Cate: Yay, Paula is here to help us Celebrate Amore. Paula, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Paula: Hi, Cate, thanks so much for having me on your Valentine’s blog celebration. I’m a contemporary romance author from the UK. I live in North West England, and have two daughters and two grown-up grandsons. I had some early publishing success in my 20’s with three romances published by Mills and Boon/Harlequin and one by Robert Hale, but then my family and my career as a teacher left me with hardly any time for writing for many years, apart from a few short stories and articles. I came back to writing novels about five years ago, and have had four contemporary romances published in the last two years, with another one due out this month.
Cate: Congrats! What do you love most about Valentine’s Day?
Paula: It’s a long time since I celebrated Valentine’s Day as I have had no significant ‘other’ for many years, but I love all the cuddly Valentine toys which are so cute.
Cate: Aren't they? :) Do you have a favorite Valentine’s Day memory?
Paula: When I was sixteen, I received a Valentine card signed simply with a big question mark. I never discovered who sent it, but always hoped it was from a boy called David. I was crazy about him at the time but was too scared to ask him, in case he said no! Teenage love can cause such angst, can’t it?
Cate: Love that story. :) Do you have any romantic Valentine’s Day traditions?
Paula: Valentine’s Day is not as ‘big’ here in the UK as it seems to be in America, but people still buy cards (either jokey or romantic), and maybe flowers, chocolates, or other gifts, for their partners.
Cate: Tell us about your latest release, and where readers can find it online.
Paula: My new novel, due for release this month, is ‘’Dream of Paris’ – and Paris, of course, is known as the City of Love, and is probably the most romantic place for lovers. My hero and heroine visit Paris twice in the story, and each time is a life-changing experience for them both.
It will be available on Amazon, B&N, and other outlets, in both e-book and print format. Here’s the link to my Amazon author page, which will contain the details of my new book as soon as it’s released. http://www.amazon.com/Paula-Martin/e/B005BRF9AI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Cate: Very cool - great theme! Care to share a blurb or excerpt?
Blurb: Anna Richards has a dream of going to live and study in Paris, but when Matthew Carlton comes into her life, her dream changes direction. Attraction sparks between them, but Matt’s behaviour is strangely inconsistent. Anna is shocked when she discovers the reason and is sure there is no future for them. Can Paris work its magic and make her dream come true?
Matt has kissed Anna for the first time and now they’re in a small bistro on the Left Bank.
Arnaud brought them a bottle of wine without Matt having to order it.
She looked across the table at him, afraid he was about to tell her the kiss meant nothing.
“Paris has gone to our heads, hasn’t it?” he said with a small smile.
She lowered her eyes and stroked her fingers up and down the stem of her glass. “Is that all it was?” Slowly she was returning to reality, even though she tried to cling to the dream.
Her heart jerked when he put his hand very gently around hers. “Do you want it to be any more?”
She raised her head again until her eyes met his. “Do you?”
He studied her for a long moment, and then sighed. “We’re playing with words, aren’t we? All I hope is you won’t hate me when you look back at this.”
She frowned, not understanding. “What do you mean? Why should I hate you?”
“I’m worried you might think I’ve been taking advantage of you.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I know how much you love Paris, Anna, and Paris is a very romantic city.”
“And you think that’s why this has happened? That we’ve been swept away by the atmosphere here?”
“I don’t know.” He drained his glass and reached for the bottle again. “I suppose we won’t know, either of us, until we get home, will we?”
“I know already.” She held out her glass for him to pour more wine, and went on, “But what about you? Has it just been the magic of Paris for you?”
“So what has it been?”
The silence seemed to go on forever. The candle on the table sent flickering shadows across Matt’s face and she knew he was deep in thought. She looked down and, as she took another sip of wine, she saw her hand was trembling.
“If you want the honest truth, I’ve wanted to kiss you for weeks.”
Her head shot up. “What?
“You mean you didn’t realise?”
“No, I—For weeks, you said?”
“Yes.” He smiled. “The first time was when we played that crazy tennis game—and the prom night, of course, and after the staff meeting—and ever since we arrived in Paris.”
She stared at him, hardly able to believe what he’d said. All the time she’d been thinking it was an impossible dream, he’d been wanting to kiss her. “Why didn’t you?”
His gaze met hers for a few tension-filled moments, and then, without breaking eye-contact, he reached to push a stray strand of hair back from her cheek. His soft fingers traced the outline of her ear as he tucked it behind, and stayed near her earlobe, gently caressing the side of her neck with his fingertips
His eyes softened. “Because I’ve been trying not to fall in love with you.”
Cate: What inspired you to write about the theme?
Paula: I’ve always loved Paris, ever since my first visit there when I was in my teens, and even though I’ve been there many times since then, it has never lost its magic. I actually wrote this story about thirty years ago, and decided to rewrite it. Of course, the world has changed a lot since then, so I had to do a lot of updating. The biggest problem is nowadays everyone has a cell phone, which makes it much easier for people to keep in contact – and causes a problem when you want the hero and heroine not to be able to contact each other! Other changes worked more in my favour, especially the Channel Tunnel which has made it so much easier, and quicker, to get from England to France.
Cate: Anything else you’d like to share?
Paula: Readers can find me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/#!/paulamartinromances
and at my blog http://paulamartinpotpourri.blogspot.co.uk/
My website is http://paulamartinromances.webs.com/
Cate: Oo, you lucky readers! Paula has a surprise for you. :)
Paula: I’m happy to give a PDF copy of ‘Dream of Paris’ to one lucky commenter (as soon as it is released this month)
Thank you again for having me as your guest – and Happy Valentine’s Day!
Cate: Thanks for being part of the fun! Happy Valentine's Day to you!