For my latest Author Spotlight I’m joined by the amazing Holly Oliver. We talked about not making tangible outlines, crash courses in plotting, her love of paranormal romance, and the beauty of self publishing!
Over to you Holly…
First things first, please introduce yourself!
Hi, I’m Holly! I’m still a relative newbie in the world of MM Romance, and didn’t write my first book until 2022 (after years of wanting to). I have a busy household, with five kids, aged 8-16, a dog, two cats, two fish, and somewhere around here I’m sure there’s a husband, too. I’m addicted to coffee, and have way too many houseplants, and I hate wearing shoes, even in the winter.
Tell us a little bit about your writing style.
I’m what I like to call a Plantser. I need to have the characters set in my head, and sometimes a general idea of where I intend the story to go. But I don’t make tangible outlines, I just get it all square in my head and then go for it. I aim for 2,000 words a day and like to write away from my desk. (Desks are for admin, writing is fun!)
Describe your books in only three words.
Suspenseful, sweet, chaotic.
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release?
My most recent release was Charlie and Randolph – Fated Fantasies Book #4.
I am so proud of this book. This series is so much fun to write. Hedgehogs imbued with dragon magic that awakens when a dark magical force poses a threat, and only when they find their fated mates.
Charlie was a special forces Marine, and Randolph was in the military. They meet in a flurry of lust and things quickly unravel for them. But despite the chaos and with the help of the Array (and friends) things work out for now. There are two more books to come!
Out of all your books, which one are you most proud of?
It wasn’t my best book in terms of technical writing techniques, but I am most proud of my first book Freddy and Archie. I went on to revise it a little later on, and you can find the revised version on Amazon. I got a crash course in how to work a plot, LOL. But I’m the most proud of it because it started this awesome adventure. It was the first time I wrote those magical words “The End” and it unlocked something in me that had made me want to write almost every day since.
What or who (or both) has influenced you most as a writer?
I have so many influences as a writer. But I think my Mum played a huge role in helping me to see that everyone has the capacity to write a book. It takes hard work, dedication, and grit to finish one, and then a ton of bravery to publish one. I believe everyone has a story in them, even if it’s just one, but I’ve been lucky enough to have more than that and I plan to carry on until my fingers stop working, and even then I’ll probably dictate, LOL.
What inspired you to start writing?
To be honest I was severely burnt out. I’m a nurse by trade and COVID was… well, hard. I needed to take a break. I felt compelled to find a way to work from home so I could be more present for my kids throughout the aftermath of the pandemic, and I wrote a book sort of on a whim.
What’s your writing process like? Do you have a typical “writing day”?
I start my day early and try to get a chunk of admin done before the kids head off to school. Then I focus my attention on writing until they get home. I try to set aside two hours a day just for focused writing. It doesn’t always happen, but I find if I write daily, or at least on weekdays I stay focused and feel more productive.
What comes first for you – the plot or the characters?
Definitely the characters. Sometimes I get a cool idea for a plot, and I’ll note it down, but every book I’ve written started with the characters.
What’s a book that you wish you’d written?
I was blown away by Fourth Wing, and I’d love to do something in a similar vein but with MM MCs. (Does that count?)
If you could only write one trope for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
I don’t think I want to be constrained to one trope. I think I could write Paranormal Romance for the rest of my life, but my brain is full of ideas that are varied, and I think the beauty of being self published is I don’t have to stick to one thing. In fact when I’ve completed the series I am working on now my writing will take a detour while I play with some of the plot bunnies running in my head. Part of the adventure is not knowing what I’ll write next.
What would be your three desert island books?
Fourth Wing by Rececca Yarros (I can pretend it’s MM, LOL)
His Dangerous Omega by Raiven Matthews
Healing Glass by Jackie Keswick
If one of your books could be made into a movie/TV series, which would you choose and who would you cast?
I think Shadows of the Soul would make an epic movie and I’d have Kim Rae-won play Darius and Brock O’Hurn play Max.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Do you have a secret passion or hobby that we don’t know about?
I dunno if it’s a secret, but I love gardening. I spend a lot of time outside in the warmer months. And I love baking (I’m not a huge fan of cooking, but give me a clean kitchen to mess up and I’m a happy camper.)
Finally, what’s your favourite dinosaur?
Just one? Hmmm, a raptor.
Hi, I’m Holly, and I live in a small beach town in New Zealand. I juggle many hats, mum, wife, nurse, and author, but in truth, I love nothing more than to curl up with a good book and escape the washing pile (that never ends). Aside from books, I also love coffee, yoga, and houseplants.
I write sweet, sassy, and suspenseful stories about sexy men who really don’t look well-suited on the surface but throw fate into the mix, and things get interesting. If you’re looking for a touch of magic or a dash of mystery, I’ve got you covered.
For more information on Holly and her work you can find her on her website, sign up for her newsletter, and follow her on Amazon, Bookbub, and Instagram. You can also find all her details via her Linktree.