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Chatting with Nikki Prince by Jann Ryan

January 2, 2022 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , , , , ,

Jann Ryan is taking a much earned break. We’ll be running some of her past interviews while she’s off. Hope you enjoy this chat with Nikki Prince as much as we all did.

Today, I’m happy to be chatting with author, Nikki Prince. Nikki is a mother of two, who always had a dream to be a published author. Her passion lies in raising her children, gaming, reading and writing.  She has two Masters, one in English and the other in Creative Writing concentration in fiction.

Nikki’s a multi-published author with several publishing houses. She loves to write Interracial romances in all genres but wants to let everyone know to not box her in because there is always room for growth.  Nikki believes that love should truly be color blind and for all.

Nikki’s a member of Romance Writers of America National, DARA, and several online chapters.

Author Links

Website 
Instagram
Facebook Page 
Facebook Group
Twitter

Bakersfield Romance Writers Links

Facebook Group
Facebook Page
Instagram 
Twitter 
Website: coming soon


Jann Ryan: Since 2012, you have published seventeen books, earned a BA and MA in English and Creative Writing, active in several Romance Writers of America chapters, moved twice all while raising two wonderful children. Wow—how did you do it all?

Nikki Prince: It’s actually about 25 books and I earned another Masters in Literature during this time frame.  My two teens have been a great help as well as inspiration for me because I want them to know that anything is possible in their life as long as they go for it. 

I went back to school in 2014 and garnered the BA, and two MA’s in a 3-year span and have maintained a 3.9 GPA.  I’ve been wanting to write since I was 11 years old.  I finally made that dream a reality when I turned 43 and realized it is never too late to do what you’ve always wanted to do.  Writing and reading has been a passion for since I first found romance books at age 11.  Before finding my grandmother’s romances, and Johanna Lindsey on my father’s dresser I hated to read. 

Reading helped me in so many ways, you see I had a learning disability.  However, once I found romance books and started reading that all changed for me and the only inkling of a disability that I still have is in math which is another part of the brain.  Reading and writing saved my life in so many ways and knowing that I can bring joy to someone else from reading the worlds and characters that I build is so satisfyingly wonderful.  Another shining part in my writing and real life is belonging to RWA it is a wonderful community where writers of like minds can be together to nurture one another.

Jann Ryan: It’s Complicated debut in April of 2018. A reviewer declared it was a “steamy, intriguing romance.” Another said it was “friends with benefits until it goes sideways.” You have two great characters, Ashton Locke and Keiko Jarrett. For our readers who may not have found this incredible book tell us about it.

Nikki Prince: I’ve had this thought of creating a bunch of friends for who all intents and purposes are the best of girlfriends with great guy friends.  Three sets of friends and the desire to be together and yet there is something holding them back.  Ashton and Keiko’s love story has a few twists along the way to get to the HEA, because everyone deserves a happy ever after.

Jann Ryan: When can we read the next Nikki Prince novel?

Nikki Prince: The last story that I had come out is a short called Blurred Lines, and it came out June 2019.  I am working on edits for the second book in the Undeniable Series with  Áine Reid and Darian Tisdale in a story called “It’s Work” and following that the next story which is Emmerson Collins and Royce Hanson’s story called, “It’s Real.”  Beyond that I have a lot of stories still left in me to write.  Stories that may be paranormal, contemporary and love between the same gender, opposite gender, interracial mix or same racial mix as I believe everyone’s story should be told.

Jann Ryan: Have you ever suffered writer’s block? If so, how did/do you get past it?

Nikki Prince: Indeed, I have.  I know there are some that say that writer’s block is imaginary.  In some ways I think that is true because there is inspiration to write everywhere.  However, there are times when the brain doesn’t want to function and let you put out the stories as you have before.  Because let’s face it, life can be messy it is one of the reasons most of us read romance is because it lets us get out of our own heads, our own lives and for a moment in time live a life of beauty. 

How I get past it is I game (I play World of Warcraft have since 2006), I spend time with my children, Travel somewhere different , read something else and sometimes a nap will rejuvenate the mind and spirit.   When I moved to Dallas last year in 2018 it was hard to get a chance to write and for me that was a block, however if it is in you to write and to create it never goes away so here I am.

Jann Ryan: What are you doing now between writing and life?

Right now I am working on putting together a writing community here in Bakersfield, California.  I knew when I moved here that RWA wasn’t represented here and I want to change that.  So far I have about 7 other people within the group.  I hope to gain more so that I can apply for Bakersfield Romance Writers to be a full chapter of the Romance Writers of America.  I am also in grad school for a third Masters.  This is a Masters in Marketing and Social Media.  I’m taking my time with this MA as I already have two and there is no rush, besides I have plenty of stories within me that I want to share with the world.

Jann Ryan: What’s your writing day like?

My writing day really depends.  Between having two teens in High School, being in grad school and looking for a full-time job here in Bakersfield (I’ve only been here since June), I write wherever and whenever I can.  That has always been the way of it since 2012.  I love writing and creating so I will write at night, in the afternoon, and in the morning.  Whatever it takes to get the stories done, I’ll do it.  One of the ways to do that is I love to do National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo) every November so that I can just immerse myself in my stories for a whole month.


A Few Books by Nikki Prince

#Me Too

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#Me Too

IT’S COMPLICATED

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IT’S COMPLICATED

ON ANGLE’S WINGS

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ON ANGLE’S WINGS

PURE ADRENALINE

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PURE ADRENALINE

SWAGGER

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SWAGGER
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Historical Author Alanna Lucas–Romance, Adventure, and Happily Ever After!!

November 2, 2021 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , ,

Bestselling, award-winning author Alanna Lucas pens Regency-set historicals filled with romance, adventure, and of course, happily ever afters. When she is not daydreaming of her next travel destination, Alanna can be found researching, spending time with family, volunteering, or going for long walks. She makes her home in California with her husband, children, one sweet dog, and hundreds of books.

Just for the record, you can never have too many handbags or books. And travel is a must.

Today the delightful Regency romance author Alanna Lucas is with us. Will be talking about her journey to publication and her latest releases.

Jann: Why did you become a writer?

Alanna: For as long as I can remember, I’ve had stories swirling through my thoughts. It seemed natural to write them down and share HEA’s. The world needs more Happily Ever Afters, right?!

Jann: Tell us about your journey to publication. How many books have you published?

Alanna: My book, Face to Face won a contest wherein I was offered a contract. It was really exciting! Face to Face was the first in a six-book series. I enjoyed my time with my publisher but found self-publishing more fulfilling. I suddenly was in control of who my editor was, cover design, and deadlines (an important detail when you have kids at home). I have self-published eleven books!

Jann: Historical romance readers look for accuracy from the author. What are your favorite sources for research and how much time did you spend on research? Do you research before, while you write a first draft or after?

 Alanna: Gosh, my favorite sources? Where to start… I have the Beau Monde to thank for the wealth of knowledge sitting on my bookshelves. The classes and material they have provided always is a great starting point. I love to research and probably spend way too much time falling down the rabbit hole looking for some tidbit to satisfy my curiosity. Lol!

Jann: The Redemption of Heathcliff, made its debut in January 2021, and How To Steal A Lyon’s Fortune, in April, received wonderful reviews by readers. Do you read reviews?

 Alanna: Thank you! I’ve been so pleased with the reception of both books. I do read some reviews (and try not to let the bad ones get to me). Authors put a lot of themselves into their writing and it’s nice to read that our stories resonate with readers.

Jann: On November 12, A Marchioness for Christmas makes its debut. What major conflicts do your leading characters, Antonia and Dracon, have to work through on the way to their HEA?

Alanna: Communication—or lack of—and family responsibility are things both Antonia and Dracon struggle with. Both have a strong sense of duty that have dictated their actions, and not always in their best interest.

Jann: When starting a new book do you think of character, plot or theme first?

 Alanna: Plot never comes first. Lol! I am a pantser all the way! Usually, the hero and heroine come to me with an idea. I spend a lot of time getting to know them in my head. Each book has its own journal for me to record thoughts and ideas.

Jann: What are you working on now? Can you tell us about your next project?

Alanna: I am working on a new series about three sisters who are gifted with charm, grace, and beauty, who are not only determined to marry for love and make advantageous matches, but plot to assist other ladies of Society to do the same. Let’s just say, they are not your typical debutants.

Jann: You wrote a couple of Historical Westerns. Will you be writing any more in the future?

Alanna: I hope so, but no cowboy hero has rushed into my thoughts lately 😉

Jann: Your book covers are fabulous. Are you the designer?

Alanna: Thank you! I think they’re fabulous, too! I have an amazing cover designer, Dar Albert, who really understands my vision, usually on the first go around.

Jann: What is the one thing you’ve never been asked, but you wish someone would?

 Alanna: This one stumped me a little. I guess… Have you ever acted out any of the scenes in your books? The answer is yes, but I won’t say which ones 😉

Jann: What’s the funniest (or sweetest or best or nicest) thing a fan ever said to you?

Alanna: “You look just like your author picture!”

Jann: You like to travel. Do you have a favorite location that you find yourself going back to? Do you have a bucket list of future destinations?

 Alanna: I LOVE to travel, especially to the Netherlands. I try and go once a year—I have family there and the little ones are getting so big, so fast! I’m always plotting the next travel destination. Next trip (fingers crossed that the world behaves, and travel is possible) is to see the Northern Lights in Norway.

Alanna, it’s been great to spend time with you today. I love reading Regency romances and yours are wonderful. Can’t wait to read A Marchioness for Christmas! You also have  Christmas Kisses, which is part of a Regency Holiday Romance Anthology with ten authors that is available now which I’m reading. Have a wonderful holiday season!!


Books by Alanna Lucas

(Click on the cover for more information. Hover over the cover for buy links.)


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Author E.J. Williams–Marriage, Mystery and Other Stuff!!

September 2, 2021 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as ,

Published authors, Janet Elizabeth Lynn and Will Zeilinger wrote individually until they teamed up and wrote the five book Skylar Drake Murder Mystery series. Janet has published seven mystery novels and Will has three in print, plus two short stories. Their world travels have sparked several ideas for murder, crime and thriller stories. This creative couple has been married for 49 years.

For their new International Crime File series, they are writing as E.J. Williams. The first novel is titled STONE PUB: an Exercise in Deception.

We’re here today with the mystery writing dual who write under the name of E. J. Williams. We’ll be talking about picking it up fresh after a delay, writing as a couple and other stuff.

Janet and Will:

We are a married couple who have written the five book Skylar Drake Mystery Series together and yes…we are still married. After finishing the series, we planned another series of international mystery thrillers. Unfortunately, we’ve had several medical issues occur during 2020-21 for both of us. Hence there was an eighteen-month period where we couldn’t work on our new book. After this long absence in writing we’ve decided to try and “get back into the saddle again.”

Jann: What are the positive and negatives of writing as a couple?

Will:

Positives: collaboration. Having a sounding board for your ideas. Coming up with fresh new ideas (two heads are better than one).

Negatives: Difficult to take a new idea and run with it. You must always check in with co-writer first. A couple’s vision is going to be different than an individual’s vision.

Janet:

I find it wonderful to share the ideas and brainstorming session with someone. Before starting our first book, Slivers of Glass together, we made a rule that we check our egos at the door before we do anything with the book we are writing. The most difficulty we have is trying to schedule meetings around two hectic and existing schedules. We manage but it can be a pain.

Jann: Do you share the editing and publication process for your books.

Will:

Yes. We share both the editing and publication processes for all our books, including cover design and back cover blurbs.

Janet:

We split our “duties” according to our skills. I like to outline and he is a “panster”. So I outline the story, he adds to the outline then we start writing any of our Skylar Drake books. With editing we read the manuscript to each other 3-4 times before sending it to the editor. Regarding publishing, Will is the expert in formatting and publishing so he is in charge of that. I take care of Public Relations.

Jann: What if you hate what you wrote before?

Will:

Personally, I save everything. Even if I can’t stand what I wrote previously, there will always be something in it that can be used in the future. If you are talking about previous works, I don’t shine a spotlight on the ones I don’t like…but someone will like it. Writing is an art and art is subjective. Never apologize for your work. Writing is a creative process and everything will not be a masterpiece.

Janet:

Someone once said, “You can’t edit a blank page”. And I have to admit my first drafts are embarrassing when I read through them. But they are not supposed to be pristine. All writers will tell you writing a book, short story, etc. is a process.

Jann: Do you ever chuck what you did and just start a new project?

Will:

No, but I have begun some short stories or outlines for a novel after a few lines that just did NOT work. Yes. In that case, I crumple up the paper and start over.

Janet:

I have never thrown away anything I have written. If it doesn’t work after two tries, then I remove it from the manuscript and keep it. I can’t tell you how many times I needed scene and looked through my “dump” folder and found the perfect scene.

Jann: How do you keep the excitement alive for an old project?

Will:

As a visual artist, I’ve looked at works I made decades ago and thought…I’ve learned a lot since then. The same goes for writing. A fresh look at an old project can be exciting because NOW you know what to do to make it come alive. I look at old projects as a challenge and that is exciting!

Janet:

It is hard to pick up a project again after an absence, but I look at it as a fresh piece longing to be touched again. I have to admit, I do have an old manuscript, my first, that has been under the bed for eleven years. I probably will not pick up again. I keep it around to remind me to stay on task and finish all project as I write them or as soon as possible.

Jann: Did the story run through your mind even though you were away from it?

Will:

Yes. The story will rattle around in my brain. Especially after all the research I’ve put into something. The story will run through my mind during the time I’m not actively writing it and has even reminded me of some stories I’ve put on hold.

Janet:

The book was always on my mind in many different ways. Being on pain pills my thought meandered away from the outline and I came up with some amazing thoughts. So, I kept in depth notes when I came to. As outlandish some of them were, it helped me think outside the box.

Jann: What advice do you give to author who must take a break from their work or lose their mojo?

Will:

Your work will still be there when whatever caused you to stop has been resolved. Losing your “mojo” could mean writer’s block or a change of focus. Remember why you were writing the piece. Maybe your reasons have changed. Look at this time as a landing spot-–a place to rest your creative mind for a while. Recharge and take a deep breath.

Janet:

Take a break from your writing. When you can’t take a break, join a writers’ group. We had severe writer’s block after eleven books (we write separately and together). For five months we couldn’t get anything down—nothing! Desperate, we joined a writers’ club. That forced us to write something every week. It took about three weeks but suddenly we broke out of it.

Jann: What advice do you have for new authors and returning published authors to the craft after being away for several years?

Will:

Remember that some of the most well-known authors have had to do something else for a while. If you love to write, then getting back in the chair will be like riding a bike. Your writing is your world. You have the opportunity to change anything you want. There is no right or wrong. It’s your creative piece. No one else controls it but you.

Janet:

For new authors, join writers’ clubs, especially in your genre. If not, join several critic groups. After a few weeks of submitting and listening a to their advice. See which one is most helpful. There are critique group and there are critique groups.  for seasoned authors once you start writing again, your “juices” will flow again, I promise. Someone once gave a formula for writing books: Butt + Chair = Books. This formula works!

Jann: What do you like the most about writing?

Will:

Having been trained and spending my career as a visual artist, I found writing fiction to be a creative art, as satisfying as any visual art.  While it can be a solitary endeavor, I like to see a finished project that started out as a blank screen (or sheet of paper.) I get engulfed in my writing. When we decided to write the Skylar Drake mysteries together, I loved being able to go back in time and recreate places and environments. That was a complete hoot!

Janet:

I enjoy the research that goes into each book. The Skylar Drake Mystery Series takes place in 1956, Los Angeles. All books take the reader from LA to another city. Our first book, SLIVERS OF GLASS. Starts in LA and goes to 1956 Santa Rosa. We happened to be in Santa Rosa for a wedding when we decided to have the book take place there. Since we didn’t know the area, I asked people “Where would you dump a dead body?” I was amazed how people were giving us directions and landmarks to good body dumps (we had 5 dead bodies to put some place). As two of the gentlemen were giving us directions, one wife turned to the other and said, “They seem so normal!”

Jann: What is E. J. William’s working on now?

Will:

Janet and I began our work on our long-awaited International Mystery series which takes place in 1962. The first book STONE PUB takes the reader to Ireland. We were finishing the last of the Skylar Drake Mystery series and had to wait to start STONE PUB. We finally got to it but we both faced health issues. We tried to pick it up and work on it periodically but just couldn’t focus. The book is coming along nicely with lots of changes we hadn’t thought of originally

Janet:

We got the idea for an International Mystery series in 2014 after someone said to us, “You guys travel all over the place!” STONE PUB came about three years ago after a visit to Ireland. The country is truly “magical” and really spoke to us. Everywhere we went, ideas floated into our heads, and we found some great body dumps! Since we are now feeling better, and off pain meds we can think clearly. We’re both still in Physical Therapy and doing much better.

Thanks Janet and Will for spending time with us today and sharing your ideas for picking it up fresh after a delay. Can’t wait for Stone Pub to make its debut!!


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Australia’s Author Madeline Ash talks about her Cowboy Princes Series!!

August 2, 2021 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , ,

Madeline Ash is an Australian contemporary romance author and two-time RITA Award finalist. She has also won Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year award (RUBY). She writes sexy-sweet novels with sensitivity and humor.

I’m so excited to have Australian Author, Madeline Ash, with us today. Let’s see what’s been going on in her life lately.

Jann: What inspired you to write the Cowboy Princes series?

Madeline: I fell in love with the idea of men of the land having to unexpectedly ascend into a position of extreme power. I came up with the series concept back in 2017 when I was disenchanted and despondent with the values of so many world leaders. One of the many delights of being a fiction writer is the freedom to write a better world, so I decided to pair cowboy values (hard work, respect, integrity, fairness, generosity, and truth) with leadership to see what kind of society they would create. It was very much a case of “write what you’d love to read” because the kingdom of Kiraly is pretty darn close to utopia!

Jann: When starting this new series, did you think of character, plot or theme first?

Madeline: Characters tend to come to me first during planning. For this series, I knew I wanted triplet cowboy brothers as the main characters who were also secret princes of a kingdom across the world from small-town Montana. I developed the brothers first, both how they were similar to each other and how they were different, including their personalities, strengths and weaknesses. Then I mapped out a vague series arc so that I knew I’d be plotting the individual books in the right direction! After that, my focus drilled down to plotlines, themes, and which romance tropes would be the juiciest for each brother.

Jann: Your main characters in Book One Her Cowboy King, Mark Jaroka and Princes Ava Versi, debuted on July 9, 2019. Which character did you develop first?

Madeline: Mark came first, along with his two brothers, Kris and Tommy. Once I had developed Mark’s personality—the grounded, kind-hearted, dependable brother—I then considered what type of heroine would add the most conflict to his already tumultuous journey of inheriting a throne he never believed he’d be required to possess. What kind of woman would make his arrival in Kiraly even more challenging? I know! A princess who’s under pressure from her parents to enter a strategic marriage with this new cowboy king—but secretly has plans to escape royal life, and so acts appallingly superior toward Mark in order to make him refuse the union. She was vulnerable and scared on the inside, but supercilious and sarcastic on the outside. Mark had no idea how to approach such a heroine and it made for unpredictable, tension-rich interactions.

Jann: Kris Jaroka and Frankie Cowan are the main characters in Book Two Her Cowboy Prince. Tell us about their story and how they get their HEA.

Madeline: I love this couple! They have always had intense chemistry, but haven’t wanted to risk their friendship to pursue it. Kris is the confident, cocky, roguish brother—who only discovers once he arrives in Kiraly that his kickass best friend actually works for palace security. Frankie moved to his small town of four years ago to monitor the safety of his family, and befriended him in order to get close enough to do so successfully. This betrayal fuels the opening chapters of the book, and once Kris’s reckless behavior forces her to become his personal bodyguard, their forced proximity blows their attraction sky high while their fiery attitudes add extra heat. This book is full of quick banter and serious sexual chemistry, all within the increasing tension of the overall series plot.

Jann: Congratulations on this book being a finalist in the RUBY Award (The Romantic Book of the Year) presented by Romance Writers of Australia. What was it like to receive the news?

Madeline: Thank you! It’s a huge thrill to final in these awards. This is my fifth book to place as a finalist in the Ruby Award, but the excitement doesn’t get any less over time! These awards are exclusively judged by readers (rather than entrant authors also participating in judging), so it’s extra special to be deemed worthy of this award by judges who read a lot of the genre!

 Jann: Book Three, The King’s Cowboy, is a M/M romance. What motivated you to write a M/M romance?

Madeline: I read quite a lot of LGBTQIA+ romance as well as straight romance, and have noticed that series are often exclusively one or the other, rather than including main characters from a range of sexualities across the series. To me, this doesn’t seem fully reflective of the world we live in, so I wanted to write a series that reflects the diversity of identities often found within a single family (since I’m writing three brothers).

Tommy is our final hero in this core series—reserved, intelligent, and suffering from severe social anxiety. He’s also the brother with the greatest sense of inherent power and authority. This internal struggle—to be the royal he is drawn to be, while battling the anxiety of filling one of the most public positions—is compelling and (in my wildly biased opinion) a very strong finish to the series. His love interest is Jonah, his best friend from Montana and the biggest sweetheart of a cowboy you’ll ever meet. I strove to make their romance is intense, gripping, and utterly unputdownable!

Jann: What do you hope readers will take away from this series?

Madeline:  Comfort. It’s a pure escapist read, following the unlikely lives of three fiercely-bonded brothers, who make decisions based on what’s right and just and decent, set in a vibrant, open-armed mountain kingdom that is like a character of its own. I hope that the series feels like a reassuring, warmhearted (and sexy) hug that readers want to come back to again and again.

Jann: What kind of writer are you? A page a day or a burst writer?

Madeline: I guess I could call myself a scheduled writer? When starting a new book, I work backward from my deadline. Since I’m only able to write on Thursdays and Fridays, I check how many writing days between now and the deadline. Then I decide on an intended word count for the book, divide that by the number of days in which I have to write it, and calculate how many words per day I have to write to meet the deadline. I use that daily word count to drive my writing and generally manage to stick to it! If I fall behind for whatever reason, I’ll generally write on the weekend to catch up before the following week.

Jann: Where can we get your books?

Madeline: My books are available digitally across most ebook platforms—Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble, and some are also on Google Play. Paperback copies are available via Amazon.

Goodreads

Facebook

Jann: What is your favorite word?

Madeline:  Seldom. I’m not sure what it is about it. Perhaps the fact that I read and hear it so seldom!

Jann: Madeline, this has been so much fun. Thank you for your time. It was great to have a peak into your writing world. Wishing you luck in the contest for the RUBY Award!!


The Cowboy Princes Series

Hover over the cover for buy links. Click on the cover for more information.

HER COWBOY KING

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HER COWBOY KING

HER COWBOY PRINCE

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HER COWBOY PRINCE

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Multi-talented author Debra Holland and her Montana Sky Series!!

July 2, 2021 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , ,

Psychotherapist Debra Holland, Ph.D is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of the Montana Sky Series, sweet, historical Western romance. She’s a three-time Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist and one-time winner. In 2013, Amazon selected Starry Montana Sky as a top 50 greatest love stories pick. Her latest book is Beyond Montana’s Sky.

Dr. Debra is also the author of The Gods’ Dream Saga (fantasy romance) and the nonfiction books, The Essential Guide to Grief and Grieving and Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude: a Ten-Minute eBook. She’s a contributing author to The Naked Truth About Self-Publishing.

Learn more about her at https://debraholland.com

We’re here today with the multi-talented author Debra Holland, who will be talking about her award winning Montana Sky series and her writing.

Jann: You may have had a slow beginning, but when Wild Montana Sky made its debut in 2011, your writing career took off like a shooting star that is still shinning!! There are more than 28 books in this award-winning series. What is your secret to creating these wonderful characters and books?

Debra: Wait, there’s a secret? Haha. I don’t know the answer. I’ve had a lot of Montana Sky stories in my head for a long time, years in some cases. I’d often write the first scene of a book long before it was time to write that book. Then I keep a file on each story idea and add snippets as they come to me.

By this time, my town of Sweetwater Springs and the people in it are very real to me. That helps when creating new stories.

Jann: Do you think this series could someday come to an end?

Debra: Luckily, I have plenty more Montana Sky stories in my head. Getting them on paper…that’s always the hard part. I do plan to move to Montana Sky contemporaries at some point.

Jann: Do you have plans to write additional novels for The Gods’ Dream Saga or the Twinborne Trilogy? These fantasy romance novels have been well received by readers.

Debra: Yes and yes. The problem is that the fantasy series (The Gods’ Dream Saga) doesn’t sell nearly as well as the historical series. So it makes more sense to write Montana Sky stories. In fact, I priced the ebook of Lywin’s Quest book one of Twinborne Trilogy at $9.99, because I’m hoping no one will buy it. I don’t want to feel guilty for not (yet) finishing that series.

Jann: You have a busy schedule as Dr. Debra Holland, psychotherapist and corporate crisis/grief counselor. How do you keep your life balanced?

Debra: I don’t do anything full time. Pre-Covid, I spent a day at my office seeing psychotherapy clients, and the corporate crisis/grief work would drop on me any time and last for a few hours to several days. I’d write on the days I wasn’t working as a psychotherapist. (During Covid I’d saw people on Zoom.)

But I also carry around my laptop or hardcopy pages of my book, so I can write or edit between seeing clients.

I’ve been working almost full-time at a hospital since February, which is unusual for me. The job is supposed to last until the end of July. Unfortunately, the hospital staff are busy, work long shifts, and have a mentally tough mindset, so they haven’t really been coming to me for counseling in the way they should. So I’ve had a lot of time to write.

Jann: Tell us about Montana Sky Publishing? How did it come about?

Debra: Amazon approached me to open up a Montana Sky Kindle World, where authors wrote in my “world” and uploaded the books to the Kindle World portal. The authors would have a contract with Amazon, and I wouldn’t have anything to do with the editing or publishing process. So I invited many of my friends to write MSKW stories. Then, after a few years, Amazon closed down Kindle Worlds, stranding my authors.

So, feeling guilty, I opened a publishing company for those books as well as for new ones. A lot of my authors are from OCC—Louella Nelson, Linda Carroll-Bradd, Kristy Phillips, Alexis Montgomery, Patricia Thayer (Pat Wright,) Shauna Roberts (a former member,) and the late Linnea Alexis (Joyce Ward).

I’m slowly putting the books into audio, starting with Louella Nelson’s Harper Ranch Series, and OCC member Mary Castillo is our awesome narrator.

Jann: You have a great website. How involved were you in its creation?

Debra: Very involved. The same company has done all my websites–my writer’s site, my professional site, and the Montana Sky Publishing site.  The graphics were done by another OCC member, Lex Valentine.

Jann: What are you working on now?

Debra: It’s been a year since I published Beyond Montana’s Sky. I’m jumping around between a novella trilogy and two other novellas and a contemporary short story.

I’ve also written three long nonfiction articles for medium.com.

But what I’ve really been working on since December is adapting both the Montana Sky Series and The Gods’ Dream Saga into television streaming series. Writing a pilot involved a whole new learning curve. So it’s been a lot of work (about four drafts each) but also a lot of fun. I’ve been working with industry mentors (a different one for each series) and the pilots are ready to go out.

But before that, I’ll have to put together a pitch document, which is almost as much work as writing the pilots and not nearly as much fun. Actually, not fun at all!

I have Sower of Dreams in a screenwriting contest and so far it’s moved through being a semi-finalist to a quarter-finalist. Luckily, if it actually becomes a finalist, I can exchange the script for the latest one, which is a lot different than the original.

Jann: Do you find yourself returning to certain themes in your stories? What? Why?

 Debra: As a grief counselor, I have a lot of themes of loss and grief and moving through painful challenges to find love and happiness.

Jann: What’s the worst writing advice you ever received?

 Debra: The worst advice is an author or guru who tells you to write a certain way. (I’m not talking issues of craft, which is something all writers need to learn.) I think everyone has their own writing style and what works for one person won’t work for another. That doesn’t mean you can’t experiment to see if something will work for you. But stay true to yourself.

Jann: Have you ever suffered writer’s block? If so, how did/do you get past it?

Debra: Not really. There might come a part in the story where I’m stalled, mostly because I’m missing what comes next or how to make the story work. Sometimes, I just skip that section and keep on writing. I’ll go back and finish it when I figure it out. Other times, I’ll stop and take a day or two to think through what comes next, sometimes brainstorming with another author or authors.

Jann: Where can we get your books?

Debra: All my books are on Amazon.

Jann: Do you have a website, blog, twitter where fans might read more about you and your books?

 Website 

Facebook

 Thank you Debra for spending time here on A Slice of Orange. It’s been a real pleasure. Have a Happy 4th of July everyone!!

A Few of Debra’s Books

(Click on the cover for more information. Hover over the cover for buy links.)



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