Holly I would like to welcome you to A Romance Review. Thanks for taking the time to let me interview you.
I suppose the logical first question is, what made you want to become a writer and why did you choose the romance genre?
I think wanting to be a writer really grew out of being life-long reader. I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't reading one book or another. I read a wide variety of genres for pleasure--from science fiction to mystery, from philosophy to science. But when it came to narrowing down what genre I wanted to write for it wasn't a hard choice. I love romance. It's about people--about two people who find each other and overcoming obstacles to make a relationship work. I can add elements from other genres to the overall story--from fairies to dead bodies--but what has always interested me in a reader, and now as a writer is the people. I've got that in romance.
From your past and present work, it is obvious that you have a talent for writing romantic comedy. Your new release this month is for the new Flipside line and is titled, Hung Up On You. Can you tell us a little about this book and what inspired you to write it?
With a lot of books it can be hard to pinpoint exactly where the inspiration came from. Writing is such a melting pot for an entire life's experience. You take a little of this, borrow a little of that. But with Hung Up on You I can tell you exactly where the inspiration came from. I was in answering system hell, stuck punching numbers, listening to bad muzak while hoping and praying I'd eventually find a real live human being to speak to. That was where the idea for Hung Up on You hit me…while listening to muzak and punching numbers. The wait for a person seemed a lot more tolerable as I started scribbling notes!
You see, Hung Up on You features Ari Kelly. She's written a very scholarly thesis about stress and answering. She's got the perfect fiancé who wants to set a date for the wedding, she's accepted her dream job…life is good. It's everything she's always thought she wanted. Then a tabloid takes her very scholarly study and totally messes with it, turning it into a story that Ari can barely recognize. That story starts a downhill spiral. Ari's fiancé wants a break, her dream job is on hold because of her new noterity, her mom's left her dad, her grandma's run away from the home. Ari's life has become Murphy's Law run amuck. Toss in Simon Masterson, a man who happens to own a business manufacturing answering systems and Ari's sure things can't get worse. I really had to much fun with Ari and her whole crazy family! I think everyone can identify with those periods in your life when it seems just one thing after another goes wrong.
As I mentioned the new book is for the Flipside line, how would you describe this line to someone who has not read it before?
Flipsides pretty much start with the premise that love comes with a few bumps in the road…and those bumps, though unexpected, can be a lot of fun!
You also write as Holly Fuhrmann and have a book coming out in March called Fairly Human featuring your loveable fairy godmother trio. I loved this book and thought it was a fitting ending to this series. Can you tell us a bit about this book and how you chose this particular plotline for the last godmother book?
I got a lot of letters from readers asking for more of the fairies. After having Myrtle, Fern and Blossom help so many others find a happily-ever-after, it seemed fitting to give them their own HEAs. And turning the three fairies into humans…well, that was just a blast! You'd think that with the fairies stripped of their magic things would go more smoothly, but you'd think wrong! They're truly three of my all-time favorite characters.
Do you have any current plans for future books similar to the "godmother" books?
I think Fairly Human really ties the series up nicely, but who knows! The fairies protégé, Fiona, really comes into her own in this story. Maybe someday she'll carry on the legacy??
I have found that series authors are particularly encouraging to writers trying to break into the publishing industry. Do you have any advice for someone wanting to write romance? Were you given any one piece of advice when you first started that you still follow today? If so by whom and what was the advice?
Whenever someone asks me for advice on writing I give the same answer. Not because I can't think of more than one, but because I think it's the most important aspect of becoming a writer. Ready? Write. Yep, it's that simple. Write something, anything, every day. That way writing becomes part of the rhythm of your life, just like eating or sleeping, or breathing! Oh, there are other basic suggestions like read, learn the craft and educate yourself about the business aspect of writing, but I'll still maintain that writing regularly is the most important aspect.
How much time per day do you spend on your writing? What is a typical day like for you?
Writing is my fulltime job. I spend about six hours a day at it. A typical day consists of me taking the kids to school and heading to the office. I work through until lunch, take a quick break, maybe wash some clothes or do whatever else needs done, then I head back to the office until the kids are out of school.
I know you were very involved in the Harlequin Duets page for Duets authors and fans and now the Harlequin Flipside author's site. How much time do you spend on the business end of your writing career, doing things such as books signings, lectures and such? Do you enjoy this aspect of the business?
I love toying with the websites, although they're truly very basic and don't take me very much time to maintain. How much time I spend on the business end of writing varies. If we averaged it out, maybe an hour of my office time each day is business stuff. As for lectures, I've been speaking more and more lately. This spring I'll be at the Knoxville conference that first weekend in May in '04, and I'm going up to Toronto to speak to a writing group the weekend after Easter. I enjoy the chance to get out of my office and talk to other writers. Writing is such a solitary occupation. We don't get to talk to collegues daily at the water cooler, so speaking to writing groups or at conferences is my "water cooler" time!
I think the "internet" is one of the greatest inventions of the past 25 years. Some people claim that it takes time away from other things they would have done before it came along like reading for instance. How much time do you spend on the net and do you feel it has been a help or hindrance as far as your writing career goes?
Part of my routine involves starting my day off on the net. After that initial visit where I check on websites, and answer emails, I try to stay off the rest of the day, although I do occasionally pick up email. Giving myself limits allows me to enjoy the internet without having it interrupt my writing time.
What is you most favorite thing about your writing career and what is your least favorite thing?
My most favorite thing? The writing. I love when a story comes together, when the characters are talking to me, and the words just flow. My least favorite thing? The writing. I hate those moments when nothing seems to come, or the words that do come are pretty much bleck! Thankfully the joyous moments far outweigh the bleck moments!
Can you tell us about any books you have upcoming for the rest of 2004?
HUNG UP ON YOU, Harlequin Flipside, 2/04
FAIRLY HUMAN (w/a Holly Fuhrmann), ImaJinn Books, 3/04
BE MY BABY, Silhouette Romance, A Perry Square Romance, 8/04
LOSING IT (working title), Harlequin Flipside, 10/04
We've already talked about the first two. As for the second two, Be My Baby is a Silhouette Romance. All my books for that line have been set on Perry Square, so readers get to remeet a lot of old friends. But each book is a totally stand-alone story, so new readers coming into the series won't have any problems. This one features two characters who definitely have sparks! And my second Flipside of the year has a working title of Losing It, although I've referred to it as the Dead Body Book for quite some time! It's my first foray into a light mystery element. Think Weekend at Bernie. My heroine trips over a dead body on a Monday morning. It disappears before the cops arrive. The next week the same body is in the back yard. She can't decide if she's losing her mind, or just losing the body! LOL
Since you are our "Valentine" series author, what characteristics do you look for in a man? What do you first notice and what characteristics do you give your heroes to make the reader fall in love with them?
On a personal level, and on a writing level, I like a man with a sense of humor (maybe that's why I like comedy ), a man who's good with kids, doesn't kick dogs and loves me (or my heroine) with complete abandon. I found a man just like that over twenty years ago for myself and I've held on tight. And I'm pleased to say I've found that kind of hero for all my heroines!
Why would you describe as the perfect romantic evening?
As the mother of four, I'd have to say my perfect romantic evening is one where they're not here! LOL Truly, any time alone with my husband is all it takes to make me happy, it doesn't matter what we're doing, I don't need candlelight…I just need him!
What is the most romantic thing your husband has ever done for you or the most romantic gift he has ever given you?
The two of us gave each other a second honeymoon this year. A whole week in Disney World without the kids! We honeymooned there, and had the most incredible time reliving the experience…laughing and playing like two big kids for the whole week.
Finally how might readers get in touch with you?
They can find me online at www.HollysBooks.com, or they can email me at Holly@HollysBooks.com. I always love hearing from readers.
Holly thanks for chatting with me. I wish you much luck in your career and look forward to reading your upcoming releases.