I feel very fortunate to have found Curiosity Quills Press and to have been accepted into their fold relatively quickly. I queried 5 agents with whom I had spoken at a writer’s conference in Seattle. Of those 5, one requested a full manuscript with some revisions before deciding she couldn’t take on another YA novel just then. A friend and fellow critique group member mentioned Curiosity Quills at a meeting one evening—and I queried them that next week. The rest, as they say, is history. They loved my manuscript, and here we are today with a newly released novel! The entire process was rather short, which is why I feel so fortunate. The time from finishing my novel to signing a contract with CQ was 6.5 months.
What part of being a writer do you love most?
I love the writing process. I’m not much of an outliner or planner when it comes to writing. I know the beginning and the end of my books, and I just let the characters and the story take me there. I love it when my story takes an unexpected turn—unexpected even to me, as I’m writing it. I love it when my own writing surprises me—makes me laugh or cry. Writing takes me away from the problems and stress of everyday life, especially when writing the first draft of something.
Which part do you hate the most?
I honestly haven’t “hated” any of it. I was worried about going through the editing process for the first time. I thought I would hate it. I worried about being asked to change my story that I’d worked so hard to create. As it turned out, I realized my editor was on my side! We worked together to make Five: Out of the Dark so much better than the original version.
If I had to pick something I don’t really like about being a writer, it would be the marketing aspect. I feel so clueless when it comes to marketing and publicity! Luckily the crew at Curiosity Quills has been fabulous to help promote my book. My husband, Steve, has been a huge help with this part of it, as well, and we really appreciate the many answers to questions and advice from CQ while he’s learning.
What life advice have you been given, that you wished someone had given you sooner?
I love the advice given by Thomas S. Monson, “The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it. The present is here, live it.” I wish I would have realized the wisdom in these words as a stressed out young mother.
If you could have a magical power, what would it be and why?
This is a tough one. If I could have only one magical power, I would choose healing. I am an ER nurse by day and a writer by night. It would be wonderful beyond measure to be able to help people suffering from horrible injuries and diseases. To lay my hands on someone and banish cancer to the outer regions of hell where it belongs, or to reconnect a severed spinal cord so a paralyzed victim could walk again, to relieve the terrifying inability to draw a breath caused by an asthma attack, to take away someone’s chronic pain—yeah, definitely healing.
The idea for Five started with a very vivid dream I had. I woke from it and immediately wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget it. Teenage kids in an underground setting, fighting some unseen enemy that was trying to take away their ‘space’ there. I can’t remember if the kids were magic in my dream, but they definitely had to be magic for my book!
If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?
This is another hard question! I love so many of the characters I’ve come to know over years of reading. I think I would choose Harry Dresden—the wizard from Jim Butcher’s amazing series. Harry very frequently makes me laugh out loud as I read.
I would eat . . . pizza, not because it’s my favorite food (it isn’t), but because Harry lives in Chicago and I’ve always wanted to try the pizza there!
Who are your favorite authors and why?
If I had to pick one favorite author it would be Brandon Sanderson—the man is a genius! He could re-write the phone book and make it epic. His Mistborn series is one of the few series I’ve read in my life that I was completely floored by the unexpected ending. I had no idea it was coming.
I also love Jim Butcher (see the dinner question above). His characters can have me laughing one minute and crying the next—always sitting on the edge of my seat.
And, J.K. of course. I could re-read the Harry Potter books a hundred times and never be bored.
I could add dozens more, there are so many amazing authors out there.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on Book 2 of the Five series. The first draft is done and has been through my awesome critique group, now I just need to find the time to sit down and implement their suggestions and fix a few things before sending it off the my publisher.
Where can fans find you online?
I have a website that can be found at www.holli-anderson.com. They can also like my Facebook page, Author Holli Anderson. I have a Twitter account @HaAuthor and I’m on Goodreads.
Nicky, thank you for the interview. I hope you all read and enjoy “Five: Out of the Dark”. A pleasure Holli, I’m looking forward to book 2!