Small Town Romances with Guest Blogger Marquita Valentine

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.

Third Time's a Charm

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.

Easy, peasey….right?<G>

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.
Anna PopplewellAlex Pettyfer

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?

Oh my gosh, I don’t really remember…either Judith McNaught’s Whitney, My Love or Julie Garwood’s, Saving Grace.

Any Man of Mine

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.
Sweet Tea
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.

You can find Marquita all over the internet:
Twice Tempted

Buy Links for Twice Tempted, Holland Springs Book 1:
Amazon and B&N

Buy Links for Third Time’s a Charm:


28 thoughts on “Small Town Romances with Guest Blogger Marquita Valentine

  1. There’s no such thing as a useless fact, merely one you haven’t applied to conversation yet. No knowledge is wasted. 🙂 Welcome, Marquita! Thank you for stopping by Teatime. I can’t wait to start reading the Holland Springs series (so many books; so little time).

  2. Welcome Marquita! Thank you so much for coming today. I haven’t really spent any substantive time south of the Mason Dixon Line, so I will take your word re: the proper way to drink tea. 😉 I still haven’t read Rachel Gibson yet but I think that needs to change soon.

    I do like second chance/reunion stories. One I recently read that I loved was Eloisa’s Ugly Duchess which was both!

    • Thanks for having me, Lisa. You may drink tea any way you like, sweetie, only I have to uphold years of my momma’s instructions. ;p Yes, please read RG. I love , LOVE her books. :)))

      Oh I adore Eloisa James. It’s funny, and I think you’re the same way Lisa, that I read more Historicals than I do contemporaries.

  3. Marquita darling, thank you so much for stopping by! I’m also writing a reunion story now (as of last week) and I think I’m starting to see why you love them so much. It’s flowing so much easier, having this past relationship between the characters.

    I also do exactly what you do–I choose a physical representation for the characters so I can have that to look at while I’m writing. 🙂

    • Thanks for having me, Erica. I love y’all’s blog. 🙂 I don’t know what I’d do if I had to write a book where the h/h *didn’t* have a history. I think I’ll leave that to the professionals. 😉

  4. Hi Marquita, congrats on the series and as one who manages to always conjure up the most seemingly useless bit of trivia – welcome to the club. I just finished a story last night that is most definitely a second chance/reunion romance but I love that first time meeting thrill too, so I’m torn. I’ll just have to read ’em all. Being a VA girl, I love a southern story and PRACTICAL MAGIC is one of my fave movies even if it was set in NE – I’m going to definitely start reading your series. : )

    • Hi Amy.

      Thank you. Oh I love being in clubs-make one feel less alone about their hidden talents. 😉

      Like you, I love reading all sorts of tropes, but reunion seems to be the kind I prefer to write. But never say never, right?!

      YAY!!! I hope you enjoy my series. And give Garden Spells a try. The author lives in NC and it’s set in the mountains of NC, too. I adore SAA’s books. 🙂

    • Hi Amy! I think you’re really going to enjoy Marquita’s books. And I’m all for starting a club for us folks who remember random bits of trivia, lol. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Woohoo! Congrats on the new release, Marquita! I would love to get started reading the series (I’ll try to read it in order LOL)! Loved Practical Magic, awesome that it turned out to be a source of inspiration. Also, this: “Rose and Sasha are actually stereotypes flipped. She’s the quiet and broody one. He’s the gregarious flirt who never shuts up.” Thank you, stereotypical role reversals… just thank you! Hee!

    As for the question re reunions, it always brings to mind: “What would happen if the one that got away came back?” Ohhhh, this question! XD In any case, love reunions!

    I can’t really do favorites, but the novella Unlocked by Courtney Milan comes to mind! A quick but sweet plotiful (full of plot) read. Gotta love that! XD

    • Thanks ,Carrie! I’m super excited. 🙂 And yay, I’m so glad you like that. Rose and Sasha were so much fun to write. In fact my favorite line from Sasha, “Would a caveman wear Ferragamo?” he asked, gesturing to his shoes. heh.

      Hey, if you or anyone else want to get started, there’s a prequel to Twice Tempted called Seduction of the Billionaire Playboy Actor (yes this is my ultimate harlequin-ey romance novel title love). It’s *free* on Smashwords (which has all e-book formats available) and Kobo, but Amazon&B&N haven’t price-matched, yet. :}

      Oh I loved UNLOCKED by CM. I won it on Twitter via Tessa Dare, which made me go back and buy ALL of CM’s back list. She’s an auto-buy for me now. 🙂

    • Hi Carrie! Thanks for stopping by. I am a big Courtney Milan fan too. I can’t wait for The Duchess War to release and I admire her bravery in deciding to go self-pub after being traditionally published.

      I have never seen Practical Magic and now I feel like I should! lol.

  6. Wow, what a blurb!:D Hiya! Here via Lisa’s link, and I’m definitely going to be moving Twice Tempted to the top of my TBR list so I can read Third Time’s A Charm soon. Congratulations on the new release!:D

    I have to say, I love me some reunion/second chance story lines! I absolutely crave the angst that goes along with it too – and the more compelling the reason, the better (and there’s the whole rediscovering each other/letting go of the hurt and the bitterness and the gradual melting of the ice/and finding redemption in love)! For my favorites, the first book that first comes to mind is my favorite Austen – PERSUASION. Best love letter, yes? I liked it when I read it at a young age, and I appreciate it even more now that I’m older and wiser. Loved both hero and heroine and what they taught me about growing up, growing older, and the constancy of love. If we’re talking second chances, I have to mention Jill Shalvis’s THE SWEETEST THING. Tara and Ford just took me on a roller coaster ride and made me laugh and cry and laugh some more. Jennifer Ashley’s LADY ISABELLA’S SCANDALOUS MARRIAGE (omg with the cream, I mean, I don’t know how much I blushed reading the end of ch 7/beginning of ch 8) Mac and Isabella just slayed me, ugh! I remember reading about Viola in a previous book and loving the angst in her and John’s story in THE MARRIAGE BED by Laura Lee Guhrke. And lastly, Elizabeth Boyle’s MEMOIRS OF A SCANDALOUS RED DRESS, because I had followed Dash and Pippin’s storyline since the moment they met (2nd book, was it? Sigh.) and what a story of love it was! [Whoops, I have to mention Eileen Dreyer’s NEVER A GENTLEMAN because in my mind it still qualifies if we’re talking about second chances. I mean, I’m at a loss for words for how I felt while reading this book. It’s probably the book I’ve read the most times, and every time I pick it up I definitely die a little, and I can’t stop until I reach the ending to see how it all turns out for Grace and Diccan. I think this book’s one of those either love it or hate it — and I LOVE IT.]

    • Hi Diana! 🙂 Thanks so much for coming by and commenting!!! I’ve read LLG’s The Marriage Bed, The Sweetest Thing by JS, and I’ve seen a movie adaptation of Persuasion, and liked all three. Tara and Ford really were so much fun! I know you’ve spoken very highly of Never a Gentleman in the past, and I promise I’ll check it out one of these days. Very soon. When my TBR mountain is a bit more under control. 😉 LOL

      • Diana,
        Unfortunately, I’ve never seen the Ciaran version, only the RPJ one. I liked it, and thought the actors did justice to the characters, but for some reason, if felt rushed and incomplete, as though they cut out huge chunks of the story. Will have to check out the Ciaran one! 🙂

      • (This reply is for the one below, but I couldn’t find the reply down there …?) Anyway. WATCH THE CIARAN VERSION! Ahahaha. I found the RPJ ending laughable, to be honest. I was all ready to be swept away with the ending, but then. Argh. It was frustrating. I think also they cut some major things. Oh, how much do I love RPJ though. Swoon.

    • Hi Diana,

      ACK! I just saw this. So sorry! Jill Shavis and Jennifer Ashley’s a favorites of mine to read. I haven’t read Elizabeth Boyle yet. I have several of her books in my TBR pile. Have you read A Lady Awakened–that was a love it or hate it type of book. I loved it! It’s wasn’t a reunion story though, but I thought it was amazing!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • I did a marathon of EB’s just to get to her then latest release, the 8th in the series. Along the way, I met Pippin and their love story just made a mark on me. It would be best to not skip if you are to read Memoirs, I think (anyway, MoaSRD is only the 5th, so not too bad, lol). I read A Lady Awakened already, and I actually liked it too! It was very much character driven and I loved the gradual development in all aspects of their relationship. It was amazing to actually be there and be a part of the transformation, and that made the ending all the better for me. 😀

  7. I enjoy second chance/reunion romances. Some of my favorites are Shannon Stacey’s Exclusively Yours, Carol Buck’s A Bride for Saint Nick, Christine Feehan’s Oceans of Fire and Nora Roberts’ Key of Knowledge and Birthright.

    • Hi Kelly! Thanks so much for coming by and commenting! Key of Knowledge is one of my favorite Nora books too-I loved Dana and Jordan! I haven’t read any of the other books you mentioned but will definitely have to check them out.

      • Hi Kelly,

        I’ve heard so many good things about Shannon Stacey’s books, yet haven’t had a chance to read them. This must be remedied at once! 😉 I like Feehan’s Carpathian Series, but haven’t gotten into her more contemporary ones. However, my mom loves them. 🙂

        Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Pingback: Teatime Romance Blog’s 2012 Year in Review | Teatime Romance

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