Happy New Year, everybody! New Year, new way of doing things. As some of you have noticed, Awesome Authors has been on a bit of a hiatus. I’ll still continue to post interviews with fabulous authors, but it’s going to be, well–er–a bit less structured, shall we say. In other words, no set schedule! Yay! Can I hear a yay? No? You’ve always been fine with whenever? Oh, well then, let’s get on with it, shall we?
Today I get to interview women’s fiction author, Holly Gilliatt. Holly’s another fabulous Sister-in-Crime member and I was excited to get to know all about her and her books. So, without further ado, here’s Holly!
From Holly’s bio: A self-confessed music, movie and accessories junkie, Holly Gilliatt’s passion has always been writing. Give her an algebra quiz and she’ll curl up in the fetal position. But throw a test requiring all essay answers her way and she’s in heaven. Between the day job, husband, three kids, two dogs and cat–it’s not easy to find time to write. So she sacrifices the laundry pile to spin her tales of laughter, friendship and love. She’s proud to call the St. Louis area her home.
DV: Welcome to Awesome Authors, Holly! Tell us a little about yourself and what you write.
HG: I’m a romantic at heart and tend to find humor in just about everything. So it makes sense that I write women’s fiction that could also be viewed as romantic comedies. Full of laughs, romance, heart.
DV: Sweet-romComs are always fun. Tell us about your newest release.
HG: My first release which is available now as an e-book or in paperback, is ’Til St. Patrick’s Day. It’s the story of three best friends and their lives and loves over the course of one winter. And I’m excited about my recent release which came out on January 5th—Love in Sight. This book is about a smart, funny, charming guy searching for love, but the fact that he’s blind doesn’t exactly put him on any Most Eligible Bachelor lists.
DV: What was your favorite part about writing this book? Least favorite?
HG: My favorite part about writing Love in Sight was getting to know my characters. When I write, I end up falling in love with the guys and wishing the women were the sisters I’ve never had. I get really attached to the people I create. And my protagonist, Jason, is a fantastic guy. Funny, genuine, flawed—but amazing. My least favorite part was editing. The editing process for this book was pretty extensive and I had to cut a lot of scenes that I loved, but in the end, just weren’t necessary.
“I don’t write books with vampires, bondage or sorcerers—I just write funny stories about love and friendship.”
DV: Ah yes, the dreaded ‘kill your darlings’ stage of editing…How long does it take for you to complete a novel? Do you have a set schedule?
HG: It can vary quite a bit. ’Til St. Patrick’s Day only took about three months—it just flew out of me. For Love in Sight, it took a couple of years to write and edit. There was a great deal of research that went into it, though, to hopefully make sure I got the details about living with blindness as accurate as possible. My current work in progress will probably end up taking about five – six months. I don’t have any set schedule for writing—I’ve got a day job and three kids so my schedule is to squeeze it in whenever I can!
I’m extremely jealous of full-time writers. I guess if I sold more books I could quit the day job, huh?
DV: 🙂 Do you work with a professional editor?
DV: Judy’s such a lovely person. She was one of my Awesome Authors last year 🙂 Can you tell us about your ‘road to publication’ and what it entailed?
HG: I spent an exhausting amount of time trying to get an agent. Over and over I got responses that ten years ago they could have sold my book, but in today’s market, they’re looking for someone that already has a built-in audience (like celebrities) or something with huge blockbuster potential (like Harry Potter, Twilight, etc.). I don’t write books with vampires, bondage or sorcerers—I just write funny stories about love and friendship. So when I was about to give up, I decided to approach small publishing houses directly. Within a month or two, I was offered three contracts.
DV: Nice! That must have been exciting! Where can we find you when you’re not writing?
HG: Probably eating something. 🙂 Most likely I’m spending time with my family, or enjoying a movie or concert. And whenever I can, I like to escape to nature—either the woods or the beach.
DV: I’m with you, Holly! I love nature (okay, and food…). In light of the huge changes in the publishing industry, where do you see yourself in five years? How do you think publishing will change in the future?
HG: I’ve got two books contracted (sequels to ’Til St. Patrick’s Day) that are due out in 2015 and I’ve got another manuscript called Loose Ends that is about halfway done and will hopefully get published in the next couple of years. I can’t think much beyond that. I love writing, so I’ll just keep plugging away and see what the voices in my head tell me to write about. Along the way, I hope to build a loyal following of readers. As far as the industry, it’s hard to say. Things are changing so rapidly in terms of self-publishing, e-books, etc. But the good news is that I think books are becoming more accessible and I hope that ultimately means more readers.
DV: What type of promotion do you do for your books? Can you tell us what has worked the best?
HG: Ah, promotion. The part of publishing that I hate. I just want to write. The rest of it—social networking, websites, book trailers—I wish I didn’t have to do any of it. I’m an introvert in a lot of ways, so it’s hard to put yourself out there and push your product. But it’s a part of the process these days. As far as what works the best…I’m still figuring that out. Getting exposure in newspapers has helped locally. Maybe review sites. It’s a work in progress.
“…the good news is that I think books are becoming more accessible…”
DV: If you could time travel (either backward or forward) where would you go and why?
HG: Oh, what a fun question! I would definitely go backward. I would love to either go back to the 19th century to experience such a different world, or go back to experience each of my kids as babies again. I miss those days.
DV: Very cool 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by, Holly! Below is an excerpt for ‘Til St. Patrick’s Day. To find out more about Holly and her novels, please see the links below.
Excerpt from ’Til St. Patrick’s Day:
The three women stepped into one of their favorite shops on historic Main Street. Jayne was sifting through some scarves and asked Karen, “How’s Rick?”
“Oh…he’s Rick.” Karen browsed through a selection of chunky metal rings.
“What does that mean?” Jayne asked, eyeing her friend.
“You know…he’s nice and not bad on the eyes, but….”
“But what?” Jayne loved Rick. He was the anti-Karen. He was sweet and tender and light-hearted. He evened her out, balanced her in a way no other man had.
“He’s just rather dull, I think. No spark there, not terribly ambitious—”
“I think there’s plenty of spark there.”
“Everything’s just so comfortable with him, though, nothing exciting there,” Karen said, trying on a ring.
“You do this every time.” Jayne sighed.
“Just when it’s time to consider actually getting vulnerable and sharing your life with someone, you call it quits.”
“I don’t do that.” Karen’s brows furrowed. “Do I?”
“Yes, you do,” Claudia confirmed. “And I think Rick is a really great guy and he really loves you. I don’t think you should let him go. I think you’ll regret it forever.”
“Me too,” Jayne said, nodding her head with enthusiasm.
“Hmmm… Well if you two think he’s so great, do you want him?” Karen said, rolling her eyes as she walked away.
“What are you so afraid of?” Claudia asked. “Actually needing someone? Getting too out of control with your emotions?”
“Oh Jesus, don’t give me any of your psych bullshit. You watched Oprah for too many years.”
“But Oprah’s always right.” Jayne chuckled. “Well, except for with James Frey. But besides that, she’s a pretty reliable source of information.”
“Well, you two can just chill out and calm down because I’m certainly not going to get rid of him at the moment. We’re safe, at least ’til St. Patrick’s Day.”
“What are you talking about?” Claudia asked.
“Do you mean that John Mayer song, St. Patrick’s Day?” Jayne asked, deciding on a blue-green scarf.
“Yeah, you know, it talks about how if you’re in a relationship when the weather starts turning cold, you’re safe until St. Patrick’s Day. Nobody wants to be alone over the holidays, then the New Year seems so optimistic, even I’m not jaded enough to dump someone then. The next thing you know, it’s Valentine’s Day, and I don’t need to tell either of you how screwed up that can be when you’re alone.” They all nodded. “But who cares if you’re alone on St. Patty’s Day? It’s a holiday that practically celebrates public drunkenness. Perfect for a raw break up.”
Claudia chuckled. “I never heard that. It’s a pretty interesting concept, though. And actually pretty dead-on.”
“Yep, so relax and know that you’ll be seeing Mister Happy Rick throughout the holiday season.”
Hmmm, Jane thought. Then maybe I’ll get at least a few months with Gray…and that should be enough time to convince him that I’m the absolute perfect woman for him. Yep, I can make this happen.
Find Holly here: