Challenges of the writing life and how I overcome them
While Shotgun Cowgirl is the first novella I’ve self published on Amazon, it was definitely a long time coming! I’ve been writing for most of my life but didn’t really start sharing my content until 2015.
Wattpad was a huge jumping off point for me. I started with a paranormal romance featuring a polyamorous quartet of witches, and after lots of feedback and interaction with readers and other writers, I became addicted to serial fiction.
I read and write in all genres, but my cohesive theme tends to be gritty and morally grey characters. I have 23 published works on Wattpad, one of which was a serial ore-release of the Shotgun trilogy.
On Amazon, I publish under a variety of pen names, because I can’t sit still when it comes to genre and niche. I dipped my toes into self publishing with short erotic romance stories and novelettes, ranging across BDSM, lesbian contemporary, and paranormal. I’d love to revisit these pens in the future with longer romance-heavy books in those niches, to keep the flame of my genre hopping alive.
Iris Trovao was born because nowhere in my pool of niches did I have historical fiction. And you know, I just really needed to write this western! This is Iris’ kickoff point, and whenever I want to come play in the Wild West, Iris is who I will be!
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
My name is Tina Holland. I’m a romance author with over 10 published books and I live in the Red River Valley of North Dakota. I studied journalism at University and worked for a Fortune 500 company in Logistics before coming back to what I love - writing full time.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to see where an idea takes you?
I used to be a pantser, but now I’m more of a plotser. I like to plot the basic structure of a book before fleshing it out. That’s not to say it’s written in stone. No, I definitely change stuff even after I’ve written the first draft, I’ll go back and layer in new elements.
Do you ever get writer’s Block?
Not so much writer’s block so much as writer’s procrastination. If I’m fumbling about with a story, I’ll do just about everything but work on it, including working on another story or starting a new one.
What genre is The Courtesan of Constantinople, and what draws you to it?
Broadly, The Courtesan of Constantinople falls into Steampunk Romance, but because of the fantasy elements, it can also fit into the Gaslamp genre.
How did you publish The Courtesan of Constantinople and why?
I searched for a traditional publisher for my book, but Steampunk is a very niche market right now. While readers love the genre and are voracious at reading it, agents and publishers seem warier. After unsuccessfully querying the book for two years I found success with my current publisher, Book Boutiques. They’ve been very supportive of me with my other titles and so this was no exception.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Research, I’ll be writing a sentence and then have to find out something before I can move on with the story.
If I’m in procrastination mode, I find binge-watching TV shows can really pull me away from my story.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Someone wants to read the story you are writing so go ahead and finish it.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
Wow, that’s a tough question. My reading is quite varied, depending on my mood. And this isn’t in any particular order just as they come to me. They also encompass books I fondly remember from my childhood up.
Black Beauty, Heidi, Misty of Chincoteague
Thea Harrison, CL Wilson, Jan Karon, JRR Tolkein, C.S. Lewis
The Hiding Place, Hinds Feet On High Places
That was easier than I thought. I didn’t even get to Stephen King, Michael Crichton, Francine Rivers.
Pretty eclectic, huh?
Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely! This is my next stage in life. I’ve been so many things and had so many jobs. But writing is the place where I’ve found my creative outlet. I’ve tried painting, sketching, music, jewelry making, and photography. I still enjoy these things, but writing is my passion. I’ve even come to enjoy the editing process. When retirement rolls around next year, I hope to finish all the works I have in progress. To continue with creating new stories. I have a very active imagination.
A day in the life of the author?
Right now, I’m on a hamster wheel. The country band Alabama has a song that goes.
in a hurry to get things done
Oh I rush and rush until life's no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die
But I'm in a hurry and don't know why.
It seems to be my life these days. After returning to work from Covid furlough, my hours changed. I used to have the whole morning to write before heading off to work. But now I only have a short time in the morning and then off to my full-time job in a medical office. I get home around 7ish and try to wrap up anything that needs to be done. In addition to my writing and marketing, I also do two blogs a week on my website. Welcome To The Campfire is on Saturdays, and A Peek Through The Window is on Wednesday. I love talking to other authors and highlighting their books. Also, on the 1st of the month, my newsletter goes out. In addition to sharing about my life, I also review books I’ve enjoyed throughout the month and what’s on my TBR (to be read) pile. I just exhausted myself writing that.
Describe your writing style.
Life is hard. I’m sure many of you agree. That said, my writing style can take serious situations, maybe inject a little humor, always hope. My stories are about family, and not only blood relations but the larger family of friends. I write what could be called sweet or clean. All sex is behind closed doors, but intimacy is there. I try not to curse in my real life and my writing reflects that. I want my readers to walk away fulfilled, and thoughtful.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Research. I tend to follow the rabbit trails and get lost in whatever I’m interested in. One website leads to the next, and before you know it, hours have passed. Social media is also a significant time drain.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Despite Rock House Grill being first drafted in thirty days, I’m not a fast author. I have no idea how some can put out multiple books a year. 2020 was a big year for me. I had both Rock House Grill and Rainbow Sprinkles release and, hopefully, my second Agent Carter book by the end of the year. But both RS and AC are short. RHG took several years from writing to publication.