Evolution of a Cover

MaryJoPutney_TheChinaBride_800Evolution of a Cover

by Mary Jo

Publishing is all kinds of complicated, so I decided to look at one small piece, which is the story behind my new cover for The China Bride.

The second of my Bride trilogy, the book features Troth Montgomery, daughter of a Chinese woman and a Scottish trader.  She's a great character, strong and brave and vulnerable from having been raised between two worlds.  I knew that writing her story would be a challenge because I'm a farm girl from Western New York but my mother had lived in China as a girl, and she told us stories about her life there, so that part of the world has always intrigued me. 

So I did a lot of research about China and the tea trade in the early 1830s. (Very interesting!) Also, during the months when I was planning this book, if I received a fan email from a reader with a Chinese name, I pounced and asked if she'd be willing to read my manuscript when it was done. Five lovely, intelligent women of Chinese heritage agreed to help, for which I'm forever grateful. 

The story logic of the trilogy led me there because the hero, Kyle Renbourne, had appeared in The Wild Child, book 1 ofCHina Bride larger the trilogy.  He was portrayed as a restless young man who yearned to travel, but who had been tied to England because he was heir to an earldom.  At the end of that book, he was breaking free and setting off to fulfill his travel dreams. 

The China Bride began when Kyle reached China and the city of Macao.  He knows that this is the end of his journeying for it's time to return home to assume his responsibilities.  Then Kyle meets Troth Montgomery.  Orphaned young, she'd been taken into the household of a powerful Chinese trader who requires her to dress as a man and act as a translator when dealing with Western merchants.  She feels like a a hopeless misfit.  Kyle realizes that she's female and asks her to take him into forbidden China to fulfill a life long goal.  In return he will make it possible for her to travel to Britain, the land of her father and his family. 

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Return of The China Bride!

MaryJoPutney_TheChinaBride800By Mary Jo

I'm delighted to have retrieved the rights to my Bride trilogy. Book 1, The Wild Child was released in November, and now book 2, The China Bride is available. Here is the tagline I came up with for the trilogy:

Three extraordinary women,
    Three powerful men,
         Three passionate, unlikely marriages.

When I wrote that, I realized that all three are marriages of convenience that become true marriages of the heart. In other words, pure romance!

As a kid, I was always fascinated by the distant, empty spaces on the maps at school, which may be why I've written a number of books where my intrepid British protagonists have adventures in distant lands.

(I've learned I can usually do about three exotic settings in a row before my publisher starts muttering about returning to Britain. <G>)

But China has special resonance for me because I grew up hearing my mother's stories about living in China when she was a girl. Her father was an anatomy professor at the Peking college of medicine, and there are pictures of my mother and her little brother bundled up to ice skate. She also had a marvelous collection of Chinese jewelry, brass ware, rugs, and embroidered Mandarin garments, which stimulated my imagination wonderfully.


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The Wild Child Returns!

By Mary Jo

When the great e-book explosion arrived several years about (around 2011, I think?) I was MaryJoPutney_TheWildChild800fortunate to have the rights to a number of my older books that were out of print, and I happily re-released them as e-books. I love that these books are readily available to readers around the world, and at lower prices than the original print editions.

Since e-books took off, though, it's been a lot harder to persuade publishers to revert book rights to authors like me. Imagine fire breathing dragons sitting on a hoard of backlist titles, and they DO NOT WANT TO LET THEM GO!!!

But to my delight, earlier this year I was able to persuade Ballantine to return the three books in my Bride Trilogy because of a hiccup in the original contract. My tagline for the series is:

Three extraordinary women,
    Three powerful men,
        Three passionate,unlikely marriages.

When I wrote that, I realized that each of these was a marriage of convenience story, a trope I'm very fond of. My characters have a lot to overcome!


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