Author Interview - Holly Hook
Hi Holly! Tell me about yourself?
I write young adult fiction primarily and like to stick with fantasy and science fiction. I've been doing more fantasy lately as it seems to be what readers prefer, but that could always change in the future. I also love reading young adult books, but I'll read anything under the fantasy/science fiction umbrella. My tastes are pretty broad.
How long have you been writing for?
Most of my life. I started writing probably in the first grade, and before I could do that, I'd say stories into a tape recorder and keep them. I was probably four when I started to make up stories.
Can you tell me about your novels?
I've written a bunch of series, starting with weather-based paranormal series from 2010 to 2013 that I admit were pretty odd. I moved on from there to a time travel trilogy based on the sinking of the Titanic and the repercussions of changing history. After that, around 2015, I moved on to a four-book fantasy series about a girl who finds herself in a parallel universe, trying to survive a monster-filled wilderness while dodging a society who captures and uses people as slaves in mines. From there, I dove into a seven-book fairy tale retelling series, each book focusing on a different fairy tale, and by the end of 2016, I was writing a teen post-apocalyptic trilogy. From there I moved on to teen urban fantasy, and I'm currently writing teen paranormal romance (one series with dragons, and another with werewolves.) So I've been all over the place.
What is your writing environment like? Do you write with music or in silence? Do you prefer to be alone or with others around? Do you write with pen and paper or on a computer?
Pen and paper is too slow. I stick with the computer, because a couple of years ago, when I was writing on top of having a full time job, the only times I had to write were my lunch breaks and the short time before work. Therefore, I had to learn how to type very quickly so it's what I'm used to. I usually have a cat (or two) on my lap and I do like music, but can work with silence if I need to.
What are the difficulties of being an Indie Writer?
It used to be that some people in the writing community wouldn't take you seriously or consider reading your books, but that stigma has thankfully changed over the years.
What was the hardest part about deciding to be a full-time writer?
Probably telling my family, because I wasn't sure how they would react. Knowing I'd have to pay quarterly taxes was a close second.
What are the challenges of being a full-time writer?
I'm responsible for figuring out how to make money and for figuring out what's most likely to sell. There's nobody to tell me what to write next, and the market changes quickly. There's also the matter of figuring out (by examining what's selling) what readers want in their stories.
What are the benefits of being a full-time writer?
No commute, so when the roads are a sheet of ice, I no longer have to risk my life driving 40+ miles to work. This is probably the biggest benefit I've seen so far. Oh, and I now get enough sleep and have better control over what I'm eating, since I now have time to cook. Those two things have made my writing better.
Tell me about a typical day for you?
To keep myself going and working, I treat Monday through Friday as work days. My cats get me up around eight, I feed them, take a walk if the weather allows, grab a coffee from the corner convenience store, and settle back down to my computer. I tend to do most of my typing in the morning and early afternoon, and move on to editing/marketing/figuring out covers later in the day. I try to wrap up around five-ish and take a break during the evenings (though that doesn't always work out.) To prevent burnout I also try to take weekends off for the most part.
Where do your ideas come from?
To be honest, I'm not sure. I'm one of those writers who has stuff come to me as I go. I might form a general idea on a story, but the rest comes as I'm writing. I wish I knew how it worked.
Writing a large range of genres, what have you found to be the hardest one to write? The easiest?
Anything heavier on the romance side has been the hardest, because I have to work out why two characters are attracted to each other, what their faults are, why they are the way they are, and how they can make each other better people. Relationships are complex and so are people. Writing books heavier on fighting and mechanics (such as Sci-fi) tend to be easier.
Who is your favorite character from all of your stories? Or the one that has stuck with you?
Probably Alyssa from the Abnormals Underground series. She fights with her personal flaws throughout the series, but she's also sarcastic and I love her attitude.
How do you market your novels?
Networking with other authors. Sometimes, if money's good, I book promos with one of the bigger advertising sites that push ebooks. I don't do much with paperbacks, but may in the future since I'm in the process of getting new covers for them.
Which marketing tools have been the most useful?
I'd say getting to know lots of other authors and advertising each others' books in our newsletters. It's free (usually) and gets you together to brainstorm other marketing ideas and give advice.
Do you read your reviews? How do you use good/bad reviews?
I usually don't read them after the first dozen or so, to be honest. I have a lot of books, so that would take up a lot of my time. After that point, the reviews tend to get redundant, anyway. Once I know the recurring theme of the reviews, I move on and apply any criticism to later works.
What would you tell your past self when you were first starting to write?
You don't need the validation of an agent anymore. That new invention called "Kindle" is going to be a good thing.
Where can we go to find out the latest information about you and your writing?
I run a Facebook group for readers where I make announcements on progress and more!
What can we expect for upcoming novels?
I'm working on the Dragon Born Trilogy, which is a paranormal romance (YA) with dragon shifters. I may be working on a werewolf series soon, most likely before the end of this year. You can find it here!