Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
Steena Holmes Interview
9/29/2012 6:30:09 PM
Bestselling author and 2012 Indie Excellence for Fiction winner Steena Holmes discusses her astounding success!
LTS: Normally, my month-end blog is reserved for editing or writing tips, marketing, etc. but today, I have something, or should I say, someone, very special of whom will need no introduction in the very near future as her literary career takes off to all new levels! Are you ready to meet todayís featured author? Well, sit tight because here is 2012 Indie Excellence for Fiction Winner, the lovely and oh-so talented Steena Holmes, author of the award-winning Finding Emma! Iíd like to begin by having you share a little information about yourself with our readers, Steena. What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
SH: Lorna ó thank you for having me on here! You give me too much praise though! But...what do I enjoy doing when Iím not writing, hmmm...that would be daydreaming about irresistible chocolate recipes, making muffins with my kids and reading. Oh - and watching Criminal Minds. Iím seriously addicted to that show!
LTS: Has writing stories always been a part of your life and becoming a published author a lifelong dream?
SH: You know, itís funny - looking back, I can see where even as a teenager I wanted to write. I kept a journal full of teenage angst, competed in writing competitions (and winning a trip from it) and my favorite place to be was either in the library or sitting beneath a tree reading a book. I didnít actually think it was something I could do until about 7-8 years ago when I wrote my first story and won a publishing contract through a small indie press.
LTS: Your debut novel Finding Emma was released just over 6 months ago now and so many exciting things have happened since its release! Letís start with this novel. What was the inspiration behind this story and can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Megan?
SH: Itís hard to believe itís been only 6 months! I wanted to write a story that was Ďmy heartí - if that makes sense. A wise friend once asked me what it was I wanted to write. I had tried several different stories and still hadnít made up my mind. The stories that stuck with me, the ones that had me coming back time and time again were ones that made me cry. One day my youngest daughter was playing hide and seek and I had that moment of instant panic...thatís when the story idea hit! Megan is that mom who experienced the very thing most mothers dread - turning her back for a minute and having her child disappear.
LTS: Oh, I know all about this minute of instant and sheer panic, having a daughter of my own. Without giving away too much, can you reveal whatís in store for the readers when they crack open Finding Emma?
SH: Youíll be pleasantly surprised when you read Finding Emma. Youíll fall in love with characters you want to hate and youíll find yourself putting yourself in Meganís shoes.
LTS: Your foray into self-publishing has become a dream come true and a source for inspiration for me as well as many aspiring authors and struggling writers working hard to build a readership. You have even accomplished what many traditionally published authors hope for, but never achieve. Can you share with our readers how your novel hit the stratosphere in August, selling over $100,000 on Amazon?
SH: I am so proud to be a self-published author, I canít even begin to describe what it means for my dream to come true on my terms. I managed to grab Amazonís attention through a combination (I believe) of the number of reviews I have (from 1-5 stars) pricing and likes and when they decided to promote Finding Emma for the month of August - letís just say my whole world rocked.
LTS: I think your book sales are wildly fantastic, Steena, and it could not happen to a nicer person! This is so huge! I know for me, even with a major motion picture trilogy in development now and an Oscar nominated/two-time Golden Globe winning production team at the helm, my book sales have been seriously lagging. So what is the secret to your ongoing success?
SH: First off - I have to admit Iím a little jealous of you and your success! Having your book be made into a movie has to be a dream come true and to have the backing you have...wow! Congrats! Now - as to there being a secret - I honestly donít think there is one. Writing a story that hits the hearts of my readers is the only thing I can think of. Once you touch a readerís heart - whether it be through imagination, laughter, heartache...youíve grabbed on to something amazing. If one person loves your story, theyíll tell their friend who will tell their friend and etc. Itís all word of mouth and itís the best type of promotion out there.
LTS: Since hitting the Amazon Bestseller list, can you share how you landed/selected a literary agent?
SH: Okay - another amazing thing, right? I queried Finding Emma for two years before I decided to pull it from 8 agents and self pubbed it. The best decision ever! What happened is that I ended up receiving offers from publishers mid-August - right around the time I hit #13 on the Bestseller list. There is an agent I met at my local RWAís writerís conference - Deidre Knight and in the past year weíve kept in contact. When I started to get these offers of representation and book deals, I had no idea where to turn, so I turned to her with questions. Deidre is an amazing person who not only happens to be an agent but also an author. I knew her plate was full with clients and that she wasnít actively looking so I didnít feel like I was making a sales pitch when I had questions. And to be honest - at that time I wasnít even sure I wanted an agent. I was okay on my own...but Iíd been given an opportunity that I didnít want to waste. Deidre put me in touch with her sister, Pamela Harty (who is just as awesome btw). She listened to my concerns of going with a publisher, she understood right away my passion for self publishing and she helped me understand what it was I was looking for and wanting in a career.
LTS: We all must travel our individual route that best fits our personal needs and goals. What made you decide on going from self-published to traditional publishing? Was this decision hard to make?
SH: At first it was. But when I realized that it wasnít an either/or decision, it became easier. I can be both self and traditional published and I will be. Iím not giving up self publishing at all. In fact, I fully plan to use it to my advantage...I will gain new readers that I can introduce my self published books to and vice versa.
LTS: Can you share that moment when Pamela Harty landed you a fabulous two-book deal with Amazon Publishing?
SH: I cried. I sat on my bed and hugged myself. It was such a surreal moment. Amazing, humbling and crazy at the same time. It was a dream I had given up on because I wasnít sure it was a path I wanted to go on anymore. You know that moment when you realize that dreams do come true and that they keep happening over and over and over? That was that moment for me.
LTS: Yay! I just tingle with excitement reading about your joy and enthusiasm! Now, what is the most important lesson youíve learned on the road to publication?
SH: To listen to my heart and follow my own path. Like you said above - we all have our own routes - what works for one doesnít always work for another. Comparing myself to another bestselling author who makes 6-7 figures each month doesnít help me at all. I can only compare myself to...myself. Take what Iíve learned and do better. I canít be happy with status quo and I need to push myself. Always push myself to do better. To be better. To write better. Iíve also learned that I need to be there for others - not keep what Iíve learned to myself but share it so that others can be just as or even more successful than I am!
LTS: Still on the subject of writing styles, are you a plotter or pantser? The readers would like to know if you tend to plot out your story line in great detail or if your writing is more organic with the characters and events unfolding as you write.
SH: I do a little bit of both. I have a general idea of what is going to happen and using Scrivener, I plot out some general scenes. Then I just write. I allow my characters to express themselves and sometimes take me on a new direction.
LTS: Some authors meditate, others need to fuel up on coffee or listen to music. Do you have any rituals, ones that can be shared with the readers, that you must do before you hunker down for a writing session?
SH: I need a cup of coffee by my side, a bowl of chocolate covered almonds and quiet. With three children, a dog and a husband who loves to do carpentry on the side - finding the quiet doesnít always work. So I write during the day when they are at school.
LTS: At one time or another, most writers hit the wall and their work stalls because of the dreaded writerís block. What do you do to get around or over this mental wall to resume writing?
SH: Hereís a question for you. Is writerís block real? Or is it when we find ourselves at a crossroad when our characters are saying one thing but we want to write another? I know when Iím struggling...Iíll work on something else. Iíll write out plot ideas, Iíll have a conversation with a character, Iíll watch a show where my mind can wander and I think of new scenarios.
LTS: Who is your favourite author and how has he/she inspired you to write or influenced your writing style or choice of genre?
SH: Karen Marie Moning and Ted Dekker. Those are my two favorite authors. Each story I read amazes me, pulls me in and leaves me wanting more. I want to write like that. They both started off in the same place you and I are...I keep reminding myself of that.
LTS: What do you foresee in your future over the next five years and do you hope to branch out from literary fiction into genre fiction? When can your fans expect the sequel to Finding Emma?
SH: Why did you have to ask this!! Joking! This is something Iíve been thinking about. There are two directions I can go. I can take my writing deeper and darker or I can stay on the path where I write novels that make my readers cry but leave them smiling at the end. Iím not entirely sure. I think it will be decided when I finish Emmaís Secret. There are two ways I can write it...
As to when will it come out ...Iím not sure yet of the date. I hope to find out soon though ;)
LTS: Thank you so much for taking the time from your crazy, hectic schedule to share in your exciting news, share in your writing experience and for being a true inspiration, Steena! I am so very proud of you and all youíve accomplished! Catch you on Twitter.
SH: Lorna, YOU are the true inspiration! Iíve been watching you for a while now and canít wait to see where this journey you are on takes you!
For more information about Steena Holmes and her debut and upcoming novels, check out:
Follow Steena on Twitter: .SteenaHolmes
Where to buy the book: Amazon
More Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
Erica Lucke Dean Interview - Saturday, May 18, 2013
Amber Lea Easton Interview - Sunday, May 12, 2013
Ruth Nestvold Interview - Saturday, May 04, 2013
Rose Garcia Interview - Saturday, April 20, 2013
Robert Pruneda Interview - Saturday, April 13, 2013
Lance Burson Interview - Saturday, April 06, 2013
Rachel Thompson Interview: - Saturday, March 23, 2013
Samantha Martin Interview - Saturday, March 16, 2013
Lisette Brodey Interview - Saturday, March 09, 2013
Jack Whyte Interview Part Two - Saturday, March 02, 2013
Jack Whyte Interview Part One - Saturday, February 23, 2013
Molly Greene Interview - Saturday, February 16, 2013
Dionne Lister Interview - Saturday, February 09, 2013
Anita Reynolds MacArthur Interview: - Saturday, February 02, 2013
Alicia Kat Dillman Interview - Saturday, January 26, 2013
John Gregory Hancock Interview - Saturday, January 19, 2013
Adriana Ryan Interview - Saturday, January 12, 2013
Jennifer McConnel Interview - Friday, January 04, 2013
S.M. Boyce Interview - Saturday, December 15, 2012
James Tallett Interview - Saturday, December 08, 2012
Melissa McPhail Interview - Saturday, December 01, 2012
Roz Morris Interview - Sunday, November 18, 2012
Tania Johansson Interview - Saturday, November 10, 2012
Dale Ivan Smith Interview - Sunday, November 04, 2012
Respect Your Readers - Sunday, October 28, 2012
Greta van der Rol Interview - Sunday, October 21, 2012
Justin Bog Interview - Saturday, October 13, 2012
Thanksgiving Day: Gratitude - Saturday, October 06, 2012
Steena Holmes Interview - Saturday, September 29, 2012
Kenneth Hoss Interview - Saturday, September 22, 2012
Patty Jansen Interview - Saturday, September 15, 2012
Joshua E. Bigger Interview - Saturday, September 08, 2012
Joyce Damask Interview - Saturday, September 01, 2012
Marketing & Twitter - Saturday, August 25, 2012
Henry Herz Interview - Saturday, August 18, 2012
Kristin Bair O'Keeffe Interview - Sunday, August 12, 2012
William Linde Interview - Saturday, August 04, 2012
Micheal Rivers Interview - Saturday, July 21, 2012
Robert James Russell Interview - Saturday, July 14, 2012
Becka Sutton Interview - Saturday, July 07, 2012
Canadian Authors Feature - Saturday, June 30, 2012
Gini Koch Interview - Sunday, June 17, 2012
M. Pax Interview - Saturday, June 09, 2012
Karina Halle Interview - Saturday, June 02, 2012
Novice Writing Mistakes - Sunday, May 27, 2012
Pippa Jay Interview - Sunday, May 20, 2012
Glenn Starkey Interview - Saturday, May 12, 2012
Maurice G. Nicholson Interview - Saturday, May 05, 2012
How I Select Followers on Twitter - Saturday, April 28, 2012
Shaun Allan Interview - Sunday, April 22, 2012
Darlene Foster Interview - Saturday, April 14, 2012
Kim Aleksander Interview - Saturday, April 07, 2012
Hope Collier Interview - Saturday, March 31, 2012
John Kolsonís Writeado: A New Online Writing Tool - Saturday, March 24, 2012
Jeff Shanley Interview - Saturday, March 17, 2012
Stephen England Interview - Saturday, March 10, 2012
Everett Powers Interview - Saturday, March 03, 2012
The Kindle Prime Experiment - Saturday, February 25, 2012
Edward Lazellari Interview - Saturday, February 18, 2012
Connie J. Jasperson Interview - Saturday, February 11, 2012
Sally Dubats - Saturday, February 04, 2012
Selecting Writers For My Author Feature - Sunday, January 29, 2012
Tarek Refaat Interview - Sunday, January 22, 2012
Toby Neal Interview: - Saturday, January 14, 2012
Thomas A. Knight Interview - Sunday, January 08, 2012
Linda Poitevin Interview - Sunday, January 01, 2012
2011: A Year in Review - Monday, December 26, 2011
Angeline Kace Interview - Sunday, December 18, 2011
Eden Baylee Interview - Saturday, December 10, 2011
Cyndi Tefft Interview - Saturday, December 03, 2011
The Conference Experience - Sunday, November 27, 2011
A.R. Silverberry Interview - Sunday, November 20, 2011
Suzy Turner Interview - Sunday, November 13, 2011
Patti Roberts Interview - Sunday, November 06, 2011
Raine Thomas Interview - Sunday, October 23, 2011
LK Gardner-Griffie Interview - Saturday, October 15, 2011
Jonathan Gould Interview - Saturday, October 08, 2011
Brian Rathbone Interview - Saturday, October 01, 2011
Matthew Merrick Interview - Sunday, September 25, 2011
Dean Lappi Interview - Saturday, September 17, 2011
J.T. Ellison Interview - Sunday, September 11, 2011
Carolyn Arnold Interview - Sunday, September 04, 2011
John Kolson Interview - Sunday, August 21, 2011
Megan Curd Interview - Saturday, August 06, 2011
Elena Aitken - Sunday, July 31, 2011
When Book Reviews are MisleadingÖ - Sunday, July 24, 2011
Deborah Riley-Magnus - Saturday, July 16, 2011
Jessica Subject Interview - Sunday, July 10, 2011
J. Alexander Greenwood Interview: - Sunday, July 03, 2011
When Social Networking is no so social... - Monday, June 27, 2011
Dannie C. Hill - Monday, June 20, 2011
Shay Fabbro Interview - Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Genevieve P. Ching Interview - Monday, June 06, 2011
Al Boudreau Interview - Monday, May 30, 2011
Jennifer Hudock Interview - Monday, May 23, 2011
Paul Mansfield Keefe Interview - Monday, May 16, 2011
Rusty Fischer Interview - Monday, May 09, 2011
Jason McIntyre Interview - Monday, May 02, 2011
Emlyn Chand & Novel Publicity - Monday, April 25, 2011
Steve Umstead Interview - Monday, April 18, 2011
John Betcher Interview - Monday, April 11, 2011
Kimberly Kinrade Interview - Monday, April 04, 2011
Inspiration & Where You Find It - Monday, March 28, 2011
Christie Yant - Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Amy J. Rose David Interview - Monday, March 14, 2011
George H. Sirois Interview - Monday, March 07, 2011
Linda Nagata Interview - Monday, February 28, 2011
Adventures in Editing or... Is it Done Yet? - Monday, February 21, 2011
Greg Messel Interview - Monday, February 14, 2011
Jen Wylie Interview - Monday, February 07, 2011
Katie M. John Interview - Monday, January 31, 2011
How Do You Measure Success: - Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Avery Tingle Interview - Monday, January 17, 2011
Kristie Cook Interview - Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Ren Cummins - Tuesday, January 04, 2011
A Wish For the New Year - Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Trish Wolfe Interview - Monday, December 20, 2010
Jesi Lea Ryan Interview - Monday, December 13, 2010
Cat Connor Interview - Monday, December 06, 2010
How to Make a Story Ring True - Monday, November 29, 2010
Sharon Bially Interview - Monday, November 22, 2010
Donna Carrick Interview - Monday, November 15, 2010
Brenda Sedore Interview - Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Robert Feagan Interview - Monday, November 01, 2010
Of Book Signings, Volunteering & Option AgreementsÖ - Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Daryl Sedore Interview - Monday, October 18, 2010
Seven Day Blog Tour Begins October 17th - Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Todd A. Ritter Interview - Monday, October 04, 2010
Cheryl Kaye Tardif Interview - Monday, September 27, 2010
Claude Bouchard Interview - Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Dr. Peter Clement Interview - Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Elizabeth Isaacs Interview - Monday, September 06, 2010
Introducing a New YA Fantasy - Monday, August 30, 2010
Interview with Author Gene Doucette - Monday, August 23, 2010
It's All About the Books Part 2 - Monday, August 16, 2010
It's All About the Books - Monday, August 09, 2010
When to Abandon Your Manuscript - Monday, August 02, 2010
1st Anniversary Blog: A Celebration of Authors - Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Kathy Chung & the SiWC Part Twp - Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Kathy Chung & the Surrey International Writers Conference Part One - Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Deanna Jewel Interview - Tuesday, July 06, 2010
The Happiest Indie Author (me) in the World! - Tuesday, June 29, 2010
The Author Effect - Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Jacqueline Pearce Interview - Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Peggy Richardson Interview - Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Wendy Nelson Tokunaga Interview - Tuesday, June 01, 2010
The Importance of a Critique Group - Saturday, May 29, 2010
Zoe Winters Interview - Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Zoe Winters Interview - Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Tonya R. Moore Interview - Monday, May 03, 2010
Write On Bowen! - Monday, April 26, 2010
Dayna Hester Interview - Monday, April 19, 2010
Luke Romyn Interview - Monday, April 12, 2010
Rhonda Carpenter Interview - Monday, March 29, 2010
Lacey Weatherford Interview - Monday, March 22, 2010
K.M. Weiland Interview - Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords Interview! - Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Jo Lynne Valerie Interview - Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Dan McNeil Interview - Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Catherine McKenzie Interview - Tuesday, February 16, 2010
8 Years of Writing! 8 eBook Winners! - Sunday, February 07, 2010
Birthday Blog (or an Ode to Aging Gracelessly) - Monday, January 18, 2010
Interview with Paranormal Author Kate Austin - Monday, January 11, 2010
Riley Carney Interview - Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Ask an Editor - Monday, December 28, 2009
Lee Edward Fodi Interview - Monday, December 21, 2009
Interview with YA Author James McCann - Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Researching Historical Fiction with Diana Gabaldon - Tuesday, December 08, 2009
kc dyer Interview & Enter to Win an Autographed Novel! - Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Bev Katz Rosenbaum Interview - Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Writing Tips I Learned from Terry Brooks - Tuesday, November 17, 2009
An Interview with Tamara Sheehan - Monday, November 09, 2009
YA Author Loreena M. Lee Interview - Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Why Do I Blog About Other Authors? - Thursday, October 29, 2009
Critique by Author Jack Whyte - Tuesday, October 27, 2009
BookCamp 2009 - Monday, October 19, 2009
Participating at VCON 34 - Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Therese Walsh Interview - Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Interview with Debra Purdy Kong - Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Twitter Ė The Power of the Tweet - Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Part Two: Publishing in a Foreign Market - Tuesday, September 15, 2009
An Interview with author Christopher Belton - Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Part Two of the Caroline Leavitt Interview: - Thursday, September 03, 2009
An Interview with Author & Book Reviewer Caroline Leavitt - Tuesday, September 01, 2009
An Interview with Kathleen Bolton - Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Interview with author/artist Scott Kessman: - Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Interview with author/artist Scott Kessman: - Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Part 2 of the Kim Falconer Interview - Thursday, August 13, 2009
An Interview with Kim Falconer - Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Part 2 An Interview with Alan Baxter - Thursday, August 06, 2009
An Interview with Alan Baxter - Tuesday, August 04, 2009
If You Write It, They Will Come (buy it)Ö Not! - Sunday, July 26, 2009
Lori A. May: Author Extraordinaire - Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Merits of a Writers Conference - Sunday, July 19, 2009
Part 2 Publishing in the Digital Age - Thursday, July 16, 2009
Publishing in the Digital Age - Monday, July 13, 2009
Writing Tips for the Novice Novelist - Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Flog the Blog - Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Do's & Don't of a TV interview - Saturday, June 27, 2009
Mortality & Writing - Friday, June 26, 2009
The Art of Editing 101 - Tuesday, June 23, 2009
How To Write When Suffering from Bad Memory Retention - Saturday, June 20, 2009
Finding Inspiration from Others - Thursday, June 18, 2009
To Blog or Twitter... - Tuesday, June 16, 2009