WHAT I AM READING Ngaio Marsh - fabulous read!
WHAT I AM WATCHING: Downton Abby.
MAKING ME SMILE:
Today we have the wonderful Christina Hollis joining us. What a treat!
Hello Christina and welcome to Lovecats!
Hello Christina and welcome to Lovecats!
It’s great to see another sizzling Mediterranean romance coming our way with Weight of Crown. Not an Italian setting though, I see, but a fictitious country. What are the joys and challenges of creating a whole new world?
Let's start with the joys - I wanted to combine all the things about all the countries I love in one package. England has some stunning countryside and fascinating history, but oh, dear, the weather! For me, romance means escaping to a land of golden sunshine and gentle breezes. Not either frying or freezing, and being blasted by wind that would blow the ears off a cat. As for my main challenge, that was in trying to remember where everything was in relation to each other. A quick sketch map or two sorted that out.
Tell us about the love affair you generally have with Italy.
I love Italy and the Italian people so much! My first visit was seven months after my son was born. Our bambino was given superstar status everywhere we went, which set the scene for everything that followed. The people are so friendly and open, and of course there's tons of history all around. That's before I mention the great growing weather. Even their rain can be warm (which means a lot to a keen gardener living in England).
Lysander has a deliciously wicked edge to him. Do you think we as readers look for different qualities in our fictitious heroes than we do as women in real life?
To a certain extent, yes, because fiction offers us all such a perfect escape from real life. We have the power to pick and choose our men without worrying about any possible downside to all that rampant testosterone. We want a guy who is tall, dark and handsome - not a man who swears the hind legs off a donkey when he hits his head on a low beam, goes into a decline when he finds his first grey hair and admires his reflection in every shop window he passes. Fiction gives us that - real men without all the angst.
Alyssa starts off being buttoned-up but is gradually seduced. Why do you think we always love stories like this?
Again, I think it's the element of escape into a fictional ideal. In real life "stuff happens" in a crazy, tumbling jumble of dates, bills, arguments, school runs, kisses, vet's appointments, holidays, noise, love and action, with one day bleeding hopelessly into the next. The gradual, sensual peeling back of layers of reserve indulged in between a hero and his heroine allows us to savour seduction as it should be - one man totally focussed on his woman, desiring her and concentrating on her needs for as long as it takes. It's the way we'd all really love to be adored ourselves, with our own chaotic real lives relegated to the sidelines for a few hours.
If this book was going to be turned into a film, who would you cast as the main characters?
After a lot of enjoyable thought, I think Dr Adam Rutherford would make a good Lysander. I have absolutely no idea if he can act, but take a look at www.adamrutherford.com and you'll see that wouldn't matter ;) As for Alyssa, that's an impossible call. I'd like everyone to be able to identify with her story - she's you and me, of course! Once you start naming famous names, you polarise opinions.
If you were given the chance to marry the gorgeous heir to the throne of a tiny country, would you jump at the opportunity?
That's a surprisingly difficult question to answer honestly. Of course, being the centre of attention would be fantastic - dressed by my country's top designers and being able to go anywhere and do anything I liked in the company of a breathtaking prince must be heaven (Care to comment, Princess Catherine?) but believe me, these people work incredibly hard and have virtually no privacy. I'd hate that. Give me a piece of chocolate cake, a cup of tea and my lovely OH, who is the benevolent monarch of our own half acre of Gloucestershire countryside, any day!
If, for just one week, you could be the heroine of any book you’ve read, who would you choose to be and why.
Christina Parsons, from K.M.Peyton's original Flambards novels. It would have to be in summer, outside of the hunting season of course, with the horses let down and lazy. I read these books as an unhappy fourteen year old, growing up in a crumbling, decrepit but (supposedly) romantic old house in the country. Christina's adopted home was so much more desirable than my own, which goes back to my point about romance being real life without all the problems! A horse will listen to your secrets without making any judgements, and Flambards gave me hope that a dumpy, plain, lonely teenager could find herself a dashing hero (or two, or three...) in the most unpromising situation.
Let us know which heroine you'd choose to be for a week or feel free to ask Christina a question and be in to win a copy of her fabulous new book.