Six years ago, when I was writing IRISH INHERITANCE, I had no idea it would lead to a series of five books. At the time, I was simply writing a stand-alone story about two people who meet when they jointly inherit Mist Na Mara, a Victorian house in Connemara in the west of Ireland.
Once that was finished and submitted, I started writing a story set in the English Lake District. The hero was a veterinary surgeon, and the heroine was an actress who was escaping her busy life in London for some well-earned ‘R and R’ in the country. I wasn’t very happy with the way it was progressing, but then my publisher suggested the possibility of a spin-off story about the best friend of the heroine in Irish Inheritance. ‘Okay’, I thought. ‘I’ll think about that once I’ve sorted out this Lake District story.’ Two days later, I had another thought: ‘Why not move the Lake District story to Ireland?’ The hero then became an Irish vet, but I had to rethink the heroine’s reasons for being in Ireland, so that it followed on from where she had been at the end of the first story. I also needed to inject more ‘suspense’ into the story, with some unexplained crises at the veterinary surgery, and the hero’s ex-wife trying to claim custody of their two children – and that’s how IRISH INTRIGUE was born.
Half way through this story, one of the secondary characters was explaining to the hero his idea for a screenplay about an American who was adopted as a baby and comes to Ireland to search for her birth mother. Even while I was writing this conversation, I realised the character had given me the idea for my next novel.
I then had to do a fair amount of research about the baby adoption scandal in Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s. Because of the timing, I decided my (new) heroine needed to be trying to find her mother’s birth mother (rather than her own) but coming up against a wall of secrecy (which, indeed, is what real-life adoptees have had to face). This gave me the title of IRISH SECRETS, and I also gave the hero a secret of his own.
After this trilogy of Irish novels, I contemplated a different setting for my next novel (and even started to write it), but Ireland pulled me back. In this story, the heroine and her friend (who’d been mentioned briefly in the earlier novels) were setting up a dance and drama school for children, which made it easy to transfer the story to the Mist Na Mara Arts Centre. This story became IRISHDECEPTIONS, with a hero who appears to be deceiving the heroine.
A thirteen-year-old streetwise boy in Irish Deceptions led me to my fifth book in the series, IRISH SHADOWS, when I realised his mother (deserted by her lover when she became pregnant at seventeen) had a story to tell. A quick check on the timeline of the series showed me that five years had passed since the launch of the Mist Na Mara Arts Centre – and this gave me my hero, an events manager who arrives to organise the anniversary celebration. Add to that a link to an incident in the Irish Civil War in the 1920’s and the hero’s search for his nephew (his sister’s son), and I had plenty of ‘shadows of the past’ for the characters to deal with and resolve.
Although this is a ‘series’, all the stories are ‘stand-alone’ with new heroes and heroines in each. The link between them is Mist Na Mara House and, of course, the beautiful Connemara area in the west of Ireland.
Currently, Book 1 IRISH INHERITANCE is FREE from all major distributors (Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Nook, and Apple) and Book 2 IRISH INTRIGUE is only 99c/99p.
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.
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