Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Please Welcome My Guest...

Please welcome my guest, Paula Martin.  

Paula had some early publishing success in her twenties with short stories and four contemporary romance novels, 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 has had three romance novels published, ‘His Leading Lady’ in June 2011, ‘Fragrance of Violets in February 2012’ and ‘Changing the Future’ in May 2012. Another novel will be published in November 2012 and she is currently working on two more romances.  She lives near Manchester in North-West England, and has two daughters and two grandsons. Apart from writing, she enjoys visiting new places and has travelled extensively in Britain, mainland Europe, the Middle East, America and Canada. Her favourite places are the English Lake District and Ireland. She’s also interested in musical theatre and tracing her family history.  

Where do you get your ideas?

This is a question I’m often asked, and I invariably have to say, “I’m not sure.” For most of my novels, I start with a vague idea about one character, or sometimes two people, and my mind asks ‘What if …?’ The story then develops from there.

I can’t usually pinpoint the moment when a seed plants itself in my mind, but in the case of my November release, ‘Her Only Option’ I can tell you exactly when it was conceived.

On the afternoon of Thursday 7th October 2010, I was on the sundeck of a Nile cruise ship. It was moored at Aswan, after sailing upstream from Luxor, where we’d visited the Valley of the Kings. There are so many cruise ships that they have to be moored four abreast and, as they’re built to roughly the same design, their sundecks are level.

So I’m lying on my sunbed and I start to wonder if it would be possible to vault over the rails and the 3 or 4 foot gap from one cruise ship to another. Not that I’d any intention of trying it, of course. My days of vaulting anywhere are well and truly over! That evening, when we were on the sundeck again, after a visit to the bazaar in Aswan, I asked one of the friends we’d made on the cruise. He wandered across to the rail, studied the distance for a moment, and said, “Well, I wouldn’t try it now, but I could have done it easily when I was in my twenties or thirties.”

So it was possible! Until that afternoon, I’d hadn’t even thought about writing a novel set in Egypt but now my mind started working overtime. Within a short time, I’d dismissed the idea of my hero and heroine being on separate cruises because when the cruise ended, they’d have to go back home, and now I knew I wanted to keep them in Egypt. It didn’t take me long to decide that my heroine could be a cruise ship tour guide.

And what about the hero? I’d loved our visit to the Valley of the Kings earlier that week. It was the culmination of a long-held dream and more than exceeded my expectations, especially when we actually stood in Tutankhamen’s tomb. It was fairly easy, therefore, to decide that my hero could be an archaeologist, working in one of the tombs in the valley.

Of course, that was only the beginning, and I still had a long way to go before the novel finally came together. It went off in a different direction than I’d originally imagined and, in fact, the hero never did that leap over the rails. He did, however, first see the heroine lying on the sunbed of the neighbouring cruise ship.

Blurb:   Neve Dalton loves her job as a tour guide on a River Nile cruise ship as much as she values her independence. She isn’t ready to settle down with her Egyptian boyfriend, despite his repeated proposals and his father’s desire to see him married.

Nor is she ready to meet Ross McAllister, a compelling and fascinating archaeologist. She struggles against her growing attraction to him until she can no longer ignore what her heart is telling her. This is the man who sets her soul on fire.
 
When she starts receiving cryptic messages, and Ross’s work in the famous Valley of the Kings is threatened, Neve has to make a heart-breaking and life-changing decision which she feels is her only option. 

Can they discover whose enmity is forcing them apart before it’s too late?

Excerpt:  (from the scene where they meet at a party and he tells her about the first time he saw her.)

“Want some kofta?” He ladled the spicy lamb onto both their plates before moving on to the stainless steel chafer containing rice. “You and Joanne exchange ships next week; she’s on the Nadia and you’re on the Amirah. It’s a good thing I found out, otherwise I’d have had to practise vaulting over the rails between the sundecks.”

“Easier to go down to the lobby where they have the gangplanks between the ships.”

“Yeah, but not half as much fun. I even considered doing it last week when I first met you.”

He spooned rice on to her plate until she put out her hand to stop him. A vision of him vaulting the four-foot gap between the rails of the sundecks came into her mind and she gave a quick chuckle. “Last Monday I’d probably have been willing you to drop down into the gap.”

“Ouch! That bad, was it?”

She smirked. “The first impression was not good, no.”

Even as she said it, she thought of the impact his masculine body had on her when he’d stood at the rails of the Amirah. Yes, she’d been attracted, but had dismissed him as a cruise ship Casanova. Since then, what had happened? It wasn’t simply because he was the renowned archaeologist that her opinion had changed.

It was because she’d enjoyed their conversation about Ancient Egypt when they were in Senhotep’s tomb. She’d felt safe with him even when the lights failed. She’d melted at his kiss. Yes, admit it, Neve, you did. She’d been unable to stop thinking about him during the sail up to Aswan, and was thrilled when he appeared at Abu Simbel. Their felucca sail had been a natural culmination to what had been happening to her all week.

She’d started to fall in love with him. 

You can find all of Paula's books on Amazon at:
http://www.amazon.com/Paula-Martin/e/B005BRF9AI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1   

She loves to hear from readers and can be contacted through her website or blogs.  
Group Blog (with 3 other writers): http://heroineswithhearts.blogspot.com 

32 comments:

  1. Isn't it amazing how we come up with ideas? Love your story and I'm so jealous of your travels!

    Enjoyed the blurb and excerpt Paula! Congrats on your upcoming release :)

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  2. Thanks, Christine! My trip to Egypt really was one of the big highlights of my life that I'll never forget.

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  3. Interesting! Love to hear other writers experiences.

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  4. My best ideas seem to come at night during dreams. My first novel, Battered Wings, started with a dream. It's published through Whiskey Creek. I just started a fourth novel last week based on a dream. There must be too much paranormal stuff on t.v. because this is going to be a ghost story.

    My other two novels are based on my working years and the experiences and people I encountered during that time.

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    1. I've found some of my best ideas come at night too. It must be because we're no longer distracted by the stresses of our daily lives.

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    2. My dreams are usually too muddled up to form the basis for any novel!

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  5. I was driving home from a writers group. An idea popped into my head, unrelated to any of the readings: My sorority sisters and I tried sex, drugs and rock and roll, but it wasn't enough. Then I tried murder and found my true calling in life. 70,000 words later and I'm still fascinated with the nameless character. Yes, she kills people.

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    1. Hi Betsy,

      Your character sounds fascinating. Isn't it strange that our best ideas pop up when we least expect them to? Thanks for stopping by.

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    2. I sometimes get ideas while I'm driving, or I sort out a scene in my mind. But I've never invented someone who kills people!

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  6. That's funny that it started with thoughts of leaping out of the ship. :D That's a great story.

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    1. Hi Patty,

      I thought it was a great way to develop a thought into an idea too. Thanks for stopping in. :o)

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    2. Patty, the idea just jumped (excuse the pun!) while I was relaxing on the sundeck. No idea why I started thinking about it!

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  7. Great story, Paula! Best of luck. Love the cover!

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    1. Thanks, Toni - and yes, the cover is perfect, isn't it?

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  8. If I looked at notes I think I could tell you the moment Risk Factors plot came to me, also in 2010, Paula. It was in August, about the second week and I'd accepted a challenge from my crit group. I knew at that point I would write a book with medical content but knowing much of nothing about medicine the story line evaded me for two days. I was at work with hubby when I began asking "what do I know about medicine that would make it as a book?" Not enough, but I know a little about veterinarian medicine so that was the beginning.

    Great excerpt and I enjoyed this post, Paula.

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    1. Hi Calisa,

      Challenges from our critique groups are the best, aren't they? I've gotten several great brainstorming ideas for plots and such from those challenges. Thanks for stopping by.

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    2. I'm half way through a story with a veterinary surgeon, Calisa - and I had no experience of vet. medicine or treatments at all! Somehow I keep choosing heroes who have jobs I have to research!

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  9. My latest release, RAPTURE OF THE DEEP, came to my mind in pieces during my dreams, inspired by something I saw off the coast of the island I live on. A boat & several divers doing who knew what - turned out they were diving for geoducks (pronounced gooey-ducks) and when I went online I found the news story, dating back to the mid 1980's that started the dream. It took me another six years, but the book just released on Kindle last month. Another of my books started as a call out by the vet to my friend's mare who was having trouble foaling. Visions of him lying in the stall with his arm inside the mare to the shoulder was the opening I needed for NO BULL. The rest of the veterinarian information came from my own knowledge of working with dogs and horses.

    Good luck with your book Paula

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    1. Hi Kelsy,

      That sounds like an interesting beginning to NO BULL. Thanks for stopping by and best of luck in your writing career. :o)

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    2. Congrats on your release, Kelsey - interesting that it was inspired both by something you saw and then something you dreamt.
      Coincidentally, my vet. hero in my new story is called out to a foaling too, but in my case, I had to watch Youtube videos of mares foaling!

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  10. Hi Paula,

    I'm a little late popping in today. No morning break from the training session at the day job, just a lunch break. Your excerpt and blurb sound great. Thanks for being my guest today. :o)

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  11. Katherine, thanks so much for hosting me on your blog. I've given the link on various yahoo groups, and will put it again on FB - so hope we'll get some more visitors

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  12. You're very welcome. I posted it to my groups and FB page and FB group I belong to this morning. I'll do a re-posting on a few of them and see what happens.

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  13. I was sending an email to a friend describing how my dogs were getting along and in the middle of that email, I decided to write a story from the point of view of one of my dogs. It's in process now with a working title My Name Is Harley: By Harley the Dog, Dictated to Kate the Human.

    Other ideas come to me in my dreams - or at least in the middle of the night when my brain seems to be more creative. I've learned to keep a portable recorder near my pillow!

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    1. One of my friends has written fanfic stories from her dog's POV, Kate. Good luck with yours!

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  14. My friend Tara Hall turns her nightmares into horror stories. I can's say that I dream my stories, exactly, but I often wake up with a new idea, or with the plot structure sorted out for an idea I already had

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  15. My nightmares would probably end up as comedy stories, Jenny! I don't tend to wake up with ideas, but oh, the times I've worked something out (or thought of something fantastic for the hero to say) just before I've fallen asleep - and then can't remember it the next morning!

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  16. The other day I saw a dad and his boys crunching through a long pile of leaves in the street. It was truly the coziest, heart-warming scene and I immediately filed it away into my 'future idea' folder.

    (Check out HeroineswithHearts for the full story.)

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    1. Sometimes it's small scenes like that which have the greatest impact on us, Debra. I'm sure you'll bring that scene into one of your future novels!

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  17. I find ideas from all over, too. I read the newspaper, the obituaries, listen to people talk in coffee shops, etc. It all feeds the brain. This novel sounds really intriguing.

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  18. Viola - newspaper and magazine articles give me ideas too, but I never thought of obituaries! Now you've made me think!

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