Monday, February 13, 2012
V-Day by Anne Holly: Author Interview
About the Author:
Anne Holly is a Canadian author of erotica and contemporary romance, and has published both short works and a novel. She has been published through Wild Horse Press, Decadent Publishing, and Rebel Ink Press. This year, she is releasing a five-story series of holiday erotica with Rebel Ink. Born in rural Nova Scotia between the hills and the sea, Anne's work is intimately connected with the land, weather and the environment. Her stories focus on the positive aspects of love and life, and tend to feature unusual heroes. Anne has a graduate degree in cultural studies, and teaches at a university in Ontario, where she is also busy raising one young son. Anne has been publishing her fiction professionally since 2010, and is looking forward to continuing to entertain readers for years to come.
About the Novel:
It all started with a serenade…
A family like Daniel’s and the solitary pursuit of musical excellence is enough to make a young man crazy. No wonder all Daniel Vouks dreams of is getting away. He knows his violin will take him places in life, but the only place he really wants to be is next door. He’s been in love with his neighbor since he was fourteen, but can he ever make her see him as more than just a lovesick kid?
V-Day is the story of a Valentine's Day weekend Daniel fears he may regret, but will never, ever forget.
Thanks for having me. I’m glad to be here!
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My publishers, editors and my colleague authors have been wonderful. When I was first starting out, I had little knowledge to work with in terms of promoting and so forth, but other authors were all so generous with their time and advice, and my publishers were right there with handy instructions. The romance community is terrific. I can’t imagine having stuck with it this long without that help.
Do you see writing as a career?
I do. I mean, I’m serious about it, and I approach it like “real work.” I hope to climb the ladder. However, I know a lot of “going full time” is in the hands of the readers, so I just keep working at it, and hope what I do catches on.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Probably. I always see things in my writing I could have done differently. But, that’s why one writes another book, so we can have lots of chances at doing things in various ways. My editors and readers liked it, and it’s been reviewed well, so I wouldn’t change it. I just try something completely different the next go-around.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I’ve always been a storyteller. I think it’s because we didn’t have a TV when I was a kid, so telling stories, drawing, reading and writing just came about naturally in my quest for entertainment. My Mum was, and still is, a voracious reader, so books were always around. But I think I got serious about it in the eighth grade when my English teacher noticed some talent in me and encouraged me to stick with it. It’s a great feeling, getting praise and advice for your talent. It means the world to a kid.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Well, the thing I am writing right now is top secret, because it’s dealing with some sensitive issues. To be honest, I’m not sure it will see the light of day. If it doesn’t turn out the way I want it to, it will go to the trunk. I don’t really share my unedited work before it’s ready to publish and copyright protected, ever. There’s way too much plagiarism going on these days.
But, I can share with you the opening of V-Day, which introduces my geeky hero, Daniel – one my favourite characters yet.
What could one say about Daniel Vouks? He’d always felt he was a tiger trapped in a nerd’s body. But sadly, the tiger was very well hidden.
Tall and lean, having grown too much vertically before his wiry frame could fill out horizontally, he carried very little excess weight. What there was wasn’t bad. He'd often reassure himself by sneaking guilty peeks at himself in the tacky, white-framed, full length mirror nailed to the inside of the door in his childhood bedroom. Daniel was pleased to notice the weightlifting he was putting in, combined with the hours of violin rehearsal, were actually sprouting some newbie biceps and pecks, and he was starting to lose that chicken chest look. His one man Mr. Universe competition in front of the mirror took on a comedic air of ridiculousness with him in his white boxers and black socks against the backdrop of cowboy wallpaper that hadn’t changed since he was seven.
Daniel hoped he wasn’t hideous to females. Secretly, aside from his aspirations in school and with his music, his dream of being something less than offensive to the opposite sex was his main goal. He didn’t think he was bag-over-the-head homely, though he did worry about those ears that everyone always told him he’d grow into. And then there was that chin. He’d always wanted a lantern jaw but admitted in defeat his was more like a desk lamp jaw; something much less rugged and outdoorsy than a lantern, that’s for sure. Other than those two weak spots, Daniel thought he showed potential. His body’s leanness translated into artistic intensity in his face, along with his light olive skin tone and large, deep set, dark eyes with the heavy lashes and prominent brows. A thick, shaggy growth of wavy hair he was never able to tame and a timeless pair of wire framed reading glasses topped it all off. Forget about Redford. He looked more like an extra from a small town production of Fiddler on the Roof. Great teeth, though, he decided, ending on a positive note. And they should be with all the money his parents put into them.
“Ssssssssssexay!” he hissed with a self-depreciating grin and wink, having done as much as he could with his wayward pelt, and threw on his cords and a sweater. Somewhere between Franz Kafka and Harry Potter, he guessed he wasn’t likely to cause mass hysteria amongst the fairer sex, but there was always tomorrow.
Hunching down to avoid braining himself on the slanted ceiling, Daniel slipped on his shoes. Only with the peculiar logic of his family would the tallest member naturally occupy the attic room, making him live a good portion of his life slouched over.
Living at home during university had been a very wise financial move, but it came at the cost of other things, particularly his sanity and a social life. He’d survived nineteen years as an inmate in his mother’s funny farm so far. Only two and a half years left. By the end, he'd either be brilliantly eccentric or entirely crazy, able to eat his food with blunt utensils only. Either way, at least he wouldn’t have any student debt.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
My books are all about the characters, so motivation is my biggest challenge. It’s a balancing act between making them multi-layered and leaving enough ambiguity to make them interesting, without leaving the reader baffled as to why they do what they do. Character-driven fiction, as opposed to action-driven, has its own pros and cons, and the major danger is that if the characters fail, the whole book crashes.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
My favourite modern romance writer is LaVyrle Spencer. The thing I love most about her books is how she brings out the heroics of everyday people. Her heroes weren’t Greek millionaires, and her heroines weren’t supermodels or jet setting journalists, but just real people, many of them rural. I grew up on a farm, so her books were like settling in at home. A janitor can be as romantic as a tycoon if they’re written with as much warmth and heart as Ms Spencer was able to bring to them, and I admire that very much.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, not much at all, really. Most of my books are set in places I have been to or lived in, but only in retrospect did that occur. Looking back, I’ve been to some pretty marvelous places, and I go back to those settings for my books.
Who designed the covers?
My publishers generally control the covers. I personally have only commissioned one cover, for Strings Attached, which was painted by an American artist named Amanda Wood. The Rebel Ink covers are all done, I believe, by their wonderful cover designer Carl J. Franklyn, and my Decadent cover was done by Dara England. Covers, I admit, are the ray of sunshine in this writer’s life – nothing perks you up during or after editing like getting that first cover draft! I’m still not over the thrill of seeing my name on a cover!
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
It depends on the book. Sometimes, it’s deciding which character the scene will be seen through, or which voice will be central. But with other books it has been knowing when it was done and ready to go. With the novel I have coming out this summer, Textbook Romance, it was the title, oddly enough, which I hardly ever have trouble with. It went by “Fall Project 2010” for over a year! Mostly, though, since I’m a mom and a teacher as well, it’s just finding time to actually write uninterrupted.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
With V-Day, I learned how to write non-serious romance, which might not sound as difficult as it was for me. I grew up with a certain type of dramatic, heartwarming contemporary romance, so drama was what I knew. Although I had written humour for online magazines, I wasn’t sure how to write a book that could stay amusing through multiple reads, and over time. V-Day taught me how to do that.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Spend more time writing than talking about being a writer, if you can. Edit like crazy, but know when to let go. And don’t be afraid to trunk a book if it’s not working; you can always go back to it later, even years down the road.
For more information about my Valentine’s Day erotic romantic comedy, V-Day, please see my holiday stories website: http://annehollyholiday.webs.com/valentinesdaytales.htm
Anne Holly is a Canadian writer of romance and erotic-romance, as well as a mother and teacher. You may visit Anne at her blog or website, or find her on GoodReads, Facebook and Twitter (@anneholly2010). Sign up for her newsletter here. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Lindsay at 1:00:00 AM