Interview: Holland Rae

I had a great time sitting down for an interview with Holland Rae this week. We chatted about her writing process and upcoming work.

Author Interview

Describe your writing process? How do you start writing? Is there a consistent pattern to how you write your books?
My writing process looks a little like the way a 1940s Film Noir detective might research a murder case [she laughs]. I usually have several stories going on at once, each with their own bulletin or white board covered in notes. I tend to write in series, so I need to be very organized – outlines, interviews, settings, etc. It might not seem organized to anyone else, but I know which stack of notes I need for the day. I'm always writing stuff down.


What advice would you give to new writers in the field?
Simple: Read. Write. Always. The more you read the better you're going to get. The more you write, the better you're going to get. There's no silver bullet when it comes to being a writer. I'm still figuring out what some of the rules are for marketing and writing at the same time. But if you're serious about being a writer and you're trying to make a profession out of it, treat it like a job and not a passion. If writing is your hobby, you get to have writer's block, but I realized a while back that if writing is your job, you don't.


Who are you reading right now? Give us your top give new recommendations:
So many things! Eek, not even a fair question! Okay, I'm a huge fan of Laura Kaye's Hard Ink Series, currently on the last book in the original series, and I still love it. Her characterization is really something to study, as well as her inclusion of diverse characters. I've learned so, so much from reading and listening to her books, and I really recommend her.

I'm also reading Paradise Beneath Her Feet, which is a non-fic text about feminism in The Middle East. I think it's really, really important to be constantly expanding my interests into fields I know less about. It helps with research and widens the inspirations pool.

Other loves of my life, Eloisa James, Sophie Jordan, Maya Banks, Kiera Cass, Diana Gabaldon.


What's your favorite "guilty pleasure" as a writer? Favorite drink? Snack? Locale to write?
I'm really easily distracted. If I think I'll be cute and spend the day writing at the local Starbucks, I'm really going to waste a day people-watching at the local Starbucks. That being said, I'm a tea and coffee sucker, so I might take an hour and walk into town for a break. I love chocolate-covered espresso beans, but I'm trying really hard to be good, so mostly oranges, blueberries, other fruits that feel like candy.


How has your real life affected the stories or characters you write?
As I said above, I studied journalism in college, and that had a huge impact on how I go about writing fiction. Journalism, as its core, is the telling of human stories – tragic, beautiful, challenging, exciting. It broadened my understanding of how stories are formed and how people interact during the best and worst times of their lives. It also helped me to 'interview' my characters when I'm getting to know them.
One of my favorite real-life impact stories is from a WIP about an art thief living in Amsterdam. I studied art history throughout high school and college, especially focusing on it when I studied abroad in the Netherlands. Amsterdam is an amazing and rich city, and having spent time there, especially in the museums, I got to have a lot of fun placing the story in the heart of the city. I drew on my art history education, as well as learning a lot more for the book.


What project are you currently working on?
The above story is the second one in a series. Originally I thought the books were novella length, but after the second one ended up being 10k longer than the first, and the third 10k longer than the second, I realized that the books were more suited to full-length novels. I've been revisiting the first two finish products and now I'm revamping the whole series, better fleshing out the individual characters and expanding the overarching storyline. I learned a lot about ensemble writing from Laura Kaye, and I hope I can use some of those lessons moving forward.


What’s next for you?
Always writing! I write under two pen names, so I usually have some project or other in the works. Just sent in a full-length novel – one of a trilogy – for my editor to review. I have a new historical novella with The Wild Rose Press, also one of three, that I'm currently editing. I really love this book. It's about a pirate queen mercenary, which is essentially all I've ever wanted to be. I think the next book I'll be starting from scratch, rather than editing, will be book two in that series.

Book Interview

Tell us a little about your new release, The Adventurous Heart.
Where did your inspiration for the book come from?
This was the third book in The Royal Rakes Collection, and I was really excited to push Georgina's story way out of the realm of the comfortable. I had an image in my mind as to what Andrea looked like, and the rest sort of fell into place after that.


Describe one piece of research you did for the book.
So much history about buried treasure the Spanish Main and explorers! That's the most fun kind of research! I learned a lot about actual pirates, and I used the name and treasure of a real pirate, lost to the sands of time. As you might be able to tell, I really like pirate lore, so this story brought a lot of romanticism and adventure with it.

Do you write with music? What are some of the songs that informed the tenor of your newest release?
Get it away! As I said before, I'm super easily distracted. If it's a necessity, I can write to music without lyrics. One of my recent stories was a modern Paris love story, so I had some jazzy background when there were people over the house. This story, The Adventurous Heart, I could have written with The Pirates of the Caribbean or some other epic soundtrack, but I'd really just prefer quiet. I guess that's just how I'm wired.


What’s next for this story - is it part of a series? When does it come out?
Woo-hoo! This is book three. The whole series, A Duel of Hearts and To Marry a Captain, came out in fall of last year. I have a soft spot in my heart for these characters, but I'm really looking forward to concentrating on full-length works from now on.

Author Bio:
Holland Rae is the author of several works of erotic and romantic fiction in both the contemporary and historical genres, and enjoys pushing the limits of freedom, feminism, and fun in her stories.  She has been an avid writer for many years, and recently moved back to her home state of New Jersey from Boston, after completing her education in journalism and creative writing.
In her free time, she loves to travel, and spent several months living in a 14th century castle in the Netherlands. When not exploring the world, she likes dreaming up stories, eating spicy food, driving fast cars, and talking to strangers.



Social Links:
Keep up with Holland on her Amazon page.

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