Hey there everyone.
Welcome to your last stop before the Easter holiday weekend for fun and shenanigans! All aboard! 😀
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So, let’s get cracking with a crackling Author Interview stuffed full of charming wit and pizzazz, as we chat with multi-genre author Steena Holmes, sharing how she writes her books, along with her writing experiences and giving us some very useful, insightful writing advice.
Enjoy the show folks, happy reading and have a relaxing time building your chocolate egg mountains 🙂
Hi there Steena, wonderful to have you over here to discuss your prolific writing endeavours and also to help us to get to know you a little better too.
Let’s start with your books themselves. You write Psychological Suspense, Family Drama, Women’s Fiction and Sweet Romance. Can you tell us a bit more about each of your novels, their plots/themes/protagonists and the adventures that we will be taken on when we dive into them. (Feel free to group them into each of their relevant series and write as little or as much as you want to about them!)
It’s exciting to think about the different journey’s a reader can take with my books!
Let’s start with romance: Expect to be craving chocolate – whether it’s cupcakes, artisan chocolates, hot chocolate or pain au chocolate, all of my sweet romances have one central theme to them mainly because I can’t think of anything sweeter to combine with romance than chocolate!
My Women’s Fiction and Family Drama novels are all very personal to me. The idea behind Finding Emma (my first WF and breakout novel) came when my toddler disappeared from my view for a few moments. I panicked and the seed of that story started to grow. My three daughters also helped me to create their own characters within the story (they were the daughters). It’s one of my favorite series. I love diving into the marriage between my characters, the sweet love and heartbreak, the strength and weakness that can occur…marriage isn’t perfect and I like to focus on that.
My Saving Abby series has my heart – as a mother, as a daughter, as a traveholic…there is so much about who I am as a person, the passions of my heart and my life within these two books. Saving Abby was written as a love story to my daughters and Abby’s Journey was a story written for my readers.
Now let’s talk about Psychological Suspense…The Memory Child was written backwards. I knew how the story would end but getting there was a journey. The Forgotten Ones was an exciting book to write because I had an inkling about what happened in the book but I had no idea how it started or even how it ended. In fact, the ending only came as I wrote those last chapters. This was a story that took me on a journey and I’m finding that journey addicting!
If any of your novels were to be made into films (or even a TV series), who would you cast in the lead roles?
I would love to see The Memory Child, Stillwater Rising, Saving Abby and The Forgotten Ones made into a movie or TV series! How amazing would that be!
The Memory Child: Liam Hemsworth as Brian and Natalie Portman as Diane.
Stillwater Rising: Reese Witherspoon would be amazing in any of the female roles but I think she would play the role of the teenager shooter’s mom brilliantly! There are four strong female roles in this book. I’d love to see Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Gray and Viola Davis added as well.
Saving Abby: Jennifer Lawrence would be perfect as Claire and Benedict Cumberbach for Josh.
The Forgotten Ones: Nicole Kidman would be perfect as Marie. Grace Phipps as Elle and Tommy Lee Jones as David.
What would you choose as your own personal mascot or spirit animal when it comes to you and your style of writing?
Ahh, this is an easy one! A black sheep is the first and only animal I can think of. Why? Because the black sheep is quirky and different. Still as lovable and soft and adorable but there’s something about the black sheep that stands out. You remember the black sheep and I want to be memorable to my readers.
What do you think most characterizes or defines your writing? Do you have any writing quirks or themes that constantly crop up in your stories?
Every story seems to be seeped in secrets. The idea of how we handle secrets within our families, within ourselves…how we react, judge and live within those secrets shape us and I like to figure out the why and how behind that. Themes or quirks…there’s bound to be something to do with chocolate or baking and I always have a male that is named after someone in my family.
What do you find the most difficult thing about writing? And what do you find the easiest?
It’s hard when life decides it wants attention and you’re not able to focus completely on the words of a story that stirs in your heart. I get antsy when I’m not able to write, when the words are there but I’m not at a computer or have a way to get them down. I’m learning that balance is important but it’s hard.
The easiest is falling in love with a story and wanting to get the words down. I love sitting here, knowing how a scene should play out but finding the words to enhance the image in my head. I love imagining how my readers will react, wondering what they’ll think of the story. I love getting them involved in helping me create characters from their names to quirky traits.
Who are some of the authors, musicians, poets and/or historical figures that inspire you?
Right now, Diana Krall is the biggest inspiration for me. I listen to Diana Krall daily right now while I’m writing, I let the words she sings, the moods inspired help me create the story I’m currently writing.
What sort of research do you do to write your books?
I have a lot of friends within different fields that I can call upon for help when I have questions. Which has saved my butt too many times to count! I also read a lot of articles, blogs, listen to podcasts to help me understand the theme and subject I’m writing. I try to be as real and as authentic as I can.
Why do you write? What inspired you to become a writer?
Back in 2005, my husband forwarded a writing contest and suggested I give it a try since he knew I always wished I could write. I took the challenge and completed a novel in 6 months, submitted it and won – which amazed me since I had no training and nothing backing me up other than my passion.
Until writing, I felt adrift, always trying to find the ‘one’ thing that I could do, the one thing that made me…ME. Writing is it. It’s my passion, my heart, my soul and I’m always trying to better myself, challenge myself and learn my craft in a way that enhances readers experience.
I didn’t just ‘become’ a writer. I embraced that creative side of me and ran with it, and I’m so glad I did!
What keeps you motivated during creative slumps? How do you deal with Writers Block?
I don’t really believe in writers block. I believe in exhaustion. During those slumps, it’s usually because I am mentally exhausted. So I give myself time to relax, recharge and refocus. I don’t beat myself up for taking time off from writing and I try to focus on other ways to refill myself.
You have access to a time machine. What advice would you give to your younger self?
You are more than enough. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will, so put on those big girl panties and stop looking for someone else to save you. Everything you need, everything you are is inside of you all ready. Don’t regret the mistakes you made in the past, embrace them because those decisions and mistakes take you on a journey you can’t even begin to comprehend. Enjoy life to the fullest and understand that the only one who can make you happy is you!
How do you spend your free time when you are not writing?
I read, bake, do puzzles, drink copious amounts of coffee (I do that even when I am writing), walk through farmers markets and catch up on my favorite TV shows.
Tell us more about your upcoming projects. Are you working on anything specific or have plans in the pipeline?
I’m currently working on a Suspense novel that is challenging me in ways I’d never imagined! This story will be out with my publisher in 2019. Once this book is completed, I’ll be taking a bit of a break and then starting a new series under a pen name – J.M. Jack. I’m excited and can’t wait to write this and introduce my readers to these new characters!
Finally, are there any nuggets of wisdom that you can impart to other aspiring writers?
You’ve got this! This journey you’re on with your writing, it’s a marathon – not a sprint. Take your time to learn your craft and don’t rush your story. Mistakes will always happen; it’s how you turn those mistakes into positive lessons that matter. Above all make writing a priority in your life because no one else will until you show them how important it is to you!
Good luck! I’m only an email away if you ever need help!
And that’s a wrap! Thank you Steena for spending time with us, it’s been a blast and we cannot wait to dive into all of your wonderfully engrossing books 🙂
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author – Steena is the author of the heart wrenching Finding Emma series.
The Word Game was included in the Top 20 Novels to be Written by Women in 2015 by Good Housekeeping.
Her latest novel – The Word Game won the 2015 USA Books Award for Best Fiction and her novel, The Memory Child was a finalist in the same category.
Steena Holmes grew up in a small town in Canada and holds a Bachelors degree in Theology.
In 2012 she received the Indie Excellence Award. Holmes was inspired to write Finding Emma after experiencing a brief moment of horror when she’d thought her youngest daughter was missing.
She currently lives in Calgary with her husband and three daughters and loves to wake up to the Rocky Mountains each morning.
You can connect with Steena via the following Social Media channels:-
Facebook:- Steena Holmes – Author (FB)
Goodreads:- Steena Holmes (Goodreads Author)
Instagram:- @authorsteenaholmes (Instagram)
Twitter:- @steenaholmes (Twitter)
Website:- The Website of Author Steena Holmes
You can buy her books here:-
Buy Steena Holmes books in the UK/Europe
Buy Steena Holmes books in the US/Rest of the World
If you too would like to be interviewed on my blog at TooFullToWrite and you have a book or a series of books that you would like us to chat about then fill out the Contact Me form here with your details and we can arrange a future interview slot.