World traveler, Paula Martin is a multi-published author with Harlequin, Publishing with Rebecca J. Vickery and the Whiskey Creek Press. It's amazing how something long forgotten can become an intriguing story that must be told. Let's give Paula a warm welcome!
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Never throw away an ‘old’ manuscript!
Four years ago, while on holiday in the USA, I happened to meet a Harlequin best-selling author who, on hearing that I’d had 3 books published by HQ in the 60’s and 70’s, encouraged me to start writing romances again.
When I got home, I found the box in which I’d dumped a pile of half-written stories 30+ years earlier when I was a divorced and single parent with two young daughters and a full-time teaching career, and simply didn’t have any time to devote to writing.
One novel was complete but was rejected by HQ in the 70’s. At that time they wanted brooding and domineering alpha-men as their heroes (preferably sheikhs, Greek billionaires or Italian counts), so my story of two teachers who meet again at a school, in North West England, a few years after an acrimonious break-up obviously didn’t fit their new formula.
I thought about this story and, as I was still setting my sights on Harlequin, decided to re-locate the story in America. The heroine became a teacher at a college in Virginia, the hero was a celebrated volcano expert (instead of another teacher), and the heroine’s ‘best friend’ was a Senator. Okay, that seemed to work, so once I’d rewritten it, I sent it off to the HQ editor recommended by my new author friend. Five months later, she rejected it. That was a blow, but I decided to send it to Mills and Boon, the HQ associates here in the UK.
I knew it would probably be a long wait, so I started another novel (one from my box of started but never finished novels). This second one was accepted in May 2010 (by another publisher) but in August of the same year Mills and Boon rejected my first novel. By then I was well aware of some its weaknesses, particularly too many flashback scenes which slowed it down in the first few chapters.
So what now? Do I throw it back in the box? Or do I try yet another re-write? After completing my third novel, I turned my attention back to the first one. I moved the setting (again!) back to England, abandoned the ‘flashback’ scenes, added more scenes (and conflict) and researched volcanoes in Iceland instead of in Hawaii.
In the end, the final story of ‘Changing the Future’ is very different from the one I wrote back in the 70’s, and even from the re-write I did four year ago.
Maybe the moral of this story is: look at your ‘old’ stories, update them, re-set them (if you can), and play around with them until you eventually get the story you’re happy with.
Lisa Marshall is stunned when celebrated volcanologist Paul Hamilton comes back into her life at the college where she now teaches. Despite their acrimonious break-up several years earlier, they soon realise the magnetic attraction between them is stronger than ever. However, the past is still part of the present, not least when Paul discovers Lisa has a young son. They can’t change that past, but will it take a volcanic eruption to help them change the future?
As she went into the large airy lobby, Fiona and Paul were crossing from the wide stairway towards the door. She couldn’t avoid them without doing yet another abrupt about-face. Every nerve inside her tightened.
“Hi, Lisa,” Fiona greeted her. “Had a good break?”
“Yes, thanks.” Her reply was as automatic as her casual smile. She tried not to look at Paul, but couldn’t stop herself. A sideways glance at his familiar face brought back far more memories than any two-dimensional picture on the television screen.
Five and a half years hadn’t diminished his good looks; on the contrary, they’d matured him, and lent strength and character to his handsome features. Thick light brown, wavy hair which used to feel silky to her touch. Stunning azure eyes she’d once been able to read like a book. High cheekbones, well defined jaw, beautifully-shaped mouth—No, she mustn’t think of his mouth or his kiss.
Fiona gave a smug smile. “I see you’ve recognised Paul Hamilton. He’ll be working in my department for a few weeks. Paul, this is Dr. Lisa Marshall, head of the TV Journalism Department.”
Lisa cursed inwardly, knowing the colour had flooded to her cheeks. She’d caught Paul’s initial stunned expression but now his face registered nothing as he held out his hand to her. His blue eyes were expressionless. “Hello, Lisa. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? How are you?”
The feel of his firm hand around hers sent an unexpected, yet familiar, electric current arcing through her and she had to struggle to maintain her outward show of calmness. “I’m fine.” She was relieved her voice seemed to be coming out with no indication of her inner shakiness. “And you?”
“Yes, I’m good too.”
Fiona looked curiously at Paul. “Do you already know each other?”
He turned to her. “We met a few years ago, in London. Before I went to South America.”
Lisa stiffened. It was a reminder, maybe a deliberately cruel reminder, of everything that had gone wrong between them.
“Oh, I see,” Fiona replied. “So you’ll be able to reminisce about old times.”
“Oh, I doubt Lisa will want to do that.” Paul looked back at her again. “Will you, Lisa?”
She heard the razor’s edge in his voice and copied it. “I really don’t think there would be any point.”
Touché, she thought, as he tilted his head in what seemed to be a mocking acknowledgement.
He glanced at his watch and turned back to Fiona. “Shouldn’t we be going? The meeting’s at eleven, isn’t it?”
“Yes, in the Old House. See you around, Lisa.”
Without looking at Paul again, Lisa walked along the corridor to her room. She yanked open the door, sat down heavily at her desk and ran her fingers through her hair as she tried to sort out her confused emotions.
Why was she allowing him to have this effect on her? Their relationship was over, finished. Everything had ended the day she came back from Berlin. She shuddered, remembering the accusations, the anger, and then the agonising pain.
Hardly surprising that he’d said she wouldn’t want to reminisce about ‘old times’. She didn’t even want to be reminded, let alone talk about what had happened. It was bad enough to realise the very nearness of him had sent tremors quivering through her, just as it always had.
A door banging somewhere brought her back to the present. She had a class waiting in R106.
“To hell with you, Paul Hamilton,” she muttered as she stood up.
Available as e-book or paperback from http://rebeccajvickery.com, also on Amazon
About the Author:
Paula Martin lives near Manchester in North West England and has two daughters and two grandsons.
She had some early publishing success with four romance novels and several short stories, but then had a break from writing while she brought up a young family and also pursued her career as a history teacher for twenty-five years. She has recently returned to writing fiction, after retiring from teaching, and is thrilled to have found publishing success again with her contemporary romances.
Apart from writing, she enjoys visiting new places. She has travelled extensively in Britain and Ireland, mainland Europe, the Middle East, America and Canada. Her other interests include musical theatre and tracing her family history.
Website: http://paulamartinromances.webs.comOther contemporary novels by Paula Martin available from http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com and from Amazon.