Sunday, October 10, 2010

There Goes The Neighbourhood... - Christina Hollis

As a teen I lived on the wrong side of town, in a flat above a laundry. It was a great community on the outside, but the walls of our maisonettes were paper thin.  I soon knew all about the things Charlie Rich didn’t explain about what goes on ‘Behind Closed Doors’!  
I lived in Flat 71. Next door, in Number 72, a respectable shopkeeper made his family’s life misery - but only after hours. The whole place shook with his rages, and you could hear every word. One night, he threw his family out, locked up and went to bed.  It was during a very hot summer, so all the windows were wide open. We took the family in until they could hear their father snoring, then the youngest son climbed out of our window, crept along a narrow ledge twenty feet above the ground, clambered into their own flat and  unlocked the door from the inside. 
The nice twentysomethings living on our other side in Flat 70 worked from home. They kept themselves to themselves, and the only thing anybody knew for sure was that they must feel the cold really badly. Why else would our party wall be warm to the touch all year round? That was in the days before the police got thermal imaging cameras. It wasn’t until that lovely couple did a moonlit flit leaving behind an enormous unpaid electricity bill that we all found out what their cottage industry was - growing tropical plants of the smokable kind.
In my latest book The Italian’s Blushing Gardener, Kira has escaped a disastrous affair and has found her perfect home - a tiny cottage in the beautiful Italian countryside. The last thing she wants is rich, self-made Stefano moving into the neighbouring villa. He promises to be the neighbour from hell - but there are surprises in store for both Kira and Stefano.
The Italian’s Blushing Gardener is a November Modern Romance for Harlequin Mills and Boon.  It will be released in the USA after Christmas, as a Harlequin Presents Extra called  The Master of Bella Terra, but if you visit  my website, right now I’m running a competition with signed copies and other goodies as prizes. Click on the ‘My Books’ link and you can get a sneak preview of the book and its lovely new style cover, too.

Have you ever had trouble with the people next door?

Christina Hollis writes Modern Romance/Presents Extra for Harlequin Mills and Boon. Since moving out of town her human neighbours are all from heaven, but the squirrel, deer and wild boar  in the surrounding forest can be demons if they break into her garden! You can follow her on Twitter at and Facebook at


SiNn said...

we had neighbors who would peek in our windos just walkin ourhouse when ever they wanted then blocaded us in when we were trying to move out was nutts

Christina Hollis said...

Wow, sounds like you're well out of that, SiNn.
Bet that guy who kept a tiger in his apartment didn't have too much trouble with trespassing neighbours - or never more than once, anyway!

Elanor said...

I don't have much trouble with my neighbour, she's nice enough; since our schedules clash I rarely see her anyway. Thankfully there's no reason to suspect that she's running any shady enterprises like your old neighbours, Christina!
Yes, my neighbour's fine, it's the people on the street outside at 2am that cause all the problems...

Christina Hollis said...

They say that if you build a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door.
It sounds like you'd pay a fortune to anyone who could design a better ear-plug, Elanor!
(One that would shut out all that noise but still let you hear the alarm clock, of course. Tricky...)

Anna said...

Loved your blog, Christina, and looking forward to your book--love both titles, but the Master of Bella Terra is so evocative!

We are bad-neighbor magnets--on one side, a guy posted our land so that only he could hunt on it. On the other, the teens built an ATV jump in our woods--after they had a bonfire--during a drought. (And the town I live in is not called Crazy!)

Gonna go look for your excerpt!

Christina Hollis said...

I know exactly what you mean, Anna. The woodlands around our house are a magnet for all sorts of outdoor types. The majority are fine, but there's always one or two idiots who don't douse their fires, hold illegal raves or make a nuisance.
As for that excerpt, eek! Unfortunately my webmaster is having trouble, but here's a quick burst...
"Notoriously charming but guarded, Stefano is fascinated by cautious, hidden Kira: this seduction will be unforgettable! But his polished routine goes awry - could it be that the tycoon who can have anything he wants might *need* someone for the very first time?"
(Copyright Mills&Boon Ltd 2010)

Pat Cochran said...

We have a fellow who lives in the house behind us and he lives up to his nick name. He's called the terror of the neighborhood! We never see him except on weekends and holidays. Rather, that's when we hear him! He plays his music so loud it can be heard two blocks away! He is even being mentioned in the civic association's news- letter!We think it's time to start levying nuisance fines!

Pat Cochran

Christina Hollis said...

Nobody should have to put up with noise nuisance like that, Pat. If you all banded together, surely the civic association would have to act? Good luck!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Christina, we suffered loathsome neighbours for 10 years until we finally decided we could stand them no longer and put our house on the market.
No sooner did we do that, they put the For Sale sign up too! Our nice neighbours (ie, everyone else in the street) asked us to reconsider but we'd made our decision. All our neighbours are wonderful where we live now, thank heaven.
I love the differences in your two covers for the same book!

Anne McAllister said...

Your neighbors sound like ones I am glad I never had by me, Christina. My 'favorite' of ours was when we were living in Married Student Housing and the people upstairs had a little boy who used to yell to be taken out of his crib VERY EARLY and when his parents got him up -- and went back to bed in the living room presumably, he would ride his rocking horse madly and for ages directly above our bed! Not sorry when we moved!

Mary said...

I live in an apartment complex and right now we have this one guy who loves to stand outside his apartment door and play the midnight!

It wouldn't be so bad if he knew how to play :)