Saturday, February 9, 2013

Day 9: Celebrate Amore

Paula Martin

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.

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!/paulamartinromances

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!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Valentine's Day isn't over-commercialized in the UK? Good for you guys!

Paula Martin said...

It's becoming more so, Alex, but not as much as in America, I think.

Paula Martin said...

Cate, thanks so much for having me as your guest - and exactly at the right time, as 'Dream of Paris' was actually released yesterday!

Nancy Jardine said...

That was a great excerpt! It sounds like another great one, Paula! Best wishes with the launch.

Writercat59 said...

I loved Paris when I visited in 1985. Wish I'd been able to see more of but I was with a guy who only cared about going to fly fishing shops. Who wants to go to Paris to see that? Geesh! That relationship fizzled fast.

Your book sounds great, Paula. Would love to read it. Romance and Paris. What's not to like?


LK Hunsaker said...

Congrats on your release, Paula! Although not a huge fan of Paris, I love that you made the place such a part of the story. :-) Best of luck with it!

Yolanda Renee said...

I so want to go to Paris. I did so much research on it for my book that I fell in love with the city, heck the entire country.

I can't wait to read your book, congratulations Paula!

Great interview Cate, as always!

Paula Martin said...

Thanks so much, Nancy :-)

Cathy, you really must visit Paris again - there's so much more than fly fishing shops LOL!

Thanks, LK - though I'm wondering how anyone can NOT love Paris!

Paula Martin said...

Yolanda, I've been to Paris more times than I can remember, but it's as magical every time as it was the first time!

Sarah J. McNeal said...

I loved the mystery of your Valentine card signed with a question mark. It's good to still have a mystery or two in your life.
I love the background of Paris for your new book.It looks like a very romantic story and it's coming out at just the right time, too.
I wish you all the best.

LK Hunsaker said...

Ah Paula, I was there only a couple of days on a whirlwind Europe train tour. I did love the Louvre! Parisians are pretty stand-offish, at least in 1990 they were. But.. I lived in Massachusetts for a few years and was very uncomfortable with the people (talk about stand-offish!). After I got used to it, though, I just loved it there. Could be the same with Paris, given the chance. ;-)

Paula Martin said...

Thnaks, Sarah - it's a long time since I had any Valentine card, signed or unsigned! Now my 'romance' is all in my imagination (and in my books!)

LK - you need a lot longer than 2 days in Paris! I love the Louvre building, but it's just too big! I prefer the Impressionist gallery in the Musee d'Orsay, and I love the sense of history you get on the Ile de la Cite. Oh, I could go on for ever about everything I love about Paris!

Debra St. John said...

Paula, I love romance, but I've always kind of thought of Valentine's Day as a "Hallmark Holiday". Not quite so bad as Sweetest Day in the fall, but getting pretty close with all of the commercialism.

Congrats on your new release! I was lucky enough to get to visit Paris about fifteen years ago. I can't wait to 'relive' my trip through the pages of your book!

Paula Martin said...

It's starting to become a little like that here, Debra, but more scaled down that your shops, I think.
Hope you'll enjoy revisiting Paris in my story!

Celia Yeary said...

Paula--it appears you have another good novel about love. And Paris? What could be better this time of the year, the time of lovers?

I've been to Paris twice and each time was very different. It's hard to explain--but it almost seemed like two different cities. Even my experiences at Notre Dame were vastly different.

We found the Parisians, when in a group, rude and pushy. But more than once when we asked for help, we found them overly eager to help and speak with us. Very odd, but that's what happened.
My husband and I, in roaming around by ourselves, became hopelessly lost and turned around down in the subway tunnels. With our hand signals and few words of French, we asked a well-dressed handsome couple for directions. They got on the subway with us! And that's not where they were going, but they rode with us through two changes, and then returned to where they were going. I'd say that was above and beyond the call of duty.
So, we do have wonderful memories there.
Much luck with your new release.

Paula Martin said...

I love Paris, as you know, Celia, and have never had any problems with the Parisians. On my very first visit to Paris when I was 18 (and on my own!), I ventured into a very posh restaurant (without realising!) and got into conversation with an equally posh Parisian lady, who then insisted on paying for my meal - and it wasn't cheap either!

Taryn Kincaid said...

I really MUST get a new passport!

Paula Martin said...

LOL, Taryn :-) Buy my book instead and have a 'virtual' trip to Paris!

Cate Masters said...

Congrats Paula! Sounds like a great read. :)

Paula Martin said...

Thanks so much, Cate, and I've really enjoyed being your guest today!

Liz Ringrose said...

Lovely interview, Paula :-)

Paula Martin said...

Many thanks, Liz :-)

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Cate and Paula,
Lovely interview. I passed through Paris only once, wish I could have stayed more than the one night.
I would love to go back, but it s a long way for me. Lucky you Paula, you can just skip across the channel.

Best wishes


Jenny Twist said...

We spent our honeymoon in Paris. It was wonderful. I especially remember eating roast chestnuts outside Notre Dame and having a wonderful gourmet meal on the Bateau Mouche, saiing past all the beautiful buildings, dramatically underlit.
Perfect beginning to a perfect marriage.

Paula Martin said...

Thanks, Margaret - and yes, I could get to Paris in jst a few hours, even from here in the north of England.

Jenny - sounds perfect! I love the evening sail on the Seine (and my characters do too!)