Sunday, June 13, 2010

Family Affairs - Christina Hollis

I used to work with a lovely woman who was born in the Welsh valleys, about seventy years ago. In those days it was a close knit community of large families. As an only child, she was unique. This meant everyone else for miles around felt an overwhelming urge to include her in everything. The whole valley was so concerned she might become a ‘lonely only one’, she was passed around from house to house like a little princess. She said it was (mostly) wonderful, and far from feeling left out, if anything, it meant she saw too much family life. It was only when she left Wales and started her married life in an English city that she felt lonely. This drastic change from the hothouse of family life to independence fascinates me. My triplet nephews are as lively as beads on a tray now - what a contrast to this picture of them ‘celebrating’ Christmas in the Special Care Baby Unit a couple of years ago!

In my July release for Harlequin Presents Extra, The Count of Castelfino, Meg comes from a close family but is determined to strike out on her own. Gianni had the opposite problem, and doesn’t know what emotion is until he meets Meg. She is determined to make a success of her wonderful new job. Unfortunately, when she gets to her dream destination things have changed. A change of circumstances mean it’s doubtful if she has a job to go to. She has to fight for recognition, but her brilliance and determination wins over Gianni, the sceptical new Count of Castelfino. He can’t resist her, but when Meg gets the impression he thinks more of her skills in the bedroom than he does of her career, she runs back home. That is when they both discover they’ve made huge mistakes. Neither can live without the other. Meg discovers that going it alone can be a lonely business, and Gianni’s jaundiced view of family life is about to be given a mega-makeover!

I really enjoyed writing The Count of Castelfino, and I’ve had some lovely reviews, particularly this one from Cataromance:

“’s impossible not to love feisty and warm-hearted Meg, sexy but hardened Gianni and the gorgeous Italian setting which Christina Hollis describes so vividly that readers will feel as if they are under the beautiful Tuscan sun.”

Did you long for brothers and sisters as a child, or did you come from a big family and dream of the peace and quiet of a room of your own?


Christina Hollis said...

I forgot to add - there's a signed copy of 'The Count Castelfino' waiting for the sender of a comment to this post, picked at random. I'll be using Kate Walker's tried and trusted Cat Selector - names on the floor with a cat treat on top, the first one Greebo II selects, wins the book!

Elanor said...

Hey Christina!

Meg sounds a great character, full of strength and self-assurance; it will be a refreshing change from the 'old-school' heroines who were only good for making lace and looking after the children!

I was the eldest of two in my family, and I felt dreadfully lonely and wished for an older sister nearer my own age to talk to. Since there was such a large age gap between my younger sibling and myself, there was very little we had in common and I think most of the time we just annoyed the heck out of each other!

Best wishes,

Christina Hollis said...

Great to hear from you, Elanor!
I was in exactly the same position when I was growing up. If it helps, my sister and I used to fight like cat and dog, but now we're the best of friends!

Laurie said...

I have a brother 7 years older and a sister 2 years older. I fought with my sister in our earlier years but in HS we started to share our clothes and talk. We went to the same college which helped me adjust to my Freshman year away from home. We've stayed close mentally but not physically. Most of the year I live 1500 miles away from her.

I shared a room with my sister and it was by our choice. I fondly remember our talks about boys and life in general.

I'm not close to my brother at all.

I have 4 children and they are all close to each other. The 3 boys will live in an apartment together next year as they are all attending the same college.

Christina Hollis said...

Laurie, apartment sharing for college sounds like a really good idea. They'll be able to keep an eye out for each other. My daughter is off to university this year - I know she'll be absolutely fine, but my nerves would be in a much better state if she was sharing with a sib!

Christina Hollis said...

Hi, Elanor and Laurie - congratulations, I've decided to ditch the lucky dip. You're both winners!
Mail me your snail mail addresses to, and I'll get a signed copy of the latest Christina Hollis Presents Extra release, 'The Count of Castelfino' in the post asap.
Thanks for commenting!

Mary said...

I grew up with three brothers and a sister. I learned a few years ago that I also had another brother and have gotten to know him. I like having a big family.

Congratulations to the winners. :)

Pat Cochran said...

Lonely? Can't be lonely when you
have shared all your life! First,
it was sharing a huge room with 4
sisters (oh, there were also 4
brothers - I'm the eldest of NINE),
then in nursing school I had dorm
mates, back to home where I shared
again, then I married and have
"shared" with Honey for 49 years!

Pat Cochran

Estella said...

I had three brothers and three sisters and am the oldest. I would have loved peace and quiet and a room of my own.

Christina Hollis said...

Oh, Mary, Pat and Estella - what can I say? I was running on British Summer Time, and have only just picked up on your posts. Thanks so much for your replies. I always craved a big family when I was little. As Pat says, you're never lonely but there is the disadvantage of no 'room of your own'. Send me your snail mail addresses, Mary, Pat and Estella, and I'll get something in the post to you, too!
Best wishes

Anne McAllister said...

That picture of your nephews is priceless, Christina. I'll bet they are live wires now. We have 5 year old twin grandsons, and I can't imagine a third buzzing around. Two is plenty!