8 Oct 2013

Say hi to... Holly Martin!

Please help to welcome the lovely Holly Martin to Fiction Dreams...
You've worked in a hotel, a bank, a school and now something intriguing called History Off The Page. Do tell us more!
I do history workshops in schools around the country, one day I'm a Viking, the next an Ancient Greek. I dress up, the kids and teachers dress up, the children make things of that period, it's great fun.

When did you first start writing? And when were you first published? 
I started writing about four years ago, I love it, it's complete escapism into a world where the characters do exactly what I want them to do. My first published work was my winning short story in the Belinda Jones Sunlounger anthology. My YA, The Sentinel will be published on October 16th.

What is it about this genre that appeals to you the most? Do you read other genres? If so, which? 
I love chicklit because its a rose tinted world, where happy endings are aplenty. Happy endings are a must for me, the girl gets the man, the perfect job, the perfect house, with more than a few laughs along the way. I know real life isn't like that, the man you love marries someone else, the man you marry is not the man you fell in love with, but when I read I want to escape into a world that makes me smile and when I close the book I want that heart warming feeling because everything works out in the end. Real life is hard enough, that's why we read, to escape from it. Diversely, as my YA is out soon, I've been reading quite a bit of that genre too. There is something wonderful about a YA book that can transport you to another world, where the laws of physics do not apply, books filled with magical beings or powerful stones, stories of ghosts, zombies, and real friendship. There are some hugely talented writers out there in the YA world, Jack Croxall, Sharon Sant and Jaimie Admans to name but a few.

Your work has been shortlisted for awards. Congratulations! Can you tell more?
My second chicklit novel Changing Casanova and my third novel The Chainsaw Masquerade were both shortlisted for the New Talent award at the Festival of Romance last year. I was thrilled and I got to go along to a big swanky do to hear the results. I didn't win but I had a great night and met some truly lovely people. The Chainsaw Masquerade will be published next year.

Name one of your favourite Chick Lit books?
One? Just one? That's so hard. The Love Academy and Winter Wonderland by Belinda Jones, The First Time I Saw Your Face by Hazel Osmond and probably one of my favourites is Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

What's the title of your latest book? Can you tell us about it?
The Sentinel is my YA, released October 16th, it's a fast paced, action adventure for teens. It's about a seventeen year old girl that finds out, after a horrific coach crash, that she is charged with saving the world, that she has great powers and that her family, friends and even her teachers were actually super strength beings sent to protect her.
My Chicklit, out in January, is called The Guestbook, a love story with a unique twist. It tells the story solely through the messages left in the guestbook of a holiday cottage. Annie Butterworth is the landlady and lives next door and it is her story that is told through her interactions with the other guests.
Stay tuned to Fiction Dreams because we've got the Cover Reveal for The Sentinel this afternoon!!

What inspired you to write it? 
The Sentinel was just something I wanted to write for a long time. I loved the idea of a hidden identity, that everyone in Eve's life were actually part of this elaborate ruse to hide her from those that wanted to hurt her, to ensure she is alive at the end. When I get an idea, I just have to write it down and sometimes those ideas grow and sometimes they don't. The idea for the Guestbook came from staying in a hotel with a guestbook and there were little messages from people, these little snapshots of people's lives at that moment and I wanted to do a story like that.

How did you come up with the titles to your books? 
Titles are the hardest. For many months, I just name the document after the main characters. Friends and family help, sometimes I've even drawn names out of a hat, but in the end you just go with your gut and what feels right.

Who designs your covers? 
Both my covers are being designed by Scarlett Rugers, she's very professional and has some wonderful ideas.

If your latest book was made into a film, who would you cast? 
As romantic male lead in the Guestbook I would have to have Orlando Bloom.

What's your favourite Chick Lit book that made it to the big screen? 
Bridget Jones, the humour is brilliant

Who is your all time favourite Chick Lit character? 
Again, I'd have to go with Bridget Jones

Name one female author who you think deserves to be better known. 
Through Sunlounger and the lovely people I've met afterwards, I've come across lots of very talented self published female authors, Laurey Buckland's A Girl's Guide to Fairy Tales was fantastic and definitely as good as anything out there in chicklit world. Sharon Sant is an incredible writer. It's sad that there is so much talent out there, but they are just not getting the exposure they deserve because they are not traditionally published.

Where do you write? And do you ever wish you could write elsewhere? if so, where?
I always imagined myself writing in some kind of summer house, with lots of cushions, and big windows over looking rolling countryside or beautiful sea views, in reality I write wherever and whenever I can, normally at my dining table or on my bed.

In the movie of your life, who would play you? 
Image courtesy: Daniel Dormann
Someone beautiful of course, if I get to choose, it would be someone stunning. Liv Tyler, probably, I don't look anything like her apart from the dark hair, but I'm sure she'd do a great job, Sandra Bullock is lovely so if Liv couldn't do it, what with other film commitments, Sandra would be a great understudy.

Speed Round...
Top drink to make you tipsy?
Pimms and Lemonade
Shopaholic or shopadon't? Shopadon't
Sky high heels or closer to the ground? Flats all the way for me
E.L. James or Jilly Cooper? EL James although I actually really enjoyed Sylvia Day recently too.
Cry baby or tough cookie? Um I don't cry very often, but when I do it seems to be over very silly things.

Author bio
I live in sunny Bedfordshire in a house with round windows. I studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by an even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of my colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years service was the moment when I knew I had to escape. I quit my job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, I emerged wide eyed and terrified that I now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. I taught for four years before History Off The Page came to my school to do a Tudor day. I now drive round the country in my little white van, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next.

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