Monday, July 25, 2011

Holly Kirwan and the Iraq War

Thank you for visiting Tattered Pages, Margaret!
It's my honor to have you here!

I have to say I love all my books, (sorry about the self adulation), but my favourite would be Holly And The Millionaire, my one and only published contemporary romance. It might seem strange because I call myself an historical writer, but somehow Holly got under my skin and stayed there. She was a gutsy little fighter whose soldier husband was killed in Iraq and left her with a toddler to support. She didn’t let being dealt a bum hand in the game of life defeat her.

I didn’t need to do much research for Holly’s story. My youngest son has been in the army, so I obtained information from him, and the newspapers were full of the war in Iraq. Sadly, Afghanistan has now becoming the killing field for our soldiers.

I actually got the idea for this novel when I was flying back to Australia from London, after visiting my oldest son who lives over there. A good deal of the story is set in Melbourne where I live.  I tried to imagine how a young woman would feel, all alone with her baby, and on the run from her husband’s ruthless parents.  They want the baby but not her, and they will stoop to anything to get their son’s child. How devastating and frightening that would be for Holly, especially as her husband was barely cold in his grave.

I wanted to make Justin the opposite. Wealthy, confident, ruthless to a point, but underneath that hard exterior, a man with a heart, who falls in love with Holly and her baby but doesn’t realize how much he cares until he almost loses them.

I have always been a writer from as far back as I can remember. I used to write these pitiful sad little ditties then I moved on to short stories. I was quite successful with short stories, had a few published and won a few contests.

One contest win really sticks in my mine.  Years ago I entered a competition for a sock company writing about feet. And guess who won?  I dutifully collected my prize - twenty pairs of socks. Dad and my brother were ecstatic, so were their feet.

I graduated to novel writing and fell in love.
I won the 2007 and 2009 Author of the Year at
My novel Frontier Wife won the Best Historical Romance Novel at the 2010 Readers Favorite Award, and another novel, Wild Oats was a 2011 Finalist in the EPIC awards.

 I am a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, the Melbourne Romance Writers Group (MRWG) and EPIC. I am married with three grown up sons, and a gorgeous little granddaughter. Outside of family and friends, writing is my passion.

Publishers: The Wild Rose Press and Whiskey Creek Press.

Fleeing from her ruthless English in-laws who are intent on stealing her child, Holly Kirwan boards a flight home to Australia and meets Justin Devereux. They are instantly attracted to each other.
Justin doesn’t want a permanent woman in his life, particularly one with a baby in tow. Holly, still grieving for her soldier husband who was killed in Iraq, doesn’t want to be disloyal to his memory.
Can the young widow and the commitment shy tycoon ever find happiness together?

Justin Devereux fumed as he strode on board the aircraft.  Heads would roll over this debacle. If he hadn’t needed to get out of England so urgently, he would have waited for another flight.  To hell with the risk of being grounded by a blizzard.

He showed his ticket to the flight attendant.  He hadn’t flown in economy class for years, wouldn’t be doing it today either if he had any say in the matter.

“I’m so sorry about this mix-up, Mr. Devereux.   The airline did everything it could to get you a last minute business-class seat, but like first class it was completely booked out.”

Well, you didn’t try hard enough, he nearly said, but bit back the angry words. It wasn’t the flight attendant’s fault that his booking still floated around in cyber space.

“We were able to get you an aisle seat near the front.”

“Thank goodness for that at least.” 

On being shown to his seat, he took off his cashmere coat, folded it neatly and stowed it in the overhead locker. If he had even an ounce of luck, the seat beside him would remain empty, but he wouldn’t take bets on it. Setting his briefcase on the floor, he rested his laptop on the vacant seat. What a shocking few hours it had been.

At least it was a little more spacious here.  He couldn’t understand why there was extra leg space and only one other seat, when there would be normally at least three, sometimes four jammed together.

Closing his eyes he thought back on the last twenty- four hours. Deanna and Simon had betrayed him. He didn’t care so much about Deanna dumping him for Simon as their relationship had just about run its course.

Running off with millions of dollars of his employees’ pension funds.  Now that was something else. Despicable and criminal, and they did it in such a way that the blame fell on him. He was ruthless.  He had to be to claw his way to the top of the business world, but he had always acted with integrity. There were only two choices in the short term.  Risk tarnishing his good business reputation or discretely pay the money back.  He chose the latter.

I’ll hound them to the ends of the earth; I don’t care how long it takes.  No one cheats Justin Devereux and gets away with it.

“Hell,” he yelped, as something hard and sharp rammed into his groin. His eyes flew open. God, someone was trying to castrate him.

“S… sorry,” the wavering female voice said.

Justin looked up into a pair of blue eyes that were swimming in tears.

“Here, let me help,” he growled, pushing the weapon away from his crotch and handing it back to her. It’s a wonder they let her bring the thing on board. She took the folded-up baby’s stroller, but dropped a large pink bag onto his foot. Where were the attendants when you needed them? This was definitely going to be the flight from hell.

He watched the girl struggling with the stroller, her handbag and a baby all at the one time. His first thought was she didn’t look old enough to have a baby, his second was how tiny and frail she appeared, with the fine, ice-blonde hair tumbling out of its restraining clip.

“It’s all right, don’t get flustered.” He felt strangely moved by her pale, heart shaped face and trembling lips.

As she reached across his briefcase to sit the baby on the floor a swathe of hair brushed his face, and he smelt a faint elusive perfume. Flowers perhaps? Like enticing fingers, it captured his senses.

Before he could offer to help, she lifted up the pink bag, trying to put it in the overhead locker, but she wasn’t tall enough to reach. As he got up to assist her the bag tilted and a jar of baby food hit him on the head.

This girl was a walking disaster area.

“I…I’m sorry.”

“It’s all right.  Accidents happen.”  Grimacing, he rubbed his head. “Let me put the bag up for you.” And that lethal pram too, he thought, not wanting to risk being run through again. He valued his manhood too much.

As he stowed everything in the locker, he noticed that the white-haired and blue-eyed baby played with his briefcase – its plump little fingers trying to pick the lock.
The girl darted under his arm and scooped up the baby, and sat down as quick as a flash. Thank goodness, he’d be safe for a little while at least.


Lynn Chantale said...

My curiosity is piqued. I slowly see my book budget dwindling. :-) I'm adding Holly and the Millionaire to my list.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi AJ,
Thank you so much for inviting me to vist your blog and for letting me tell you about my Heroine Holly.



Margaret Tanner said...

Hi W. Lynn,
Thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment, I really appreciate it. I checked out your blog. Wow you have some great stuff there.

Sarah Grimm said...


This story sounds so wonderful! I'm definitely picking it up!


Cheryl Wright said...

Hey Margaret,

Thought I'd drop over and tell everyone what a great book Holly and the Millionaire is. It's one of those books you can't put down, and get yourself really involved in.

It's also my favourite of all your covers!


AJ Nuest said...

Thanks for visiting with us yesterday! So happy you were able to post on Tattered Pages. Holly and The Millionaire sounds AWESOME!

Caroline Clemmons said...

Margaret, if this book is better than FRONTIER WIFE, it must be a doozy! I'll check it out. Thanks and nice to see you online.

Mariposa Cruz said...

Hi Margaret,
I love the story about the sock contest. Great excerpt! Holly and The Millionaire sounds amazing!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Maripoa,
Thank you for dropping by. Glad you liked the sock story, it is true. It might have happened years ago, but I can still remember it.



Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Caroline,
Thanks for dropping by. You are too kind.


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Sarah
Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment I really appreciate it.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Cheryl,
Thank you for dropping by my friend and lending your support. Also for your kind words, I appreciate them.