I’m delighted to welcome contemporary romance writer Marquita Valentine to Teatime Romance! Marquita and I “met” via Twitter earlier this year and she is an absolute sweetheart. I was thrilled for her when she self-published the first book in her Holland Springs series, Twice Tempted, back in July. Marquita is here to talk about her latest release Third Time’s a Charm, so welcome Marquita!
Can you tell us about Third Time’s a Charm and the Holland Springs series?
Marquita: The Holland Springs series is basically about families living in the small (and sometimes magical) southern town of Holland Springs, North Carolina. I’m from the eastern part of the state, so it was natural that my town be there, too. But it is fictional and I made sure to steer clear of Sparks’ territory (even if I’m a born and bred Tarheel, while he’s not ;p)
As for Third Time’s a Charm, it’s about Sasha Romanov and Rose Holland. A more different pairing, I couldn’t have envisioned. In fact when I wrote Twice Tempted, I had no plan at all to write Sasha’s HEA. None. He wasn’t on my radar, then I wrote this scene with him and Rose (off camera) and I knew they were next. Here’s the blurb for TTaC, which is waaay more concise than I am.
Not even Holland Springs’ Most Notorious Resident can stop this Love Spell.
Customers come to Rose Holland’s apothecary shop for three things: to hear her uncanny matchmaking advice, to buy the “magical” hair and skin products she sells, and to accuse her of trying to steal their men. For years Rose has been entirely innocent and almost content with that status quo. But that was before sexy, smooth-talking Sasha Romanov came to town and made her want to use her love potions on him… until he broke her heart. Now corrupt town officials want to seize her land and sell it to an industrial giant, and her only hope for help looks like the one man she can’t trust—or stop herself from falling under his spell.
Alexander “Sasha” Romanov seems like every woman’s dream: charming, handsome and fabulously rich. But while the people of Holland Springs think he’s in town to generously invest in their economy (and possibly one of their daughters), Sasha struggles to save his sick mother from his vicious uncle’s plans by doing everything the greedy businessman wants. And Vlad Romanov wants Rose Holland’s land—at any cost.
Despite Sasha’s vow to get the job done and keep his hands (and everything else!) off Rose, the blue-eyed witch enchants him. But his mother’s life remains in the balance. Sasha must find a way to protect his mother, sabotage his uncle’s plans, and win the woman who’s captured his heart without destroying everything she loves.
2. What was your inspiration for the book and the series?
Marquita: Great question! It was actually a combination of a book and a movie that inspired the book, but not the series. Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells and the movie Practical Magic actually inspired the Holland Sisters. I mean, can you imagine a town that has a love-hate relationship with its most notorious residents? So, Third Time’s a Charm is part of the Holland Springs series, but I write (or try to) each book as a stand alone. Each novel is loosely connected to the rest. In fact most people thought I’d write about the heroine or hero’s siblings from the first book, Twice Tempted, next. But I will-someday. And I have been made to promise that I WILL write Sebastian Romanov’s book.
3. What can you tell us about the hero and heroine Sasha and Rose? Did you have any celebrities in mind when you created the characters, or any point of visual reference?
Marquita: Rose and Sasha are actually stereotypes flipped. She’s the quiet and broody one. He’s the gregarious flirt who never shuts up. I think they bring out the best in one another. In fact, I think each saves the other from themself, which I love.
I’d already written Rose and Sasha’s characters before I had a visual representation of them. Then Pinterest to the rescue. I have an entire board for Holland Springs. Turns out Alexander Pettyfer (all dressed up) is perfect for Sasha while Anna Popplewell was totally Rose, with her light blue eyes and dark hair.
4. What is next for you in the Holland Springs series?
Marquita: A Christmas Novella, entitled HIS CHRISTMAS WISH. It’s about a soldier, 1st Lt. Morales, coming home for the holidays to mend things with his estranged family…and wife, Sage Caswell. I plan to have that out in November, any earlier and I think I’d cry at the reminder of all the things I need to get done for us to even celebrate the holidays. 😉
And now the Six get to know you questions!
1) What was the first romance novel you ever read?
2) Your house is on fire – which five romance novels do you grab on your way out?
I’ll grab my kindle, that way I won’t lose anything.. <G> Okay, okay. My autographed copy of The Black Knight by Virginia Henley, Judith McNaught’s Remember When, J.R. Ward’s Lover Awakened, Rachel Gibson’s Any Man of Mine and Carly Phillips’ Hot Item.
3) What is your secret passion?
Does shopping count, lol? I’m a useless fact buff. Seriously, the more out-there, the more likely I’ll remember it. I even tried out for Jeopardy once and made it through the first couple of rounds, before the contestants were finalized.
4) Why do you write romance?
Because I believe in happily ever afters and think that there should be more of them. Gosh, turn on the news or read any article on the internet and it’s a bunch of Gloom and Doom. No thanks.
5) Is there anything in your book that comes from personal experience?
I have been chicken-sitting my mother-in-law’s hens. ;p Actually, once I had a talk about this very topic with my friend and fellow author, Katharine Ashe, because I was startled to find that I write (mainly) reunion stories or 2nd chances at love. Something that I have no experience with since I married my high school sweetheart in college. She pointed out that the female leads in my books are embarking on something or someone that is out of their comfort zone, which makes them vulnerable. And that is exactly what I had done by embarking upon a career in writing (I’m a former teacher and a current stay-at-home mom.).
6) What is your favorite kind of tea, and how do you drink it?
As any self-respecting southern belle knows, there is only one kind of tea: Sweetened and iced.
Thank you SO much for visiting with us Marquita! 🙂 Twice Tempted was a great book, and I know I’m going to love Third Time’s a Charm just as much!
So for our lovely readers: Do you like second chance/reunion romances? What are some of your favorites? Tell us below and one lucky commentor will win a copy of Third Time’s a Charm that Marquita is generously giving away. Thank you Marquita! :D
Marquita Valentine writes small town romances that are anything but small. Lisa Kleypas, Carly Phillips and Rachel Gibson are among her favorite contemporary authors. Marquita met her husband aka Hot Builder at Sonic when they were in high school. She suggests this location to all of her single friends in search of a good man — and if that doesn’t work, they can console themselves with cheesy tatertots. She lives in North Carolina in a very, very small town with Hot Builder and their two children.