Tag Archives: The Collector of Dying Breaths

Interview with the Marvelous Queen of Historical Suspense, NY Bestselling Author M.J. Rose

Today, I have a very special author on my site, one of my favorite contemporary historical suspense authors–M.J. Rose. Her Gothic and fantastical undertones involved in many of her latest works is something that seeps into me when I read and creates lasting appeal. I especially enjoyed The Collector of Dying Breaths (click to see my review) last year!

I admire her very much not only for her writing, but for all else she has accomplished as a business woman. Please enjoy this fantastic and interesting interview and watch back on my site for my review of her newest novel, The Witch of Painted Sorrows, to come soon. The Witch of Painted Sorrows will be available for purchase March 17, 2015!

Erin: Hi, M.J.!

Welcome to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! I’ve been looking forward to your newest book, The Witch of Painted Sorrows, and the opportunity to chat with you! First, I”m going to show off this AH-MA-ZING cover, which I think is stunning!

02_The Witch of Painted Sorrows Cover

After spending a lot of years in the public relations and advertising business, writing a lot of copy and non-fiction material, I started back in reading fiction and found my heart and soul again. I started with Kate Mosse. After reading her style, I fell in love, and a few years ago had been searching for a similar feel with another fiction author. That’s where you come in with this question, as I feel that you compel readers with the same atmospheric and haunting moods set in historical times much as she does. I fell in love with your books too! How do you create these moods of gothic foreboding with your choice of words or sentences?

M.J: I love Kate’s work and was so flattered when she gave me a blurb a few books ago. So, that’s a huge compliment. As for how I do it … I seep myself in pictures from the period as well as primary source material – diaries, newspaper articles and letters written in the period. When I write I see the story unfolding like a movie in my mind and just write down the scenes as they play out… I guess I see them as gothic and atmospheric and they translate that way to the page.

Erin: You write with an exquisite amount of description and details, almost as if you are actually living the story. How do you get into the zone when you write (do you need a lot of quiet time, for instance)? How does your brain operate in order to structure your research and ideas into such an intricate depth within your novels?

M.J.: Again thank you.  So I write my first draft in the mornings before the world wakes up. I start working at 6 AM or 6:30 AM, with a mug of tea and Gregorian chants playing and write for three hours in a state of semi-unconsciousness or so it seems.  I can’t do first draft work any other time of day really – too many distractions and I’m too awake and in this world instead of my odd dream state.  I don’t know how the rest works but I can tell you that when I read through that first draft – when I’m done – I don’t recognize any of it. I have no memory of having written a word. Make of that what you will.

Erin: Sounds like you channel your books onto the page! Fascinating! Your newest novel, The Witch of Painted Sorrows, is set in Belle Époque Paris. Why did you choose this time and setting? What is it that draws you to it?

M.J.: Several reasons. One of the more interesting ones was my great-grandmother was born  in the 1870s in Paris and I feel a great affinity for the  time and place. Also it was a time of great contrasts and that appealed to me as well.

Erin: In the last few books I’ve read by you—Seduction, The Collector of Dying Breaths, The Book of Lost Fragrances—passion and the senses have permeated your work. Whether it’s passion for perfume or art or literature, many of your books have these undertones it seems. You can tell that heart and soul were poured onto the page and into characters. How do you formulate your characters? How do you channel various individual emotions into them to make them so vibrantly authentic?

M.J.: I spend about three months making a scrapbook for my main character. Collecting all sorts of mementos of memories the character would have. I find it very hard to create these people out of thin air and need all sorts of help. I spend a lot of time focusing on each person’s passions specifically – what makes him or her feel strongly, what does he or she want desperately. I think we learn about characters from their yearnings and their obsessions and fears.

Erin: That’s amazing!! Your characters are often dealing with strong regrets, emotions, fears, etc. within the novels. It reminds me of the many emotional themes immersed in novels by the gothic authors such as Daphne du Maurier and V.C. Andrews. Do you feel that many readers can relate on some levels to these impactful issues taken on by your characters or are they more drawn to the entertainment value of being spooked, or on some level, do they just like acting as voyeurs?

M.J.: I don’t know actually but all three sound great! 🙂

Erin: ha! Yes, I’m sure there are readers in each category. What was your favorite part of writing The Witch of Painted Sorrows?

M.J.: It’s always the second draft. I love editing and adding details and atmosphere.

Erin: I know many authors get this question a lot, but I like your writing style and so I really do want to know. Who are your favorite classic writers?

M.J.: You mentioned one Daphne Du Maurier – she might be my favorite.  Then so many and so varied from F.Scott Fitzgerald to Mary Stewart with a lot of Nancy Drew from when I was a kid and Jacqueline Susann when I was a teenager.

Erin: Some of my favorites too! How do you define gothic literature (a question that is “googled” often and winds people landing on my website!)?

M.J.: It’s a tough question and hard to answer. I think its character driven suspense, heavy with atmosphere, romantically written — meaning the language itself — and a paranormal or esoteric bent.

Erin: I think your books would make great movies, some into a mini-series, or television shows. I’d be thrilled to watch them! Is there any hope that your writing will make it the visual screen?

M.J.: My novel The Reincarnationist was turned into a TV series in 2010 – Past Life. Sadly it bombed but I have hopes for more to come – that hopefully won’t bomb! 🙂

Erin: What is your favorite current fashion trend?

M.J.:  I don’t like to follow fashion – I love classics  – and  I have crazy simple tastes. I wear all black —  with an occasional white or turquoise scarf. My closet looks like a nun lives in my apartment though I doubt she’d have my shoes. I’m a bit of a shoe slut – especially black suede.

Erin: Favorite Pantone Color of 2015?

M.J.: Scuba blue

Erin: What are you currently doing, in addition to publicizing The Witch of Painted Sorrows? Do you have another book you are working on?

M.J.: Yes, I think if I didn’t have another book to work on, I might go out of my mind. I’m a real worrier and only writing stops me from obsessively worrying.

Erin: Thank you so very much for taking the time to chat with me today. I look forward to your continued writing and wish you much success, as always!

02_The Witch of Painted Sorrows CoverThe Witch of Painted Sorrows, Info and Excerpt~

Publication Date: March 17, 2015
Atria Books
Formats: Hardcover, Ebook
Pages: 384

Genre: Historical Mystery

GoodReads Link



Possession. Power. Passion. International bestselling novelist M.J. Rose creates her most provocative and magical spellbinder yet in this erotic, gothic novel set against the lavish spectacle of 1890s Belle Époque Paris.

Sandrine Salome runs away to her grandmother’s Parisian mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insits it’s dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine’s deepest desires.

Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threaten – her cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She’s become possessed by La Lune: A witch, a legend and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse.

This is Sandrine’s “wild night of the soul,” her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love and witchery.

Praise for the novels of M.J. Rose~

The Witch of Painted Sorrows

“Rose’s new series offers her specialty, a unique and captivating supernatural angle, set in an intriguing belle epoque Paris—a perfect match for the author’s lush descriptions, intricate plot and mesmerizing storytelling. A cliffhanger ending will leave readers hungry for the next volume. Sensual, evocative, mysterious and haunting.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“A haunting tale of possession.” (Publishers Weekly)

The Collector of Dying Breaths

“Breathtaking…combines fascinating history, torrid romance and a compelling mystery into a marvelous package that will entice fans of Anne Rice and Diana Gabaldon.” (Associated Press)

“A page-turning, alluring concoction of fiction infused with fantastical yet actual history. Readers will be charmed by her well-drawn and memorable characters, and they will be mesmerized by her enchanting narrative, which takes them on a mystical and magical journey.” (Library Journal (starred))

“A terrific piece of entertainment.” (CT Post)

“Wondrously original… elegantly written. Rose manages to utterly suspend our disbelief in a book that leaves us, appropriately enough, breathless.” (Providence Journal)

“Mysterious, magical, and mythical…what a joy to read!” (Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants)


“Atmospherically romantic and perfectly toned. Classy and elegant literary seduction of the highest measure. As wondrously crafted as it is original.” (Providence Journal)

“Readers will be enchanted by M.J. Rose’s supernaturally charged novel Seduction, inspired by Victor Hugo’s self-imposed exile on the British island of Jersey in the 1850s.” (USA Today)

“Has just about everything a thriller fan could wish for.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)

“Full of well-researched history, the paranormal, and modern intrigue, this atmospheric tale of suspense is fully engrossing to those willing to suspend their disbelief.” (Library Journal (starred review))

The Book of Lost Fragrances

“A compelling page turner…Once you catch a whiff, you will be enchanted.” (Associated Press)

“M.J. Rose is a bold, unflinching writer and her resolute honesty puts her in a class by herself.” (Laura Lippman)

“The Book of Lost Fragrances resonates with spirit, blending myth with reality, tragedy with triumph, pain with joy. You’ll find yourself questioning everything you believe–and wanting more.” (Steve Berry)

“Provocative…a sweeping sense of romance [and] history.” (Cleveland Plain-Dealer)

Buy the Book~

Barnes & Noble

Author M.J. Rose, Biography~

03_M.J. Rose AuthorM.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park, and reading her mother’s favorite books before she was allowed.

She is the author of more than a dozen novels, the co-president and founding board member of International Thriller Writers, and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: AuthorBuzz.com. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut. Visit her online at MJRose.com.

Connect with M.J. Rose on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Goodreads.

Sign up for M.J. Rose’s newsletter and get information about new releases, free book downloads, contests, excerpts and more.

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Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @MJRose @AtriaBooks

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M. J. Rose’s The Collector of Dying Breaths Left Me Mesmerized by the Scent of Obsession

Gorgeous Cover!!!

Gorgeous Cover!!!

The Collector of Dying Breaths, by M.J. Rose, Review~

Completely absorbed in exquisite storytelling, reading M.J. Rose’s The Collector of Dying Breaths kept me captivated to the point I didn’t want to have to go to sleep, and in the morning, I forgot to eat breakfast.  I did have my coffee though, the steaming red cup held in one hand, while the other held the book with the gorgeous, also red, cover open to where my eyes were glued. Transported to another world, I didn’t even smell my usually glorious creamy and pungent aroma, but rather was intoxicated by the words within the  novel, and her description of flowery scents, of her newest story.

The novel juxtaposes between the mid-1500s with the story of Italian orphan Rene le Florentine, who first is the apprentice of a highly-regarded monk and then the perfumer of Catherine de Medici, and a modern day story of Jac L’Etoile, a single woman who is mourning her brother and has inherited the prestigious L’Etoile perfumery.  It brings the obsession of the past, as well as its mysteries, to the future in a very calculated, yet seemless way that entranced me from the start.

The modern story is set in Fontainebleau, France, but the past begins in Italy and descends into the time that Catherine de Medici becomes Queen of France. It begins with a monk who is trying to capture dying breaths in little glass bottles in hopes of bringing a person lost back to life. When the monk dies, Rene is passed on the desire, and soon it becomes his only thought, to attempt and succeed at this experiment.  In the meantime, after Catherine saves his life he is put to the task of also creating perfumes-and poisons-for her.  His most fervent work, though, is with reanimating the dying breaths and this creates a suspenseful mystery that centuries later ensnares our modern era mythologist Jac to become involved in also. Suddenly the thought of past lives and our associations with ancestors become not so hard to understand or believe.

I was absolutely enthralled by this story and didn’t want to stop turning page after page, even to get anything done on my busy to-do list. It was truly an escapist type of book–you know, one that allows you to forget reality and immerse yourself in the story and the mystery as the suspense builds. The beautiful imagery and descriptions of smells added to the endearing quality of the book, as well as wonderful character development. M.J. really set the scene well on every page of the book so I felt completely lost in the story–both time and place.

Earlier in the year her novel, Seduction, was Suspense Magazine’s book of the 2013, but I think that The Collector of Dying Breaths is even better. Well, to me, I know it was better. I am happy to read this book again, even considering the fact that I rarely want to read a book twice.

By intertwining mythology, alchemy, passion, and lush prose she brings an underlying eerie feel to the book that kept my arm hair standing on end in anticipation and a desire to peek deeper into the story. As readers, we are compelled to see that there is a fine line between obsession and passion. Throw in all the thrilling mysteries that Jac set to uncover as she also rekindles romance with Griffin, a man she’s always loved but had let go, and the novel can’t be more well-rounded or complete.

M.J. Rose writes a MUST HAVE book if you want an excellent one to dive into for a weekend you expect to not come up for air. Her work of introducing us to new, modern gothic tales of reincarnation and connections of past lives to present lives, as well as spirits of our ancestors connecting our own puzzles, is amazing. She offers us tangible stories that allow us to really think about the world around us and the legacies we leave.

The House of L’Etoile might hold fast on not using vanilla so that the perfume isn’t like candy, but The Collector of Dying Breaths was certainly like melting a decadent caramel on your craving tongue. 5 stars!

The Collector of Dying BreathsThe Collector of Dying Breaths, Synopsis~

Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Atria Books
Hardcover; 384p
ISBN-10: 1451621531

From one of America’s most imaginative storytellers comes a passionate tale of love and treachery, spanning the days of Catherine de Medici’s court to the twenty-first century and starring a woman drawn back, time and again, to the past.

In 1533, an Italian orphan with an uncanny knack for creating fragrance is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. To repay his debt, over the years René le Florentine is occasionally called upon to put his vast knowledge to a darker purpose: the creation of deadly poisons used to dispatch the Queen’s rivals.

But it’s René’s other passion—a desire to reanimate a human breath, to bring back the lives of the two people whose deaths have devastated him—that incites a dangerous treasure hunt five centuries later. That’s when Jac L’Etoile—suffering from a heartache of her own—becomes obsessed with the possibility of unlocking Rene’s secret to immortality.

Soon Jac’s search reconnects her with Griffin North, a man she’s loved her entire life. Together they confront an eccentric heiress whose art collection rivals many museums and who is determined to keep her treasures close at hand, not just in this life but in her next.

Set in the forest of Fontainebleau, crisscrossing the lines between the past and the present, M.J. Rose has written a mesmerizing tale of passion and obsession. This is a gothic tale perfect for fans of Anne Rice, Deborah Harkness, and Diana Galbadon.

Praise for The Collector of Dying Breaths

“History, mystery, ambition, lust, love, death and the timeless quest for immortality…a riveting tale of suspense.” – B.A.Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of The Art Forger

“Mysterious, magical, and mythical…what a joy to read!” – Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author

Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

Author M. J. Rose, Biography~

M.J. RoseM.J. Rose is the international best selling author of fourteen novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio.

Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors – Authorbuzz.com.

The television series “PAST LIFE,” was based on Rose’s novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype. She is also the co-founder of Peroozal.com and BookTrib.com.

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

For more information on M.J. Rose and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/collectorofdyingbreathstour

Tour Hashtag: #DyingBreathsTour



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