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Beneath The Covers, Past
A Romance Column

An Interview with romance author Shirley Martin, review of Dream Weaver

     I had the wonderful pleasure of talking to NCP author Shirley Martin about her writing and her books, recently which I’d like to share with you.

ELAINE: Shirley, please tell us a little bit about yourself, your past careers and your interests and if any of them have influenced your writing. For instance, I know that you have taught history and been a flight attendant.

SHIRLEY: First of all, Elaine, I want to thank you for having me here. My love of history has been beneficial in writing my historical romance, High Wind Rising. But my biggest asset is my imagination. I have ideas all the time, which I've written down and put in my computer. I have loads of ideas, more vampire romances, a shape shifter romance, and several fantasies.


ELAINE: I see that One More Tomorrow, your vampire romance, is set in Miami. Why did you choose Miami as the setting? I also see that you choose Pennsylvania for some of your settings. Why did you choose it?

SHIRLEY: Since I live in Miami, I'm familiar with the city. As for Pennsylvania, I'm from Pittsburgh so am familiar with that area, too, its history and geography. So western Pennsylvania was the setting for both my historical, High Wind Rising, and my time travel romance, Dream Weaver.


ELAINE: Two of your three published books, Dream Weaver and High Wind Rising are historicals. As a historian, did you still have to conduct a lot of research to write these books? Or were you already very familiar with your subjects?

SHIRLEY: Elaine, actually Dream Weaver is a time travel romance. I did a lot of research for both. I read so many books about the Indians and the French fort, Fort Duquesne, which later became Fort Pitt when the British defeated the French. Then I read a lot for HWR about people captured by the Indians. I read about the Indian tribes, mainly the Lenape (Delaware) and even studied the language. And in Dream Weaver, since the hero, Christian, is a doctor, I studied the history of medicine, concentrating on smallpox, since the book deals with an empidemic.


ELAINE: I see that your heroine Gwen in Dream Weaver is a history teacher like yourself. Do you model many of your characters after yourself? If so, which characters and in what ways?

SHIRLEY: I guess we all do that a little, model the characters after ourselves. I've done this with all my romances. In Dream Weaver, and the others--One More Tomorrow and High Wind Rising, I tried to show a spunky heroine who will fight for what she believes in. You will see this especially in HIGH WIND RISING, which incidentally is available in paper.


ELAINE: Has writing books always been your dream? If not, what was? If so, do you have other dreams yet to fulfill? What are they?

SHIRLEY: I've always wanted to write but it was only within the last few years that I decided to do it professionally. I started writing short stories and essays. Then I thought, what the heck! If I can write short stories, I can write novels. And the rest is his--my historical romance, High Wind Rising.


ELAINE: I met you through our local RWA chapter, FRW (Florida Romance Writers). You were program chairperson for a long time and did an excellent job. Please tell us about your role in RWA and how membership has helped you as a writer and a person.

SHIRLEY: I got acquainted with many other writers and joined critique groups. These critique groups can be very helpful. Which leads me to offer some advice to aspiring writers--be willing to take advice. And of course, the friendships, such as yours, have been important to me. Besides, belonging to Romance Writers of America entitles me to get their monthly magazine, which has interesting articles and writing contests.


ELAINE: All of your books are published by New Concepts Publishing. Please tell us how you came to write for NCP. And please tell us a little about your publisher. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about them.

SHIRLEY: I've found that small presses, such as NCP, are much more open to different types of writing. The NY editors set so many boundaries for their writers, such as you can't write this, you can't write that, etc. NCP publishes many genres, such as historical, romantic suspense, paranormal, contemporary. They have a very wide selection.


ELAINE: Each of your three books are in different genres, thus your offerings are eclectic. What is your favorite genre in which to write? Read? Please tell us why?

SHIRLEY: I still like to write and read historicals, but I've been leaning more toward paranormal and fantasy.


ELAINE: Can you tell us what you’re working on now?

SHIRLEY: I'm polishing an historical romance I wrote a long time ago but had trouble selling because the heroine was an adulteress. So I've changed that. Am also working on a fantasy that's been a lot of fun.


ELAINE: Will you be attending any writing conferences or book signings in the next year that you would like your readers to know about? If so, which ones, when, and where?

SHIRLEY: Don't know about writers' conferences but I do intend to keep busy with promotion. I have several chats coming up and am getting a newsletter ready to go. For those of you who get Romantic Times, I'll have a group ad in the August issue and an ad for myself in Sept. Also ads in Arabella.


ELAINE: What is your favorite book and movie? Why?

SHIRLEY: Oooh, tough question. I greatly enjoyed Catherine Asaro's The Last Hawk. Anything by her is great. And movie? Both of the Lord of the Ring movies that I've seen so far were great. Loved the movies, especially Aragorn.


ELAINE: Who is your favorite author? Why?

SHIRLEY: Dean Koontz is my favorite author. He does everything well--plot, dialogue, narrative, description. He is a great writer.


ELAINE: Galan in One More Tomorrow is a dark, sensual vampire. Yet he will only feed from criminals. And he saves the heroine from a mugger. He strikes me as a real hero. Please tell us about your inspiration for writing Galan's character.

SHIRLEY: I started reading vampire romances a few years ago. And I wondered what it would be for a mortal to be transformed against his will into a vampire, and then fall in love with a mortal woman. But he keeps many of his human qualities, such as compassion and love for the mortal woman, Stephanie.


ELAINE: Have you always been fascinated by vampire lore? Why?

SHIRLEY: I used to see the old vampire movies with Bela Lugosi, but I was not really fascinated with vampire lore. I just think it's a good subject for a paranormal romance. People seem to enjoy reading about vampires.


ELAINE: Can you give any advice to new authors of vampire romance? If so, what would it be?

SHIRLEY: Read up on the subject, read other writers of vampire romance, including mine--One More Tomorrow. There's an Encyclopedia of Vampires, edited by Melton. Very good.


ELAINE: What is your draw to history and time travel? To romance?

SHIRLEY: History was my major in college and is a fascinating subject. So many great and small people, so many events to build a story on, which is what I did with High Wind Rising and Dream Weaver. And as for romance, "The world will always welcome lovers." Everyone wants romance, an important and gratifying part of life.


ELAINE: Do one or two historical time periods fascinate you more than others? Which ones and why?

SHIRLEY: I like the colonial period of American history and medieval history. Also enjoy reading about the American Revolution, which is, of course, still colonial history. Believe it or not, I like to read about the Dark Ages and King Arthur, who I believe really did exist. Also like to read about ancient Rome. So here, too, I have an eclectic taste.


ELAINE: Do you believe time travel and astral projection are possible? Your books deal with such fascinating concepts. If you believe it possible, would you ever try to travel through time or astral project? Why or why not?

SHIRLEY: Time travel is another fascinating topic, but I don't see any way we can travel back in time. If ever we could travel faster than the speed of light, we might be able to go forward in time. If I did either--forward or backward--I'd want to do it just for one day. That might be fun to see a castle and all the people during the medieval period. Or to see Caesar in Gaul. I surely wouldn't want to live in the Middle Ages, much as I enjoy reading about it. And astral projection is definitely possible. I've read of many who have done it, but I haven't. Don't think I'd want to either. What if your soul didn't get back to your body? Hey, you just gave me an interesting idea for a novel--someone who spirit travels but has trouble finding their body.


ELAINE: So glad I was able to inspire another novel idea. If you weren’t a writer, what would you be? What other careers would interest you?

SHIRLEY: Right now, all I want to think about is writing and promotion. At this stage of my life--I'm a senior citizen--I don't want to take up any profession. But I would like to travel throughout the US and the world. I'd like to spend more time reading. There's a lot of fun things I'd like to do--join an orchid club, visit other people and places. Maybe I could work on a means to time travel. Just kidding!


ELAINE: What are the url’s to your website and to your publisher’s website?

SHIRLEY: My website URL is New Concepts' URL is

ELAINE: To join Shirley’s newsletter, send an email to


ELAINE: Is there anything else you would like your readers to know? Please tell them now.

SHIRLEY: Just want to say that I'm so grateful to all the people who have told me how much they enjoy my books. That means a lot to me. I have a couple other books in the works and hope to get them out soon. And to all aspiring writers, I have writing tips on my website that I think are helpful. Please visit my website and sign my guestbook.


ELAINE: Thank you for chatting with me and giving us a peek into your world. We wish you well with all your endeavors and that you have abundant sales.

SHIRLEY:Thank you again, Elaine, for having me. It's been a lot of fun to talk.


Dream Weaver
By S.A. Martin (Shirley Martin)
New Concepts Publishing - 2004
ISBN: 1-58608-399-6 -
Disk or Download

Time Travel Romance
Buy a Copy
Read an Excerpt

Reviewed by Elaine Hopper, MyShelf.Com

    In Shirley Martin’s Dream Weaver, troubling dreams of the past haunts high school history teacher Gwen Emrys. Night after night she sees a Colonial log cabin go up in flames, a young man dressed as an American colonist, and visions of wounded soldiers on bloody battlefields.

   When she sees a travel pamphlet with the exact restored village, she is compelled to see it with her eyes wide open. While on tour of the village, she faints and awakens at the cabin in 1762 during the middle of Smallpox epidemics, Indian wars, and British and French intrigue.

    The first person she meets is handsome doctor, Christian Norgard, the cabin’s owner and the man from her dreams. To her dismay, he doesn’t believe that she’s a time traveler from the year 2003. Then to her horror, she overhears that he believes her to be a French spy and that French spies are hanged, drawn, quartered, or burned at the stake.

   Still romance blooms and is interwoven deftly with Colonial Pennsylvania history, magically transporting the reader back in time with Gwen and Christian.

     The story also revisits Rebecca and Daniel Chamberlain from High Wind Rising, Ms. Martin’s first historical novel. No worries, this book stands completely alone and provides a highly emotionally satisfying read.

    An excellent story teller, Ms. Martin spins you into her tightly woven web of romance. A lover of the Colonial period, she makes it jump alive with vibrant emotion and detail. Take my word, this is a story you won’t want to put down from start to finish.

**Note: Reviewer Elaine Hopper is the author of twenty published romance novels.

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