Where to find Paula:
Monday, January 5, 2015
Write About What You Know
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 travelled extensively in Britain and Ireland, mainland Europe, the Middle East, America and Canada. Her other interests include musical theatre and tracing her family history.
Where to find Paula:
Where to find Paula:
Her contemporary romance, His Leading Lady, was first published in 2011, and has just been re-released by Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery, with a beautiful new cover.
CONTEST ALERT!!! Paula will be giving an e-copy of His Leading Lady to someone who comments. Be sure to leave your email address in your comment for a chance to win.
Write about what you know
His Leading Lady is set mainly in London’s theatre world, when small town girl Jess Harper is given the opportunity of a lifetime – to star in a new musical in the West End (the equivalent of New York’s Broadway).
We’re often advised to write about what we know – but my only experience of the West End is as a member of the audience in the theatres there.
However, I have been stage-struck for most of my life. When I was a child, my parents were Gilbert and Sullivan fans so my very first ‘theatre’ experience was The Yeomen of the Guard when I was about eight. I loved it (and still love the G and S shows). Repertory theatre was also still alive then, so my mother used to take me the weekly plays if she thought they were ‘suitable’ for me. Then, in my teens, I discovered Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals through the amateur operatic society in my home town, and I was hooked!
Although I had a few minor parts in school plays, I couldn’t really act to save my life (can’t sing or dance either!). However, in the 80s and 90s, I worked backstage with two local amateur musical theatre societies, doing either costumes or props. Also, for about ten years I produced two shows each year with the junior section of one society and I was privileged to work with a lot of very talented youngsters.
I’ve never worked in the professional theatre but I reasoned that rehearsals are pretty much the same as in the amateur world, as well as the glitches which happen with scenery and props, even when the show goes ‘live’ in front of audiences. I have a lot of memories of good (and not so good rehearsals), and of the excitement, adrenalin surges, and camaraderie of ‘show week’.
In that sense, therefore, I could write about what I knew, and the main thing I had to research was how professional shows are financed.
Of course, the background and setting of romance novels only form part of the story. Even more important are the emotions of the main character and we, as writers, can write what we know about those, since we may have experienced them ourselves – the thrill of falling in love, the uncertainty, the fear, sometimes the disappointment, even resentment and anger. Then, since romance novels should always have a happy ending, there’s also relief, joy, and happiness.
Jess Harper's life is turned upside down when her twin sister disappears a week before rehearsals are due to start for a new West End musical in which Lora has the lead role. Jess decides to impersonate her in order to save her career, despite her initial dislike of Kyle Drummond, the determined and arrogant director. The last thing she expects is the irresistible magnetism that draws them together, but there's also evidence Kyle dated Lora.
Is Jess simply a substitute, in real life as well as in the show? And what will happen when Lora eventually returns?
(Jess is posing as her sister, and she and Kyle have returned to Lora’s apartment after having dinner, the night before they are due to do a TV interview together)
Kyle followed her across the landing and panic fluttered in her stomach, like a bird caught in a net. Her fingers shook as she started to put the key in the lock, but his hand on her arm stopped her. “I’ll pick you up at nine thirty tomorrow.”
She looked round at him, genuinely taken aback. “But—but aren’t you coming in?”
The instant she said it, she could have kicked herself. Amusement flashed across Kyle’s face. “What man could turn down such an invitation? But no, tonight I must resist. You need a good night’s sleep and I—” He stopped and gave a half-laugh. “Let’s just say I have several things to sort out before tomorrow.”
Jess knew the feeling sweeping through her should be one of relief, knew she should say a casual goodnight to him and open the apartment door, but she couldn’t move. His steady gaze sent waves of heat flooding along her veins, and she tensed. When he put his hands on both her arms and started to lower his head, a warning bell shrilled in her mind but it was too late.
His mouth was against hers, soft and gentle, and so warm and tantalising that her head began to swim. A small gasp escaped from her lips and parted them slightly. Kyle’s arms went round her, and he pulled her firmly against him. His lips hardened and his tongue slid into her mouth.
She’d been kissed passionately before but nothing had prepared her for Kyle’s kiss. His mouth took possession of her in a seductive demand for surrender. As his tongue gently fondled hers, sensations she’d never known before heated her skin, ignited every nerve, and melted every bone. She gripped his shoulders, and involuntarily arched towards him, thrilling exquisitely to the firmness of his body against hers. The surrender he demanded was complete as she responded with the same fervour, wanting more, still more.
When he released her, her breathing was ragged, and she stared up at him, dazed and disorientated.
For a couple of seconds, Kyle stared back at her before blowing out his cheeks as he exhaled. “Wow, you certainly know how to make a man regret his decision.” He cupped her chin with his hand and his gentle smile softened the darkness of his eyes. “I’d better go, otherwise I never will. Goodnight, beautiful lady. Sleep well, and don’t worry about tomorrow. You’ll be fine.”
His lips brushed her mouth again in a brief parting kiss before he turned to the lift. The door opened, and she watched as he went in and pressed the ground floor button. Still numb, she raised her hand slightly. Kyle smiled again and tilted his head in farewell.
Only when she was staring at the closed lift door did she finally turn away. She let herself into the apartment, and caught sight of herself in the hallway mirror. Her face was flushed and her blue eyes stared back at her.
“Oh God,” she whispered, unable to think of anything except Kyle’s mouth, his tongue, his whole body. A quiver ran down to somewhere low in her stomach.
In the next moment, her jaw dropped and she clasped her hand to her mouth. How could she have allowed herself to respond to him so eagerly?
She tried to bring some order to her confused thoughts as she studied her reflection in the mirror. Lora’s clothes, Lora’s make-up, Lora’s hairstyle. Of course, he’d thought he was kissing Lora, and she’d reacted as Lora. Hadn’t she?
A shiver skittered through her. Playing the part didn’t explain her own response. Not only the way she’d returned his kiss, but the other treacherous feelings she didn’t even want to think about.
Relief, she told herself firmly. She’d been worrying about how the evening would end, and when he said he wasn’t coming in, relief had swept through her. Not a storm of desire, not longing, not need. Relief, nothing more.
Her mind feverishly struggled to deny what had happened to her, both physically and emotionally, and she diverted her thoughts to the TV interview. Once she’d done that, this whole charade would be over. She could go back to Rothfield and forget about Kyle Drummond.
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