Monday, May 25, 2009

Author Interview ~ Holli Winters

Today on the couch we have Whispers Publishing author, Holli Winters. Sit back and get comfy.

Welcome to The Menagerie, Holli. Alright, let's get started where are you from?

I was born and raised in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. I love living here! One of my favorite things to do is visit the coast and walk along the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

Wow, sounds gorgeous! I'd love to walk along the coast, too! When and why did you begin writing?

All my life I’ve had imagination and had dreams of writing, but never really took the initiative to write. In 2003, a romance reader’s group I belonged to, which also included a few authors, had a writing contest and the person organizing the contest encouraged me to enter. We could enter a scene no longer than 2000 words and I came up with an idea and wrote. Then the scenes were posted anonymously and everyone voted for their favorite one, not knowing who actually wrote the entries. I can still remember the night the winner was announced. When my name was announced as the one who garnered the most votes—I think I nearly passed out in shock… I even beat out a friend (by one vote!) who had just signed a New York publishing contract. Anyway, that gave me the courage to try my hand at living my dream of being a writer.

Oh, what a great story! And what a wonderful boost to your esteem. When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Hmm…probably two things actually. One was attending my first Romance Writers of America conference and realizing that I was one of them. A writer who wrote what she loved. Romance. Secondly, when I sold for the first time, it made me realize all my hard work had paid off and I was really and truly a writer.

That would do it! Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

A Christmas Wish is about a woman who experienced abuse from her spouse and was afraid to love again. When Brady, her ex’s cousin, reenters her life she is scared of the feelings she has for him. I used my training in domestic violence to flesh out Macy’s feelings and show that she can indeed love again and that sometimes love is right under your nose.

What a wonderful message... and one that's close to my heart. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Oh, tough question as there are so many. I absolutely love Linda Howard and Lori Foster but truly, the one who encouraged me to write was Carrie Alexander. She’s been an online friend and someday I hope to meet her in person.

It's so great when we can "meet" a person online and find a source of friendship and encouragement. Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

A big shout out to the ladies (and gents) of RWA Online Chapter 136. It is there that I have met some wonderful writer friends who are there for me during the highs and lows of writing.

LOL, I'll bet they adore you too. Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Right now I’m working on a story that involves a woman who gets impregnated through artificial insemination and learns to her shock that she got the wrong donated sperm. It is her confrontation with the male donor that provides a lot of the story’s conflict.

Hmm... sounds interesting, and perfect for some conflict. Who designed the cover for your story?

Rene Wilson designed the cover for A Christmas Wish and I think does many of the covers for Whispers Publishing. It’s a terrific cover and I’m pleased with it.

It truly is lovely, she does good work. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I work outside the home full time, so my writing time is limited to evenings and weekends. One of the favorite things for me to do is to take a couple of days off from work and go to a hotel a couple of hours away and hole up and write. I call them my “writing retreat” times. It’s amazing how much I can get done and not have to deal with the distractions of home.

*sigh* That would be nice. Do you have any advice for other writers?

My advice is something that even I have a hard doing at times. When you’re writing, just write and turn off the internal editor. It’s hard to not go back and look at what you’ve written and want to perfect it, but at the same time it can interfere with your writing flow. What I have done to combat that is to set a goal for myself and just keep writing until I have met that goal.

That's great advice, and some that I know is very hard to follow, but it definitely works. What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Besides reading, I love to cook and travel. Once a year I try to take a fun trip. The last few years this has included going to the Romance Writers of America national conferences. This year I’m planning a trip to the Oregon coast to rest, relax and rejuvenate…and hopefully get some writing done!

LOL, that sounds like a great plan. Do you see writing as a career?

Right now I have a full time job that is not writing, but in a few years I hope to be able to devote all my time to writing. Writing is a career if you take it seriously, no matter how much time is spent daily on writing.

I absolutely agree. Thanks so much, Holli, for being with us here today. Good luck with all your writing (and non-writing) endeavors in the future. Keep us updated on your news and we'll pass it along to our readers.

Holli Winters was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest where she learned to
sneak and read her mother's romance novels at a young age. In her teens, Holli
discovered hot, sexy Alpha males and dreamed of creating her own romance stories. You can keep up with Holli at her website and blog, join her Yahoo group, or friend her on MySpace.

A Christmas Wish by Holli Winters

Two years ago, Brady and Macy kissed and walked on the edge of giving into their desire, but the time was not right. She was newly widowed after the death of her abusive husband, who was also Brady's cousin. Now it's Christmas Eve in the midst of a snow storm. Macy heads to Brady's bar for a drink and ends up stranded when the storm turns into a blizzard. Now, she's trapped with a man she's wanted for a long, long time...and the timing couldn't be better.

One night of passion isn't enough for Brady, but can he convince Macy they have more going for them than just the desire that's been simmering for years?


lastnerve said...

I can't wait to read A Christmas Wish and the story you are working on about the artificial insemination sounds amazing!


joviangeldeb said...

Great interview. I enjoyed reading it.

Mo Boylan said...

Never been to the Oregon coast...only time I saw water on the "other" side of the country was when I was in San Francisco for RWA. Love your idea of a writing retreat...should try it myself sometime ;)

Loved A Christmas Wish. Can't wait to read more sotries!

limecello said...

Great interview, and glad you entered the writing contest, Holli! :)

Cara Carnes said...

Wonderful interview, Holli! I can't wait to read more of your work. :)

Amy S. said...

Great interview!

flchen1 said...

Thanks for the terrific interview, Holli! And ditto what limecello said--glad you entered! :)

Jodi said...

Great interview! I always love to hear more about authors.
Keep writing, or BadBarb will put you back in the closet!

Catherine Bybee said...

Wonderful interview ladies. I love a warm and tosty Christmas story.

sonya said...

Good job on the interview!

Rebecca J. Clark said...

Interesting interview--thanks for sharing. :)

I'm from the Pacific NW, too. Unfortunately, I don't live close enough to the coast to walk along the beach on a regular basis.

Congrats on your sucess!