Last August I did a blog post about the wonderful romance novel, His Leading Lady, set in the West End of London and today I am thrilled to be interviewing the author of this book, Paula Martin.
First of all Paula, can I ask how you become an author?
In the strict sense of the word, I became an author when my first novel was published (over 40 years ago!) by Mills and Boon. However, I’ve always been a writer since I started writing stories when I was about eight or nine. I didn’t make any conscious effort to become a writer, it’s as much a part of me as breathing. By my mid-teens, I’d started to write romances (very tame ones, by today’s standards!), and wrote my first full-length novel in my 20’s. At the time, I was reading a lot of romances and decided my novel was as good (and in some cases, better!) than the ones I read, so I sent it off. I fully expected a rejection, but they accepted it.
You have recently published the romance, ‘His Leading Lady’. Could you tell us something about it?
The story is set mainly in London’s West End theatre world. Jess Harper’s predictable life is turned upside down when she discovers that Lara, her twin sister, has disappeared. It’s a week before rehearsals are due to start for a new musical in which Lora has the lead role, so Jess decides to pose as her sister in order to save Lora’s career. This brings her into contact with arrogant theatre director, Kyle Drummond. Attraction sparks between them but there’s also evidence that he’d been dating Lora. Jess starts to wonder if she is simply a substitute – in real life as well as the show.
What inspired you to write ‘His Leading Lady’?
I’ve always been ‘stage-struck’ even though I can’t act, sing or dance. I really admire (and envy!) those who can. For many years, I worked backstage with our local Musical Theatre Society, and also directed two shows each year with the Junior Section of the society. It was hard work, but great fun too, especially during adrenalin-packed show week.
Somewhere I had an idea about a romance between a leading lady and her director, and was able to use some of my experiences in the amateur world to give what I hope is a reasonably authentic setting for ‘His Leading Lady’.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve just completed, and am now in the process of editing, a new novel which is based in Egypt. I went on a Nile cruise last year, which was wonderful, and knew I had to set a novel there. The heroine is a cruise ship tour guide; the hero is an archaeologist in the famous Valley of the Kings near Luxor. They fall in love (of course!) but things get complicated when old feuds (about which they knew nothing) threaten their happiness.
When you are not writing, what do you like doing in your free time?
I love travelling, both to familiar and new places. Since I took early retirement from teaching, I’ve travelled extensively in Britain, Ireland, mainland Europe, the USA and Canada, and the Middle East.
I also run an over-50’s group and plan a programme of visits, pub lunches and social/quiz evenings for them. That’s my main social activity.
I’ve also done a lot of family history research and found out lots of fascinating information about my ancestors.
For relaxation, a good book or a good movie keeps me quite happy.
What advice do you have for any aspiring authors out there?
First of all, read, read, read! In my opinion, you can learn more about how to write (and sometimes how not to write) by reading novels than from any of the ‘how to write’ books.
The other thing I’d say is: A first draft is not a finished manuscript. It’s only the start of the process of writing. Go back and be critical. Don’t accept anything less than your best. One of the best quotes I’ve ever read is: ‘That’ll do’ is not an option for a writer.
Pay attention to spelling, punctuation, sentence construction and grammar. Write a good story and, even more important, write it well.
Where can we buy your books?
'His Leading Lady' is available as either e-book or paperback from http://whiskeycreekpress.com and also from Amazon.
‘Fragrance of Violets’ will be available from the same sources in February 2012.
Thank you very much Paula for telling us about yourself and your book. Let us know when 'Fragrance of Violets' comes out, it sounds like a great read!
About the authorPaula 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.