Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Interview with Author Holly Hook


Holly Hook is also the author of Tempest and is currently working on two more young adult novels, the sequel to Tempest as well as a stand-alone comedy.
Tempest Blurb:
Sixteen-year-old Janelle never thought the gray spiral birthmark on her arm meant anything special. That is, until she meets Gary, a boy her age with a birthmark exactly like hers. Gary’s attractive, brooding, and perfectly normal…except for the fact that he materialized out of a dangerous hurricane right in front of her. Janelle’s certain of only one thing. Gary’s mark—and hers, too—mean something, but he’s reluctant to tell her what.

At last she squeezes the truth from Gary about their markings. And the truth is utterly terrifying: Janelle and Gary are more connected to the destructive power of nature than she ever dreamed possible. And learning the truth about herself is only the start of her nightmare.



Inferno Blurb: Ever since becoming leader of the human hurricanes called Tempests, 16-year-old Janelle is overdue for a vacation. But the trip to Hawaii quickly presents its own problems when she meets Kenna, a local sophomore who makes the volcano start rumbling when she's nearby. So when Kenna gets kidnapped, Janelle has to find her before catastrophes can start. If she doesn’t, it could mean the end of civilization as we know it, and the death of everyone she loves.
Deirdra: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
Holly: As far back as I can remember, I knew I wanted to write books.

Deirdra: What is your writing and educational background?
Holly: I've been writing since about the first grade, and have been practicing every year since then. I did go to college, but that was for my day job rather than writing.

Deirdra: What makes you passionate about writing?
Holly: I've always been really creative and love the idea that I have the opportunity to create something that no one has even thought of yet, at least to my knowledge. It's like going out and covering new territory.


Deirdra: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
Holly: After trying endless querying and receiving “we like this, but we can't sell this in today's market” type replies, I decided to release Tempest myself for the Kindle and Nook, because I read somewhere that many agents are more likely to consider an author who''s already sold lots of copies and built a platform. So I decided to try it, as I knew from the response I got from critique partners and forums that if I marketed in the right places, people would buy my book. I released Tempest in late September last year, and have sold almost 7,000 ebook copies since then. I also released its sequel, Inferno, last month, which started to sell copies on the Nook and Kindle on its first day. So far, I've gotten mostly positive reviews for Tempest from customers and book bloggers, though of course, there's a couple of not-so-great ones too, but that happens with every book. It sure beats letting Tempest sit on my hard drive.

Deirdra: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Holly: If someone really slammed my work or gave it a negative critique, I'd walk away for a day or two, come back, and work in their suggestions if it made any sense to me then.

Deirdra: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?
Holly: The beginnings of the Destroyers series actually came from an indigestion dream I had one night. The next day, I came up with the idea itself and posted it on the forums of an online critique site, and everyone seemed pretty excited about it, so I decided to go ahead and try it.

Deirdra: Can you tell us a little about your book Tempest?
Holly: Sixteen-year-old Janelle never thought the gray spiral birthmark on her arm meant anything special. That is, until she meets Gary, a boy her age with a birthmark exactly like hers. Gary’s attractive, brooding, and perfectly normal…except for the fact that he materialized out of a dangerous hurricane right in front of her. Janelle’s certain of only one thing. Gary’s mark—and hers, too—mean something, but he’s reluctant to tell her what.

At last she squeezes the truth from Gary about their markings. And the truth is utterly terrifying: Janelle and Gary are more connected to the destructive power of nature than she ever dreamed possible. And learning the truth about herself is only the start of her nightmare.

Deirdra: How do you think e-books have changed the literary world?
Holly: I think they're opening the doors both for readers to be able to access more books and for authors to have more choices in how they put books out there. Also, I like that eBooks aren't destroying trees.
Deirdra: How many beta readers do you have review your manuscript before you send it to your editor?
Holly: I prefer several before I put a book out, because everyone sees the same book in a different way and can offer different suggestions for improvement.
Deirdra: What do you hope readers will get from your books?
Holly: That they've read something different.

Deirdra: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Do you just sit down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline first?
Holly: I never outline. I just start and make it up as I go. Usually when I start a story, I don’t know how it’s going to end. I’ll just get ideas as I progress.

Deirdra: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer's block? If so, how do you deal with it?
Holly: Sometimes. I typically have at least two projects going, so that if I get stuck on one, I can go to the other for a while, and come back with fresh eyes later on.
Deirdra: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
Holly: I prefer music or noise while I'm working. For some reason, I don't focus too well in absolute quiet.

Deirdra: What’s your secret to making the character’s in your books come to life?
Holly: It depends on the book I'm working on. I don't usually have it down by the first draft, but I slowly get to know the characters as I go, and go back and really develop them through my second draft.

Deirdra: What authors do you admire, and why?
Holly: I really like Rick Riordan's stuff and how he brings mythology to life in the modern world, and how he develops every character well throughout his books.

Deirdra: What is your favorite snack to have while you are writing?
Holly: I would say either smoked salmon or anything jalapeno flavored. I know, I'm weird.

Deirdra: Besides writing what other talents or hobbies do you have?
Holly: I also enjoy drawing and keeping tarantulas.

Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?
Holly: Just make sure you know you have different options. Many people believe that you have to go through a mainstream publisher to be considered any good, and that's not necessarily true. Of course, practice makes perfect, and I don't recommend trying to sell a book until you've edited it enough to make it look professional, and sent it through several beta reads and edited it again. Take some time to really learn how to write well. There's too many independently published books out there that haven't been edited well, and this fact turns many readers and reviewers off to trying any independently published book.

Deirdra: What are you working on now?
Holly: I'm currently working on an adult urban fantasy with my sister, which is a different experience for me, and I'm starting on a young adult comedy in which the world turns into a giant commercial break. I'm also getting some ideas together for the third book of the Destroyers series.

Deirdra: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?
Holly: My 3 current releases are available here:

Deirdra: Any final words you would like to share?
Holly: Thanks for interviewing me!

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