Welcome to Comet Babe's Books!
Can you tell us more about your books?
Christmas at Lilac Cottage tells the story of Penny Meadows who has locked away her heart and any chance of finding love again, that is until she meets Henry Travis, her new lodger. But the path of true love never runs smoothly, Henry has a daughter and he would prefer for his daughter not to know about him and Penny just yet. But with the whole town meddling in their affairs, its hard to keep it a secret.
Snowflakes on Silver Cove is also set in the same town of White Cliff Bay in the same week leading up to Christmas. It follows the story of George and Libby, two best friends and neighbours. George is secretly in love with Libby but is too scared to do anything about it after his divorce from his ex-wife left him vulnerable and scared of getting hurt. Libby is set to move to New York so there's no point in embarrassing himself by declaring his feelings for her. Libby decides to help George back into the dating saddle by going out on dates with him so he can practise what he will do and say if he ever plucks up the courage to ask out the girl upstairs. But as George tries to 'woo' Libby, she ends up falling in love with him herself, but is it too late, will George have already asked out the girl upstairs
Winning the sunlounger competition in 2013 was the start of your publishing career, can you tell us what has happened since?It has probably been the best few years of my life. Winning Sunlounger was incredible, it put me in touch with some amazing, supportive people who encouraged me not to give up. I published The Sentinel which received a tremendous response, I won a publishing deal with Carina, which saw The Guestbook and One Hundred Proposals published, I was shortlisted for three awards at The Festival of Romance alongside some of my favourite authors. I moved to Bookouture and have published three books with them, making a total of 10 books published now. From spending years writing to publishers and agents trying to get a foot in the door, the door has finally opened and I love it here.
Can you share with us who designs the gorgeous covers for you books?
Bookouture have a group of different utterly fabulous designers, who work at breakneck speed and deliver incredibly commercial and highly competitive covers for all our authors. They are amazing. I love all three of my Bookouture covers but I especially love the one for Lilac Cottage, it’s stunning.
Can you tell us about your writing process?
That’s tricky. It comes from a very tiny seed of an idea, but when I sit down ready to start sometimes I can’t start at the beginning and I’ll end up writing random scenes or a conversation and then other ideas and scenes stem from them. But mainly I just sit down and write as the ideas pop into my head. I know other authors who use post it notes and character boards but every author writes differently and you have to find the way that’s best for you. For me, I love the writing part so much that any kind of planning would just be a chore for me and I don’t want writing to become a chore. Maybe that makes me a bad writer, maybe my writing would be so much better if I took the time to do these things, but at the moment just sitting down and writing the story works for me.
Do you have a favourite place you like to write and why?
I generally write in my conservatory, there is a very comfy recliner in there that has my bum print permanently imprinted on it because I sit there for hours, I can look out over the garden and watch the squirrels and the birds, its quite peaceful.
Any tips for writers who are just starting out?
Just don’t give up, ever. It’s really hard, I know to keep going when you just get rejection after rejection. It took me four years to get a publishing deal and I know it took Katie Fforde seven years, its about finding the right person at the right time with the right book. If you’re getting rejected, mostly it’s not a reflection of your work. If you get any advice from agents or publishers about your writing, try to act on it. Write the kind of books you want to write, because only then will you fill it with passion.
What's the worst advice you have ever received?
After getting rejection after rejection with The Sentinel, I paid £100 to have the first three chapters professionally critiqued. The man tore it to pieces, he hated every single thing about it and basically told me to change everything. After crying a lot, I put it in a cupboard and decided to forget any chance of getting The Sentinel published but after chatting to several authors and book bloggers, and when the reaction from anyone that read it was so amazing I decided I would self publish it to see how it went. The reaction was tremendous, people loved it, and not just my friends, complete strangers loved it too. It’s never going to sell millions because its self published and people just don’t know it exists, but those that have read it have fallen in love with it and as a writer, that’s all you ever want. I’m so glad I never listened to the critique and listened to my heart instead.
What's the best/worst thing about social media?
I love the friends I have made on social media, especially Twitter. I’ve only been on Twitter a year or two and I have met and chatted to some brilliant people who have now become my best friends. The book bloggers and authors are a fantastic supportive bunch who have really got behind me and my books and I love them for it, but there’s also the day to conversations I love about the silly and the serious. The worst thing about social media is how much time I spend on it, its addictive and I’m always going on Twitter and Facebook to see what people are up to, to read their funny posts, laugh at their photos or just generally have a chat. I love it so much, I don’t think I could ever be apart from it.
If one of your books was made into a film/TV series, who would you like as the leading lady/man?
I would love to see Snowflakes on Silver Cove made into a movie because its so romantic and very funny and with all the Christmas dates it would really translate well onto the big screen. But who would I get to play George? That’s tricky, I love George and I’m not sure there is anyone perfect enough to play him. My best fit is Aidan Turner (Poldark) in terms of looks. Poldark is quite a confident self assured character so would love to see Aidan Turner turning his hand to something more fun and vulnerable.
What's is the best/worst thing about Christmas?
I love everything about Christmas, the smells, the food, buying presents, celebrating with friends and family, Christmas jumpers, playing games, there is nothing i don't love. The only thing I hate is wrapping presents. I love buying and giving presents but wrapping them drives me mad.
What will you be doing Christmas Day?
I'll be with my mom and dad. We'll have bacon sandwiches for breakfast, open presents and then have a turkey lunch followed by trifle. We'll play games in the afternoon and eat more turkey in the evening
Favourite Christmas book?
There are so many that I love but I don't tend to re-read books as there are fabulous new ones every year. Sarah Morgan knows how to do Christmas and it wouldn't be the same without one of her gorgeous books to curl up with. Lisa Dickenson's 12 Dates of Christmas is one of my favourites
Favourite Christmas Film? The Holiday and Love Actually
Non book questions
Favourite holiday place?
New York, Canada, somewhere beachy and quiet and remote.
My mom’s chicken pie.
What kind of music do you listen to?
Pop stuff mainly, stuff you can sing along to. Westlife, Ed Sheeran, Adele, Pink
Anything cadburys, favourite cadburys would be their caramel bar or maybe a wispa.
A mug of tea or hot chocolate with cream on top
Holly has been writing for 6 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.
Follow her on Twitter @hollymartin00