Interview with Debra Holland

I am please to have Dr. Debra Holland with us today to answer some questions that we all want to know.  She is giving one ecopy to a lucky commentor today.  So leave her a comment. and get an entry into the drawing for the coupon to Smashwords.

1. What genre(s) do you write in and why?
I write fiction and nonfiction. In fiction, I write sweet historical Western Romance, Fantasy Romance, and Science Fiction/ Fantasy romance.

2.   Tell us about your current series.
The Gods’ Dream Trilogy started life as a short story that I wrote for submission to Andre Norton’s Witch World anthologies. When I wrote her a query letter, Andre wrote me back telling me that she no longer did the anthologies. So I changed the setting of the story to my own world and expanded it into a book of about 42,000 words. The first book, Sower of Dreams, was a 2003 Golden Heart finalist (with a different title) and I made it bigger into 100,000 words, then into a series. Andre Norton read it and made some suggestions and endorsed it.
I had two agents try to sell Sower, but it had too much romance for Fantasy publishers and not enough for Romance publishers. I wrote book one and two in the trilogy, then set it aside because it didn’t sell. Then after I self-published two my sweet historical Western romances and they did so well (almost 30,000 in six months) that I decided to self-publish the Fantasy Romances. I’m currently in the process of writing Harvest of Dreams. It’s an interesting process because it’s a trilogy, not a series. So I have a hero and heroine for this book, plus the heroes and heroines from books one and two. Ultimately they all help save their world.

3.   What is your favorite part of writing?
Thinking about the stories. Jotting down ideas, parts of scenes, bits of dialogue. If I’m not careful, I can have scraps of notes all over the place. Now, I try to enter them into the computer as soon as possible. I have notes for all my future books already. (Or at least the ones I know of.)

4.   What is your least favorite part of writing?
Actually writing!

5.   What is your next project and when will it be released?
I just finished book three in the Montana Sky historical series, Stormy Montana Sky. It’s currently with my editors and I hope to have it self-published in a few weeks.
I’m only a fourth into Harvest of Dreams, so I’m hoping to finish it by the end of February. With editing, and formatting, it will probably come out in March.
I’m about half done with a short book on grief in the workplace that I intend to self-publish because it’s too narrow of a focus for a traditional publisher.
My agent wants me to write a contemporary Western romance set in my fictional town with my characters descendants. I will, but not for a while.

6.    What is your typical day like?
Depends on the day. 
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, I start the day with a women’s fitness bootcamp at 8:30. Tuesday and Thursday I teach a karate class at 8:30. I might work out after the class. Tuesdays, I see clients in my office and don’t get home until 9 or 10 pm. Mondays and Wednesdays, one of my friends comes over and we write together for two and a half hours. She sits at one end of the table and works on her book, I sit at the other end and work on mine.
I may have a corporate crisis counseling jobs—robberies, deaths, accidents are the most common reasons for employees to be upset and need counseling. I never know when they are going to drop in my lap. I can work every day of the week or not at all.
Wednesday nights I either attend a karate class or my critique group.
I try to write/edit most days. I take a nap if I’m not working because my brain turns off.
I also have speaking engagements, teach online classes, and I’m on the board of my local RWA chapter.
Then there’s my boyfriend. Darn if he doesn’t take up time, too.

7.    How much time do you spend promoting your books?  What works best for you?
Not a lot. I write occasional guest blogs, but try to write them while watching television. For example, right now I’m watching USC (my alma mater) slaughter UCLA. Go Trojans! Also, I sometimes post my own blogs.
I’ve written a few reviewers, asking for reviews. So far, they’ve all been good.

8.  How has your experience with self-publishing been?
Awesome! I’ve sold about 32,000 of the Montana Sky books in seven months and made about $25,000, far more than if I’d sold them traditionally. The Fantasy Romances have started slower—about 500 in four months. I think it will take off when I get the third book finished and self-published. I’m so very grateful to my readers!

9.  Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
They just seem to bubble up out of my subconscious. One of the wonderful things about self-publishing is that it’s awoken my creativity, which I’d sort of suppressed. For the last five years, I’ve been focusing on writing nonfiction. (My traditionally published book, The Essential Guide to Grief and Grieving, came out a few weeks ago.) So if a fiction idea came to me, I might jot it down, but more likely pushed it away, thinking that it’s too much work to write a book that doesn’t sell. Now, I welcome ideas, and they’re coming fast and furious. I have two other Montana Sky books planned and three novellas in the series.

10.  What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish?
Go for it! Do your research about self-publishing first. There’s a lot of good information available. Make sure your book is professionally edited!


10 thoughts on “Interview with Debra Holland

  1. Oh, Debra, I love this series (Gods’ Dream Trilogy)! It will take off. It’ll just take a little word of mouth. And yes, when the last book in the trilogy is done, I imagine people who’ve been holding off will buy all three at once. Some readers are afraid they’ll be stranded, having seen too many unfinished series cut off at the knees when publishers decided not to continue them. Readers are very savvy!

  2. Norah,

    That’s what’s nice about self-publishing–no publisher to drop you mid-series. I know a couple of authors I hope will self-pub the rest of their series.


    I’m waiting on the editors to get Stormy Montana Sky. Sigh. They’re busy too!

  3. I’m glad to read about another author who’s least favorite part of writing is the writing:-). Since you’re published in a variety of genres, do you work on one book at a time or many?

  4. One primary book, but I often have other ones that I work on too. For example, right now my goal has been to finish Stormy Montana Sky, which I’ve done. I’ll still need to do revisions, but while I’m waiting to get the book back from the editors, I’ve switched over to writing Harvest of Dreams, which I’m about 50 pages into. I also have a short half-done book on grief in the workplace, which I’m going to try to finish soon.

    I’m the meantime, I’m jotting down notes and story snippets about some of my future projects, mostly stories sent in my Montana Sky series.

    I have an almost finished book on boundary setting with difficult people that I set aside to write the grief book. I’d like to finish that too. 🙂 Only two or three chapters left. 🙂

    There you have it. 🙂

  5. Debra, you’re an amazing woman. So busy and so well organized. Since you are a pro at karate, I have a question. My daughter has enrolled my little granddaughter, 7, in a karate class, 4 times a week. She already had a year of karate and this is her second year. Isn’t it too much for a little girl? She’s very sweet and very pretty, not at all what one would imagine a girl involved in karate. She’s already blue belt. Good thing, she’s also doing ballet. I’m the worried grandmother.

  6. I wish I’d started when I was 7 instead of in my 30’s. 🙂 What karate will do is give her a wonderful sense of self-confidence. It won’t make her more masculine or less sweet.

    Plus when she’s a little older and says “no” to a boy, she’ll be able to back it up. 🙂 Not that she’ll have to. We’re taught how to project the don’t mess with me energy so we don’t actually have to use our skills except in extreme cases.

    I’m glad to know how to protect myself. That doesn’t mean I’ll “win” against someone who’s trying to assault me, but at least I’ll know what to do, and my chances are much greater that I can take care of myself.

    I have a proposal to National to teach a workshop next year. Since I’m local, I can bring in some male black belts, mats, weapons, gear, and make it more realistic. We’ll see if they accept it.

  7. When will Harvest of Dreams be available? I have read the first two in the Dream series and can not wait for the third. Can’t seem to find any thing about it except for the new cover.

  8. I also would like to know how close you are with Harvest of Dreams!!! I just finished Reaper of Dreams and feel like I have been left hanging!! Love you writing style!!

  9. Oh my, I’m afraid to finish Reaper of Dreams after reading this blog. What will I do??? Harvest of Dreams is nowhere to be found! How much longer until it’s finished??? (please say soon!)

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