Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Q & A with Holly Martin

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I'm very excited to welcome wonderful author Holly Martin on Sky's Book Corner today. She answered my questions! Her newest book Fairytale Beginnings is out July 10th.


1.     Did you always dream of being a writer?

Yes, I loved writing stories as a child, my first book was a piece of fan fiction, my own version of The Animals of Farthing Wood, I also wrote a story about being shipwrecked on a desert island. I was bought a typewriter when I was ten and wrote a university romance whilst I was at university. The first book I wrote as an adult will probably never see the light of day, but it gave me a good idea of how to structure a story and what to do or not do. I love writing the kind of stories I like to read.

2.    Your newest novel Fairytale Beginnings is published this month, what is it about?

     It’s a modern day fairytale set in a huge Cinderella type castle, with Cameron the handsome lord and Milly our brave and quirky heroine. Its a gorgeous love story, with lots of laughs, secret passageways, a thousand year old curse, hidden treasure and a few skeletons in cupboards.

3.     What was your inspiration for the book? 

     Fairytale Beginnings is inspired partly from all the Famous Five books I loved as a child, with secret passageways and hidden treasure and its still something that fascinates me now, especially walking arond old houses. It’s partly inspired from many of the Disney films too.

4.     Can you tell us more about the main character(s)?

     Milly loves all things Disney and pink, her hair is pink, most of her clothes are pink and she has several pairs of sparkly converse. She is a modern day princess who is just waiting for her own magical happy ever after. She loves history and works with her company Castle Heritage to try to preserve historical properties. Gorgeous Cameron, who has recently inherited Clover Castle and the title of Lord has also inherited a mountain of debt and a castle that’s crumbling around his ears. Both of them have been hurt in the past but they have to get past that if they are ever to have any hope of getting their own happy ending.

5.     The title is very intriguing ;) Will the story be like a fairytale with princes, castles and more?

     Yes, I wanted something completely magical for this story. It has all the ingredients from all the fairytales and Disney films we loved as children but with lots of humour thrown in too.

6.    Who is your ultimate book boyfriend?

     Aven Ellis writes the most gorgeous heroes that stay with you long after you have finished the book, they are sweet, kind, funny, sexy as hell and I love getting lost in one of her books. If I had to choose one of her men I think it would be Harrison from Waiting for Prince Harry or Nate from The Definition of Icing, both ice hockey heroes.

7.    You can have Harrison, Nate's mine ;) I absolutely loved One Hundred Proposals and it’s sequel One Hundred Christmas Proposals, can you tell us more about them? How did you come up with the idea?

I love this story, Harry is probably my favourite of all my male characters. I don’t know where I got the idea from. I’d seen somewhere on the internet about a company that organises proposals and the idea just came to me about how would you propose to a proposer knowing it would have to be something really romantic. And I thought what better way to propose than by doing it one hundred times?

8.     Where and when do you write your stories?

     I write every day, normally around two thousand words a day. I find this helps to keep my mind in the right frame. If I take a few days break I find it really hard to get back into the swing of things. I normally write at night, when its really quiet and there are no distractions. I write in my conservatory which is bright and has a lovely view over the garden during the day. It also means I can sit by the open door in the summer. I love working in a breeze but I can’t write outside because the sun on my laptop would be too bright.  I also need a desk. I’ve written on my bed, on the sofa, in a recliner, at the dining table but none of them are particularly good writing places.

9.     What do you do and enjoy when you’re not writing? 

     I love to read and I don’t get enough time to do that. Seeing my friends, going for walks, watching movies at the cinema.

10.  You also write books as Amelia Thorne, how are they different from your Holly Martin books?

Not that different at all. Initially I wrote under Amelia because my first two Holly Martin books didn’t have any sex in and Amelia’s books did. Apart from that they were exactly the same with the same silly sense of humour and farcical disasters. People even approached me on Twitter who didn’t know and asked if it was me because the silliness was the same. Now some of my Holly Martin books have sex in too, so Amelia has merged with Holly now.

11.  Beneath the Moon and the Starts was your first Amelia Thorne book, how did you develop the story?

I just wanted to do something that was a bit different, there are hundreds of books out there about cakes and sweets and ice cream and I didn’t want to be another one of those books, not that there is anything wrong with those books, I love them, I just wanted to do something different with my heroine’s job. I saw a TV programme about chainsaw carving and the idea was born. Then there was a lot of stuff in the news about Banksy and Dangerdust who are secret artists, their work just appears in streets and buildings and I thought that Joy could be a secret chainsaw carver.

12.  Tied Up With Love came out at the beginning of this year, what is it about?

I love this story. I was flicking through TV channels one night and I saw a programme about a couple who wanted to spice up their sex life by staging a fake kidnapping. The wife knew she was going to be kidnapped so it was all prearranged and they got this company in to do the kidnapping, an actual kidnapping agency. My first thought was, this is a bit weird, but with two consenting adults any kind of role play goes. My second thought was, there must be a lot of people who do this for there to be a company who provides a kidnapping service and my third thought was, they would have to be really careful not to accidentally kidnap the wrong woman. And that’s where the idea came from. Izzy, my heroine is minding her own business when she is grabbed and bundled into a van. She of course thinks it’s a real kidnapping and when the kidnappers realise their mistake they are horrified. They take her back so the boss can deal with the mistake and that’s where Izzy meets Ethan Chase and the chemistry is hot. Although the story is set against the backdrop of the kidnapping company, its not what the story is about, its about the love story between Ethan and Izzy and how they must put their pasts and insecurities behind them to be able to move on with their future.

13.  If you could switch places with a characters from a book, who would it be and why?

I’d love to be Hermione Granger, go to Hogwarts, do all those spells, see the magic. I’d also like to swap places with Kylie in Waiting for Prince Harry so I could marry Harrison instead of her.

14.  What books have influenced your life the most?

I love Jill Mansell books and it was years of reading her books that inspired me to write my own, feel good happy books that make people smile.

15.  What are you working on at the moment?

I have two books coming out at Christmas which are both set in the seaside town of White Cliff Bay. The books are not sequels and can be read in any order with completely different characters but they follow the same timeline leading up to the annual Christmas Eve ball. This has been a little bit tricky because if it rains one day in the first book I have to make sure that it rains that day in the second book. I’m excited about people reading them both as they will see tiny links between the two books.

16.  What do you enjoy most about writing?

I love writing romance stories with wonderful men and normal not supermodel women, I love writing stories where the love story is so sweet, so gorgeous you know that the couple will be together forever. And I love a happy ending. Life is hard enough so people want to escape into a book that will leave them with a huge smile on their face and I love being able to do that for my readers.

17.  Pick three authors you want to have dinner with and tell us why.

Aven Ellis because we speak every day and yet we’ve never met. JK Rowling because her books are just incredible and I’d love to have a chance to ask her a million potter type questions and probably Shakespeare just so I could ask him if he really did write all those plays.

18.  The Guestbook is special and unique. How did you come with the concept of the book?

I knew I had to write something different because my normal romcoms weren’t grabbing enough attention from the publishers, so I had to do something a bit different. I was staying in a little B&B at the time with work and they had one of these old fashioned Guestbooks in there. I flicked through and some people had left huge comments about which restaurants they had eaten at and what they had did and it stuck me that these were tiny snapshots of people’s lives. Admittedly my Guestbook is not like any guestbook I have ever come across, but I wanted to see if a story could be told just from the messages. What I ended up with was lots of different stories, not just of the main character Annie but all the guests too.

19.  You also write paranormal stories, what makes them special in your eyes?

I love my Sentinel Series because just like Harry Potter, anything is possible, Eve can move things with her mind, move from one place in the world to another at the blink of an eye, she can fly, shoot fire from her hands, she is the coolest female character I know. At the time I was a teacher and there were hundreds of books for teenage boys with cool male leads, like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Alex Rider, Young James Bond and some of these had cool female sidekicks like Hermione but there were hardly any books where the female was the lead character. Girls loved these books too and I wanted to be able to give them a female character to have fun with too and show them its not just boys that get to have adventures and save the world, girls can too.

20.  Coffee or tea? Tea

21.  Paperback or e-reader? Ereader because I can take hundreds of books with me on the train or plane or to the beach and not just one.

22.  Mountains or the sea? Sea
23.  Summer or winter? Both
24.  Sweet or salty? Sweet

About the author

     Holly lives in sunny Bedfordshire in a house with round windows. She studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by a even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years' service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the 
     classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.

Holly has been writing for 6 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance 2012. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology in 2013. She won the Carina Valentine's competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014.

     You can contact her at hollymartin.writer@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter @hollymartin00
Fairytale Beginnings

     Fairytale Beginnings: A heartwarming romantic comedy

Love is an open door…except when it keeps slamming in your face.

Hopeless romantic Milly Rose has had her fair share of heartbreak. Obsessed with all things Disney, she refuses to give up on finding her Prince Charming – he’s out there somewhere, isn’t he?

When Milly is given a job to investigate the origins of an historical building in the village of Clovers Rest, she’s not sure what to expect. What she discovers takes her breath away - a beautiful real life Cinderella castle, complete with turrets, a magnificent drawbridge AND a very handsome owner…Cameron Heartstone.

As Milly and Cameron begin to unearth the secrets of Clover Castle, they can’t ignore the intense chemistry building between them. But they’ve both been hurt badly before. Can they take a big leap of faith and find their own happily-ever-after? 

Amazon UK - Amazon US - Goodreads

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