The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Birth of a Novel: Paula Martin Guest Post

      Paula Martin has a new novel out and she's here today to tell you about it.   Wishing you success with it, Paula! 

The Birth of a Novel

When I went to Egypt in the fall of 2010, I had no idea the trip would result in a novel. I was more interested in seeing all the places I’d always dreamt of visiting, especially the Valley of the Kings and the Abu Simbel temples, which exceeded all my expectations.
Cruise ships on the Nile

It wasn’t until the penultimate day of our Nile cruise that the first seed was planted in my mind. I was relaxing on the sundeck of our cruise ship which was moored at Aswan. There are so many ships that they have to be moored four abreast, and the sundecks of neighbouring ships are more or less level with each other. I started to wonder if it would be possible to vault across the short gap (about 3 or 4 feet) from one sundeck to another. Not that I had any intention of trying it, you understand. My days of vaulting anywhere are well and truly over!

That evening, I put the question to one of the friends we had made during the cruise. He walked across to the rail, studied the gap for a moment, and then said, “Well, I wouldn’t try it now, but I could have done it easily when I was in my twenties or thirties.”

First piece of research completed – it was possible. And I could envision my hero doing his death defying leap (slight exaggeration) to be with the heroine.

So what now? Are the hero and heroine guests on different cruise ships? But the cruises only last 5 or 7 days, so what would happen when they returned home? No, I needed to have them both living in Egypt. So maybe my heroine could be a tour guide on a cruise ship.

What about the hero? On a flight from Aswan to Cairo, I read an article in the flight magazine about an archaeologist who had explored a hidden tunnel leading from the burial chamber of one of the pharaohs’ tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Hmm, maybe my hero could be an archaeologist in the famous Valley.
With the setting and the two main characters in place, it was time to start thinking of the complications and conflicts that would prevent the course of love running smoothly. What if the heroine had an Egyptian boyfriend who was pressurizing her to marry him? And what if the hero had lost the funding for his project after breaking his engagement to his sponsor’s daughter?
Temples at Abu Simbel

I wrote the first two chapters at the hotel in Luxor where we spent a week after the end of our cruise. The very nice Egyptian in the hotel bookshop acquired a notebook for me – I even managed to get him to understand what I meant by ‘spiral bound’! Writing in longhand reminded me of my early (pre-computer) writing days.

As well as writing, I also devoured the three books I bought at the bookshop, all about Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. This was only the beginning of my research. Once I got home, I transferred my scribble to the computer, and got on with the rest of the story, which ended up with far more twists and turns than I'd first envisaged. I wished I could go back to Luxor and explore the city more thoroughly, but by this time the revolution had started and Egypt became a no-go area for tourists for several months. Instead, I had to rely on websites - especially maps and photographs of modern Luxor and the west bank, cruise itineraries and ships, train and plane schedules, and even shisha bars. I also learnt so much about Ancient Egypt as I checked and re-checked my facts.

However, I never did manage to bring in the scene where the hero vaults the rails between the two cruise ships! But I did call my hero Ross, after the cruise-ship friend who told me it could be done.

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. This is the man who sets her soul on fire.
After breaking up with her boyfriend, 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 seems to be her only option.
Can they discover whose enmity is forcing them apart before it’s too late?

Short Bio:
Paula Martin had some early publishing success in her twenties with short stories and four contemporary romance novels, 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 has had four romance novels published since June 2011.
She lives near Manchester in North-West England, and has two daughters and two grandsons. Apart from writing, she enjoys visiting new places and has travelled extensively in Britain, mainland Europe, the Middle East, America and Canada. Her favourite places are the English Lake District and Ireland. She’s also interested in musical theatre and tracing her family history.


Find all her books on Amazon

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. You just never know where inspiration will strike. That's certainly a cool location for it. Bet it pleased your friend that you named the hero after him.

  2. I love how you decided to write this book Paula, it's a great idea especially since it all came from realising that you probably wouldn't be able to vault from one boat onto the other since failure just wouldn't be worth it. You sound like a wonderful lady and it's cool to hear that you travel so extensively, best of luck with the book and thanks for dropping in to write for us today.

  3. I love the inspiration for this story. Fascinating! This sounds like a book I will definitely pick up at some point!

  4. Sounds like a delightful book, and knowing you were actually there makes it even more appealing!

  5. Alex - you're right about inspiration striking - sometimes it can simply be a sentence you hear on the TV, or a news item in the local paper - or, in my case, idle musing on a sundeck!
    Thanks so much for having me as your guest today.

    Yeamie - it's odd sometimes how ideas come into your head when you least expect them!

    Heather - I'd love to know what you think of the story if you do get to read it!

    Sheila - writing the story helped me to relive the fantastic time I had in Egypt!

    Thank you all for dropping in :-)

  6. The second comment above should have been prefaced with 'Lee' of course!

  7. Hi Paula, I love reading about your experiences in Egypt and how they inspired your book. And for some reason, I get a kick out of the guy's response about jumping from ship to ship and his ability to do it if he were younger.

  8. Fascinating, Paula! I love the way you unravel the tale of HOW you wrote the book in much the same way you tell the story itself.

    This one has just the right combo of characters, exotic locale and twisty plot turns to satisfy all your fans (here I include myself)... and win new ones besides.

    Best of success to you!


  9. Jen - those were his exact words. Maybe I should have added that his next words were 'Why do you want to know?'

    Erin - thanks so much! Must admit the twisty plot turns took some working out! But it was fun to write (most of the time anyway!) - and I confess to being still in love with Ross (the hero, I mean, not the friend we met on the cruise!)

  10. I love the story behind this story! And that's just the thing, as writers, we never know what's going to spark an idea!

    Congrats again on your release, Paula! I can't wait to read it!

  11. Most times I can't remember just what sparked an idea, Debra, but with this one, I know exactly when and where it happened!

  12. I love that you wrote this from your travels. I love to travel, and my visit to the UK inspired THE DOCTOR AND THE WAR WIDOW. This sounds delicious.

  13. Viola - I've based parts of other novels on my travels, as I've had scenes in Paris, New York, and LA but this was the first one that was totally inspired by a visit. Must check out yours, too. I like the idea of a War widow!

  14. Hi Lee and Paula - great guest post and Paula your book sounds fascinating .. the kind that I love to read - so I'll be adding it to my list ... Also I get to 'see' a little of Egypt that I've never been to ..

    Cheers and good luck with the book - so interesting to read how it came about - and glad you acknowledged Ross as your hero - bet he'd be chuffed .. if you still keep in touch .. Hilary

  15. I've always been drawn to Egyptian architecture, history, culture, and the possibility of so many amazing tales.

  16. I was just thinking about how strange it can be to get inspiration from unexpected sources!

    My wife and I love Egypt. We've never been, and we'd have to seriously investigate how accessible/safe it would be for a wheelchair in a lot of the places we'd want to visit. For now we live vicariously!

  17. Hilary, I hope you enjoy your 'visit' to Egypt in my book.

    Ciara - I've always been fascinated by Ancient Egypt and could hardly believe it when I finally got to visit the Valley of the Kings.

    Paul - I have mobility problems and use a walking cane, and I had difficulty at times getting on and off the motorboats and feluccas on the Nile. There are very few wheelchair ramps, so it looks as if you'll have to continue living vicariously, until Egypt becomes more wheelchair friendly.

  18. I love how you went with the inspiration when it hit you, and how you followed that process and continued through with it to novel form - you made your own death defying leap from story spark to published novel - Congratulations!!!

  19. Thanks, Tyrean, it was the kind of inspiration spark I simply couldn't ignore.

  20. I love how you developed that intial question, could such a leap be made?, into a novel! Nicely done!

  21. Hi Eve - the initial ideas came quite quickly, but it took longer to work out the rest of the story!

  22. Sounds fascinating, and what a way to get inspiration!

  23. Hi Wendy - it's the only time I've been able to pinpoint the moment when an idea first hit me!

  24. All the best to you Paula. It sounds like a terrific read! Love your story of inspiration.

  25. Paula, thank you for this wonderful visit with an interesting look into your process of writing this novel. Your interaction with visitors was excellent.

    Many thanks to all who stopped by to comment.


  26. Thanks so much for having me as your guest, Lee. It's been great to have the opportunity to 'meet' some potential new readers via your blog, and I'm very grateful to all who have taken the time to leave comments for me. :-)

  27. This sounds like a fascinating book in an exciting setting! I've also never been to Egypt, and like your motivation for the story. Lee, thanks for hosting Paula!

    BTW, You've topped my list for the blogfest today Lee.


Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.