Welcome to the first post of our new blogging year! This week we are thrilled and honored to be hosting beloved romance author (and New York Times bestseller) Mary Jo Putney, who to our pleasure has joined the ranks of Young Adult authors with her series on time-traveling Regency heroine Lady Victoria (Tory) Mansfield and her cohorts at Lackland Abbey, written as M.J. Putney. The series began with March's Dark Mirror and continued with last week's new release, Dark Passage, both from St. Martin's/Griffin.
Speaking with us today is Lady Cynthia Stanton, the daughter of a duke and a student at Lackland Abbey. Lady Cynthia, let us assure you first that the headmistress of your school does NOT read our blog, so anything you say here is confidential. We'd all love to hear more about you. You're considered one of the more elite students at the school, is that right?
Lady Cynthia: Indeed. As the daughter of a duke, I am the highest ranking girl at Lackland Abbey.
Nineteenteen: How did you come to join the school?
LC: Students at Lackland Abbey do not discuss such things. It is perhaps a fair statement that no one is exiled to the school without some dreadful incident that exposed their despicable magical abilities to public shame.
NTT: Is that what happened to you?
LC: You bloggish creatures have no manners! Suffice it to say that an attractive stable boy and an unexpected use of my weather controlling magic were involved. I shall say no more.
NTT: Do you truly want to be "cured?”
LC: That is a most…interesting question. All students arrive at Lackland wishing for nothing more that a quick cure and a return to their families to see if they can regain any if their former lives. But to be cured of magic takes time.
During that time, one might discover that the use of magic can be very…rewarding. Exhilarating. ‘Tis said that some students gather in the chalk tunnels below the abbey to practice magic. Embracing one’s power can lead to the recognition that perhaps the aristocracy’s hatred of magic is not necessarily a good thing.”
NTT: So you’ve decided to secretly practice your magical abilities?
LC: I did not say that! If you dare print such a thing in your peculiar little newssheet, you will be hearing from my solicitors!
NTT: Our apologies, Lady Cynthia. We understand you've had some trouble with the other young lady sharing your room.
LC: I was not best pleased when the school forced Lady Victoria Mansfield on me merely because I was the only girl who didn’t have a roommate. As the highest ranking girl in the school, I was entitled to have a room to myself!
Tory had the effrontery to remove my garments from the second wardrobe so she could use it herself! She could have managed perfectly well storing her garments in her trunk. And she has no sense of the dignity of her rank. She’ll talk to anyone as if they are her equals. Such behavior is contrary to good order.
NTT: And she had the audacity to steal your beau as well, isn't that right?
LC: I simply couldn’t believe it. Clearly the Marquess of Allarde and I were destined to be together. Not only is he heir to a dukedom, but he is tall, dark, and handsome, a perfect foil for me since I am tall and blonde and stunningly beautiful.
Allarde has a great deal of natural reserve and he was keeping a discreet distance from me, but I always assumed that when we left Lackland Abbey, he’d ask for my hand. Then Tory came along. She’s a little bit of a thing, dark and with slanted eyes and no more than passably pretty, but he took one look and was besotted. Granted, everyone likes Tory. Even I like her some of the time. I swore I’d never forgive her for interfering with destiny, though that was before Jack…
No. I shall say no more.
NTT: We can't help thinking, though, that your life has been more interesting since she came along.
LC: You say that as though an interesting life is a good thing!
NTT: Isn't it? You had quite an adventure a bit ago, something to do with World War II. How did you manage to travel from 19th century England to that time?
LC: We passed through a time portal below Lackland Abbey. It’s called Merlin’s Mirror and it’s very ancient. Tory guided us through. Her magical talents tend to be odd ones, like using the mirror. Not useful like my weather magery and illusion talents.
NTT: Do you have other plans to travel through time?
LC: No! Never! It’s the most horrible experience! I would have died when we returned if Elspeth wasn’t such a good healer.
We all hated traveling through the mirror. Yet—I suppose one should never say never….
Thank you, Lady Cynthia! If you'd like to learn more about Lady Cynthia and Lady Victoria Mansfield, a true heroine, be sure to read M.J. Putney's Dark Mirror (2011, St, Martin's Griffin). And don't miss her just-released sequel, Dark Passage! Stop by on Friday when we'll be chatting with M.J. ; all commenters this week will be entered in a drawing to win a copy!