Monday, 24 October 2011

Interview: Anne Holly

Welcome to Miz Love, Anne! What do you like most about writing?

I like words, and coming up with smooth, witty lines. I like making myself smile when I know I nailed a bit of dialogue. I also like becoming friends with imaginary people. Mostly, though, I’d have to say my favourite part is bringing all my characters through their travails okay and giving them a happy ending. It reinforces my hope that things can turn out all right in the end.

How does writing make you feel?

Jazzed! When I’m writing, I feel lots of adrenalin – can I get it all down while it’s flowing? Can I type fast enough? Can I get this chapter done tonight? Will this energy keep going on? It’s quite exhilarating. Afterwards, I’m tired, but pleased if it was a good run.

Do you have any quirks, like needing lots of coffee on hand?

Not really. Yes, lots of coffee, and sometimes music (but not always). Just some time, and forcing myself off Twitter.

Do you write best at night or during the day?

Night, when my 3 year old is asleep, or first thing in the morning, before he wakes up. During the day, I usually edit, since I can’t concentrate for too long at a stretch before I have to go get him out of something, or clean something up, or play trains, or something else equally distracting and wonderful.

How often do you get to write?

Every day. This isn’t a gift, though. I make the time, because it’s important to me. I cut into my sleep so I can write.

What is your favourite book that you've written so far?

Meanie question! Mothers never play favourites! Well, if I must, I’d have to say Strings Attached, because the northern Canadian setting is so magical, and Unwrapping Scrooge, because it makes me laugh, still, and is such a positive story.

When did you start writing?

As a child, really. We didn’t have a television, so I made books for fun. I started publishing my romantic fiction in 2010. I’d published essays, poems, and non-fiction before that, though. I had a play produced in 1996, as a high school student.

Which of your characters holds a special place in your heart?

All of my heroes are little crushes for me. Theo, from Strings Attached, was so achingly endearing to me, since he’d been through so much. Kale, from Unwrapping Scrooge, remains a crush for me, since he was so lovely and nerdy.

How do you feel when your cover arrives?

Mixed. All my covers never cease to get me a little giddy, and the really good ones are thrilling to see – I don’t know if one ever gets over seeing their name on a cover, since most of us dreamt of it for years. I now have six releases, and three more covers waiting for release, and I still can’t believe my name is there! Yet, at the same time, you have to think critically, since these covers are going to represent you. You have to see how they look in thumbnail size, make sure they look right, are of good quality and represent the story and characters well, etc. I’ve never been afraid to critique a cover and ask for things changed or tweaked. I think publishers are often open to that, unless you’re being obsessive. No one knows a book better than the author, and we care about how the cover will sell the book.

Do you have beta readers?

Yes. In my opinion, they are absolutely essential. Amanda has read every one of my titles except one, I think, and I have a handful of others. It’s important to have a good sized pool of them so you aren’t bothering anyone too often, or out of luck when they are busy. It’s also good to get a range of talents or interests. For example, Amanda is great because she lets me bat around questions with her afterwards. My friend Beth focuses a lot on characters, and Trishy is excellent at finding typos and errors. All very useful, and all with their unique take on things.

Plotter or pantster?

Definitely plotter. I have a list of every character, and character sketches of the main ones, to keep them consistent. I have the story and relationship arch, the synopsis, working blurb, and chapter outline – and each chapter has an outline, with approximate lengths and POV plan. Naturally, these things change and evolve as you write, and again as you edit, but I like to know where I’m going, so I can make the most of my writing time. When I sit down to write, I know what I’m doing with that session.

What books do you have in store for us future readers?

Well, I am releasing the final two installments in my erotic-romance holiday series with Rebel Ink Press, Charity (for Thanksgiving) and Bubbly (for New Years). I have been busy releasing my Valentines, Christmas and Halloween stories. Each one involves a mismatched couple, and a story surrounding the specific nature of the holiday. Charity is a cowboy romance set in Montana, and Bubbly is a glitzy one set in New York. That has been a really fun series to write, since I tried all sorts of POV and subgenres. I even have a virgin hero in the Valentines one, which was my stab at erotic romantic-comedy!

I’m finishing up a paranormal romance right now, and have a contemporary romance out to a couple publishers, and I’ll be doing another contemporary romance for NaNoWriMo in November, which I hope to send out to publishers by the end of next summer. I like trying different genres, but I’ll always return to my contemporary romance roots, because those are the books that made me love romance novels.

Hopefully, I’ll have lots more to share over the next year or two. I’m always working!

If money was no object, where would you go, who with, and why?

If I didn’t have to stay tied to a day job – I teach in a university, so I am well situated here in Ontario – I would return home to Nova Scotia. I miss the sea, constantly, and it’s a wonderful place to be a child. I would like to take my son there. That’s it, really. No fantastic whirlwind tour. Just home.

Fave TV star--one that gets you hot under the collar?

I only watch TV via the internet or DVD, so I’m a little behind, but I’ve had a crush on the clean cut, incredibly handsome, Constable Benton Fraser, the Mountie from the show Due South, since I was a teenager, and he still does it for me. In newer stuff, I’d have to say Dr. House – gruff intellectuals are pretty sexy. I guess I like the extremely polite and the extremely rude, then?

Other than those two, I’d have to go with Greg Page, the original yellow shirt from the Wiggles. Can you tell I have a preschooler at home?

Thanks for having me! This has been fun.

Thanks for being here. It's been great having you!


Anne Holly is a Canadian writer of romance and erotic-romance, as well as a mother and teacher. She is the author of the novel Strings Attached, which was described by The Romance Reviews as “a classic contemporary romance.” She is currently at work editing the remaining installments in her five story holiday erotic-romance series published by Rebel Ink, as well as perpetually producing new stories. She has been published by Wild Horse Press, Decadent Publishing and Rebel Ink Press. Anne’s work is characterized by its unusual heroes, sweet/spicy balance, witty dialogue, responsible citizenship, and its positive, optimistic nature. You may visit Anne at her blog or website, or find her on GoodReads, Facebook and Twitter (@anneholly2010). You can find all of her releases on Amazon.

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