Interview & Contest: Paula Martin

Paula MartinJen:  Today we welcome Paula Martin to Romancing the Book.  Paula, will you share a short bio with us?
Paula:  Paula Martin lives near Manchester in North West England and has two daughters and two grandsons.

She had some early publishing success with four romance novels and several short stories, but then had a break from writing while she brought up a young family and also pursued her career as a history teacher for twenty-five years. She has recently returned to writing fiction, after retiring from teaching, and is thrilled to have found publishing success again with her contemporary romances.

Apart from writing, she enjoys visiting new places. She has traveled extensively in Britain and Ireland, mainland Europe, the Middle East, America and Canada. Her other interests include musical theatre and tracing her family history.

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Jen: Tell us about you newest release.
Paula:  My latest release is Dream of Paris.  Here’s the 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?

This novel is based on a story I originally wrote in the 1970’s, but of course I had to do a lot of updating because the world has changed a lot since then. Today’s cell phones caused me the biggest problem because it’s so much easier for characters to keep in contact these days, and sometimes I didn’t want them to be able to contact each other! The reverse side of that is the Channel Tunnel which makes it quicker for the characters to get from the south of England to Paris.

Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Paula:  I was able to draw on my many visits to Paris for the setting there, but I also used maps, and especially Google’s street view to refresh my memory.

Part of the story is set in a high school in England, and schools have changed considerably since I took early retirement from teaching in the 1990s. Fortunately one of my daughters is now a high school teacher, so I was able to pick her brains about today’s practices and new initiatives in schools. I sent her the extracts that dealt with school issues, and she checked them for me, and also gave me some good suggestions.

Jen: What’s been the highlight of you career to this point?
Paula: The first highlight was receiving a contract for a novel when I was in my twenties. It was the first novel I had written, and was accepted by the first publisher I sent it to (Mills and Boon) – how lucky was that?

I had a long break from writing fiction after about 1980, and only came back to it five years ago. I wasn’t sure whether I’d lost my touch, so when Whiskey Creek Press accepted my romance novel ‘His Leading Lady’ in 2010, it was definitely a ‘fist in the air’; and a yell of ‘Yesss!’ from me. Since then I’ve had four more novels accepted, and all have been highlights, especially the wonderful reviews I’ve had for them.

Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you’ve received about your books?
Paula: This is one of my favorites: “The characters were believable through and through and I’m glad they were so realistic. Oftentimes romance novels leave me shaking my head, knowing that people aren’t really like the characters as they are portrayed on the page. Paula Martin created likeable, interesting characters who lead life like real people.”

This appeals to me, because it sums up what I try to do i.e. create real characters that the reader can relate to. I want them to be able to empathize with my heroines, and fall in love with the heroes.

Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Paula: Very much a pantser! I start off with two characters, an initial ‘situation’, and a vague idea of where I think the story will go. It never ceases to amaze me, though, how the characters take things into their own hands and lead me into avenues I hadn’t thought of at first. I love this ‘discovery’ part of writing a first draft. Occasionally I have to rein them back, but most times they know their story better than I do!

Jen: What’s next for you?
Paula: I’m about half way through a new story which is set in Ireland. The English heroine and American hero meet when they discover they’ve been left a house by someone neither of them has ever heard of. They work together on uncovering their individual family histories in order to find the missing link between their families and the woman who left them the house, and they make a few surprising discoveries. At the same time, they’re both fighting the mutual attraction between them, and both will eventually have to make life-changing decisions.


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25 thoughts on “Interview & Contest: Paula Martin

  1. Kathleen O says:

    I love books that have been set in romantic places I have been, but just about anywhere suits me as long as it is a wonderful story.

  2. I liked the intriguing and inconsistent Matt…very intriguing.
    Your SIP has a wonderful premise. I like the idea of an English woman and an American man with a shared inheritance from a mysterious benefactor.
    I envy your accessibility to all of Europe. America is so huge it takes days of driving to reach either of our borders. I have visited Canada twice and made it to the Mexican border, but didn’t cross over because I know the border towns can be dangerous. Shoot, I haven’t been to three of the west coast states yet, let alone Hawaii and Alaska. Maybe some day…
    Enjoyed your blog, Paula.

  3. Kim – I’ve alternated between city and country in my novels, and I like both!

    Laurie – you’re right. In the end the story matters more than the setting.

    Kathleen – I like stories set in places I’ve visited too!

    Sarah – I’ve visited a lot of different places, and set one of my novels in Egypt. I’m enjoying my current one as I’ve been to Ireland about ten times so I’m reliving my visits to Galway and Connemara!

  4. I enjoyed the post Paula. I prefer realism too, even if the concept is farfetched. There’s a difference between plausible and possible. Stories that make you believe are the best. Best luck.


  5. Rose – I like your distinction between plausible and possible.

    Thanks, Margaret – and yes, mobiles can be a pain in contemporary romances, can’t they?

    Jen – the basic story/plot was the same, but the details needed a lot of updating.

  6. Celia Yeary says:

    Hi, Paula–I just started reading Dream of Paris last night, so I haven’t gotten very far yet. So far, so good! The cover is outstanding.
    This is my first visit to this site, and it is very nice. I’ve read many reviews by this reviewer, and I’m always impressed by how professional they are.
    Good luck with your book!
    Now, I’ll try to figure out how to be interviewed on here! Love it. Well done.

  7. ana morgan says:

    Paula, you always write heroines who are real–especially in the real life, real time, real situation sense. I think all readers can relate, so it is easy to get swept up into your (their) stories.

    • Thanks, Ana! I aim to write heroines with whom readers can empathise, so they’re ‘ordinary’ young women – and I hope my readers fall in love with the hero, just as my heroines do!

  8. Hi Paula,

    I would totally agree with the person who commented that your characters are very believable and real. I could imagine any of them being my neighbor…well, if I lived in the UK instead of here in the States! :0

    Congrats on another release! You are really cranking them out. I can’t wait to read this one.

  9. Allison C says:

    I like settings in foreign countries…and Maine…and New England. Oh, heck, I just love books, so most settings will do! This book sounds wonderful, and very timely, since the manuscript I’m working on now is set in France. Your next book set in Ireland sounds wonderful and interesting!

  10. Josette Schaber says:

    I really have no preference. I read a large variety of genres, so the location would strongly depend on the type of story. I do love highlander books, so Scotland is a favorite spot, but cowboys in the West or England in a historical, or Greece for a jet setting contemporary it all has it’s place in my reading world. Thanks for the blog stop today.

  11. Erin – many thanks for popping in here!

    Thanks, Debra – and cranking might be the right word, as it describes how my brain works at time 🙂

    Allison – although I’ve visited the USA several times, I’d shy away from setting one there, for fear of getting some detail drastically wrong!

    Josette – that’s an interesting selection of places!

  12. Hi Paula, great to see you on RtB. I’ll look forward to your story set in Ireland as I come from there. Congrats on your new release.

  13. erin o'quinn says:

    Hi, Paula, this is the “other” Erin. Just wanted to chime in to tell you how pleased I am to hear about this new book. It sounds well researched—as always—and oh, so tense and romantic. And who would not love Paris as a backdrop?

    You know I love the idea of this next book, set in Ireland, where my heart is also set.

    I wish you continued success…and happiness too. Your friend, ~Erin O’Quinn

    • Hi Erin – thanks so much for popping in. I think Paris is probably the most romantic city in the world, so it’s perfect setting for a romance story!
      My Ireland story is set mainly in the west – Clifden and Connemara.

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