Sunday, June 6, 2010

Paula Martin in the Author Spotlight

Cate: Please welcome Paula Martin. Paula, will you please share a short bio with us?
Paula: Thanks for having me as guest, Cate.
I’ve lived in the North West of England all my life, taught history at High Schools for half my life, took early retirement and now wonder how I ever had time to go out to work.  I’m happily divorced, with two daughters and two grandsons, aged 22 and 16. 
I had some publishing success in my 20’s and 30’s with four romance novels published by Mills & Boon/Harlequin.  The demands of young family and teaching career then took up most of my time although I did some short stories which were published in various magazines.  For five years, in the 90’s, I had a slot each month in the Girl Guiding magazine where I wrote articles with ideas for activities with Rainbows, Brownies and Guides.  I returned to fiction-writing once I retired, beginning with fan-fiction about my favourite TV show, The West Wing.  A serendipity meeting with a best-selling writer on a Civil War battlefields trip in the USA in 2008 prompted me to start writing romance novels again.  

Cate: Very cool. Someday I hope to visit England! Tell us about His Leading Lady and where it's available.
Paula: His Leading Lady’ is published in June.  It’s available from Whiskey Creek Press

Cate: Congrats! Please tantalize us with a story blurb or excerpt.
Paula: Jess Harper’s predictable life is turned upside down when she discovers that Lora, her twin sister, has disappeared.  It’s just a week before rehearsals are due to start for a new West End musical in which Lora has the lead role.  Jess decides to pose as her sister in order to save Lora's career.  This brings her into close contact with arrogant theatre director Kyle Drummond.  Attraction sparks between them but there’s also evidence that he had been dating Lora.  So is Jess simply a substitute – in real life as well as in the show?  And what will happen when Lora eventually returns?   

(Jess is posing as her sister and she and Kyle have returned to Lora’s apartment after having dinner, the night before they are due to do a TV interview together)
          He followed her across the landing and her nerves fluttered like a bird caught in a net.  Her hand shook as she started to put the key in the lock, then Kyle’s hand on her arm stopped her.  “I’ll pick you up at nine thirty tomorrow.”
          She looked at him, genuinely taken aback.  “But – but aren’t you coming in?”
          The instant she said it, she could have kicked herself.  An amused look flashed across his face.  “What man could resist such an invitation?” he said with a quick grin.  “But no, tonight I really must resist.  You need a good night’s sleep and I –” He stopped and gave a half-laugh.  “Well, let’s just say that I have a few things to sort out before tomorrow.  I’ll see you at nine thirty.”
          Jess knew the feeling sweeping through her should be one of relief, knew she should say a casual goodnight to him and open the apartment door.  But the look in his eyes sent waves of heat rising inside her.  She couldn’t move, even when he put his hands on her arms and started to lower his head.  A warning bell shrilled in her head but by then Kyle’s mouth was against hers and it was too late.
          His mouth was soft at first but the feel of it, so warm and tantalising, sent her head into a spin.  A small gasp escaped from her lips and parted them slightly.  Kyle’s arms went round her, and he pulled her firmly against him.  His lips hardened and his tongue slid into her mouth. 
          She’d been kissed passionately before but nothing had prepared her for Kyle’s kiss.  His mouth took possession of her in a seductive demand for surrender.  As his tongue gently fondled hers, sensations that she had never known before scorched through her, ignited every nerve and melted every bone.  She gripped his shoulders, her head went back and involuntarily she arched towards him, thrilling exquisitely to the feel of his hard body against hers.  The surrender he demanded was complete as she responded with the same fervour, wanting more, still more.
          When he released her, her breathing was ragged and she looked up at him, dazed and disorientated.
          For a couple of seconds, Kyle looked just as stunned.  Then he took a deep breath and gave her a wry grin.  “You certainly know how to make a man regret his decision!”  He cupped her chin with his hand and even that burned through her and then gave her a tender smile.  “I’d better go, otherwise I never will.  Goodnight, beautiful lady.  Sleep well.  And don’t worry about tomorrow.  You’ll do just fine.”
          His lips brushed her mouth again in a brief parting kiss and then he turned to the lift.  The doors were still open and Jess watched as he went in and pressed the ground floor button.  Still totally numb, she raised her hand slightly.  Kyle smiled and tilted his head in farewell.
          Only when she was staring at the lift doors did she finally move.  The key was still in the lock and she let herself into the apartment.  She closed the door behind her, then caught sight of herself in the hallway mirror.  Her face was flushed and her blue eyes stared back at her wildly.
          “Oh God,” she whispered as she brought both her hands up to her cheeks.  For a few moments she couldn’t think straight.  All she could feel was Kyle’s mouth, his tongue, his whole body.  A quiver ran down to somewhere deep inside her.
          In the next moment her eyes widened with horror.  How could she have let him kiss her like that? 
          She looked at herself again in the mirror and tried to calm her thudding heart.  Lora’s clothes, Lora’s make-up, Lora’s hairstyle.  Of course, he’d thought that he was kissing Lora, not her.  And she’d responded as Lora.  Hadn’t she?
          So that was some damn good play-acting, Jess.  Except that it didn’t explain her own response.  Not just the way she’d responded to his kiss, but all those other feelings that she didn’t even want to think about.
          Relief, she told herself firmly.  All evening she’d been worrying about how the evening was going to end, and when he’d said that he wasn’t coming in, it was simply relief that swept through her   Wasn’t it?
          Underneath, she knew there had been far more than that, but already her mind frantically tried to deny what had happened to her emotions and to her body too.  Instead, she diverted her thoughts to the TV interview.  Once she got through that, this whole charade would be over.  She could go back to Ashfield and forget that Kyle Drummond even existed.

Cate: Fantastic. Can you tell us why we're going to love your hero?
Paula: Jess dismissed Kyle as “arrogant, sarcastic, insensitive, an out-and-out male chauvinist” after their first meeting but the chemistry between them is already at work.  As she gets to know him, she discovers there’s a compassionate and caring man behind the ambitious and determined theatre entrepreneur.  This caring side has led him to put his whole reputation and career at risk to stage a new musical by an unknown writer, who happens to be – no, that would be a spoiler!  But anyway, he’s tall, dark and handsome, of course (take 15 years off Colin Firth and that’s Kyle!).  His charismatic self-assurance is combined with a certain vulnerability which makes him a real alpha/beta man, with the best qualities of both.  I love him!
Cate: I can see why! :) Tease us with one little thing about your fictional world that makes it different from others.
Paula:  The story is based mainly in London, which I know well.  I’ve always loved the theatre, especially musicals.  Although I’ve no experience of the professional theatre, I’ve worked in the amateur theatre world for many years, backstage with costumes, props or as a stage crew member.  I also directed two shows each year with the Junior Group for about ten years.  I’m fairly sure that rehearsals and the backstage atmosphere are similar in both the amateur and professional worlds, so I hope my own experience helps to lend some authenticity to my story.   

Cate: Very cool. What's next for you?
Paula: My second novel, “Fragrance of Violets” will be released by Whiskey Creek Press early next year.  The title comes from a quotation by Mark Twain:  “Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet bestows on the heel that has crushed it.”  Forgiveness is the theme of the story which is set mainly in England’s beautiful Lake District.

Blurb: Abbey Seton distrusts men, especially Jack Tremayne who destroyed their friendship when they were teenagers.  Ten years later, they meet again.  Can they put the past behind them?  Abbey has to forgive not only Jack, but also her father who deserted his family when she was young.  Jack holds himself responsible for his fiancée’s death.  He’s also hiding another secret which threatens the fragile resumption of their relationship.  Will Abbey ever forgive him when she finds out the truth? 
I’m working on a third book, “A Nile Romance”, which was inspired by a cruise on the Nile which I took last October.  It’s the story of a cruise ship tour guide and an archaeologist working in the famous Valley of the Kings, whose blossoming romance is threatened by old feuds about which neither of them was aware.    

Cate: What inspired you to draft your first story?
Paula: I actually started ‘His Leading Lady’ way back in the 70’s, wrote about 3 chapters, but then abandoned it.  When I brought it into the light again, I found I could still remember the bare bones of the plot I’d worked out thirty years earlier so I started it again.  It developed in a somewhat different way than I’d originally planned, but then that happens with every novel I write! 

Cate: Do you have a writing routine?
Paula: I’m a night-owl!  Most of my writing is done in the evening.  I sometimes wonder if that’s a hang-over from when I was working full-time and, of necessity, did all my writing in the evenings.  I keep telling myself that I could write far more if I put my mind to it during the day-time, now that I’m retired.  But old habits die hard, it seems.  I do admire those writers who can start writing at seven in the morning.  But my brain doesn’t operate like that.  When I was working full-time, my colleagues used to say ‘Don’t ask Paula anything until after ten o’clock if you want a sensible answer from her!” 

Cate: Too funny. Where can readers find you on the web?
Paula: My website is
I have a personal blog at and I’m a member of a group blog in which five of us, having chosen our writing topic for the week, all add our own thoughts about it.

Cate: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Paula: I’d love to know readers’ favourite kind of heroes and heroines.  Alpha or beta?  Dark or fair hair?  Brown or blue eyes?

Cate: Readers, Paula is giving away a book to one lucky commenter. She'll pick a winner and announce the winner here.

Thanks so much for being my guest Paula! Best of luck to you.


Cate Masters said...

Welcome Paula! I meant to say how much I like your cover - it's beautiful.

Paula Martin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paula Martin said...

Trying again - without the typos!
Thanks, Cate, I love the cover too. And thanks so much for having me 'in the spotlight'.
I'm delighted to say that 'His Leading Lady' was released on June 3rd by Whiskey Creek. There's a free read of the first chapter at

Jennifer Wilck said...

Hi Paula, I love London (I visited there as a child, and also last summer with my husband and children)! And I remember the Lake District being beautiful. Can't wait to check out that book, as well!

Paula Martin said...

Thanks for dropping in, Jennifer. I love London too, especially the West End with all the theatres. And yes, the Lake District is beautiful. I used to have a caravan there, so it became like a 'second home' to me for many years.

Ana Morgan said...

I'm fascinated by the theatre, so I'm looking forward to 'seeing' it through Jess and Kyle.

Paula Martin said...

Theatre fascinates me, too, Ana. I always loved the backstage 'atmosphere' during show week in the amateur theatre world, it was unique.

Debra St. John said...

Hi Cate and Paula,

Just dropping by to say 'hello' to both of you!

Congrats again on your release, Paula! This is the start of many wonderful things for you, I just know it!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Paula - dropping in from British Romance Fiction. Lovely interview and I do like the sound of 'His leading Lady'.

Francine Howarth said...

Hi Cate and Paula,

Fabulous interview: nicely let's the author's input shine through!

I love the cover of "His Leading Lady". It so reflects the content. And, I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a print copy. It'll go on the shelf of authors I know! ;)

best to both,

Celia Yeary said...

Hi, Paula--We have much in common, even though you live in England and I live in Texas. I taught high school (biology), took early retirement (50), and then found so much to you.
Your book sounds like a winner, and I congratulate you--I'm glad you came back fiction, es. romance. Alpha or Beta? I can never answer this question. Is there such a category as a quiet, gentle, helpful, hardworking, loyal Alpha?

Sylvia Ney said...

Hello! Cate, it's so nice to have found your blog - great job with this interview.

Paula, I can't wait to get my hands on this book. I wouldn't mind winning a copy! ;-)

Linda Swift said...

Hello Cate and Paula. Lovely blog, Cate, my first visit. And Paula, you will have to make that triplets. You, Celia, and I all share common histories, even though you're English, she's Texan and I'm Southern. Teaching, early retirement, type of writing progression.And publisher! This sounds like a wonderful book. I, too, loved the Lake District and look forward to that book also. I feel lucky today so put my name in the pot for the drawing. Linda

Margaret West said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margaret West said...

Hi Cate, great post paula. Good luck with your novels.

Paula Martin said...

Thank you all so much for visiting me 'in the spotlight' - I really appreciate your support!

Debra - love your idea about it being the start of wonderful things! Will keep my fingers crossed!

Rosemary - love you! You have been so supportive these last few days, I feel as if you're already an 'old friend' (meant in the best way of course!)

Francine - I look forward to being on the shelf of authors you know!

Celia and Linda - guess we ought to start calling ourselves The Triplets! WE all have so much in common!

Sylvia and Margaret - thanks so much for dropping in, and for your good wishes.

Nikki said...

Hi Paula, loved the interview, and congrats on your new release! it sounds great! I'd love to read it.

Hywela Lyn said...

Hi Paula and Cate

Sorry - I could have sworn I'd already popped in to say 'hello;' but looks like my comment got lost in cyberspace!

'His Leading Lady' sounds like a rivetting read!

Paula Martin said...

Thank you all for your comments! The only way I could choose a 'winner' was to write all the names on pieces of paper and get my grandson to pick one out this evening. So the winner is - (drum roll - or 15 seconds of silence as happens on all the reality shows!) - Celia Yeary!
Congrats, Celia, hope you enjoy 'His Leading Lady' which I've just sent to you!

'His Leading Lady' is available from Whiskey Creek Press (