An Interview with Desiree Holt

Line of Scrimmage Cover Art (1)How did you get started writing?

I always had the urge to write. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have stories floating around in my head. I scribbled stories in notebooks for as long as I can remember but the time just never seemed to be right for me to take a chance. But when I retired, I had both the time and the burning desire as well as the encouragement of my late husband. No barriers, no obstacles, and a brand new computer. And I was off.

What genre(s) do you write in and why?

I write in all the subgenres that appeal to me—contemporary, erotic, paranormal, suspense, even thriller. That’s the nice thing about writing romance. You can really spread your wings.

Tell us about your current series.

I am such an obsessed football fan. From the time I read a book on how to watch a football game I couldn’t get enough of watching it. My son finally said to me, So where are the football stories? We’ve read a lot about coaches and their teams and people involved with the high school teams. I decided to take a championship team and see where they were fifteen years later. Were they still in football? Had they left? Why? Had they ever played after high school? If not why not? So that was the genesis for the Game On series.

What is your least favorite part of writing?

Writing the first chapter. I always want one that will hook the reader, make her hungry for the rest of the book. I want to provide information but not overload them with backstory. Crafting the first chapter, providing a hook and establishing my hero/heroine is always the hardest thing for me.

Do you have a view in your writing space?  What does your space look like?

I do have a view. My office is in the family room and from where my desk is I can look into all the other rooms, the wide living room part and out the screened patio to the preserve beyond. It’s a beautiful view and makes me feel good just to look at it.

I treated myself recently to a gorgeous writing desk to work on and wall units for my books and materials. I also have a little sitting area that is usually occupied by my cats, who don’t seem to understand that they have to earn their keep.

How far do you plan ahead?

I have books on my spreadsheet well into 2017. I never seem to run out of ideas. Plus, it seems my single titles have mostly turned into series by request and when you are doing a series you have to plan far ahead so you can space out your books. Additionally, I run several series at one time. Check with me in five years. I’ll still be planning and writing!

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.

All my books are character-driven, so of course the story is built around Erin and Jake. He was a star in high school and college and now in the NFL. She hates football players like poison, even though her best friend’s brother is one. She can’t believe she allowed herself a hot one night stand with him, but does her best to scrub it from her mind. He feels football defines him and when he suffers what could be a career-ending injury, he’s terrified of his future. He needs a helper; she needs a job but being Jake Russell’s keeper wasn’t what she had in mind. If only the chemistry between them didn’t light up the place like the Fourth of July. If only he didn’t want to prove to her that all football players aren’t trash. To complicate matters further, Jake has a secret that defines his life. Everything hinges on how well he heals and what the future holds-for both of them.

Did you have several manuscripts finished before you sold?

No, just one, and yes, I did keep submitting it myself. It was at a time when agents really controlled the business and getting one to take me on was impossible. But the moment I submitted I began writing the next one and the next. Good thing, to, because I got 137 rejections for the first one and several published before that one ever got polished up and contracted.

Do you have any rejection stories to share?

This is my favorite. I cold-submitted to a major romance publisher, a romantic suspense that I loved. It got all the way up to the senior editor of the line, and she turned it down. She said in one situation the hero was non-heroic because of the arrangements he made to protect the heroine. Ultimately another publisher contracted it, RT Book Reviews gave it 4.5 stars and said that particular scene showed how heroic the hero was. Goes to show, right?

Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?

Do not ever give up. Today more than ever there are expanding opportunities for authors. Small presses and self-pub have given birth to many success stories. Be diligent. But learn your craft and never stop learning. If self-pubbing get a really good editor. If with a house, listen to what their editor says. Her job is to make your book a hit. Connect with a critique group. They will often be able to direct you toward opportunities. Write in your own voice, don’t try to copy someone else’s. Yours will be the one that shines. And write every day, even if it’s only one page. The opportunities are out there

Desiree HoltDesiree’s Bio

Desiree Holt has produced more than two hundred titles in nearly every subgenre of romance fiction. She is a winner of the EPIC E-Book Award, an Authors after Dark Author of the Year and of the Holt Medallion. She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The London Daily Mail and numerous other national and international publications. She enjoys football and reading and her three cats, who are her constant writing companions.

“Get out the ice water and fan…Desiree Holt delivers smoking hot alpha heroes and red hot romances.” Lea Franczak, USA Today Happy Ever After blog

Learn more about her and read her novels here:

Twitter @desireeholt

Pinterest: desiree02holt

Google: www.desiree02holt


Line of Scrimmage blurb and Buy Link

Sometimes it’s not about winning…

One bad tackle. That’s all it took to put wide receiver Jake Russell in a cast for the rest of the NFL season. From being a high school all-star to getting drafted by the Austin Mustangs, football has been Jake’s life for as long as he can remember. It’s what defines him—because he has a secret he never shares. But now that he’s laid up in bed with a nurse displaying a lot of distracting bedside manners, he’s discovering life on the sidelines might have its perks. . .

One last paycheck. That’s all Erin Bass has left to her name when the resort she works at shuts down. Desperate, she agrees to be a caregiver to hardass jock Jake Russell, who also happens to be a memorable one-night stand. Before long, caring leads to daring new ways to catch up in bed, especially with Jake still in a cast. But with football on the sidelines, this time the game is serious. . .

 Line of Scrimmage Excerpt

Ivy felt sick to her stomach. Football was Jake’s life. Since the two of them had moved to Granite Falls with their mom to get a fresh start, it was the only thing that had mattered to him. The thing he used to validate himself. No one knew their dreadful family history or how her brother had set himself up as the protector of her and their mother. No matter how many times she told him what an incredible person he was, how he’d been her rock and protector from the time she was a little girl, he never believed her. Nothing mattered to him except football. It gave him the first sense of self-worth he’d ever known, and he clung to it like a life preserver.

What would happen to him if he lost all that?

She hadn’t been much for praying for a very long time. As a child, it hadn’t helped, and she’d long ago gotten out of the habit. But now, as they rode silently through the streets of Austin, she prayed hard, afraid to even think about the worst-case scenario.

She was so lost in thought she didn’t realize they’d reached the hospital until the car came to a stop. DiMarco was speaking softly on his cell phone but he disconnected when she climbed out.

“I’ll take you right up to where he is,” he told her. “They’ve already x-rayed him, and the orthopedic surgeon will meet us in emergency.”

Ivy wasn’t sure if she was impressed by the number of Mustangs people at the hospital or worried about what it might mean. Jake was a valuable commodity to them, so of course they’d pull out all the stops. That’s all it was, right?

Two men in Mustangs polo shirts and khakis stood outside one of the rooms in Emergency. Ivy tried not to read anything into their solemn expressions, but the fear she’d been swallowing back surged through her again.

Jake lay on a hospital bed, his face nearly as white as the sheets draped over his lower body. One leg was exposed, wrapped in an inflatable cast. His left arm extended out from his body, strapped to a board with an IV shunt in his vein. His eyes were closed and lines of pain etched his face.

“Miss Russell?” A tall, thin man in scrubs and a white jacket stepped toward her. “Dr. Moline. I’m the orthopedist called in for your brother.”

“Hello.” She shook his hand. “How is Jake?”

Moline’s face gave nothing away as he answered her. “He’s okay for now. I gave him something for the pain so he’s not in a lot of discomfort.”

She gripped her hands together so tightly she nearly shut off the blood supply. “How bad is it?”

“I won’t lie to you. It’s not good. We need to get him up to surgery right away.”

“I don’t know what on earth Jake will do if he can’t play again,” Ivy said. “Football is his life.”

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