Saturday, 7 January 2017

Close To Home .... Paula Martin



As a book reviewer I have made contact with authors from all across the globe and feel immensely privileged to be able to share some amazing work. However, there is always something rather special when a book comes to my attention which has been written by an author in my part of the North of England. So with this in mind I have great pleasure in featuring some of those authors who are literally close to my home. Over the next few Saturdays, and hopefully beyond, I will be sharing the work of a very talented bunch of Northern authors and discovering just what being a Northerner means to them both in terms of inspiration and also in their writing.


Today I welcome North West Author








Tell us a little about yourself and what got you started as an author?


I’ve written stories for as long as I can remember, starting with school stories inspired by Enid Blyton’s ‘Malory Towers’ books, and progressing to cheesy romance stories to entertain my friends in our teens. In my twenties, I started submitting short stories to magazines, and had my first novel accepted by Mills and Boon, with a contract for two more. A fourth novel was published by Robert Hale. Then ‘real life’ got in the way, with a young family, and a career as a High School history teacher. Once I retired, I eventually returned to writing fiction and have had eight novels published since 2011.


As a writer based in the North West, does this present any problems in terms of marketing and promoting your books and if so, how do you overcome them?


Most promotion and marketing these days is done online, so geographical location is less important than it used to be. Although I’m a full member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, I’ve not really been involved in their meetings, apart from attending a weekend conference in Penrith a few years ago. The local (Manchester) chapter of the RNA seems to be defunct, and most other RNA meetings are in London. As I have mobility problems, getting to and around London is not easy for me!


Whilst your novels are not set in the North West however, I wonder do the people and its landscape shape your stories in any way?


wo of my novels are, in fact, set in the North West, one in the heart of the Lake District, and another on the outskirts. I know the Lake District well, having had a caravan there for over twenty years, so hopefully I’ve been able to give my readers a glimpse of the beautiful lakes and mountains of that area. Anyone who knows the Lakes will probably recognise the village in ‘Fragrance of Violets’ even though I have given it a different name (and moved some of the buildings around!), and there are no prizes for guessing that the town of Kenton in ‘Changing the Future’ is my name for Kendal!






If you were pitching the North West as an ideal place to live, work and write – how would you sell it and what makes it so special?



I’ve lived in the North West all my life, and love it. There’s something for everyone – large cities for shopping, seaside resorts for fun, the Lake District for all kinds of outdoor pursuits, the gentler but no less attractive landscape of the Trough of Bowland, and the attractive country villages dotted around the farmlands of central Lancashire.

As an historian by profession, I’ve always been interested in the history of this area, which played a vital role in the Industrial Revolution in England in the 18th and 19th centuries. There are many excellent museums, some in buildings which were originally spinning or weaving mills, as well as several beautiful stately homes dating from Medieval and Tudor times, and, of course, Pendle Witch country around the brooding Pendle Hill. One day I may get around to writing an historical novel, set in one of the east Lancashire towns where some of my ancestors lived and worked in the cotton mills in the 19th century.


Writing is a solitary business - how do you interact with other authors?


For me, it’s mainly online interaction, and I have developed many online friendships with other writers. I’ve also met with several other North West authors during the past few years, including frequent meetings with two other writers, one from West Lancashire (near Ormskirk) and the other from (ssh!) the other side of the Pennines! We usually meet up at Costa at the Trafford Centre, and talk non-stop for several hours!

I’m also a member of a writers’ blog, to which four of us (3 Americans and me!) contribute a blog each week about some aspect of writing or marketing.



How supportive are local communities to your writing, and are there ever any opportunities for book shops, local reading groups, or libraries to be involved in promoting your work?


I haven’t had any success in obtaining book-signing opportunities apart from one occasion. Sadly, neither my local ‘indie’ book shop or local library are interested in local authors, even though I have offered to give a talk or run a writing workshop. I’m very envious of writers who receive support from their bookshops and/or libraries. However, I have given numerous ‘talks’ to local groups – Townswomen’s Guild, University of the Third Age, Rotary Club, a reading group, and various women’s groups – and I’m always on the lookout for more opportunities to do this.


And finally, if someone is new to your work, which book do you think they should start with?


If they like the Lake District, then I hope they would enjoy ‘Fragrance of Violets’. However, my best selling books have been those set in Ireland, which have attracted many American readers, as well as British readers. The first of these, ‘Irish Inheritance’ was written as a stand-alone novel, as I had no intention of writing a series, until my publisher suggested I should write a spin-off story. So ‘Irish Intrigue’ and ‘Irish Secrets’ followed as the ‘Mist Na Mara’ series, set in Connemara in the west of Ireland. I’m currently writing my 4th Irish book – but I’m sure I’ll eventually return to the North West as the setting for a novel





You can find details of all Paula's books on her website: Click here 

Follow on Twitter @PaulaRomances




Huge thanks to Paula for her guest post today 



and for sharing with us just what living and writing in the North West means to her.



Coming next week : Northern Writer, Martin Edwards




~***~

23 comments:

  1. Many thanks for having me as your guest today, Jo - and for all your interesting questions which I enjoyed answering :-)

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    1. It was a pleasure , Paula. Thank you for your insightful answers to my questions and for sharing your love of the North West with us.

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  2. I am a fan of Paula's romances, and I especially delight in her descriptions of her settings. I feel like I'm a neighbor in the small villages where her characters fall in love. I get to "arm chair" travel.

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    1. Thanks, Ana, I enjoy setting my stories in places I know and love.

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    2. Thank you, Ana for your kind comment.

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  3. A great blog and post. I love the Irish series. Paula is an excellent story teller and deserves more recognition Carol

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  4. Paula, I found these questions and answers very interesting. As you know, I an a fan of all your books but your first and last are my two favorites. After spending almost two years in Kingston-upon-Hull, I have treasured connections with several people there and have set four books in England, three fiction and most recently, one non-fiction. I wish you continued success with your books and look forward to reading all of them.

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  5. Paula, I found these questions and answers very interesting. As you know, I an a fan of all your books but your first and last are my two favorites. After spending almost two years in Kingston-upon-Hull, I have treasured connections with several people there and have set four books in England, three fiction and most recently, one non-fiction. I wish you continued success with your books and look forward to reading all of them.

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    1. Thank you so much, Linda. I know how much you loved England and only wish we had had the chance to meet up when you were living here. :-)

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    2. Thank you for your kind observations Linda.

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  6. I love reading interviews about you because I always discover something new, in this case, about the North West of England. I visited there as a child, and remember very little other than our driver (Monty) and it being very pretty, so I'll have to go back one day. But from reading your books, you're wonderful at giving readers a sense of place, so even though I haven't been to the places your books are set, I feel as if I have.

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    1. Thanks, Jen. I'm so glad you enjoy the places where my stories are set - and yes, you really must come to England again!

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    2. Hi Jen, you must come back to the north West - it is very pretty !

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  7. I enjoyed your blog, Paula. It's fun to learn more about you and where you live and write. I'm an American, but I love visiting both England and Ireland. Great places to get romantic inspiration!

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    1. Thanks, Vicki. I'm sure there are romantic places in the USA too, but I love the 'old world' charm of many places here and in Ireland. :-)

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    2. HIi Vicki, thanks for taking the time to visit and comment.

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  8. Great interview, and lovely to find out more about you and your books, Paula. I hope that the RNA Manchester chapter will be resurrected one day and we can meet there. x

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    1. Thanks, Kate. It would be lovely to meet up with more Manchester/Lancashire writers.

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  9. Paula, such a wonderful interview! I really enjoyed reading about you and your books! Great covers, btw... *g*

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    1. Thanks for visiting us, Laura. I'm so pleased that you have enjoyed reading Paula's guest post.

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    2. Thanks, Laura - and yes, I have some fabulous covers! Fragrance of Violets is one of my favourites. :-)

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Thanks for taking the time to comment - Jaffa and I appreciate your interest.