I began reading Mills and Boon Modern Romances (published as ‘Harlequin Presents’ in the USA) as a form of escape. It was a time when I didn’t know which way my life was heading. My head was crammed with conflicting ideas of what I should do. It is always a real relief to take a few hours off and relax with a good book, and they came to my rescue in those days. I could lose myself in a world where nothing was impossible. ‘Presents’ heroines could do and say all the things I could only dream about, and the heroes could always be relied on. Over the years, my life sorted itself out. I lost the job at the laundry that had caused me so much grief: I gained a wonderful husband and family. The one constant through all that change was my love of romance, and an inability to stop day-dreaming.
My latest Harlequin release, The Tuscan Tycoon’s Pregnant Housekeeper, is all about dreams. Michelle wanted to be an artist, but real life got in her way. She started off working as a cleaner, but managed to land the job of housekeeper at a luxurious villa in the south of France.
Alessandro arrived there to unwind, and they discover a shared love of art – and a lot more besides! When Alessandro finds out Michelle has become pregnant, his instant reaction is to take complete control of the situation. He whisks her off to his Tuscan villa. Michelle is determined to give her baby a better childhood than she had, but there is a high price to pay for Alessandro’s help. His heavy-handed arrogance destroys her dreams. In desperation she tries to escape his regime, with near tragic results. Almost too late, she discovers the reason why Alessandro is so protective.
I felt particularly close to Michelle as I was writing this story, as I love painting and drawing. Unfortunately, I lack her talent! It was great fun to imagine having the skill to convey a scene in a simple sketch. Early on in the story, Michelle achieves her dream of running an art gallery. I like to think she would put some of her own work on display.
What skill would you like to put to good use in your own life?
When Christina Hollis isn’t writing romances like The Tuscan Tycoon’s Pregnant Housekeeper, she is kept busy raising a family, wrangling a garden, some hens and anything up to a quarter of a million honey bees. The only time left for dreaming is in bed – or in the bath, with a good book and maybe some scented beeswax candles…