I'm delighted to have Paula Martin along today. Many of you will be familiar with Paula's 'Irish' series of books. They are also well known as the Mist Na Mara series.
If you've not read them yet I do highly recommend them. The first in the series is Irish Inheritance.
Her readers are eagerly awaiting the fifth book called Irish Shadows. Paula's books combine mystery and history with a great romance, all set in wonderful Connemara scenery.
However today we are talking about Her Only Option, another of my favourite books which, is re-released and currently available for pre-order. The links are below.
1. Where did the inspiration for Her Only Option come from?
From the Nile cruise I did in 2010, which had been on my ‘bucket list’ for many years. For most of the week, we were busy visiting many different ancient sites and temples, and I hadn’t even thought about writing, let alone the plot of a new novel. But on the final day of the cruise, we had a free afternoon to relax on the sundeck of our cruise ship at Aswan. The cruise ships are usually moored four abreast, and our sundeck was at the same level as those on the neighbouring ships. I found myself idly wondering if it was possible to vault across the three or four-foot gap from one sundeck to another. Not that I had any intention of trying it, you understand, but I had a mental image of the hero vaulting over the rails to join the heroine. In fact, it never actually happened in the story I eventually wrote, but that was the moment when the story was first conceived. Within the next twenty-four hours, I had decided that the heroine was a cruise ship tourist guide, and the hero was an archaeologist.
|Moored cruise ships|
2. Ross is an archaeologist. How much research did you have to do into ancient Egyptian tombs and hieroglyphics for example? What was the most interesting part of the research for this novel?
During the cruise, we visited several tombs in the Valley of the Kings, so I had plenty of memories to draw on. In the week following the cruise, we stayed at a hotel overlooking the Nile at Luxor, and I bought what turned out to be an invaluable book about the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Having been a history teacher for twenty-odd years, I already knew a fair bit about Ancient Egypt, but I still needed to do a lot of fact-checking. I love researching, and it was fun to include throwaway lines like ‘early development of the offset axis’. Having said that, I think the most interesting part of the research was finding out fairly trivial details about modern day Egypt, such as ‘Are there any pizza takeouts in Luxor?’ and ‘How long is the train journey between Aswan and Luxor?’
3. Did you know who was going to be the ‘baddie’ and threaten Ross’s work all the time you were writing the novel?
When I first started thinking about this story, I didn’t even know there would be a baddie! Originally, it was going to be a ‘relationship’ novel i.e. a heroine torn between two lovers. The ‘intrigue’ side of the novel crept up on me and took me by surprise, and then I had to work out who was doing what and why. I actually thought about three different ‘baddies’ before I eventually decided who it was! Then it was a case of introducing a few ‘red herrings’ to keep the reader guessing, too.
4. Where did the idea for Wasim, the Elvis-singing boatman, come from?
|A Nile boat similar to Wasim's|
Actually, I have no idea, because he simply appeared! I was doing a ‘filler’ scene, where Ross takes Neve across the Nile to visit the Valley of the Kings. As they walk along to where the motorboats were moored, Ross says, ‘I always use the same private motorboat. Elvis should be moored along here.’ He then explains how the boatman sings Elvis songs – and I’m thinking, Where on earth did that come from? because I hadn’t planned it all! But I ended up loving my Elvis-singing Nile boatman and decided (or maybe he decided?) that he needed a bigger role in the story, which ended up as quite a pivotal role. It was one of those wonderful occasions when the characters take over the story!
5. If this was made into a film, the scenery would be stunning. Who would you like to see play Ross and Neve in a film?
Definitely Hugh Jackman for Ross! In the movie ‘Australia’,
Hugh appears at a charity ball in a white dinner jacket – and I think there was a collective intake of breath in the cinema, because he looked so amazing. I’ve replicated that moment in my story when Neve sees Ross in his white dinner jacket!
As for Neve, I can picture her in my mind – and my cover artist found a perfect picture of her, but I’m not sure which actress would be right. Maybe the one who played Sybil in Downton Abbey?
6. You’ve just written your fifth book in the Irish Mist Na Mara series. Do you think you’ll ever return to Egypt for a sequel or a new stand-alone novel?
My visit there was just three months before the revolution in January, 2011, and since then unrest and also terrorist attacks have increased. Although I’d love to go to Egypt again, I don’t think I will get there. One of my reviewers did suggest a possible spin-off story about Joanne, Neve’s friend, which occasionally flutters through my mind, so – never say never!
7. How do you organise your writing day/time?
Organise? You must be joking! I have no excuses because I’m retired, my family (including my two grandsons) are grown-up now, and I live alone. But my muse is a night-owl, and so am I. So, although I can edit and write blogs etc. during the day, I tend to do all my writing in the evenings, as that is when my brain goes into creative mode.
Blurb for HER ONLY OPTION
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.
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?
HER ONLY OPTION will be released on May 23, 2018, and is currently available for pre-order at only 99c/99p
Tirgearr Author Page: http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Martin_Paula/
Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Paula-Martin/e/B005BRF9AI