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An Interview With A Writer

Holly Jacobs has won the hearts and minds of her readers with her often Erie-centric romance novels...throughout the country and all over the world. 
COFFEE AND DOGS! And Holly!


Erie? Yeah. I am not making a goofy typo for once. ERIE. 

So who is Holly Jacobs? What drives her? Why is Erie considered a romantic place (by, uh, Amazon, at least) and what is her role in that? You, reader, are about to find out!

So what are you working on currently?


Holly:   I’m working on a new trilogy for Harlequin SuperRomance. It’s not due to be released until May, Jun and July of 2013. (Yes, that’s a long way off...but when you’re writing three books to be released back-to-back you need ample lead time.) It’s a wedding trilogy, tentatively titled, Something Borrowed, Something Blue and Something Perfect. It’s set in the fictional Valley Ridge, New York, a small town between the very real North East, PA and Ripley, New York. It’s set in the midst of the very real Lake Erie Wine Region. A lot of people don’t know that Lake Erie has a wine region, but we do. It’s thriving and growing. (And the wine is awesome, not that I’m biased. LOL)


I’m writing book two right now. I love working my way through trilogies. I know the characters so much better by the middle book, it’s a true joy to work on it!


What inspired you to write romance novels? I read on your website you started writing due to Tolkien as a child- that's a small jump!


Holly:  When I first started writing, I tried a bunch of different genres. I sold a poem once...that $4 check convinced me that making a living at poetry might not be a viable option. I tried some more literary type fiction. I sold a story to a that I thought of as a psycho-babble, dream sequence, science story. The literary magazine that published it said spiritual and I said fine because I was discovering that I liked making money at telling stories, so if they paid me they could call it whatever they wanted.


I continued to play around with genres and form...and I stumbled on romance. It was one of those Eureka moments. I’d found my home. Why romance? Because it’s about relationships. It’s about how two very different and diverse people find their way to each other. I can mix in fantasy elements, or geeky science. I love to add in kids (I have four and am a fan of kids...well, most days). I can add...well, the thing about the romance genre is you can add in bits of any other genre. It still boils down to the fact it’s about the people and their relationship and as a writer, I haven’t found that I’ve exhausted the study of people and how they relate to one another.


What is the day to day life of a professional writer like?


Holly:  Well, in my fictional biography, I’m probably popping bon-bons, or sky-diving or touring the world. Something exciting. In reality, I get up check emails, get family off to school and/or work, then I walk the dogs...then I write. I stop writing and the family comes home and I...well, repeat daily.


For fun, I weave baskets, or split wood for our fireplace. I dabble at gardening and enjoy cooking (except on days I don’t want to cook). It’s a quiet life. A simple one. But honestly, I love it.


What is the most surprising thing people can learn about what it is like to be a novelist?


Holly:  I think the fact that most writers are so normal. Well, normal in the fact we’re all very individual and have our own quirks and foibles. We’re a diverse bunch. I have friends who teach at colleges, who are private investigators as well as lawyers, ex-lawyers, and stay-at-home moms... The common denominator is we all tell stories. The one common denominator is we all ask what-if? 


Those two very small words are the basis for every book I’ve ever written, and I suspect their the starting point for every piece of fiction you’ve ever read. What if a lonely boy discovers he’s a wizard? What if a girl falls in love with a vegetarian vampire? What if a woman who’s spent her entire adult life traveling the US, never staying in one place for long comes home to care for her friend and her children? 


What-if...those two words are some of the most powerful there are. Really there are only three words that might beat them in terms of power–I love you.


 What inspired you to set a lot of your work in Erie? 


Holly:  Now, I’ll confess, if you ask most people to name a romantic city, Erie, Pennsylvania might not come tripping off the tip of the tongue. But I have always maintained my hometown is a hidden gem of a city. We have Presque Isle and some of the most amazing sunsets anywhere right here. You can drive to Cleveland, Pittsburgh or Buffalo in a couple hours, Philly Toronto, New York, DC and other big cities in under seven. We’ve got farms, a wine region, great shopping (no tax on clothes) and...well, did I mention Lake Erie and great sunsets? I’ve sold more than two million books to more than twenty countries and have worked at introducing people to how romantic Erie really is. As a matter of fact, this Valentine’s it made Amazon’s list of top 20 romantic cities in the US! (http://www.amazopia.com/amazons-most-romantic-cities-us-canada/) So maybe my campaign is working??


POSSIBLY!




What writers do you really enjoy at the moment?


Holly:  My most recent reading addictions have been George RR Martin’s The Game of Thrones series, and Patrick Taylor’s Irish Country’s series. I love romance, but I’ll confess, I read outside the genre when I’m writing. I still fall back on a lot of science fiction and fantasy, and I love biographies. Looking at how other people think and live helps my writing. I read geeky science books and a lot of non-fiction, too.


Oh, heck, who am I kidding...I even read cereal boxes! I read. It doesn’t matter what it is...I read.


Booberry cereal boxes = possibly best cereal boxes


 What's your biggest piece of advice for budding novelists?


Holly:  That one’s easy–I always give the same piece of advice when asked. “Write something–anything–every day.” Yep, it sounds like a simplistic piece of advice that makes budding writers roll their eyes ala my teenage daughter. But following that piece of advice it is probably one of the most difficult things there is. Writing in the midst of family chaos. Writing in while suffering heartbreaks. Writing when it’s sunny outside and you want nothing more than to go out and goof around. Writing when there’s laundry and dinners that need done or prepared. Finding a way to write in the midst of a busy life...that’s one of the hardest parts there is when it comes to writing.




Finally- what can we expect from you next?


Holly:  Well, Harlequin is currently rereleasing some of my older books as eBooks. It’s fun to see my backlist get a new life. So far this year, there’s Confession of a Party Crasher, The 100-Year Itch, How to Catch a Groom and finally, How to Hunt a Husband


I also have two new releases coming up. They’re the final two books in my Everything But... series. The original trilogy started when a Hungarian grandmother, Nana Vancy, accidently cursed her family to bad weddings and spends three books trying to break the curse (Everything but a Groom, Everything but a Bride and Everything but a Wedding). Following readers’ requests, Nana Vancy got a new life as a matchmaker. It started with Everything but a Christmas Eve, and there’s this February’s release of Everything but a Mother and ends in June with Everything but a Dog. Let’s put it this way...Nana Vancy is not a world class matchmaker, by any stretch of the imagination. 


A lot of my friends on Facebook listen to me talk about my dogs, Ethel Merman and Ella Fitzgerald. The two dogs in that final book of the series are based on them. Now, I’ve changed the names so my dogs don’t sue me, and I’ll confess, Nana Vancy’s dogs in the book are simply modeled after my dogs...they have their own unique personalities. But it was a fun aspect of writing the last book of the series.






Then next year, the new trilogy we’ve already talked about will be out starting in May. And between all that, there’s a good chance my books will be popping up in some overseas markets. Last year, I had more than twenty international releases. 




Thanks to Holly for taking the time to do this:  be sure to check out her website and see what she's up to next and keep tabs on her writing. She has a gift; that's for sure. To even make it somewhat as a novelist is one admirable testament. Best wishes to her....and her campaign to make Erie the Paris of America! Also, BEST DOG NAMES EVER

Comments

  1. Great interview, Holly. Erie, romantic? Why not? :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Alison, Oh, yeah, it's romantic! LOL And I'm going to take a bit of the credit for romancing it up!

    Holly

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great interview, Holly

    And I agree...there is romance all around Erie! But romance is what you make it, right?

    Best of luck with your new trilogy.

    Nancy

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nancy, LOL It is!

    And thanks so much about the trilogy!

    Holly

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your "simple life" sounds wonderful! I love your down-to-earth enthusiasm for writing. Thanks for sharing. (Booberry? Really?!)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Amanda, The simple things do make me happy!

    Planning a nice long walk today...and yep, that gives me glee!

    Holly

    ReplyDelete
  7. Brittany, I didn't want to say anything, but I gotta go with Booberry?? too! LOL

    Holly

    ReplyDelete

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