I am delighted to welcome Natalie K Martin to Me, My Books and I today.
In January 2014, Sheffield-born Natalie Martin decided to leave her corporate job in London and experience the world—heading off on travels that would take her as far as Cambodia, North India, Goa and Thailand, and would change her outlook on life for good. Whilst travelling in India, her debut novel, Together Apart, became a #1 bestseller on Amazon charts. Love You Better is her second full-length novel and also became a bestseller upon release.
Natalie’s base is now London, but she is very much a modern-day nomad, never quite knowing where she’ll end up next. A trained yoga instructor and lover of all things French, Natalie is still travelling and indulging in her three loves: writing, yoga and surfing.
Find out more:
Firstly can you give us a quick introduction to Love You Better?
Love You Better follows the life of Effie who, after a painful break-up, finds herself in a whirlwind romance and enjoying a perfect life with her new man, Oliver. But, what starts out as a dream descends into a nightmare as he shows his true, abusive colours. To make matters worse, she also has to deal with her ex who returns from his travels and shows her glimpses of what could have been, as well as the return of her wayward, hippy mum. It’s essentially a story about romantic and family relationships, and letting go of the past.
Where did the idea come from?
The idea of a story tackling domestic violence had been in mind for a long time, especially after watching Killed By My Boyfriend, which was aired on BBC3. I’ve also got friends who have been in abusive relationships before and wanted to write a book which dealt with the subtleties and complexities of subject in a realistic way without making it a caricature.
Who designed the cover and why did you go for that particular design?
I have the BEST cover designer – Najla Qamber. She did the cover for my debut, Together Apart, which I immediately fell in love with so it was natural to use her again. Both covers display inanimate objects placed in a way which hints at the storyline. Love You Better shows Effie and Oliver’s bedroom, along with cufflinks and a charm bracelet, which play important parts in the story.
I love your covers! Who was your favourite character to write and why?
It has to be Smith, Effie’s complicated ex. He was actually the hardest to write and for a long time I couldn’t even figure him out myself! He’s a perfect balance of masculinity and femininity and basically makes me swoon every time I think about him. He’s also a very good friend who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is, and we all need one of those!
What makes Love You Better stand out from the crowd?
I think its the reality of the situations covered and the multiple aspects of the story that make it different. Yes, it’s about domestic violence but its also about how complex friendships and maternal relationships can be, so there’s something in there for everyone. I wrote it pretty bluntly and nobody comes out unscathed, whether that’s Effie, her mum, Penny, or her best friend, Lou. Everyone has problems in life and the same goes for my characters. It’s also very multicultural, which is really important to me because it reflects real life, especially life in London.
Who are your favourite authors and do you think they have influenced your own writing in any way?
I really love Dorothy Koomson. She doesn’t pull any punches with her storylines and I can devour her books in one sitting. I’m also a huge fan of Joanne Harris and she’s been very influential for me. I love the way she combines all five senses in her writing and it really made me determined to try and go deeper with my descriptions.
Which of your books is your favourite and why?
That’s a hard one! Of my two full length novels, I think it has to be Love You Better because it feels more refined. That being said, it’s a close call between Love You Better and Wanderlust. Wanderlust is a novella but it combines travelling (a huge love of mine) along with romance, which is a pretty perfect combination!
Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?
Lots! I’m a bit of a nomad and writing on the road is hard, especially when it comes to trying to find somewhere quiet, or missing out on socialising with new people. Plus there’s the active missing out of exploring wherever I am whenever I want! There’s also the issue of everyone thinking my books are about them, which I guess is a good thing because it means people can relate to my stories!
Heels or flats?
For wearing? Flats, especially Converse. For collecting and never wearing, heels!
Ha ha, I love this answer (I’m the same)! Early or late?
Any last words for your readers?
Apart from saying thank you to everyone who supports authors full stop, keep reading! And please give feedback. Even if you hate the book, it’s good for us to know what you think and reviews are so important, otherwise we never learn.
Thank you so much for answering my questions Natalie, it was a pleasure to have you on my blog. I already have Love You Better on my wish list so it was great to learn more about the idea behind the storyline!
Now check out the book:
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: 1 October 2015
“After a soul-destroying breakup with her ex, Smith, Effie Abbott has met the man of her dreams. She’s had the whirlwind romance and the fairy-tale wedding to the charming and suave Oliver Barton-Cole, and life seems firmly back on track.
Things were never simple between Smith and Effie, so when he forces his way back into her life, Effie knows he’s a complication she doesn’t want or need. After all, she has Oliver, a man who loves her better than Smith ever did.
But when cracks in her marriage begin to emerge and Oliver shows flashes of a darker side, Effie has to question just how well she really knows her husband, and whether Smith is back to derail her seemingly perfect marriage or save her from it.”
Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com