Thursday, April 8, 2021

Martha Waters Interview - To Love and to Loathe

Photo Credit: Ryan Chamberlain

Martha Waters is the author of To Have and to Hoax and To Love and to Loathe. She was born and raised in sunny South Florida, and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She works as a children’s librarian in North Carolina, and spends much of her free time traveling.


Greatest thing you learned in school?
How to work well with deadlines, honestly – not a very romantic answer, but something that really comes in handy in publishing!

Tell us your latest news.
My sophomore novel, a Regency rom-com called To Love and to Loathe, comes out April 6th, and I’m so excited to share it with readers! I’m hard at work on my third book, which unfortunately hasn’t been announced officially yet, so I’m not allowed to say more about it at the moment!

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
People telling me that they’ve reread my book – the idea that someone could love something I wrote enough to reread it, the way I have reread so many of my favorite books, is amazing.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I hope they’re laughing! My goal when writing my books is always just to give readers a few hours of joy, a bit of an escape from the real world, so I hope that’s what they experience.

In your new book; TO LOVE AND TO LOATHE, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
It’s a Regency-era rom-com set at a country house party that I’ve been calling a “frenemies-to-lovers” book – the hero and heroine have known each other for years and love to hate each other, and are known for their constant bickering. They agree to a friends with benefits arrangement just for the duration of the house party . . . and of course things quickly get more complicated!

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
I finished drafting it, and did all of my revisions, during the early days of the pandemic, so I’d say just being forced to write from home rather than in a library or coffee shop, was horribly distracting for me – it really threw me off my routine.

What part of Jeremy and Diana did you enjoy writing the most?
They’re both incredibly unsentimental, which was really fun to write – they’re both horrified by the idea of falling in love, so getting to write them slowly realizing that they’re in love was delightful.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would love to introduce Diana to Emma Woodhouse from Jane Austen’s Emma – I think they’d get along wonderfully, since both are the sort of person to think they’re always right. They’d be kindred spirits. (Or, alternately, they might totally hate each other because they’re too much alike!)

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
Diana likes to paint and it was fun as I created that part of her personality realizing how much I related to the insecurities I was giving her. Writing and visual art are very different, of course, but some of our fears really mirrored each other’s.

What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?
Antidisestablishmentarianism is one of the ten longest words in the English language. (I learned to spell this one as a kid and have never forgotten!)

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be?
I would have studied abroad in London for an entire year in college, rather than a single semester. (It was the best semester ever.)

Best date you've ever had?
A biscuits and donuts picnic in the park in beautiful springtime weather. (I am a simple creature and food is absolutely the way to my heart.)

Choose a unique item from your wallet and explain why you carry it around.
I still have my Oyster card for the London Underground – I always carried it with me when I studied there, and I’ve gone back to visit enough times that I’ve just never bothered to take it out of my wallet.

If you wrote a journal entry today, what would it say?
I did actually write a journal entry today, ha! I discussed playing a socially distanced game of croquet in my friend’s back yard and having afternoon gin & tonics. It’s been a good day!

What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home?
I’m going to have to rat out my own family and say that the 1950s era childhood doll of my mother’s that my dad strung up from the chandelier in our dining room as a joke and then left there for literally years. It was extremely creepy.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
I had a job right after I got my master’s degree that made me extremely miserable, and kind of on a whim I quit it for a part-time, considerably lower paying job 800 miles away – and I never once regretted that decision. So it’s really made me realize how much happiness is worth.

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
I don’t think I have any unique fears, honestly! My biggest fears are heights and snakes, which I’m afraid are very boring ones (though they don’t feel boring to me!).

What was the best memory you ever had as a writer?
The day my agent called to tell me we had an offer for my first book. I can still remember every single detail of that afternoon, two years later – up to and including what I ate for dinner that night to celebrate. It was the best afternoon of my life.

I love to travel, and have gone some really amazing places, but there are so many I still want to visit. My current top ten on my bucket list are:
  • 1. New Zealand
  • 2. Hong Kong
  • 3. Barcelona
  • 4. South Africa
  • 5. Chile
  • 6. Oaxaca, Mexico
  • 7. Switzerland
  • 8. Vietnam
  • 9. Jordan
  • 10. Provence
Journey to writing TO LOVE AND TO LOATHE
Diana and Jeremy, the heroine and hero of To Love and to Loathe, first appeared in my first book, To Have and to Hoax, as the best friends of the main characters. Every time they were on the page together in that book, they kind of stole the show – they were constantly bickering and bantering, and in one memorable scene Diana bet Jeremy 100 pounds (which was an awful lot of money in 1817) that he would be married within the year. As soon as I finished writing the book, I knew I had to write one for Diana and Jeremy, too. But at that time, my first book hadn’t sold yet – I was still on submission for it, waiting to hear from editors. But Diana and Jeremy wouldn’t leave me alone, and I had the idea to take the marriage wager they’d made in the first book and sort of tie it into a friends-with-benefits arrangement – the idea was occupying all of my thoughts, so I took a leap of faith, and wrote an incredibly rough, incredibly fast first draft for them while I was on submission. I knew at the time that this might end up being a complete waste of time – if my first book didn’t sell, no one was gong to buy a companion book for it. But I couldn’t leave their story untold, and I ended up finishing that first, horribly rough draft the day after I received an offer to publish To Have and to Hoax. It took me many months to come back to it – I had to revise my first book with my editor, after all! – but I got my book deal for To Love and to Loathe about a month before the pandemic started, just before my first book came out. Finishing a clean draft of it, and then revising it during the early months of the pandemic, kept me sane – it was such a wonderful distraction from how scary and sad the world was around me, even as these very conditions made it hard to focus on writing. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for these characters and this story because of all these memories that are tied up in it.

The widowed Diana, Lady Templeton and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham are infamous among English high society as much for their sharp-tongued bickering as their flirtation. One evening, an argument at a ball turns into a serious wager: Jeremy will marry within the year or Diana will forfeit one hundred pounds. So shortly after, just before a fortnight-long house party at Elderwild, Jeremy’s country estate, Diana is shocked when Jeremy appears at her home with a very different kind of proposition.

After his latest mistress unfavorably criticized his skills in the bedroom, Jeremy is looking for reassurance, so he has gone to the only woman he trusts to be totally truthful. He suggests that they embark on a brief affair while at the house party—Jeremy can receive an honest critique of his bedroom skills and widowed Diana can use the gossip to signal to other gentlemen that she is interested in taking a lover.

Diana thinks taking him up on his counter-proposal can only help her win her wager. With her in the bedroom and Jeremy’s marriage-minded grandmother, the formidable Dowager Marchioness of Willingham, helping to find suitable matches among the eligible ladies at Elderwild, Diana is confident her victory is assured. But while they’re focused on winning wagers, they stand to lose their own hearts.

With Martha Waters’s signature “cheeky charm and wonderfully wry wit” (Booklist, starred review), To Love and to Loathe is another clever and delightful historical rom-com that is perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Evie Dunmore.
You can purchase To Love and to Loathe at the following Retailers:

1 Winner will receive a $15 Dollar Amazon Gift Card.


  1. "Do you miss anyone right now?" No! I don't need anyone! I don't need any of you!

  2. Our older dog Rocky passed away about two weeks ago. We still miss him a lot.

  3. Yes I do I miss my Aunt Peggy and people I use to work with.

  4. I miss my grandma, who passed away in February.

  5. I miss my grandma and grandpa :(

  6. I do miss my uncles, who passed away in December.

  7. Yes, I miss my daughter who is at college.

    abfantom at yahoo dot com

  8. I do. I have missed seeing my family during this pandemic.

  9. I miss my dog who passed away last month.

  10. Yes I am missing my sis who has Covid and is in quarantine.

  11. I miss my mother.
    Thanks for the contest.