Margaret Mayo, Romance Author

Guest Paula Martin

I’m pleased to introduce today my guest Paula Martin. Paula writes beautifully crafted contemporary romances and her new book IRISH INHERITANCE has just been released. I’m currently reading one of her earlier books, Changing The Future, and am finding it totally unputdownable. (If there is such a word).  I cannot wait to read her new book.

Today she is talking about research. People do not always realise how much research writers have to put in to their books. It’s alright if you’re writing about make-believe places, but if you’re writing about actual locations or even people’s jobs it’s essential to get every detail correct. I’ve done a lot of research in my time and know how time consuming it can be.  So here are Paula’s thoughts on the subject:


Research – for contemporary novels

While everyone assumes writers have to do a lot of research for historical novels, some people seem surprised when I tell them how much research I do for my contemporary novels. Maybe they assume that if you’re writing about ‘today’, you can simply write your story without having to look up anything or check on anything. They couldn’t be more wrong!


Firstly, there are the locations I use in my novels. On the whole, I tend to write about places I know, or at least have visited, but I still need to research these places, either to refresh my memory of them, or to make sure my details are correct. My latest release, ‘Irish Inheritance’ features several different places in Ireland. I have lots of photos from my visits there, and I also look at photos and videos online. Google maps are fantastic, especially the ‘street view’. I’ve lost count of the times I ‘drove’ through Connemara, or along the main street in Clifden with the help of the Google cameras.


As well as the visual details, there are other location facts to check. How long does it take to drive from Clifden to Galway City? Yes, I’ve done it in real life, but I didn’t time myself! Is there a supermarket in the town? How often do buses run from Galway to Dublin? Where might a lawyer’s office be situated in Dublin? If I’m writing about a real place, then I like to get my facts right.


Next, there are the occupations of the characters to consider. In ‘Irish Inheritance’, my heroine Jenna is an actress and I needed her to attend an audition, so I had to find information about what actually happens at an audition. My hero, Guy, is an artist and sign painter, and in this case I could ask one of my American cousins who happens to have the same job! These two were easier to research than some of my other heroes, one of whom was an archaeologist, and another a volcanologist. I won’t pretend I’m now a volcano expert, but I certainly know more about them than I did before writing that story. My current hero is a veterinary surgeon, which again has involved a lot of research – even spending half a Sunday afternoon watching YouTube videos of mares giving birth!


Other questions tend to crop up as I write the story. In ‘Irish Inheritance’, for example, I had to find out about how someone obtains planning permission to build or extend a house, what New Year customs there are in Ireland and details about the ‘Boston School’ of artists in the 19th century- amongst many other things.


Out of interest, I once started to list everything I looked up or checked when writing one chapter. I ended up with a list of over 50 items, which ranged from the name of an expensive red wine to dogs’ ear mites. At times, it seems as much research is needed for contemporary novels as for historical ones – but at least it’s now much easier to find the answers you need compared with when I was first writing novels in the pre-internet days of the 60s and 70s.



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.


Blurb for ‘Irish Inheritance’

English actress Jenna Sutton and American artist Guy Sinclair first meet when they jointly inherit a house on the west coast of Ireland. Curious about their unknown benefactress and why they are considered ‘family’, they discover surprising links to the original owners of the house.

They soon unravel an intriguing tale of a 19th century love affair. At the same time, their mutual attraction grows, despite personal reasons for not wanting romantic involvements at this point in their lives.

A local property agent appears to have her own agenda concerning the house while other events pull Jenna and Guy back to separate lives in London and America. Friction builds over their decision about the house and its contents.

Will their Irish inheritance eventually drive them apart – or bring them together?




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Posted in News, Views & Personal Updates

6 Responses to “Guest Paula Martin”

  • Ana Morgan says:

    I have discovered the joys of a big monitor: I can keep open a page in in my WIP while I do a google search on the other.
    Your research in Irish Inheritance really paid off, IMO, Paula. Your setting details immersed me in the story seamlessly.

  • Paula Martin says:

    Many thanks, Ana.
    I sometimes have so many windows open, it’s a wonder my screen doesn’t explode!

  • Katherine says:

    I’ve published 2 historical set novels and am writing my first contemporary. As you pointed out, I’m finding I’m doing just as much research for the contemporary as I did for the historicals. And I’ll be honest enough to admit, I thought I’d be doing less. :o)

    • Paula Martin says:

      Katherine, it’s amazing how much we need to research for contemporaries, isn’t it? In the ‘old’ days (i.e. the 60s and 70s), I used to toddle off to the library with a list of research questions – and then spent hours trying to find the information I needed. It’s so much easier now with all the resources available on the internet.

  • Hi Paula,

    I’m running out the door so I’m just popping in for a quick wave hello!

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