CONFESSIONS OF A NON-RESEARCHER!

I have been wanting to blog here again for some time, but I always have the problem of what to write about. It’s strange, that, isn’t it, when I make my living out of dreaming up and writing stories? I finally went back to the multitude of questions a number of you asked when I asked a while ago for help with topics. And I came across this one from someone I know only by the name Becky:

“How did you research the specific ailments of the Survivors’ Club heroes to get their realistic Points of View? How much of it was just straight research and how much of it was talking to people with similar experiences? If you did a lot of talking to real people, how did you find them?”

And here comes the confession: I do almost no research of matters pertaining to character–as opposed to all the research I had to do for the Regency period itself and the Napoleonic Wars and other factual stuff. Everything else comes purely from my imagination. I do believe I have the ability to put myself imaginatively in the place of most types of people and know just what it feels like to be them. One pleasant result of this is that I am very rarely judgmental. I always know where the most unpleasant-seeming people are “coming from.” Another pleasant result is that I can create stories for the most complex and difficult heroes and heroines.

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It is a risk to write this way, of course. I could arouse a storm of protest if I ever get some sort of character horribly wrong. It has not happened yet (fingers crossed). When I wrote SILENT MELODY with its 18th century deaf mute heroine, for example, I could only imagine what it must be like to be deaf in an age when people assume you must be insane. But I heard from several people afterward that I got it absolutely right (whew!). Incidentallly, that book will be out again next summer as a trade paperback. And since THE ARRANGEMENT has been published, I have heard from blind people who tell me I got Vincent right.

For me one of the most exciting aspects of writing is creating difficult characters, jumping inside their skin and their minds and their souls, and living the story with them, often having no more idea than they do where it is headed. It feels like real life in a different persona. How would Hugo have felt in THE PROPOSAL, having not only survived some brutal military action in the Peninsular Wars, including a Forlorn Hope attack, which he led, but also escaped without even a scratch? Would he have been happy, delighted, cocky? Or would he have gone out of his mind with an extreme case of survivors’ guilt? The second reaction seemed the most probable, and it is the one I chose.

And what about Ben in THE ESCAPE? His whole life had been centred about his physical prowess and his military career–and then his legs were shattered beyond repair. Even after five years of determined therapy he could only hobble along with the aid of two specially-made canes. What would that do to his life? To his future? To his self-esteem? Would he merely withdraw to his estate, which would offer him a home and financial security for the rest of this life? Or would he have to find another path through life that would be as fulfilling to him as the old one? Would he find a way of accepting his limitations without being defeated by them? Or would he always feel that his life was an inferior thing, hardly worth living? Well, you can read the book to find what did happen to him. But keep in mind that I write heroes and heroines who triumph over life in their own way. Only so can they be considered heroes and heroines. Only so can they be capable of mature love and a lasting relationship.

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And what about Flavian, hero of ONLY ENCHANTING, due out in November? I can’t give away too many spoilers Β because his book is not even out yet. But if you have read the other books in the series you will know that he spent three years at Penderris Hall recovering from head wounds sustained in a cavalry battle but that he seems to be fine again apart from a persistent stammer. You will also know that soon after he was wounded his beloved fiancΓ©e jilted him in order to marry his best friend–a double betrayal. What I had to ask myself when I came to writing his story was why exactly it took him three years to recover from his injuries, and what residual hurts are there apart from the stammer? What was the full extent of his brain damage and has he totally recovered from it? Can he ever? And what about the personal pain of his rejection by two of the people he loved most in the world? Oh, I love, love, love approaching a book with those sorts of questions in my mind.

In my own defence, I must add that I do not live with my head in the sand. Very few people these days could be unaware of the sorts of damage war does to the soldiers who are involved in it, even if they escape physical injury–and especially if they do. And sometimes I talk to people without any thought to doing research. I was in Starbucks just last week, fascinated by the sight of a man with hands but almost no arms, doing an intricate and gorgeous pencil drawing with his hands and his mouth. I got to talking to him and discovered that he had been a thalidomide baby, that he has a degree in fine arts, that he is currently working on a series of oil paintings of THE GREAT GATSBY, and a lot of other fascinating stuff. What an awesome person! He has certainly not been slowed down by a medical disaster that might have ruined his life.

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To two people who leave a comment below before the end of next Monday, August 4, I will send an advance reading copy of ONLY ENCHANTING. Please note that it has a plain cover, not the one shown above, and that they are uncorrected proofs and may contain bloopers that will not (I hope) be there when the book is published in November.

417 thoughts on “CONFESSIONS OF A NON-RESEARCHER!

    • I would love to read this one too! I’m still on hold for “The Escape” so I think I’m going to have to buy it. Not that I mind, of course, since I do love all your books!

      • I found it ! Now to get entered. I want to win but think that the winner will be a tiniest bit disappointed about the -no cover- but will recover when they get into the book.

    • Since all your books are an auto-buy for me, I will definitely get to learn Flavian’s story. But a free copy…that would be splendid. I am enjoying all your Survivors’ stories. There’s a quote from mother Teresa that I often use. “I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.” I imagine your characters must think the same.

    • I love the new series, Survivors’ Club. I saved The Escape for a four hour plane ride. It was perfect. I would love to see more out-of-print books come out as e-books. I’m having a hard time finding some of your early books. I’m reading Truly now. Is there any plans to reprint some older titles?

    • Would love to read another of Your books. Also would like a list of all the books You have written. I think I have read them all, but would like to make sure. Thank You

    • I was so glad when Ben decided to use a wheelchair because he could get around so much faster and easier. I am an “Old Polio” patient and have had that very help-me-decide conversation with my doctor. “What will happen if I decide to use my wheelchair instead of limping along wondering if what I want out in the kitchen is worth the pain [inconvenience, danger of falling, aggravation] of getting it,” I asked him. I decided I can’t live confined to just the places I can walk, and I cannot live when I must concentrate so carefully on each step. I have too much to think about and do to allow myself to be so circumscribed.

      People say, “Oh, you’re confined to a wheelchair” thinking, poor thing.
      “No!” I answer, “I’m confined to bed or the couch or wherever without my chair. I’m liberated by my chair!”

      So I say, you got Ben just right including the struggles that preceded his choice! BTW, in my next life I’m going to be a dancer. I’ve paid my dues this life.

      • I got so involved commenting on Ben’s story I forgot about Only Enchanting. I’m a “Buy different versions of my favorite books” reader. But I love my Kindle even though I keep my other paper versions of everything I love.

      • Hooray for you! Coping with being a survivor means figuring out how to get what you want. The trouble with most people is that they don’t want to try a different way if the “normal” way doesn’t work. Too afraid of being different? Anyway, happy wheeling.

    • Your books are so worth reading and cannot wait for this one to come out. I would love to be a winner of this book. But, no matter, I will read it anyway. thanks

    • Having already read The Escape – which by the way I loved – I am very interested in reading the story of Flavian – Thank you

    • I just read THE ESCAPE this week. Loved it and thought Ben was so real. Can’t wait until I get my hands on the next book of yours. You have become my favorite author and my sister’s also. Every time we talk we’re discussing some character of yours.

    • I appreciate you sharing your approach to writing. It just seems so difficult to write as you do–such intricate characters with great detail and in the same number of pages as hundreds of other books with far less substance and depth. Can’t wait to read more from you.

    • I found your “confessions” fascinating — I really like your books — my favorite is “Slightly Dangerous.” I think the Survivors series is so much more than historical romance — you have chosen to present real people dealing with painful events and their consequences. Having had a son who suffered brain trauma, I can readily believe it took your protagonist 3 years to recover, and could probably list all the reasons why. From the way you have written him in the preceding books, he has made a remarkable recovery. And, although his humor may be sardonic and he seems cynical, he seems to be a “complete person” once again — drastically changed, but complete — which is what makes his recovery remarkable. I look forward to his book and those that follow.

    • I would LOVE to own an advanced copy! I have all your works (bought from a bookstore, not online)! Even better, would be an autographed copy (but I’m not greedy). Thanks ever so much for the wonderful journeys!

    • I would love to receive an advance reading copy of ONLY ENCHANTING that is due out on Oct. 28!!!!! You are such an artist with words. Thank you for allowing me to get a glimpse into your creative world!!!!!!

  1. Just finished The Escape. Ben and Samantha were so lovely together. Mary, I want to be you (as a writer.) LOL!

  2. Well.. I guess I must not be too picky, because I’ve never thought that anything you’ve written didn’t seen as if it was fully researched!! You probably should have kept it a secret!! haha

  3. I would love an advance copy; I’ve read everything you’ve ever written. You have a gift for making your characters real people and your romances are always extremely well-written. (unlike other authors I’ve read in the genre) I’m sitting here after just having had cataract surgery; that’s how dedicated I am to getting the book early. πŸ™‚

  4. Your thalidomide “baby” man would do very well living at Penderris Hall. He sounds like an extraordinary person.

  5. I love your books, and I love the content of your blogs, but there is a terrible design flaw that drives me nuts every time I come here. The typeface you have chosen for the titles of your blog entries is lovely and romantic. However, it was not designed to be readable in all-caps, and it is not in fact readable that way. Because the letters are ornamented, they are a bit less recognizable than letters in a more standard typeface, and since they are all upper case, there are not the usual cues, such as ascenders and descenders as well as letter shape, to help mitigate that.

    Please, if you want to keep using this beautiful typeface, consider using mixed-case instead of all caps. If you really want titles in all caps, there are typefaces which are specifically designed for that purpose, so that things can be all caps without losing any readability.

    Sorry this comment is not about the content of the blog entry, but after I puzzled out what the title was for yet another of your blog entries, I really thought maybe I should share my frustration with this particular design choice.

    • Point well taken! I have never been too keen on this font myself–I didn’t choose it. I will have it changed by next time.

  6. Would love an advance copy for my collection, It would be my first. I think it would be interesting to read a book unedited.

  7. I love how diverse your characters are and I find it even more interesting knowing your approach to writing them. Your empathy and understand come through in your books. Thanks for sharing your love & talent!

  8. I like the fact that it’s not always about the good and detailed research, but, in your case, just a imaginative thing… Being an author MUST be about thinking of a variety of possiblities and types of personas etc, of course without neglecting a proper research where it is needed.
    Thank you for this hindsight, Mrs. Balogh!

  9. I think one of the things that appeals to me as a reader is that your heroes and heroines are not perfect. They may exist in a different time period, but they are human with human flaws: sometimes more, sometimes less. There is sense of hope. Of course the reader knows the h/h will get together somehow by the end, but what paths will they together and apart that will ultimately bring them together at the right moment.

  10. Your books take me to place of old romance.I love your characters and how you go in depth.I hope to read every book you have written.

  11. I can just imagine that it would be easy to become so absorbed in just doing the research and always thinking that you need more information – and then never actually get to the writing part. I think your books have just enough of the historical information in them, myself. πŸ™‚

  12. I have loved every book of yours that I have read. When I discover one I haven’t as yet read, I am thrilled. I look forward to reading Only Enchanting, whether by advanced copy or when it comes out! Just keep writing!! Please!

  13. I am so behind in my reading of historical romance…I need to “hit the books” in my own form of “research” – nice work if you can get it! – in my job as bookseller. I would love an ARC, especially as I have a tendency of gulping down an entire series in a few days which is frustrating when waiting for the next book.

  14. I absolutely love everything you write I have the Escape in my purse and every chance I get, no matter where I’m pull my book out and read !! Thanks for all the wonderful stories.

  15. Love all your books, Mary. You make your characters so realistic. I feel like I know them and are part of their lives through your wonderful story telling. I don’t know much about history so I wouldn’t know if you got anything wrong -it sounds believable to me so it’s a job well done whether it is factually correct history wise or not.

  16. I really love all of your books and look forward to the new ones. Your writing style really helps your readers to identify with the emotions of your characters in every setting. Thank you for not straying from the regency period like many authors do and change their genres.

  17. I love everything I have ever read of yours … and I especially love your character development! I can’t wait to read “Only Enchanting!!!”

  18. As an aspiring writer, it would be so exciting and inspiring to receive an advanced copy of your next novel. I’ll keep my fingers crossed!!

  19. I love all your books, although I haven’t read many of them and also only have about five copies, I always go to the library and look for your books. You inspire me to become a writer when I get out of college πŸ™‚

  20. I just happened to pick up Simply Love at library book sale and from the first chapter I fell in love with the story. You have me hooked! I now look for your name where ever there are books!

  21. I can’t wait to see where your intuition takes you with Flavian. I was a neurosurgical nurse before I started writing. It was one of the most wonderful things in the world—to watch an unconscious head injury patient wake up. The path back to a whole life isn’t an easy one, either. They are forever changed. And love is the best medicine. I like Flavian more already.

  22. I’ve read all of your books (except one, which I put aside for personal reasons), and I have yet to feel that you have created a central character who does not ring true. I have sometimes felt that some of the subsidiary characters get forgiven too easily – that their mitigations were not sufficient. However, I generally come away from one of your books feeling that my understanding of human nature has been deepened. I have liked some of your books better than others, but there’s not a one that wasted my time, and for that I am grateful.

  23. After reading your blog I understand how you relate to your characters. You make them become so vivid and common. you think through what your men and ladies would go thru life. So by not doing a lot of research it is how most would view them if it were the readers life. Thank you for all the great people in your books. Love them all.

  24. I started reading your books when my 80 year old Aunt Mary handed me a stack of books to share. (we both share a passion for reading that borders on addictive. It seems to be hereditary and in past generations considered almost an illness. Can you believe it?!? ) In the stack were a few of your novels. We love to talk about our favorite characters and who will get the “next” story. My aunt is 40 years older than I am and I love having a connection with her! Thanks for a peek into how you put one of your books together!

  25. Love all your books I am always waiting for a new one to come out I loved all the survivors club couldn’t tell you did no research

  26. You must have an incredible ability for empathy to write so deeply about the hearts of people you’ve only imagined.

  27. I will read this one way or the other. If I win one, that’s wonderful. If I don’t, I will buy it. Love your books.

  28. For not having specifically researched the injuries you are doing a fantastic job – especially with the mental health aspects of wounded (and unwounded – that’s a whole different kettle of fish!) warriors. As a Brit married to a US Military member I have sadly seen too many people who should know better who don’t “get it”. You “get it”, and understand the way those who suffer want to be treated by others. Here’s hoping your readers can take the lessons from fiction and apply them to real life in the way they treat our veterans, from whatever nation or branch of service they come.

  29. Ah Mary, you got me to go in and fix my password as I had forgotten it, and my user name which I thought I had right and did, but it said I didn’t. LOL So thus I prove my loyal fan (rabid as I often describe myself) item there should be a word for fanitem if there isn’t one. No one does a better job of character development than you. I have may authors, I truly enjoy each of the differences in these writers, so like a dessert is is difficult to choose one as you love best. However, I love potatoes, whipped, baked, fried, French fried, boiled with lemon butter, scalloped, yes dear Mary I could continue on, but just wanted to say You are Potatoes to me, and I like you better than ice cream too.

  30. I love your characters and all their foibles. I am really enjoying this series and would love to have an advanced copy of Only Enchanting.

  31. I love the characters that you have created over the years so your current system must be working. I’m really loving the Survivor’s Club series and I think it feels very timely for US fans with so many vets from Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts coming home with war wounds, some noticeable and some not.

  32. I’ve read almost all of your books. They are romantic without being embarrassing with sexual information. I have a great imagination of my own and do not need all the details. Thank you for writing great stories about people I would like to know. The depth of your characters always amazes me. I can’t wait for the new book!

  33. Hopefully you’ll pick me, but I doubt it because i never win these things, lol but keep up the good writing. I love picking up your books and being transported πŸ™‚

  34. The best thing about your books is the hero’s and heroines are not perfect, but it is their flaws that draw the reader into the story. I love the survivors series.

  35. I find it interesting how you create characters with your own imagination and feelings. That may explain how they feel so real. I am really enjoying your Slightly series.

  36. Mary I loved what you had to say about your research, or rather, the lack of it. I recently finished The Proposal and loved everything about the story. You are lucky in that you obviously are able to put yourself inside your character’s skin and more or less become them while writing. I’m so looking forward to reading the rest of this series and would be absolutely thrilled to win this ARC, and I don’t care what the cover looks like on it, it’s the story between the covers that matters.

  37. Escape is next in my “TBR” stack… I love all your books, the survivors ring so true, and I can get so engrossed in the story, I can’t put the book down. I would love to win your next book, or any of your books, and by the way – Aug 4 is my birthday—so it would be nice. Love your talents, and thanks for sharing with us. πŸ™‚

  38. I love your stories about survivors (I enjoy all of your books!). I especially enjoyed reading about Vincent since my job as a Braille transcriber brings me into contact with blind and low vision students. My husband had a kidney transplant in 2001 and in the back of my head I’ve always thought if I wrote a book it would be based around a character who needed a kidney.

  39. I love your books; I’ve been rereading some of my favorites from the 1990s. All those Christmas novellas are wonderful. I’d love to have the new book.
    I’m surprised that you didn’t research the ailments afflicting the heroes in this latest series – they do seem very realistic.

  40. I am loving the survivors club series!! I also love that you do hardly any character research, I think to much research would take the romance away from them.

  41. Can’t wait for this next book. Read The Escape a few weeks ago and it is now one of my absolute favorites.

  42. I would think that with the number of books you have written, the knowledge of the history has taken residence in your brain never to go away. The characters come from the heart and that can’t be researched. I love your books and enjoy everything about them.

  43. I have read the first two in this series and am in the middle of Benedict’s story. and would love an advance copy of Flavian’s book. From the first book I read of yours, Kit and Lauren’s story, you have had a fan πŸ™‚

  44. Just got The Escape, and am getting ready to start reading it TODAY!!! So this was a lovely opportunity for me to add my name to the contest list for your newest upcoming book! I am travelling to London in September and want to find some of the benches you show on your facebook page!
    Thanks,
    Annie

  45. It seems to me that even when faced with the facts in research it isn’t always possible to make the human connection. What one person feels, another won’t. When I read your books I feel that the reactions and thoughts of the characters make a very basic kind of sense. I never question whether you have done enough research, I consider that you are empathetic with the character/person you write about.

  46. I have a research addiction πŸ™‚ People and their motivations have always fascinated me. That may be why I’m such a fan of your characters.

  47. I am surprised that you do not do research. Your characters seem so real. I had a co worker years back who had served in Vietnam and he suffered similar to Hugo…he was the only survivor in his unit and went a bit crazy after. He told me that the guilt almost ate him up. It was his face I saw in Hugo. Working with handicapped kids, I have seen that they hate it when they are babied–how much stronger would this hate be if they had one been able to do things and now felt resentful of all of the help. Watching Ben come to terms with the fact that although he had made huge strides, he would never be the person he once was reminded me of my grandma who had to admit when she was 95 that she needed a little help now and again.
    You have quite a gift to be able to imagine what these men and women are going through, and you don’t overdo it. I think my favorite passage from The Escape was: “Reality was still reality, of course. They did not, as they might have done in a fairy tale, suddenly waltz out from the alcove to twirl all about the ballroom while everyone else watched in wonder. But … they had danced. They had waltzed.”
    Thank you for sharing your gifts of storytelling and empathy with us.

  48. I kind of want to beat up Flavian’s ex-fiancee… I’m not a violent person, so that says a lot. πŸ™‚ I’d have to say you nailed a lot of things in Silent Melody. I loved how you depicted her painting too. I enjoy painting. Pretty sure mine wouldn’t have fit in with the times then either.

  49. When I started reading your series, I thought about all those men and women in wars that came home to a different idea about themselves. Even if one survives from that experience, it’s all about returning to “what if” to “what can be”. Thanks for all your fab books.

  50. I love your work. I have managed to track down a copy of every book you have even written and I love them all! I am almost finished reading The Escape and am looking forward to Only Enchanting!

  51. Your books introduced me to the Regency Era and the Napoleonic Wars; the irony to this is the fact that when I started reading your novels I was teaching British Literature to high school seniors at the time and I now teach World History to high school freshmen. I trust your research, and your novels, so much that I incorporate your information into what I share with my classes; it helps to bring my lectures to life. It is very hard to make wars fought centuries ago interesting, but my students can relate to what is happening in the word today. Your “Survivor” characters transcend and that is what makes your stories so enjoyable to me. I look forward to all of your books and thank you for your help with my “classroom characters”.

  52. I recently just found out about you & I must say I’m in love with your writing!!! I’m reading your mistress series right now and whew I love this family!!! I would love any book of yours πŸ™‚ keep up the good work!!!
    -Jessica

  53. You are one of my most favorite authors to read and I find myself re-reading your books often! Always excited when new ones come out πŸ™‚

  54. I have also been a fan of your books for a long time. I’m amazed to learn you don’t do much research on the psychological issues our Wounded Warriors deal with, because as the ex-wife of a Vietnam vet and mother of an Iraqi very, I am able to tell you you’re doing an excellent job! My brother survived spinal meningitis as a baby and from what I’ve seen of how you’ve handled the hero of this next book so far, you are getting that as well. Thanks for many hours of reading enjoyment. I need to call the library! I think I’ve missed one of the Survivor series!

  55. Love your work. Your books are definitely on my must-buy list as I have re-read most of them multiple times. Thank you!

  56. Dear Mary –
    Whenever I grow tired of current historical romances, I go back to re-read my favorites of your books. Summer and retirement have me re-reading The Arrangement, the Bedwyn series and the Mistress series. I especially loved the hero and heroine of The Arrangement and how they develop and bloom through their relationship. Many of your books concern the wounds from the wars that plagued Europe at the time and how they are dealt with by the soldiers and by those affected on the home front. Your work is also very conscious of the very real limitations for women’s choices. I appreciate these aspects of your writing and can’t wait to read the new books coming out.
    Sincerely,
    Shirley

  57. What a great blog! Thank you so much for writing such wonderful books! I love that we get peaks at past characters as the new books come out. I never want to leave characters behind once I invest time with them so I really appreciate that. You truly have been blessed with a wonderful gift!!

  58. Since I picked up the first book of yours I found, (it was the duo version of “No Man’s Mistress” and “More than a Mistress”, which I have re-read at least a dozen times!) I have been enthralled with every one that I read. Seriously, I search out any and all of your work–the Christmas novellas, the reprinted early works and the latest additions. I have introduced you to my 76 year old mother and she is so grateful for my contributions from my “lending library.” I would love an early edition of the next Survivor story, but will be content if someone else gets it. The wait is always worth it! Thank you for your Facebook “reading spots” too. It’s so fun to be a part of your “club!”

  59. Just finished “The Escape”. As I read, I thought of our present wounded warriors who are facing similar challenges as Ben. Wonderful writing!

  60. Thank you for creating some of my favorite characters throughout the years! I am anxiously awaiting your next book, and would love to read it sooner rather than later!! Have a lovely day. πŸ™‚

  61. I would love to be one of the two that win an advance reader’s copy, and I will review it for you if I do win. Love this series!!!

  62. Sooo – I fractured my arm in two spots over a week ago and had surgery. As a surviver of “Those Way Too Old For Skim Boards Since Their Bones Aren’t Made of Rubber Like Little Kids and Therefore Should have Never Left Their Beach Chair Especially Since They Are Getting Married in October” group, this would cheer me up πŸ™‚

  63. You are a phenomenal author, absolutely in my top ten writers and I think it is because you approach your characters in a personal way instead of with dry research. Can’t wait for the new book!

  64. Love the cover and this sounds like a great read. Thanks for sharing how you come together to write one of these books.

  65. Would love to win, but since I’m not lucky at contests what I’m really hoping for is that the time until it’s released passes quickly! I eagerly await all your new books!

  66. You are an amazing author! As a military spouse I especially appreciate your Survivor’s Club series. I would be so honored to have a copy of your newest book!

  67. really enjoy your books,i like that you can read seperately and not have to read all in series(just makes it better).thought i had read all your previous books but after reading blog must now find silent melody.am defenitely planning on getting all in this series.☺

  68. I absolutely love all your books, and feel like i am living within the book while reading them, you do an amazing job with bringing the characters to life. I am so excited to have a chance to win one of your books!!!!!!

  69. Have read them all!! Expect all other Historical Authors to write a great story like you do!! Keep them coming!!

  70. I love your approach to characters in your books. Your empathy is very apparent. I love, love, love the Survivors series.

  71. Just as everyone here, I love your books. What do I love most? The fact that your characters are “difficult.” as you say. They are not perfect. They have flaws. They are not fluff. They have substance….wonderful substance that makes me keep coming back for more. Of course I’d love to win a copy of this book as I can’t wait to delve into the story and characters of Only Enchanting. Your stories allow me to take a break from my crazy life and lose myself in another time. Thank you!!!!

  72. I have always loved your books and I read several paper backs. When I got my Nook, over the last couple of years, I had not downloaded one of your books until this latest series came out. Well, for the past several months I have downloaded every single book you have written and I am now finishing the very last one…This makes me sad because I have now read your whole book list! I have so very much enjoyed the families I gotten to know and care about, especially the Bedwin’s!

  73. I enjoy all your books so much-the main reason I want this one is so I don’t have to wait! But if I don’t get it, I’ll be preordering so I have it the moment it comes out like all your other books! Thank you for all your uplifting, inspiring stories!

  74. I imagine as many books as you have written, that the “research” is a part of you, like breathing is for most people. I enjoy the details in each book and the way you build the characters. I have learned many things about my English ancestors and what life must have been like in the 1800’s. I don’t care if the details are not facts. It is the essence of the period that you bring to life for me. Thank you for writing.

  75. I have always enjoyed your books, they have believe able characters, interesting plots and delightful twists. However, my favourite series is the Survivor Club, with their perfect imperfections. Hope to win a copy!

  76. You may not do specific research for character details, but as you allude to toward the end of your post, you absorb a lot: reading about/listening to stories about real-life, modern-day soldiers returning from war; people-watching; just talking to people. You get the big things right, and don’t focus on the tiny details that do need research (which is fair, because that’s not what anyone’s reading your book for–if I want to know tiny details about the treatment of, say, blind people in the 19th century, I will go and read non-fiction).

  77. I love your books. You are one the first romance authors that I read. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your talent with us.

  78. Your books are always on my must-buy list with their release dates. Thank you for all of the reading pleasure you have gifted us with over the years and continue to do. I’m very grateful.

  79. You did not do research on the characters but you got them spot on. That shows how good you are at understanding people, their feelings, their reaction towards other people. You are amazing. Now that “The Proposal” is out the waiting begins again, for “Only Enchanting”.

    • I meant, now that “The Proposal” and “The Escape” are already out the waiting begins again, for “Only Enchanting”.

  80. Very interesting blog post. I’ve always imagined what it would be like writing characters and developing different personas for them. It is very interesting reading about your process.

  81. I love this series!! I just finished The Escape and am thrilled another one is coming. I like the way all the characters have reacted to their injuries from war. Of course, finding their true love is an added benefit!! I think it is great you can use your imagination like that. Historical fiction is about all I read, and I wouldn’t know if it is true or not. I love it.

  82. I would LOVE to win a proof copy! In my opinion, you (and Carla Kelly) are the queens of the relationship romances – I love discovering the personalities of your characters and how they work together. The way you get inside the heads of your heroes and heroines – and the way that they learn to love each other – is both stunning and extremely satisfying in a world of mindless historical frippery and absurd romantic fluff. Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to write stories that tug at our heartstrings and make us reconsider our dealings with folks in our own lives. I cherish all of your books.

  83. Would love to try this book! I am an avid reader and always looking for a new adventure! Love how you talked about your research – or not – and character development. I have always thought that really good writers must have to be able to live ‘inside’ their characters in order to depict them as genuine and true.

  84. I’ve just finished The Escape and am really looking forward to Only Enchanting. I’m impressed by your description of how you jump into the characters’ heads, and by how well you manage to do it. Creating difficulties for characters is one of the things I find hardest to do, but it’s so rewarding when done right. I hope one day I can do it as well as you do.

  85. I discovered your books while living in Italy. It was a little touch of English and a huge part of comfort… I’ve read the Secret Pearl at least half a dozen times and recently bought a digital copy so I can take it wherever I go! I live all of your books as they remind me of great adventure I took an pd they send me on ones still since I’ve finished travelling!

  86. I enjoy reading your books so much, Mary. You make the reader really care about the characters you write about. Thank you.

  87. The survivors series is getting better and better with each book. I think your blog is fantastic! I enjoy getting to hear about your writing process. You have been one of my favorite authors since the days of THE PLUMMED BONNET and THE FAMOUS HEROINE, and all these years later, you still don’t disappoint.

  88. I am surprised that you don’t research because you appear to have nailed the disabilities, I loved Silent Melody and the 3 stories so far in the Survivors series am looking forward to Flavian’s book. I like that your characters manage to overcome difficulties with grace and love. Jan Dunlap

  89. I’ve been so looking forward to F’s story! I love his sense of humor! Keep writing these fantastic books! You are my favorite.

  90. I think this shows that you have an innate sense of human nature to write these characters without research. I’ve never read any of your stories where the characters rang false, not those with injuries or emotional problems. I think you have a fine tuned sense of how people react to such things.

  91. As a psychologist and someone who would have been quite happy majoring in English, I love your books. The survivor series explores the relationships and responses to trauma in such depth. It all doesn’t have to be from research. The power of empathy and imagination can’t be replaced. Thank you.

  92. I love your writing! I have gotten my Mother hooked on you as well πŸ™‚ Even if there is no chance of receiving a free copy, I just wanted to take the opportunity to see what you write on a more personal note (I think I may like you even more now!) I’m looking forward to reading many, many more. Thank you very much for such a lovely imagination!

  93. Mary, Thanks for your post and the giveaway! I so enjoy your books and even enjoy reading your posts! Funny how timely this note is, I just read Dianna Gabaldon’s letter where she said she never intended for people to read her first book the Outlanders. Thanks for being being willing to make a fool of yourself writing, for the pain you experience researching and writing. Instead, you have made our reading more enjoyable and written something beautiful. And now I see there are some older books I haven’t read and my night is made, as I can search for a used copy and not have to wait for your next publishing date or to win the contest! Enjoy your Summer vacation and a chance to do a little reading yourself!

  94. I love this series. I think it is successful because you are focused on the characters as people and not as their disabilities.

  95. I love hearing how you think like your characters and how you create their worlds.

    I also love that I may cross paths with you at any time here in the city.

  96. It would be not “Only Enchanting”, but totally wonderful to receive an advance copy of your new novel!

  97. I’ve been a fan for years and love your stories! You may claim to shy from research but your understanding of human character shines through. It is one of the reason’s I enjoy your work so much! Looking forward to your new work!! ^_^

  98. I copy of the new book would be fun. I enjoyed The Escape. still awaiting the duke. Your research into the period is very appreciated. So many authors play fast and loose with the period. Some great questions were submitted. Keep going down the list please. mary

  99. This is a wonderful series, I have been enjoying it very much. Thank you for bringing such extraordinary characters to life!

  100. I am truly impressed with your character development in all your books. But it blows me away to read that you have done little or no research into the injuries/handicaps of the Survivor Club members. I do understand how an empathetic person could put herself into the shoes of the hero or heroine. Thanks for your wonderful books and giving me hours of reading enjoyment.

  101. I have been rereading Silent Melody for years. It is my go-to feel good book. Just finished The Escape and loved it. Love when Ben and Samantha bicker. Still Flavian has had my heart from the get go. He’s so deliciously snarky! Just want to wrap him up and put him in my pocket. πŸ™‚ Can not WAIT for his story! Thank you for your stories. They are wonderful.

  102. I read a book the other day, a contemporary romance. The author is a wonderful author but she got a fact wrong several times. Later when I got to meet her at the RWA in SA,TX I did mention it to her. She laughed and said she didn’t know that much about the subject. Normally this would bother me, but she writes so well I didn’t mind. So I guess while some people mind, if the writing is there, many will overlook inconsistency.

  103. Am taking the Escape with me on vacation this week — I’m very confident that it’ll be just as good as the ones before it, and the one(s) to follow! Thanks for the chance to get the ARC!

  104. Can’t wait for Flavian’s story. The hints you’ve given us so far are wonderful. I love the way you go about creating a story–and the results!

  105. Your gift for writing characters makes me want to know more about their story even after I’ve read the final page of the book. I want to know what happens next with Hugo and Gwen, Vincent and Sophia and also Ben and Samantha. And others in the earlier series, too. I am counting the days until Only Enchanting is finally on my Kindle. Thank you for hours of enjoyment!

  106. After I finished reading “The Escape”, I had to wrap my mind around the fact that I had just read a fictional story. I felt that Ben and Samantha were real people that I knew existed somewhere in this world. It was a lovely story and told so realistically that I lost track of real time. It is one of my very favorites. Thank you so much for writing their story!

  107. The Survivors Club books are among my favorites. Lovely writing and such complex characters. Hugo and Gwen are vying for my favorite romance novel couple ever. Can’t wait for the next book in the series.

  108. I am amazed that you are able to put yourself into a character like that. Perhaps that is why your characters feel so realistic. I haven’t managed to read all of your newest series yet, but I am looking forward to it! Keep on writing using whatever process you like and I will happily read it all.

  109. Thank you for writing such intriguing and entertaining books. At times it makes me wish I lived then and had a rake of my own…then I realize I enjoy living and leading my own life and money. So 21st century for me to live….1800’s for me to dream

  110. For someone who doesn’t research you obviously have awesome instincts. I love the stories you tell and thank you for telling them.

  111. I’m impressed. You have an amazing ability to get inside the mind and heart of your characters; I knew that already. But that you are able to imagine your way into the experiences of someone with physical limitations like blindness or deafness, without researching it, and do it so convincingly – I take my proverbial hat off to you.

    And incidentally, your books are on my auto-buy list. They’re books I read again and again. Thank you for the many hours of reading pleasure you’ve brought me.

  112. In my reviews of this series, I have described how your Survivors are so very much of today’s news. I have admired the quality of characters of Hugo, Vincent and Ben. In spite of what is in their past, they have come together and that has increased their strength and determination to move forward with their lives. For someone who has not delved into research, you have hit the mark with your stories. You have created people who have a humanity and a sense of self.

    I wanted to thank you for The Escape. I enjoyed it very much. And by the end, I was a great admirer of Ben. His courage would have stood him in good stead when he was a Major, and it certainly shines through in this story.

    So, whatever you are doing in your writing, please continue. You are doing wonderfully. I think that is pretty evident in the comments you inspire here.

  113. So happy that I recently started following you on Facebook. Now I know exactly when your next book will be out. Thanks for all the fun stories. I read them over and over:)

  114. So grateful to be following you on Facebook, and for this blog that allows fans insight into your process. I adore your books. I fall in love with the characters and the dialogue is witty and delightful.

  115. I love your books because they are character driven. I love that you don’t waste my time physically describing scenes unnecessarily. I don’t mind a bit of background, but some authors seem to write more about where things happen than actually write about what is happening and to whom.

  116. I enjoy reading your blog posts so much. At first I was surprised to find that you did little research regarding the Survivors’ conditions, but the more I considered it, the more I think you’ve done it the right way, empathetically imagining the emotions and concerns they each would have. It was such an emotionally powerful scene when Ben and Samantha went swimming. So, well done! I am anxiously awaiting the rest of the series.

  117. Hi, Mary! I have so enjoyed reading your books. I am a reviewer for our blog, bookworm2bookworm and would love to read, review, and promote your new novel on our blog. I have already promoted others of your books and would be delighted to do it again for “Only Enchanting.”

    Thanks so much for your great giveaway and I’m waiting with fingers and toes crossed.

  118. I started reading your books when I picked one up at a flea market. It was Slightly Married, after that I was hooked! As I could afford to, I went to flea markets and used book stores and bought the rest of the Slightly series and the Simply series. I love your books and your posts on Facebook. Thank you.

  119. Your characters always feel real. I cannot wait for your next book. Until then I wil reread every book of yours I can find.

  120. I would love to know more about your resources for researching the Regency Period and the Napoleonic Wars. It’s such an interesting period of time in history.

  121. “The First Snowdrop” was my first Regency romance 25 years ago. I ‘ve re-read it many times. The Survivors series is turning out to be just as good. I’ve always loved how you give us updates on our favorite characters in other books. I can’t wait for Flavian’s story. Thank you for many hours of enjoyment.

  122. After reading so many regency books, I don’t need a history lesson. What makes your characters so believable is their timelessness. You don’t need research for that–just talent!

  123. Love your books. Found one a few years ago in a used book store & was hooked! I love your characters because they are so realistic. Your research is well done to. I cannot wait to read the nect one.

  124. Thanks for this post; I’ve often wondered the same thing about research. Your description of how you (don’t) research and just get inside the character’s head and heart makes perfect sense. I think that is also why you have such a tremendous gift for getting the relationships RIGHT. πŸ™‚

  125. I am thoroughly enjoying this series (even got The Suitor as an e-book which is rare for me as I prefer real books). So very interesting that you haven’t researched the challenges that these characters face; you must have a wonderful ability to read the human spirit to be able to get it right!

    I bought a very well used copy of Silent Melody a few years ago and it was also a very moving story – I’m looking forward to that coming back out so I can get a better copy but also to the completion of this Survivors series since it’s really interesting to me with my psychology degree!

    Thanks for all your hard work – Claire

  126. Ever since your wonderful traditional Regencies one thing you have done impeccably well is portray damaged people with complexity and intensity and reality. You’ve made me laugh and made me cry and I thank you for both. Flavian has been intriguing because his damage isn’t as readily visible as many of the others. I’m looking forward to seeing his story unfold. Thank you.

  127. I’ve enjoyed your books very much thus far. I’ve read the first 3 of The Survivor series and enjoyed them immensly! I am currently re-reading the Bedwyn series, which I have read MANY times before. I am also currently in search of #1 and #3 of the Simply set. Thank you for your wonderful books!

    Adrienne

  128. Silent Melody? What? I haven’t read that one! I love all your books.
    My brother is a Vietnam-era Veteran who is disabled with PTSD. Thank you for giving others who have no first hand knowledge of the disorder an insight into it.

  129. I love your stories, I am very happy to hear that you write from your heart. The stories show your imagination and your romantic dreams for all who read them. Thank you for them.

  130. I cannot wait for this book! I am halfway through The Escape. I love this series just as I have loved all of your series before this one. I am anxious to be able to read them all and hate having to wait to find out what happens. πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for sharing all of your stories with us.

  131. OY! Research! I often have to do legal research for my real life job. I am so easily distractactable that the process often makes me feel like Alice down the rabbit hole.
    When I’m writing for fun, I sometimes research a bit, telling myself that I’m building a foundation of authenticity. Usually though, it gets me in the same kind of trouble. I once wrote a bit of fanfiction involving a spin on Jane Eyre, involving Edward’s recovery of his eyesight. (Okay, sounds sort of gooey, I know.) I spent loads of hours fumbling about on the internet about victorian era eye surgeons. Lost in goofy details, I lost sight of the important questions. I lost hearing the voice of my characters. It may as well have been a book report. Luckily, the next day I was ruthless in my editing and just let stuff flow. Much, much better for sure.

    So much of what I love to read is about how we identify ourselves. What facades to we hold up to the world? What are we protecting by doing so? There is no research better than slow simple contemplation of eternal truths.

    Mary, of course you’re so gifted at characters it takes my breath away. You’re like some kind of psychic medium, channeling from character world. Which is why I keep reading and re-reading and sleeping very little.

  132. I loved this blog. You answered a lot of questions and just shows how creative you are. I started back reading historical romances about 3 yrs ago and cannot bring myself to read anything else! You were one of the first authors I picked up. I read an author from the oldest book until the newest. I was not able to find some of your older books but read everything I could! I am buying this last series until they are all published so I can read all at once. Would love to have this book. Anyway! Thank you for many hours of reading pleasure !!

  133. I discovered your books a few years ago and I have read every one! I have especially enjoyed those I can find on audiobook. I would love an ARC of Only Enchanting.
    Catherine

  134. I’ve been thinking about writing a book, but every time I start to write, I find myself stopping to research some niggling detail or other. Perhaps I should try winging it and coming back later to fix any glaring errors!

  135. Hi Mary
    I really want to win this book….I know it’s going to be great because I love Flavian already!

  136. I have been so caught up in The Survivors’ Club that I swear the theory of relativity kicks in–I know time slows to a crawl. Thank you for writing the books that provide such pleasure to read.

  137. Mary, however you get from point A to point B, I love spending time in the worlds you create. I like your characters and that makes all the difference to me. I am surprised that you aren’t spending great quantities of time researching. Your stories are fabulous!

  138. Mary, I sustained a spinal cord injury twenty years ago this past May and have walked with two canes ever since. You can only imagine how delighted I was to read Ben’s story (and I finished it the same week it came out!). I particularly loved how you had him start using the wheelchair as well…very true to my experience. I love what you have done with this series!

  139. I so enjoy reading your books. And some of the wonderful things you post on your facebook page makes me smile (and share) Thanks for your love of writing…please don’t stop any time soon!
    Thanks!
    E

  140. Your books are so interesting and witty. More than anything, I love that you live in Canada. You are one of my favourite authors πŸ™‚ Do you ever do any book signing events in/around Toronto, ON? Thanks.

    • I do book signings these days only when I am at a conference, Gorwi. There are none lined up for Ontario, alas.

  141. I am loving this series and cannot wait to read the next book. =) It is neat to hear about your writing process.

  142. I have enjoyed each Mary Balogh book I have read. I think I have managed to collect all but perhaps a few that are now oop…I look forward to each new book you publish and will be anxiously waiting to read Flavian’s story when it comes out!

  143. I have been reading your books since the 1980’s and I have enjoyed them all. Whatever you use or however you plan your books it works for you. Thanks

  144. I just posted your comments on researching for your books on my FB page. I have many classmates who were in the Viet Nam war and just recently being commended for their service. We were protesting that war and sometimes we were not nice because of our anger. Our men were drafted and I lost classmates and had friends who were severely wounded. They were not encouraged to talk about their experiences but suffered in silence. I was in college when the Thalidomide babies were being born and was appalled that medication was being given with out long term research on its effects. I empathized with this series of books-Survivors’ Club. They havet hit very close to home. We were lucky when my husbands number came up and we knew he would be in the infantry and possibly loose his life. We were lucky. Your writing is amazing and I have read them all several times. Thanks so much for sharing your gift.

  145. I would absolutely LOVE to get an advanced reading copy of this book. I love your writing and would truly appreciate it. Thanks for the opportunity!

  146. My 94-year old mother introduced me to the Regency world, and you are our favorite author. How you create all the characters, neighborhoods, families, etc, I will never understand — but thank you so much. These people are so dear — Mother and I feel like they’re distant friends of ours, and enjoy talking over the various stories. We both re-read your previous books while waiting on your next book, and hope you never run out of inspiration. I would dearly love to read Flavian’s story early, and would of course share it with Mother!!
    Best wishes,
    Suziche

  147. As always, I am touched that you so frequently let us into your brain, and also fascinated by what you reveal. I can’t speak for your other readers, but it makes me love your books that much more. I loved reading more about your Survivor series; I have enjoyed them greatly, maybe more than the Bedwyn series (which I think of as my favorite series, although the Simply series and Huxtable series are not far behind!) There’s something so appealing about a hero or heroine that is wounded, sometimes devastatingly, but they find a way to rise above it!

  148. Still reading The Escape love it! Funny how you mention the wars going on now. I found my self thinking how Ben would have been treated now. Whether he would have kept his legs or been an amputee and how amputees are so much more mobile these days. There`s very little that they can`t do. Love all your books never stop writing!!!

  149. As you are my favorite author, I think your methods of developing your characters are right on. The thing that draws readers like me into your work is that you give just enough physical details to set the scene, but you fully delve into the thoughts, feelings and personalities of your characters. This establishes an emotional connection with your characters that is far more important (to readers like me) than whether or not you incorporate factual details of an ailment or healing process into the story. Thank you for continuing to write stories that I want to read (many of them, especially the Bedwyn family stories, are ones I want to read over and over). I’m so looking forward to the release of “Only Enchanting!”

  150. I always love when a new, or older and reprinted Mary Balogh book. I was wondering if you were planning to rerelease any of your older books any time in the near future? Can’t wait, (well, actually I can I just don’t like to) wait to read about the next survivor.

    • BEYOND THE SUNRISE, LONGING, HEARTLESS, and SILENT MEOLDY will be out next year as trade paperbacks, Debra. And I am still working on getting my oldest books out in ebook format. It is a slow process!

  151. I am so excited to read another book about a member of what has become almost like my family! Each person you write about becomes real in the first few pages and I love take read them over and over!!! Keep them coming!!!!!

  152. Mary,
    I have owned every book you’ve written, some twice!
    Paper and now electronic. I love your characters, and my husband reads them too.
    Thanks for the quality books. I have been reading this genre since my sisters and I discovered
    Georgette Heyer in the late 60s. You write worthy successors.

    Nancy

  153. Hi! I just finished the escape, so far is my favorite of the series! I can’t wait for the next books…though I keep wondering, will George marry and have another son? I’m just so impatient!
    Sorry if there are orthographic or grammatical mistakes, english is not my first language.
    Greetings from Chile πŸ™‚

  154. Mary, your books have been favorites of mine since I found them so many, many years ago. That was long before e-books. Your characters involve me with their stories.
    Since I retired (and on my 3rd
    E-Reader), I have feasted on my love of reading. Your books make wonderful movies in my imagination while I am reading them.
    Thank you for the lovely hours I have spent with your books.

  155. I love reading your books! They leave me feeling so much love and compassion and joy. I hardly pay any heed to the historical factor of your writing because your characters are so engaging and lifelike. They draw me in, make me cry and laugh. You are truly a wonderful writer no matter what your process is!!

  156. You have innumerable skills, of course, but it is your empathy and use of it in character development and plot that captured me as an avid fan! Sometimes it is not the specifics of the infirmity but turning reaction into action that determines the future. Having several perceived handicaps, I speak from experience. Thank you!

  157. You have done well with protraying your character with your feelings instead of a lot of research. It feels natural to read not just facts stated. Love all your books ,have been reading you since forever (like regency romance days)

  158. I love your books & keep the paperbacks. I’m really surprised that you don’t do research on the individual characters. You sure do hit the mark though! I am impatiently waiting for your next book.

  159. I love your stories- and I love being able to follow these characters through all of the books, being introduced to them again and again. I cannot wait for Flavian’s story.

  160. Your characters have depth & substance. They make a reader believe they are real & that makes a fascinating story.

  161. Finished The Escape last week and another great book. I love these Survivor stories because the characters are not perfect. It makes it so much more believable and gets me more involved in their story and cheering them on to get their hearts desire in the end.

  162. I will be buying Flavian’s story, (Only Enchanting) no matter what since you are my mother’s favorite author and we always buy your books the day they appear. Having an advance copy would be delicious. My mother will be age 90 on November 25th and we have already cheered that it is a treat to have one of your books release that month. We just completed The Escape which I read aloud for her while she healed in the hospital followed by skilled nursing care. I had never read an entire novel aloud for anyone and the experience was extremely sweet as we discussed our impressions. The journey of The Survivors provides moments of synchronicity, compassion and insight into all the human gifts that are accessed, especially during periods of growth toward Love through pain (very Teilhard de Chardin of you!). Thank you for your beautiful stories and for the Anne Rice quote on your blog as she is my favorite author. Double Delight!

  163. As a child I used to read all the time. I loved getting lost in the characters, places and stories. My favorite part of any book I ever read was getting to know each character’s background and through their history understand why they were the way they were. I would get so emotionally involved with characters that I would fantasize about meeting them in real life and giving them advice to try to help them in whatever struggles they were suffering through in the book. As I got older I got away from reading because I was just too busy with being an adult and working and raising children. I went a very long time without even picking up a book. Probably about 20 years or more. About 5 years ago I was at a thrift store and I was standing in line to pay for the few trinkets that I had picked up. While waiting my turn I looked down at box of books that someone had just dropped off and hadn’t been put on the shelf yet. At the top of the box was “A Summer To Remember”. I remember thinking to myself that it would be nice to start reading again and how I missed it. So I picked up the book and added it to my miscellaneous armful of things I had found. That afternoon I started reading. I was so completely engrossed in the story and characters that I read straight through the day and night and finished the book. The next day I went to the book store and bought the rest of the series. And have read many many more of your books as well as countless other authors’. Since picking up your book that day I have read hundreds of books. I read every single day for at least 4 or 5 hours and am absolutely in love with the time that I spend reading. Whether I win an advanced copy or not … I wish to thank you for bringing me back to the wonderful world of reading that I missed so much! Your talent for developing the stories and characters made me remember why I spent so much time as a child reading and how much I loved it. I am utterly grateful to you for bringing me back to the world of books that I cherish so much.

  164. I just got rid of a ton of regency books. I kept every one of yours. Thank you for your gifts we call books.

  165. Hope your day was good! Your books bring joy and a smile to faces around the world, especially mine! Congrats on being such a wonderful and successful writer! Best wishes, Laura

  166. One of the things that I love about your books is the depth and feeling that you write into each character. I would say that you do a marvelous job with each one and I have enjoyed reading every one. I am eagerly awaiting the next in the Survivor Series.

  167. i love your books and you are an automatic buy for me i had lost all your older regencys i had them all and having a hard time finding them again but will grab anything i find you are a awesome writer look forwarrd to each one

  168. I love your Survivor series, especially the last one. I can’t wait to read about the other members of this group. Your books are amazing and I love getting the posts from your Facebook page. They really make my day.

  169. I first came across your books when I read “A Summer to Remember”. It still moves me to tears when I reread. Since then I have read, I think, most of your novels. I like the fact that your heroes are complex men, not stereotypical alpha-males. The Survivors Series is a great collection. I really loved Vincent’s story as their relationship brought out the best in both lead characters. My only grumble about regencies in general is that so many problems could be solved if people just talked to one another? An opportunity to read one of your novels before it received it’s final polish would be a fabulous educational experience, with heaps of insight into the editing process.
    Keep up the great work, Mary, please.

  170. My favorite research story is told by a romantic suspense writer who was interviewing a police detective in a restaurant. She told him, “I need to find a way to kill a person with a knife that does not leave a lot of blood.” Only later did she wonder what the people sitting near them thought when they heard her question.

    Mary, you do a wonderful job of getting into your characters’ heads. That is the part of your books that I enjoy the most.

  171. In my opinion your Survivors’ Club series is the most powerful to date. Even today, with all the modern aids, people with the disabilities you’ve described have a hard time with life. Two hundred years ago each problem they would’ve encountered must have been as difficult as Everest to conquer. Thank you, Mary, for sharing your amazing talent.

  172. I LOVE your books. Yours are the ONLY ones that I purposely buy on real paper because they are worth collecting. The rest mostly have been delegated to the e-reader.

  173. I am so looking forward to Flavian’s book !! And I thoroughly enjoyed The Escape! I find it fascinating you are able to get into the heads of these characters. Then again I have often wondered what it would be like and how I would react to some of the traumas my friends have experienced. The human heart is the most intriguing organ, isn’t it.

  174. Hi! Where I’m from, your books are so hard to find. So it was with great joy that I received my birthday gift: a Kindle! Now I can read your stories about heroes and heroines who have triumphed over odds.

  175. Mary, you have been one of my favorite authors for many years. I would love an ARC of Only Enchanting but will be reading it evenf if I don’t win. Thanks for the hours of pleasure your books have brought me.

  176. Hi Mary-
    Thank you for sharing some of your writers ‘secrets’! How interesting to learn that you do almost no research on the characters, and instead, use your amazing ability to ‘get inside’ a characters head! I love your books! I ready everyday and I often get so wrapped up in a book that I lose complete track of time!(-: I enjoy your books and you have inspired me to write!!

  177. I began my love affair with Recency romance, and dare I admit history, with your Huggable series. I have fallen in love with your characters, flawed or great, Constantine being my favourite. I owe you such gratitude for giving me, a bed bound romantic and dreamer, hours of enchanted escape.

  178. I can’t wait to read Only Enchanting! I am a reader period but if has your name on it , it comes home with me. So I am definitely looking forward to Flavians book.

  179. Mary you are one of the few authors that I buy preordered,then I try not to read the book until your closer to releasing the next in the series. Last time I lasted 1week….sigh.

  180. Hi, thank you so much for the opportunity πŸ™‚ I would like to read your book, even if it’s not 100% finished, I’m sure it will be great. You were one of my first regency authors I bought and read : simply-serie. Since then i was hooked. I liked the last books a lot because they had a dark side about them in the beginning. If they had taken an other choice, their life would be so much poorer. Thank god for their choices: it made them stronger and more appreciative towards life.
    Thank you for writing these great stories

    Karen

  181. My favorite books – A matter of class, the pearl.

    But I love these stories too. A great idea about getting folks together after a war! Love the concept of them having a physical or emotional problem and then finding a companion who accepts them for who they are. Now a days you don’t find that anywhere. Everything is about looks and money. So I love being in your world and reading how things should be. I guess that my wish. πŸ˜‰

  182. I have not yet read any of your books, but I would like to. I love to read and from some of the comments your style of writing might be the type that I tend to look for. Would love to give it a try!

  183. I love your books! I have some in paperback, but most in ebook form. There are only a few that I don’t have. You are a great writer! TThanks for the chance!

  184. I have been reading you for years. I have sincerely enjoyed all your books!
    So glad a new one is on the way.

  185. Mary, you do what you do so well. You are an intelligent, well read person and your portrayal of these wounded individuals is right on as far as I can see. Your special gift is that you write wonderful love stories – nobody does them better. The first book of yours that I read was SIMPLY LOVE. One thing that impressed me was that although the hero/heroine were not typical, their love story was “simply” beautiful. It made me a fan for life. I’m a sucker for a good love story.

    Any further word on whether your earlier books will be released in ebook form and when? One on the things that I love about my Kindle is that I am able to find some of the books by authors that I loved back in the day and they are reasonably priced. I see that a lot of your older books are available as used books purchases, but they seem awfully expensive.

    I was so glad to see a new posting on this blog.

    • We are still woking on that plan for getting my older books into ebook format, Mary. Nothing is swift in the publishing world!

  186. Mary, Heartless and Silent Melody are two of my favourite books. To be able to write about characters with so many difficulties you must be very good at ‘walking in another man’s shoes’! Of course I enjoy all of your books and am looking forward to the next one, feeling happy that I don’t have to wait until next year for it.
    Although we are almost the same age, I’m hoping that you won’t want to retire in the near future! Maybe you could just slow right down? Since it took me years to track down all of your early books, you could just about sit back and re-issue them all! One of the very early Signet book cost over $AU50, and there’s still one that I haven’t found.

  187. I obsessively read every Mary Balogh book I can find — because I know they won’t lack in understanding or well-thought-out characters. Keeps me sane in Tokyo. keep writing!

  188. It really amazes me that you have that talent to be able to weave in to some unknown places that you aren’t even familiar with. It’s amazing because as a reader because I always experience such reality in your works!!! I have never been fond of researching but it really matters- as my professors and teachers requires me to do all the time!!

    Thank you miss Balogh and I hope you will be able to write more amazing stories!!

  189. I love your books. They bring me inside the heads’ of the characters and feel what they are truly feeling. That’s talent! Keep it up! πŸ™‚

  190. I would love a copy of anything you write – bloopers or not πŸ™‚ I’ve got a copy of your latest on my bedside table and I’m anxious to start it! I think that the reason I keep reading whatever you write is the characters. You write such wonderful characters – whether I like them or not, they are lovingly created. Thank you for this blog post – delightful to read some thoughts behind the scenes as it were…

  191. I always enjoy your writing. What an amazing gift you have and I am fascinated and intrigued about how you can put yourself into someone else’s skin and glean understanding of what makes them tick. And that you wrote that that causes you to not be judgmental makes me wonder just how useful that could be in reality. I love your blogs also. They always provide food for thought. Plus I love that your books are reliably well written. Thank you for all that you do.

  192. I live in San Antonio, Texas. Pretty much all the wounded soldiers are sent here for rehab at the Center for the Intrepid at Fort Sam. I have been out there to visit with these young people. I did not meet any that wanted to give up. Your books regarding the trauma of a past war, with different types of injuries, still speaks to the goal of “I will survive no matter what” and “I want to live”. The empathy that you show in your non research is definitely from the heart. Thank you for these books that even though are listed as regency era speak to our time also.

  193. That was like a mini walk down memory lane. I’m excited to read this next book. Now I need to go find some of my favorite to re read.

  194. I’m sure you couldn’t get it wrong. Much as any physical or emotional trauma can change a person, so too will each manifest itself in different ways for each person.
    I look forward to reading this book. I have liked all the books you wrote that I have read. Thank you for sharing your gift of imagination with us.

  195. I’ve enjoyed your books for years, but the Survivors series has been my favorite (so far) and has a place on my “keeper” shelf. The strong friendship among the survivors is wonderful and I look forward to reading Only Enchanting.

  196. The cover to your upcoming book is gorgeous! I would love to read your book even if its a blank cover. Your books are awesome and thanks for the chance.

  197. I just love all your books. Whether you did the research on PTSD or not you nailed it! I’m thoroughly enjoying The Survivor’s series and wait wait to read future books. It’s because of you that I now own my Kindle, which I’m eternally grateful to you for that.

  198. I’ve been reading your books for quite a while now. I just happened to pick one up and couldn’t put it down! Had to go back and read all of your previous books and after I had read those, just can’t wait for your next books! I love the way you write.

  199. What wonderful post. It is a true gift that you are able to get into the minds of others and bring to life their outlook and feelings. It is an ability that if more people had then it would make the world much more caring for others. Thank you so much for your writing and all your wonderful books and characters. You have brought to life so many memorable stories and such wonderful characters. They have made as real difference to me.

  200. My relatives come from your area and it is time for me to try one of your books Mary. I haven’t found any fiction that holds my interest these days and I’ve read every book of my favorite authors so since my cousin Scott sent me this FB posting I’m going to try one of your books. I seem to love English writers or stories about people in the UK and I admit to a bias of thinking Canadian writers can’t measure up to a good believable story so to kick that bias I’m going to get one of your books and give it a try. I really admire your energy and creative motivation to keep on writing and apparently delighting your audiences

    • Lovely to hear from you, Mary Ellen. Yes, I know all your relatives in Windthorst. And the Scott you refer to is presumably Scott Kearns. I hope you do read and enjoy a book of mine.

  201. I have enjoyed the books of the men and woman recovering from injuries both internal and external. Can’t wait to discover the layers of Flavian.

  202. OMG, I have every one of your books on my Keeper shelf , their own shelf actually. You are my absolute fave author of all time. I can’t wait to read, already pre-ordered my copy of, Only Enchanted. But I’d love one that was signed by you. I got to meet you at RWA Literacy signing once but by the time I got there, you had run out of books, but I do have a bookmark you signed!

  203. It seems logical to me that if an author is writing fiction and puts herself in the character’s mind and life the accuracy is the character’s and any “flaws” would be part of the story. I do think that history should be relative so that it makes common sense. I have never been “taken out” of any of your books by any so called errors and the stories are always interesting . I’m so glad you continue to have fresh ideas that keep you and your readers satisfied.

  204. I think life is a form of research. We learn from reading, from watching, and interacting with people. And as a writer, you have those observational skills that translate into your plots, your characters, and then your books. So what you’ve written this blog doesn’t surprise me!

  205. Mary,
    I always find it fascinating when authors let me get into their heads and I can get a glimpse of how their lovely works come to life. I think authors truly posses a gift that makes them go “now, what would such and such say or do?” and create all kinds of lovely stories. You go girl! =D

  206. Often the intuitive approach is the best. You infuse your characters with so much humanity that they seem so real.

  207. Hi Mary,
    I finally found the place to make a comment on your blog. I’m sorry you were inconvenienced. I do love your work and Facebook blogs.

    I tried to respond via that World site that sent me my password but they couldn’t find you. Just a mess up. As far as what I use, the answer is all of the above; tablet, phone and PC.

    Anyhoo — I love your books. They are filled with grace, humor and most of all, humanity. Your lead characters live a truly Christian life. The lame and the halt and the treatment thereof is always present. It shows the character of the creator of those characters.

    I have read the Slightly series so many times I feel like a Bedwyn and if Freyja was a real person, I’d want to marry her (as old as I am). Actually,
    Slightly Scandalous and Simply Perfect are my two favorite books (of all time and I’m 81). Please keep writing. We all love you!
    Bob Calhoun

  208. Hi again. Got me thinking I should be able to comment from my tablet and I can but it’s easier to stand on my head. Challenge accepted and done. I think I’ll stick to the pc.
    Love again,
    Bob Calhoun

  209. You may not do a lot of research but you are certainly world aware. I think the events around you especially when it comes to PTSD have penetrated your consciousness. Plus, you always write with compassion and sensitivity. I am thinking of characters like Josh’s cousin in Slightly Wicked who is childlike and you give her dignity and purpose. It’s about the ability not the disability in your work.

  210. Thank you for sharing your process with your fans. I am certainly looking forward to reading your next book! Wendy L.

  211. I love, love, love your books and one of my goals is to read all of them!! I would love to get an advanced copy of this book and hope desperately to win this contest!! Your characters are always so real and I can empathize with them so well. Whatever you do works wonderfully!!

  212. Thank you for sharing your writing process with us, your readers. I always find the writing process for favorite authors so interesting. Looking forward to the new book!

  213. Hello Mary,
    Your name, books, blogs are new for me! From the comments it will be a gift to read your latest! Also the Survivor series!
    God bless
    31 July 2014
    My first book should be on the shelves by end/of summer,..’Daily Bread of Life.’ Publisher – Westbow Press – A Thomas Nelson division –

  214. Mary,
    I plan to share this w/a writer’s group, ‘The Light Brigade!’ They most likely are familiar w/your name & books!
    We’ll see! :-). Many are writers of fiction!
    God bless
    Sheri
    31 July 2014

  215. I am blown away by the fact that 350 commented on this blog post in one day. I have faithfully checking your blog site daily since the last posting. I do not know if there is a way to get notified when there is a new post. If there is not, that means HUNDREDS of people were checking every day on their own.

    Amazing.

    And deserved.

      • I don’t do facebook, and I am on the fan list on yahoo.

        I was just checking every day on my own, so I actually saw the post before I saw the announcement!!

        It is all good news……………and now……….on to Flavian!

  216. Will eventually read it, but could enjoy is sooner…..
    Truly thought, I have loved everything I’ve read of yours. Please continue the wonderful stories.

  217. Just got The Escape today and have nothing else to do but read. A rare pleasure with three children. I once went to a conference where the speaker mentioned hardships he faced in his upbringing and said something that stuck with me: “you can make excuses or make it your story.” That’s how I feel about your characters. Instead of making excuses, they triumph over life’s obstacles and they become part of their story. I love your stories and characters, rereading many (Slightly Dangerous is a personal favorite). Thank you much.

  218. I really enjoy reading your books. At the end of the day when my kids are tucked in and my college homework is done, I escape into the magical worlds you create. I am looking forward to reading this new story.

  219. Would love this ARC. I love all your books and I’m excited to curl up and read another one of yours even if I’m not the winner. I always appreciate all the research an author puts into a book, it definitely enhances the entire story and I for one am very greatful for storytellers like you. πŸ™‚

  220. Hi Mary! I think it’s absolutely amazing that you can dive into to so many complex characters. You truly are gifted and I enjoy every book I’ve ever read of yours. I would be honored to read an advance copy if you were to choose me!

  221. Mary, I forgot to mention that Flavian is one of the most interesting of your survivors and the thought of having a real live advance copy of his story gives me the chills!
    Of course I immediately fall in love with all your fellas (and the ladies, too). Wulfric, Constantine and Jocelyn being my favorites. I still say it would be fun to have those three sipping port together….
    Flavian is interesting because of his deep love for his fellow survivors, while at the same time being hidden behind the stylish cynicism that he carries as a shield. In some ways he reminds me of Francis from The Famous Heroine. Hmmmmm. I’ll have to ponder that some more.
    Best regards,
    Tracey

  222. From the very beginning Flavian intrigued me the most, the mistery surrounding his injury has kept me waiting (un)patiently for his story… You don’t know how glad I am that his story is next. Thanks a lot!!!!

  223. I adore all of your books. Several of them have been so well loved, the covers are falling off. Can’t wait to read another and really enjoyed reading this post. It certainly gave me some insight into your personality.

  224. Flavian has always seemed the most mysterious to me. Though I never realized from the other books that his was a trumatic brain injury.

    Hope I win an ARC! My birthday is coming up next week and it would be a great present πŸ˜‰

  225. Hello Mary,

    Would love to read this one, because you’ve always written wonderful stories, and because, I live with one who suffers brain damage. Although brain damage is permanent, I can vouchsafe that it doesn’t alter a person’s inner beauty or original wonderful traits. Everywhere we go, people all say he’s lovely and they’ve been impressed by his resilience and very positive outlook.

    And oh, if I may, I’m always calling everyone to donate to http://brainfoundation.org.au/donate or similar organisations.

    Love you, Mary.

    ia

  226. Thank you for hours of enjoyment. I have been in the hospital more than out for the past few years and your books have become well treasured friends. I have 98 percent (some I have multiple copies of, in search of getting all of them – book cover changes caused this) of your books and usually take a dozen or so with me, I have read the “Slightly” series so many times, I feel like family πŸ™‚
    The “Survivor” series is so well written and your research and imagination make them very realistic. As a US Air Force veteran, I spend a lot of my time at a VA hospital and see a lot of the young soldiers returning from the middle east and you do a remarkable job on the injured.
    I have finished The Escape and The Suitor for the second time this morning and enjoyed them thoroughly. I would love to continue sooner than later and would love an advance copy of Only Enchanting but totally understand you only have two copies. Thank you for this opportunity, it is really wonderful of you.
    P.S. Prior to starting your The Secret Pearl a few years ago, I had never read a romance book. I read mysteries, westerns, and classics. A volunteer at the hospital felt it was more of a “girl” book and left it with me, best move ever. Thanks again for your imagination and research techniques from a grateful fan in Texas.

  227. Mary, I have recently retired from a thirty-year career at a library and I have enjoyed reading your books so very much. The characters are all so interesting and I also love learning about the history of the homeland which my ancestors left two generations ago. Please keep it up and it is always a highlight for me when I see that you have a new book out, but especially when I have it in my hands!
    Best wishes to you and take care,
    Janet

  228. I love your books! I’m just finishing the slightly series for the second time and then moving on to the simply series! I can’t wait to read this new book!!

  229. I’ve been happily reading you books for many years now, and have loved them all. I’ve been enjoying your posts on Facebook of the English benches. Thank you so much for the chance to get to read one of your creations before everyone else.

  230. I’m an avid reader of yours. The fact that you communicate with us on Facebook only makes us love you more. To be given this opportunity would be a dream come true :).

  231. Hi from Alberta. I’m enjoying rereads of the Survivors series, and would, of course, love an early peek at Flavian’s story!

  232. Hi Mary!

    One of the things that I loved the best when I read The Escape was they why that you wrote Ben’s story and how he dealt with the disability of losing the use of his legs during the war.

    One of the reasons I appreciated his determination to still live his life to the fullest is when my cousin Bruce became disabled from a gym accident when he was in High School back in the 1960’s and not only lost the use of his legs but also had limited use of his hands and arms as well. He worked hard to still live a productive life and was not only the first multiple handicapped student to attend Utica College in Syracuse, New York but also went on to design and have built apartments in our home town of Schenectady for others with handicaps. He also helped his father develop and build one of the first vans so that others with handicaps like his could drive and be independent.

    I hope your other reader will take a lesson from reading The Escape and learn from how you wrote Ben’s character a lesson my cousin prove to me and that is to never judge what someone else accomplish an when they see someone who is handicapped to remember the person inside has the same hopes and desires that we all do.

  233. Mary, I read all your books. I would never miss even one. I would love to have an advance copy before I buy the final version. Better yet, it would be great if you would sign it, please.
    You don’t need to research your characters because you feel them and then the way you write them allows us to get emotionally involved in the story.

  234. I am really enjoying the Survivors’ Club stories. I can’t wait to read about Flavian. Oh, and a beautiful cover, by the way.

  235. Mary,
    Thanks so much for addressing this particular subject!
    I’ve discovered that when I’m writing and creating stories I often get a little (or a lot) stymied by the ‘historical’ factor. I love it when I can just let my fingers do the walking over my keyboard and can get caught up in whatever my characters are up to but that’s not always possible when writing within a specific time/era and place. I believe I’ve created some pretty interesting people and have made up viable names of towns and villages for them to both reside in and pass through, but I worry that my fictional area may overstep the bounds of history, a practice which may come back to haunt me.
    For example, I’ve wondered if places such as Glynderi in West Wales are actual (funny, I just realized that the word actual is simply factual without the f!) or simply names you’ve created for the sake of introducing the Rebecca Riots. I imagine Carmarthenshire is real, since it encompasses a larger area and would have been a place where Rebecca Riots had occurred. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
    I’m also curious about titles, such as the Earl of Wyvern – obviously I just finished rereading ‘Truly’ – and whether they are, again, actual or fictional, and is it against the rules, so to speak, to create a Viscount or a Duke out of thin air?! Historically speaking, that seems like it could potentially be a touchy subject. Individual names, like Marged, Eurwyn and Geraint (although I’m sure would be true to the times, which I realize is another important factor), I’m simply curious about the pronunciation of. That can be a bit of a challenge, albeit an interesting one! Realizing that your origins are in Wales, I can’t help but wonder how much you must have adored history lessons when growing up! Your stories centered in Wales are always a particular delight for me for some reason.
    So, back to the issue at hand – If you don’t mind my asking, just how important/critical are places and titles, etc. in historical stories?
    And, (that comma of which could open up another whole can of worms in regards to the correctness of writing – maybe later, eh?!) thanks again for sharing your remarkable talent us!

    • Jan I make up names! As you say, there are certain places that must be factual. I can’t make up London, for example, or Bath, and I can’t make up a county that did not exist. But small towns and villages are invented so that no one can accuse me of getting them wrong. The same is true of grand houses and estates. I try to create places and estates that might have existed–that is, they are similar to places I have actually seen or read about. I invent character names and titles too. If there is any rule about inventing a dukedom that did not exist, then I have not heard of it and don’t want to know! But when you consider how few dukes, marquesses, earls etc. there are in Britain and how many you might find in all of the Regency historicals that have been written in the last 20 years of so, well… It would be impossible to stick with reality, wouldn’t it? (We could probably populate the whole of the British Isles with our dukes alone) And if one were to use a title that actually existed, one would also be stuck with that historical character. No one is going to invent a Duke of Wellington and not have him be The Man himself. My Welsh names are all authentic though invented again. In LONGING, which is to be republished as a trade paperback next March, I have provided a pronunciation key since I know Welsh is one of the hardest languages as far as pronunciation is concerned. There just don’t seem to be enough vowels!

      • Thanks so much! I can heave a big sigh of relief! And of course, everything you say makes perfect sense. Although I always appreciate the history part, it’s the story I’m really after getting involved in.
        Now if only my laptop keyboard would quit dropping letters and words on me (like ‘with’)! Ugh! I try to proofread whatever I put out there but sometimes I guess when our minds know what we’re meaning to say, the words can magically appear within a sentence! And I really don’t want to have to get a new laptop just because this ones getting persnickety! :/ Maybe I need to trim my fingernails?! πŸ˜‰ Chuckle.

  236. My complaint with my favorite authors is that they can’t write as fast as I can read! I’m thrilled to know that Flavian’s story will come out in November, whether I win an advance copy or not. Having finished The Escape just an hour ago, I think now I’ll go back and re-read The Proposal and The Arrangement–and please, please, please give George a story, too!

  237. Hi Mary,

    Thank you for sharing your wonderfully flawed characters and your imagination with the rest of us. I look forward to the rest of this series and the ones that are sure to follow.

    Marguerite

  238. I’ve only been reading your books for the last year or so. I moved to a new city and found a friend in your books. I’m trying to catch up on older ones and complete certain series. I can’t wait to start reading your newer books.

  239. I have always been sympathetic the people who are blind, but I have developed empathy for them after reading The Arrangement. You have made Vincent’s world so real to me that I myself, at times while reading the book, had to fight panic at the thought of being blind forever. That book has since become one of my absolute favorites. I imagine Flavian’s story is going to be the same for me. Of all the Survivors, he is the one who most intrigued me because of his wicked sense of humor. I am looking forward to reading about him. I would love to have a signed anything from you, and this book would really do the trick! πŸ™‚

  240. I have been reading the ‘Survivors Club’ series out of order, and am currently on Benedict’s story, ‘The Escape.’ I loved the idea of having a group of friends reunite each year, and am finding myself engrossed in learning more about their pasts and how it has made them who they are now.
    The few details we currently know about Flavian from other books have made me wonder about him. We know of a few people having stammers. King George VI for one. But how did Flavian come to terms with it? And the double betrayal from lover and friend…
    We can understand his cynical feelings towards love.

    I have read the short excerpt online, and already groaned aloud, as it was too short! I have to know more about Flavian’s history, and how his life entwines with the heroine, Agnes.

    In the meantime, Benedict will keep me company, but not for long, as I’m running out of pages…

  241. I have read almost all of your books in Paperback, hardcover and now kindle. Would love to win an advanced copy and I promise to post a review if I am lucky enough to win.

  242. I have read almost all your book in paperback and hardcover and now kindle. I would love to win an advanced copy and if I am lucky enough to win, I promise to post a review.

  243. I turn either to old favorites or new books by writers I already love. for a new author, I will look at recommendations by authors I enjoy although this is not foolproof.

  244. I generally look for books by favorite authors first. But, when the book has a historical setting, it sometimes leads me to read nonfiction books about the period, places, people and events. Your Survivors’ Club series built my interest in learning more about the Napoleonic wars, Wellington, and the events and battles leading to Waterloo. Thank you for that! I am so eager to read Only Enchanting when it comes out on October 28th. It would be a thrill to get to read it sooner. πŸ™‚

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