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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Falling in Love - Christina Hollis

Falling in love is like being picked up by a tornado. One minute it’s business as usual. Next minute, you’re thrown into confusion. Unlike the perfect Martini, you get shaken and stirred at the same time.
I like to start my stories with a bang. The opening of a novel should take you out of the everyday to a place where anything might happen. In my next release for Harlequin Mills and Boon, The Italian’s Blushing Gardener, Kira is almost literally swept away by a whirlwind. She thinks her perfect world is going to be wrecked by the empire building of the businessman next door. The Italian’s Blushing Gardener begins when Stefano’s helicopter drops in unannounced. When Kira goes to challenge him, he mistakes her for the agent who was due to meet him for the property viewing...

“Turning her head, she strained to hear any sounds of life. Only the quiet rustle of air through pine trees and the constant sniper fire of genista seeds disturbed the peace. Then as she listened, she heard something that might have been footsteps. It was only one tiny sound...she looked around, but there was no one.


Then two strong hands slipped around her waist, and in one smooth movement she was drawn into an inescapable embrace.


‘We meet at last, Miss Barrett!’ A deep, delicious Italian voice purred in perfect English. ‘I have been searching for you. I felt sure you would be waiting for me at Bella Terra’s front door?’


His teasing words reverberated into the curve of Kira’s neck. She froze, shrinking from the whisper of warm breath against her skin. The movement only drew her closer to his hard, masculine body. He was holding her so perfectly, she could barely breathe.


‘When we spoke on the phone you said you were looking forward to meeting me. Remind me- exactly where did you want to have dinner tonight?’ There was a soft, low chuckle in his voice as he murmured, pulling her around to ravish her with a kiss.


Before he could make contact, Kira burst from his grasp with reflexes that astonished them both.


‘I’m not Amanda Barrett, and I’m not very happy!’ She confronted him, breathing fast. ‘Please keep your hands to yourself!’


The visitor recoiled instantly, but he was far too professional to give his horror free rein. Instead, his features became a mask. With a slow, careful dip of his head, he addressed her gravely. ‘Scusi, Signora.’”


Copyright Harlequin Mills and Boon Limited, 2010

Determined to fight him every inch of the way, Kira finds herself torn between her fears and her feelings. Meanwhile, Stefano is shaken out of his complacency. He wants an escape from the hectic world of business. He doesn’t expect trouble from his only neighbour - but that’s exactly what he gets!

Of all the novels you have read, which has the best opening - one that really draws you into the story?

The Italian’s Blushing Gardener is released in the UK in November, and in North America in the new year. In the meantime, it’s available for pre-order from Amazon.com, and you can drop by my website http://www.christinahollis.com to find out how you can win a signed copy.

17 comments:

practimom said...

oh, that is a hard one! I like ones that start off with conflict right away, like opening in the middle of a police raid, or major battle. those are always cool and suck me in cause i want to know what happens afterward straight away...

Elanor said...

Don't make me choose! Off the top of my head I have at least two favourite books, the openings of which never fail to excite me since I know I'm about to be taken on, for want of a better phrase, an adventure - but then of course it's the knowledge of what happens in the story which makes the openings good, so I'm carefully not answering your question...

"In a distant and second-hand set of dimensions, in an astral plane that was never meant to fly, the curling star-mists waver and part..." - Pratchett, The Colour of Magic, where it all began almost 30 years ago(!)

and of course possibly one of the best novels ever written,

"When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow." - Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird; need I say more??

gigi said...

I love the opening of Gone With The Wind 'Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were'.
I read GWTW many years ago and it is still one of my all time favorite.

But there are so many other books that the first line just sucked me into the story that I couldn't put the book down.

Christina Hollis said...

Hi Practimom, I love getting bounced straight into the action straight away. It's that needing to know what happens next feeling that does it every time!

Christina Hollis said...

HI Elanor, there are Pratchett books I love, like 'Reaper Man' and 'Unseen Academicals' but I've never managed to get past the first few pages of 'The Colour of Magic'. I must try harder!
I came late to 'Mockingbird' but the bit that always gets to me is the description of (and here I have to paraphrase as I can't find our copy at the moment) the ladies needing to bathe and powder so frequently that they're like soft teacakes in the heat. Doesn't that sum up the climate?

Christina Hollis said...

Oh, Gigi, when I read GWTW as a teenager what I wouldn't have given for charm like Scarlett's! The contrast between her pampered popularity and the war we know is coming is a real hook, isn't it?

Angi Morgan said...

I love to write and read books where the first scene is action-oriented and throws the characters into a new world.

One of my favorite books though isn't a situation that draws me in, it's the character himself. Wildcard Karmody by Suzanne Brockmann in OUT OF CONTROL. That prologue has the character himself jumping from the page.

~~Angi

Michele L. said...

Oh gosh, I don't remember any openings but I will have to say, the one's that catch my interest the most are the ones that have something weird or mysterious going on. Stephanie Bond's Body Mover books are fantastic! I am into Urban Fantasy right now and love Kat Richardson's series which starts with the book called GREYWALKER. Her books start fantastic!

Christina Hollis said...

Suzanne Brockmann's "Out of Control' is definitely one to go on my TBR pile - I love the sound of Karmody already, Angi. Thanks for your suggestion!

Christina Hollis said...

HI Michele, I haven't read any Urban Fantasy but I've just checked out Greywalker and what a premise! I must try and get this book, as the nearest I've come to UF so far is the BBC productions of 'Being Human' - good, but TV doesn't stretch imagination like reading does.

Christina Hollis said...

HI Michele, I haven't read any Urban Fantasy but I've just checked out Greywalker and what a premise! I must try and get this book, as the nearest I've come to UF so far is the BBC productions of 'Being Human' - good, but TV doesn't stretch imagination like reading does.

Christina Hollis said...

Darn, sorry about that last double entry - I hit 'enter' twice. It's the end of a long day!

Amazingrose said...

I love the opening of this book, its different from the onces i read before. I have never read your book, it sounds lovely.

Christina Hollis said...

Thanks, Amazingrose, I loved pitting Kira and Stefano against each other, and giving them a beautiful setting for their story. Happy reading!

Michele L. said...

Hi Christina,

Whoa! To have a strange man slip his hands around your waist and to murmur in your ear like that sends chills down my spine. Your teaser definitely has me intrigued! I am putting your book on my "To-Buy" list! I can't wait to read your book to see what happens next!

In answer to your reply, if you like ghost stories, paranmormal stuff, mysteries and scary stories with a gritty edge to them, then you will love GREYWALKER! When I first started the book, the opening sequence was so intriguing and freaky that I wanted to see what happened next. I had a really hard time putting Kat's book down. I guarantee you won't be dissapointed! I still need to buy the next 3 books in the series. I just can't see how Kat will top her first book.

Christina Hollis said...

Hi Michele
For Greywalker to have made such an impression on you, Kat has clearly discovered what works so the other books in the series are bound to be something special. I can't wait to discover them for myself!

kimmyl said...

Eloisa James’ first line of An Affair Before Christmas

Ice hung from windowsills with a glitter that rivaled glass, and new snow turned the sooty streets to rivers of milk.