Today I am delighted to have the wonderful Holly Martin as my Hot Holidays! guest. Her latest book, Fairytale Beginnings came out on 10th July and I have just started reading it and am loving it! Holly won the Carina Valentine Competition at 2013 Festival of Romance with The Guestbook and the Sunlounger Competition, which led to her story being published in the Sunlounger Anthology.
ES: Hi, Holly, thanks so much for joining us today. Can you start by telling us where you spent your last holiday and why you chose to go there?
HM: Last year, I went to Canada and Alaska for three weeks. I’ve always wanted to go, I’ve seen all those gorgeous pictures of lakes, mountains and waterfalls and I always wanted to experience it. When I was researching places for my story One Hundred Proposals, a lot of it was set in Canada and the research I was doing made me want to visit there even more. Niagara Falls was incredible, probably the highlight of the trip for me, closely followed by dog sledding on a glacier in Alaska.
ES: That sounds amazing! What’s your least favourite type of holiday?
HM: I don’t think I have a least favourite holiday. I love holidays. I love holidays where I get to see the sights, the mountains, the buildings and the history, I love holidays where I sit by the pool all day and do nothing but read and sleep, I love activity holidays where I go water skiing, quad bike riding, parasailing, jet skiing, snowmobiling, swimming with dolphins, I love holidays in rented houses with friends or family. I love spa breaks with my mom, I love little B&Bs by the coast. I suppose if I had to choose a holiday I didn’t like it would be camping, I’ve tried it several times and though its always a lot of fun, I can never get comfortable lying on the floor, it gets cold in the night and I always feel a bit vulnerable lying in a field in the dark, plus there’s the hassle of putting up the tent and taking it down at the end of the trip. I don’t think I would go again, but with the right people at the right time, it could still be fun.
ES: I love that your attitude, Holly! And I am totally with you on the camping. Where did you spend your best ever holiday and what made it so memorable?
HM: There’s been so many places I’ve loved. New York was fantastic but probably the best place was Australia which I went to alone. I was only there for three weeks and I crammed in a trip or activity every single day, from scuba diving on the great barrier reef, to seeing Steve Irwin at the Australian Zoo, the gorgeous waterfalls and rainforests, the koalas and kangaroos, and even seeing a platypus in the wild. I went to Brisbane and Cairns, I watched fireworks and met some absolutely incredible people.
ES: Have you had any holiday or travel disasters?
HM: When my friend and I went to Vegas our luggage didn’t arrive with us. Our hotel was a little off the main strip and we had to buy clothes from the hotel gift shop, shorts, a hotel themed t-shirt and a pair of horrid green flip flops. No underwear was on sale in the shop so I was faced with wearing the same pants from the day I travelled or going commando, I opted for commando. No toothbrush or toothpaste was sold in the shop either, so ate a lot of mints. Thankfully our bags arrived at the hotel early hours of third morning there, so there was only one day walking around feeling totally scuzzy and getting asked by hotel guests for help as I was wearing the hotel t-shirt.
ES: Oh dear! Sounds like you made the most of it though. Tell us about a place you long to visit and the reasons why.
HM: There are three places on my must do list. New Zealand has always been attractive, especially after seeing all those fabulous locations in Lord of The Rings. I want to see The Galapagos Islands for all that wonderful nature and I would love to go on safari in Africa and see all those animals in their natural habitat, especially giraffes, I’ve always wanted to see giraffes run.
ES: Who’s your favourite travelling companion(s) or do you prefer your own company?
HM: I love going on holiday with my friends but we tend to want to see and do very different things. My friends love to go out to bars and clubs and that’s not my scene at all. My mom is probably my best travelling companion as she likes to do the same things that I like. But many of my best holidays have been when I’ve gone alone. Then I can go where I want, do what I want and no one is there to disagree. Plus I meet a lot more lovely people when I’m on my own.
ES: Have you ever had a holiday romance? Details, please!
HM: On a holiday to Spain, I met a lovely Scottish lad called Dave who seemed to really like me. We agreed to meet for drinks one night. That day I went to the beach and fell asleep face down on my beach towel, under an umbrella. The sun moved and I carried on sleeping. When I woke up my legs and bum were burnt so badly that they were postbox red. I have never been in so much pain in my entire life. I didn’t want to blow off my big date and so went along anyway and hoped I could get through the night without bursting into tears. Of course I couldn’t sit down and every time I tried, I leapt straight back up again. I was too embarrassed to tell Dave that I had burnt my bum so I told him I wanted to dance. I couldn’t do that very well either so after staggering from side to side in a poor attempt to dance sexily, I excused myself to go to the toilet. The bathroom floor was tiled and I eased down my trousers and sat on the cool tiles to get some temporary relief. I could almost hear the hiss as my hot flesh touched the floor. And that’s how Dave found me a few minutes later when he came to check if I was ok. Needless to say, I never saw him again.
ES: Ha! Ha! Ha! Oh you poor thing! That has to appear in one of your books, surely? How would you spend your dream twenty-four hours if you could travel to multiple, worldwide destinations with no travel restrictions?
HM: I would breakfast on the beach in the Galapagos Islands next to the giant tortoises, I would then fly to Canada to see the polar bears, I would zip over to Venice for a quick ride in a gondola and then down to Africa to ride a hot air balloon over the African plains to see elephants, lions and giraffes. I’d fly from there to Thailand and take an afternoon nap in one of those gorgeous beach huts that are directly over the sea, nip over to New Zealand to follow in the footsteps of the Hobbits and then up to the very top of Finland to watch the Northern Lights from inside one of those glass igloos.
ES: And what tip or piece of advice would you give to holidaymakers and/or travellers?
HM: Do a bit of research before you go so you know the best sights to see and when to go and what to avoid but don’t go with a concrete plan unless you are really pushed for time, going with the flow is a far better way to enjoy a new place, talk to people, especially the locals, they will know the best places, not having a plan could result in getting free tickets to an unexpected taping of a TV show, getting last minute tickets to the theatre, eating in fabulous little restaurants, and ending up in weird or wonderful places and meeting some amazing people.
ES: Thank you so much, Holly. You’ve been an amazing, entertaining guest.