy and the fear are definitely hand-in-hand in romance as in life, Mary Jo!

  • marypreston

    Stunning, stunning covers. I’m sorry but I do judge.

  • Kim

    Thanks for the post. Even though you’re concentrating in the historical genre right now, I enjoyed your contemporary books.

  • Kai W.

    My favorite line is in The Dead Poet’s Society when Robin Williams was asking the question about romance. His answer was romance is to woo woman. Love that line.

  • rebecca moe

    Seriously, NO ONE can choose just one Chris!

    I just found Sarina Bowen this year myself–LOVE her books. Thanks for posting 🙂

  • Mary McCoy

    I love that moment in Ladyhawke as well!

  • Sarah Eisele

    Ladyhawke is a beautiful film and that is a great scene. As for the Chris conundrum — I agree, NO ONE can pick just ONE!!