Why do you write fiction:
I’m not sure that’s a conscious choice for me – whether to write or not. I see characters in my head, and they do not budge until I write their stories!
Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
Train Station Bride is the first book of the Crawford Family Series. I had not originally intended to write a sequel or a series and didn’t have any preset ideas to continue on with the Crawford family. But over the years since the debut novel was released, I’ve had many, many communications from readers wondering what happened to the sisters of the heroine, especially the younger sister, Jennifer. It made me start thinking about that family. I was drawn to the older sister, Jolene, and wondered about her and her story. The problem was Jolene was not a pleasant person. In fact, she was the source of hurt for the first book’s heroine, Julia. Jolene was a challenge for me: how do I make an unpleasant character likable, redeemable, and empathetic? Jolene’s story, Contract to Wed, is complex, in that it deals with a manipulating, cruel mother, and the very real outcomes of devastating grief. Jolene has many layers, as most of us do, and Contract to Wed tells the story of her personal redemption aided by a stalwart, confident man, Maximillian Shelby.
Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
I do not have an ideal reader in mind when I write. I only have characters in my head, and that has caused me some difficulty in my writing career as I’ve been unable to write what was popular at the time. I write the characters I see with little regard to current trends, but I’ve been very fortunate to gather readers who will read what I write even if it is not a genre they usually read. Not that there’s anything the matter with it. I’m all for reading whatever makes you happy, but I just can’t conjure up anything remotely paranormal. Erotica? Oh, dear. Writing sex scenes, or any physical activity for that matter, is difficult as is, with making sure I’m not writing an extra limb or finger or other unmentionable. And these folks have an inordinate amount of sex by any standards!
Please describe your writing routine.
I have worked full time all of my life and just six months ago was able to go to four days a week as my writing income increased. I write policies, technical documents, and set-up systems as part of a Quality office with a very large egg producing company on the four days. On the other three, I begin writing as early as I can in the morning, and often work for the next eight or ten hours. However, today’s author must also do their own marketing, and I spend considerable amount of time doing that as well.
What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
Write. That’s it. Write and rewrite. And don’t be afraid to spend the time required to get ready to go to public. Even if you don’t have the resources for professional help, there are ways to accomplish the things you will be judged about in the marketplace. I asked the head of the English department of my local high school to do my copy edits years ago and she was willing, excited even, to do it for a small amount of money. She still does them today, and I have spoken to her English classes about creative writing. As with all things, be professional. You will not receive all five star reviews. How you process and respond will determine to some extent how successful you will be long term. And here is the sticky wicket – the response to criticism or failure should not be public. The response to criticism and failure must be internal. Once the sting of hearing the negative wears off a bit, consider what the criticism is. Is there some truth to it? Is there a way to do better? Sometimes the reader is wrong or just goofy. It doesn’t really matter though. You must let it go. Defending yourself on Goodreads or Facebook is an inevitable disaster. I often suggest to new writers that they take a business course at their local community college or online. Creative writing or grammar classes are more important, granted, but if there is a way to get some exposure to standard business practices, do so. It will serve you well.
More about Contract to Wed:
Jolene Crawford Crenshaw, heiress and Boston socialite, went from her family home directly to Landonmore upon her marriage, the mansion she shared with her handsome and charismatic husband. She’d never in her life worried in the slightest over anything as crass as the dollars required to maintain that home or the lifestyle she’d been born to. Her extensive yearly wardrobe, the stables and the prime horseflesh within it, even the silver forks and knifes that graced her table, were expected and required to maintain the social standing that she’d cultivated over the years. But suddenly she was a widow with little money and just her pride and her secrets to keep her upright.
Max Shelby made his fortune in oil wells and cattle but lost the love of his life the day his wife died. Now, his happy, carefree daughter needs instruction and guidance as she grows into a young lady, and his dream of becoming a senator from his adopted state of Texas seems out of reach with few political or social connections. The right wife would solve both problems. As it happens, his sister knows of a woman, a recent widow, charming, beautiful and socially astute, but in reduced circumstances, who may want to begin again. Max signed the wedding contract sight unseen.
Will Jolene be able to shed her sorrows, anger and fears to begin anew away from the censure and hidden tragedy that marred her life? Is her new husband, confident, strong and capable Max Shelby, the man, the only man, to see past her masks to find the woman beneath?
How to connect with Holly:
Email address: email@example.com
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Contract-Wed-Prairie-Romance-Crawford-ebook/dp/B00RASQZ6S/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0R8TPJXEBCC74X29RXP2