Today’s guest on Marcie’s Christmas Advent is Holly Martin. I’ve known Holly for quite some years – mostly she writes romantic comedies and has a fantastic following as her books are always in the Kindle top 100.
Hi Holly. Please tell me about your latest book.
My latest book, The Gift of Happiness, is all about learning to love again set against the twinkly backdrop of the little village of Happiness at Christmas time. Here’s the blurb.
The magic of Christmas has arrived in the little village of Happiness, where snow falls and love is in the air.
This December Ruby Marlowe is relocating her little Christmas shop and everything she owns to the pretty seaside village of Happiness. With her best friend Willow already living there, and a heartbreaking past she’d rather forget, Ruby jumped at the offer of a cosy cottage and a fresh start on the Cornish coast. But she wasn’t the only one…
The last person Ruby expects to find in Happiness is her summer fling, the very gorgeous Jacob Harrington. He’s the only man who has come close to unlocking her heart, and therefore the one man she knew she could never see again. But now he’s here in the same village, and the chemistry between them is more electric than ever.
Falling in love again is something Ruby has vowed never to do. But Jacob is determined to change her mind.
As the village sparkles with Christmas lights and the snow begins to fall, can Jacob convince Ruby that love is worth the risk? And will Ruby accept the gift of happiness that Jacob is offering her before it’s too late?
Give yourself The Gift of Happiness this festive season, like a creamy hot chocolate with marshmallows, you won’t want to put this deliciously heartwarming novel down. A gorgeous, feel-good love story to snuggle up with this winter. Perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan, Carole Matthews and Debbie Johnson.
What was the idea behind it?
I wrote a story set in the village of Happiness in the summer and I knew I wanted to return there at Christmas, but this time with different characters. This is a story about Ruby who lost her husband thirteen years before when she was only nineteen and the fact that she has never allowed herself to fall in love again. When I was in my early twenties, a long time ago, a woman I worked with who was younger than me, lost her fiancé in the same circumstances as Ruby. They were due to get married, they had a little girl together and were very much in love and then suddenly he was gone. And although I haven’t seen the woman for many years, I do think about her often and I wonder if she ever managed to get over that. For Ruby, living in Happiness around the Christmas period, helps to heal her in a way she never expected when she moved there.
What would be your main character’s idea of a perfect Christmas?
Ruby actually talks about this in the book so here is a bit of what she describes as her perfect Christmas. . .
‘I love Christmas food, mince pies, Christmas cake with that hard white icing. And hot chocolates with lashings of squirty cream and marshmallows melting in a goo on the top. There’d be lots of snow. I’d want a Dickensian kind of Christmas, with all the roofs and roads covered in at least a foot of the stuff. And then I’d make a big snowman outside my house, the traditional kind with a top hat, a red scarf, lumps of coal for the eyes and of course a carrot for the nose. Christmas Day would be with all the people I care about, we’d eat too much, play games and watch cheesy Christmas movies.’
What is your favourite Christmas tradition?
I love playing games with the family. It’s the only time of year that we do it and I just love that time where we laugh and chat and step away from our busy lives, the TV and mobile phones.
What is your favourite Christmas film?
I LOVE Christmas movies, the cheesy kind that you find on Hallmark where everything is right with the world and there’s a little bit of Christmas magic. My favourite movie would probably be The Holiday, I love the idea of swapping lives with someone for a while, plus there’s a cute Christmas cottage, Jude Law and the brilliant Jack Black.
What is the one book that you would like to see wrapped up under the Christmas tree for yourself this year?
The Neverending Story. I used to love this film when I was a child and I had no idea it was a book until I found it in my university library one time. I didn’t take it out at the time as I had a ton of books I’d just taken out for my course. And when I went back to find it later, it was never there, so it eluded me.
What is your favourite Christmas song?
I love Christmas songs too and Magic FM has already started playing Christmas tunes all day long and I love it. I love the classics and one of my favourite Christmas albums is the Michael Bublé one, because he has that wonderful old fashioned crooning voice like Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby but with his own unique twist.
What’s your best Christmas tipple and snack?
Love a nice glass of Baileys and my favourite snack is After Eights or one of those giant Toblerones.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? And if not, what prompted you?
I’ve always written stories, even as a child. My first story was a piece of fan fiction based on the Animals of Farthing Wood, where my own animal characters went on their own adventures. I also remember writing a story about a character getting shipwrecked. When I was ten I was given a typewriter for Christmas and would spend many hours creating lots of little stories. When I went to university, I wrote a story about a bunch of students and the things they got up to, which involved a lot of drinking. I used to go on beach holidays a lot, where I’d sit by the pool and read solidly for a week and one holiday I remember reading several good books where I thought, I could do that. I started writing this story about these cupids that were trying to get some couples together, I still have it on a computer somewhere but I don’t think it will see the light of day. The next book I wrote eventually became Snowflakes on Silver Cove. I love writing, it takes me to another place, to cute villages with wonderful people and gorgeous men or on trips around the world.
What’s your poison – high heels or flats?
I can’t wear heels, I can’t walk in them properly and my feet kill me after just a few seconds. I have always gone for comfort over style, and my favourite pair of shoes are these Converse-style trainers. They look like mermaid shoes and are so sparkly and joyful they make me smile every time I put them on.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Holly lives in a little white cottage by the sea. She 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 her colleagues received the much-coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide-eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.
Holly has been writing for 10 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. She is the bestselling author of 24 books.
You can find Holly on Twitter at @HollyMAuthor, Facebook at @hollymartinauthor and visit her website here.