I’m still working on writing reviews for some of the books I read in the later half of 2015. Here’s one by a fabulous author named Holly Martin. Not only did I have the privilege of reading her novel, but Holly was kind enough to participate in a little Q&A! Read on to find out why I loved her novel and to learn a bit more about the author. Please note, this interview was conducted last year before Holly’s fabulous holiday novels came out. Be on the lookout soon for my reviews on those novels too! 🙂
Fairytale Beginnings by Holly Martin
Book Blurb: Love is an open door…except when it keeps slamming in your face.
Hopeless romantic Milly Rose has had her fair share of heartbreak. Obsessed with all things Disney, she refuses to give up on finding her Prince Charming – he’s out there somewhere, isn’t he?
When Milly is given a job to investigate the origins of an historical building in the village of Clovers Rest, she’s not sure what to expect. What she discovers takes her breath away – a beautiful real life Cinderella castle, complete with turrets, a magnificent drawbridge AND a very handsome owner…Cameron Heartstone.
As Milly and Cameron begin to unearth the secrets of Clover Castle, they can’t ignore the intense chemistry building between them. But they’ve both been hurt badly before. Can they take a big leap of faith and find their own happily-ever-after?
Milly’s got pink tipped hair, sparkly pink converse and a rose tinted view on life, even though she’s been hurt in the past and experienced true loss. She’s a fun-loving Disney lover, yet she knows that fairy tales are just for stories. Cameron just inherited a huge castle that he can’t afford to keep up and maintain and he’s hired Milly to help him sort out the castle.
I loved this fairytale-like story. A little creepy, eerie almost, but the build up was amazing. I especially loved the interaction and connection that the two main characters Milly and Cameron have, like true soulmates. The format is written in first person and goes back and forth between Milly and Cameron. It’s not always my favorite format, but it really worked well for this story and Holly made it flow beautifully.
Fairytale Beginnings is a wonderful story about falling in love. It’s no surprise then, that the major theme was about finding true love and learning to trust the person your fall in love with. This isn’t your typical fairy tale, this was so much better than that!
5 glittering stars for this fanciful and suspenseful love story.
I received a free copy of this novel from NetGalley, courtesy of the author, in exchange for an honest review. Currently $2.99 on Amazon.
Interview with the Author – Holly Martin
I’m Holly Martin, I write romantic comedies and YA fantasy stories.
2. Can you give us a brief overview of your latest novel and the inspiration behind it?
Fairytale Beginnings is inspired partly from all the Famous Five books I loved as a child, with secret passageways and hidden treasure and partly from all the Disney films. It’s a modern day fairytale set in a huge Cinderella type castle, with Cameron the handsome lord and Milly our brave and quirky heroine, a gorgeous love story, lots of laughs and a few skeletons in cupboards.
3. How long did it take you to write Fairytale Beginnings? What is your writing process like?
It took me about 6 weeks to write the first draft and then about another 4 weeks to edit it all. I don’t do a lot of planning because I love it when a story takes a surprise twist during the writing, or I get an idea for a scene that might take the journey in a whole other direction. I use post it notes to help remind me what should happen when or what has happened so far in the story, but I don’t stick to these points rigidly.
4. Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
I have two books coming out at Christmas which are both set in the seaside town of White Cliff Bay. The books are not sequels and can be read in any order with completely different characters but they follow the same timeline leading up to the annual Christmas Eve ball. This has been a little bit tricky because if it rains one day in the first book I have to make sure that it rains that day in the second book. I’m excited about people reading them both as they will see tiny links between the two books.
5. What is your favorite thing about writing romance novels?
I love writing romance stories with wonderful men and normal not supermodel women, I love writing stories where the love story is so sweet, so gorgeous you know that the couple will be together forever. And I love a happy ending. Life is hard enough so people want to escape into a book that will leave them with a huge smile on their face and I love being able to do that for my readers.
6. Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes, I loved writing stories as a child, my first book was a piece of fan fiction, my own version of The Animals of Farthing Wood, I also wrote a story about being shipwrecked on a desert island. I was bought a typewriter when I was ten and wrote a university romance whilst I was at university. The first book I wrote as an adult will probably never see the light of day, but it gave me a good idea of how to structure a story and what to do or not do. I love writing the kind of stories I like to read.
7. What would you be doing if you weren’t an author?
I used to be a teacher which I loved and hated in equal measure, I loved working with the children and doing fun stuff with them to enable them to learn, I loved seeing and helping their development and watching their personalities grow, but I hated the paperwork, the marking and assessment. I could never seem to keep up with it all no matter how long or how hard I worked. After teaching for four years I left to join a historical group who did workshops in schools for children, the children would dress up, I’d dress up and we would make things from that period. The children loved it and I loved seeing the children’s passion for it. But it was very very long hours as I was travelling all over the country. So now I write full time, which I love.
8. If you could marry a fictional character who would it be?
Aven Ellis writes the most gorgeous heroes that stay with you long after you have finished the book, they are sweet, kind, funny, sexy as hell and I love getting lost in one of her books. If I had to choose one of her men I think it would be Harrison from Waiting for Prince Harry or Nate from The Definition of Icing, both ice hockey heroes.
9. Who are the authors that inspire you and what genres do you enjoy reading?
I love reading romance, romantic comedies, gorgeous romances or even sexy romance, that’s pretty much the only genre that I like to read, but nothing that will make me weep endlessly. My favourite authors in this genre are Aven Ellis, Jill Mansell, Lisa Dickenson, Rosie Blake, Rachael Lucas, Jenny Hale, Mandy Baggot, Kat Black, Kierney Scott, Rebecca Raisin, Sophie Kinsella, Miranda Dickinson, Sarah Morgan. Thankfully the romance genre is filled with wonderful talented authors and I love discovering a new talent to add to the list.
10. Being a writer is a great job but what’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
I’ve had so many jobs, I worked as a hotel receptionist, which was pretty dire, I worked in a bingo hall which wasn’t bad, I worked in a bank which I hated, one summer I worked in a plastic factory testing the strength of plastic boxes which yes is as boring as it sounds. Probably the worst job I’ve ever had was selling double glazing over the phone. You know those annoying people that ring you up at the most inconvenient times and try to sell you new windows, that was me for two three hour shifts. The first shift I made three phone calls because I was too scared to do it. The second shift, I got up and walked out after an hour. I got so much abuse from customers, I hated it.
11. What kind of environment do you write in?
I write in my conservatory which is bright and has a lovely view over the garden. It also means I can sit by the open door in the summer. I love working in a breeze but I can’t write outside because the sun on my laptop would be too bright. I also need a desk. I’ve written on my bed, on the sofa, in a recliner, at the dining table but none of them are particularly good writing places.
12. Is there one book that stands out in your mind that you wish you’d written?
Probably Harry Potter. The first book especially was like a piece of magic, for her to come up with these creatures, these spells, these wonderful rich characters, I was absolutely hooked.
13. If you could be plopped down into any book, which one would it be?
I got so caught up in writing Fairytale Beginnings that I would love to stay at Clover Castle, find all the secret passageways, sleep in a tower fit for a princess. But any book with a bit of magic and wonder, Hogwarts from Harry Potter would be fab to wander around in. Inkheart was a wonderful film and book, where the main character could bring the stories and characters from books he read alive. I love the idea of that. And my childhood favourite book and film was The Never Ending Story, but mainly because I wanted my own dragon to fly around on.
14. A few of your favorites…
Favorite scent? Lilac or Coconut
Favorite color? blue
Favorite food? Spaghetti Bolognese or Chicken Tikka Masala
Favorite word? Bubble
Favorite song? I’ll Be by Reba Mcintyre
Favorite book? Waiting for Prince Harry by Aven Ellis or Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella
Favorite/dream vacation spot? I love Australia but I’d especially want to go to New Zealand
Favorite time period in history? Oh I’m such a history geek, my job required that of me. The Egyptians were endlessly fascinating, The Tudors were interesting, The Great Fire of London was interesting too.
Favorite article of clothing? Jeans and hoodies
Favorite drink of choice? Alcoholic? Pimms. Non-alcoholic? Chocolate milkshake
Favorite celebrity crush? Chris Hemsworth
15. Either or…
Dogs or cats? Dogs
Red wine or white? White
Coffee or tea? Tea
Summer or Winter? Oh both
Sleep in or get up early? Sleep in but then I do end up writing or reading until very early hours in the morning
Apple or PC? PC always, apples are only for eating