Monday, January 10, 2011

Guest - Pauline Holyoak

Good morning everyone! I hope you're all having a very good 2011. As for Star-Crossed Romance, we're moving right along with a full schedule of fascinating guests with great books. Our first guest is Pauline Holyoak and she's offering a giveaway for one lucky reader so make sure you find out how to enter the drawing. Enjoy!

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I grew in Southeast England, in a coal mining village my husband calls, “The place that time forgot.” It is nested between the notorious city of Canterbury and the medieval town of Dover. I came to Canada as a nanny, when I was 21. This vast and majestic country has served me well, but England will always be home. I live in Alberta (western Canada) with my sports crazy husband, adorable Sheltie dog and cantankerous ginger cat. We have two grown children. They are the gems in my treasure chest. I love this part of the world, except for the winters. It can be a chilly minus -30 for days on end. Burr…..          
           
Although I have been freelance writing for many years Merryweather Lodge is my first published novel. Since it’s publication in October I have been inundated with questions and demands. I know now that being a published author isn’t as glamour’s or as easy as one might imagine.

Here are some of the questions I get asked and lessons I’m learning along the way.

Years ago you would write a book, get it published then sit back and collect the royalties. But it’s
not that way any more.  Most authors are not salesmen, public speakers or comfortable being in the limelight but we are expected to promote ourselves, as well as our books, even by the big publishing houses. I’ve already participated in three book singing events, been interviewed by a newspaper reporter and was a guest speaker at our local library. It’s all a little nerve wracking, for an introvert like me. But I know I must come out of my shell and face the world, if I want to promote my book. The internet of course, is the most powerful tool an author has and not nearly as intimidating. There are literally hundreds of sites that will promote ones book, some are free and some are very costly.  I blog, do online interviews, reviews, facebook and try to keep a consistent online presence. It can be extremely time consuming but I know it’s an important element in establishing my writing career. 

   I’m learning that it’s not wise to criticize another author’s work, argue with my editor or debate with critics. As my dear grandmother would say, “Be careful of the words you say, keep them soft and sweet. You never know from day to day, which ones you’ll have to eat.”   
   
I know now, that unless your name is Margaret Atwood, or Stephanie Meyer chances are you’re not going to get rich from your writing. Even some of the authors I know, who have a dozen or more published books, barely make a living on royalties alone. And a lot of us spend more money on advertizing, then we make on our books. I must write just because I love to write, not with the assumption that I’m going to get rich.           

I’ve been asked, “Do you consider yourself successful now?”.... Well, that would depend on how you define success. It may seem cliché to say that ‘success’ isn’t just about money or fame, but obviously that’s the way the world defines it, including the publishing industry. But, if that’s how we define our ultimate success, most of us are going to be doomed to disappointment. Ever noticed that the ‘top ten’ bestsellers list, by definition, only have ten spots. JK Rowling’s usually has at least two of those spots. Ask anyone on the street to name a successful author and their likely to mention Steven King or JK Rowling’s, yet nether of these people strike me as being any happier than the average Jo and certainly not as people who have been ‘made’ happy by their success. I have this quote framed and sitting on my desk. “Successful, is the person who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much, who has gained the respect of children, who leaves the world a better place than they found it, who has never lacked appreciation for the worlds beauty, who never fails to look for the best in others or give the best of themselves.” If and when I become that person, then I will be successful.          

People ask me “Do you have a routine for writing?”... I write long hand in my purple room, at my antique desk, under a large picture window. Then I type it into the cold inanimate piece of equipment I call my computer and edit as I go. Young people think this is weird, but the blank screen does not inspire me to write, the view outside my picture window does. I tend to compare my writing routine to my eating habits. Sometimes I graze, jotting down tasty morsels throughout the day. Other times I binge, feasting greedily, at my desk, for a long period of time, on something scrumptious, devouring every delicious word that comes to mind. Then, I find myself looking down at my work or my waist line and having to edit and revise. 

I have learned that it can be, at times, extremely difficult to work from ones home, there are so many distractions. You have to be determined not to let anything tare you away from your desk, not the phone, not the washing machine, not the door bell. I try to be oblivious to it all but it isn’t easy.   
      
I’m learning to sieve through the numerous advice from so called experts well meaning people. We are all different; we all have our own way for deciphering information, our own idiosyncrasies, and different writing styles. What works for me might not work for you. So I read and listen, keep what works for me and disregard the rest.

I have leaned that rejections, are part of the writing life, how to cope with them and how to move on. At first they were like nagging little gremlins, suggesting that I didn’t measure up. I had to learn how to distinguish myself from my work, to set up boundaries between myself and my creation. My writing was like a child to me, but like my own children, I had to send it out into the world to succeed or fail on its own merit. We all get rejections, JK Rowling’s received 14 rejections before finding a publisher for Harry Potter. I wonder what ‘their’ thinking now? Steven King first book Carrie was tuned down 31 times, it took him ten years to get it published. And look at him now. I have discovered that perseverance, patience, and bold determination are what most published authors have in common.  
    
So I write, not for success, not for money, not because it’s easy. I write to explore my inner world. I write because some mystical magnet draws me to my desk. I write to escape the mundane world of people and things. I write because I need to write. To me it’s a sort of innate longing, to get my thoughts, wild fantasies, opinions and stories on paper. I write because I love to write.


Paranormal Suspense Author – Pauline Holyoak -  www.paulineholyoak.com  

Merryweathger Lodge – Ancient Revenge.. The first of a trilogy.. ”A supernatural thriller that keeps you on the edge.”

 
   When Emily Fletcher meets the gorgeous Jonathan McArthur she is infatuated and consumed with lust. Will he go with her to the dreaded wood-lot, to remove the bloody ancient curse, before it’s too late? In the first half of my story Emily is fourteen years old. In the second half she is forced to return to the cottage, at the age of twenty. My novel contains elements of horror, humor, fantasy, romance and sex. I have created a world into which my readers can escape and an atmosphere that will evoke their imagination, stir their emotions and engage their senses. This book was inspired by my own experiences in a remote little cottage near Stonehenge….Available at…www.whiskeycreekpress.com
           
Excerpt
”Let’s go somewhere privet.” She said, grabbing my arm. She guided me to the passage and plunked me down on the bottom step of the attic stairs. My back straightened. Panic rose within me as an icy shiver ran down my spine. It was as if I had been lead to an old cemetery, sat on a grave and left among the tomb stones. 

“That was her room you know.” She said as she pointed up the stairs.   

“Who’s?”         

“Mary Eliss.”    

I turned my head ever so slowly and drew eyes up to the portal at the top of the stairs. I shivered and quickly looked way. “I know it was.” 
 
In a low voice she whispered. “Do you suppose she’s still up there?” Then she grinned mischievously.   
I looked into her strange glassy eyes. “She was, the last time I was here and I have a feeling she hasn’t left.”                 
           
 
Merryweather Lodge – A quaint little cottage, steeped in history, shrouded in secrets, its aura a paradoxical essence of heaven and hell. This book contains elements of romance, passion, fantasy, horror, humor and sex. It comes from my own experiences in a remote little cottage near Stonehenge. Available at www.whiskeycreekpress.com    www.amazon.com            
            

I'd like to offer a free eBook to one person who can guess the name of the village where I grew up. You can find it on my website www.paulineholyoak.com 

Email the answer to me, paulineh@shaw.ca  , by Friday, January 14. I'll post the winner's name here.
   

Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Lynda. 
           
Happy New Year! To you and your readers.

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Thank you for visiting us Pauline and Happy New Year to you and yours as well! And good luck to our readers!

16 comments:

margaret blake said...

Wise words,Pauline, and a good analysis of what it's like to be a writer. I am still hankering after tht purple room. Lots of luck.

Jennifer Wilck said...

Great blog, Pauline. And your book sounds interesting!

jrlindermuth said...

Wise words indeed, Pauline. Best wishes for many readers and, ultimately, success however you chose to define it.

Pauline Holyoak said...

Thank you for your visit, Margaret, Jennifer and John. I appreciate you taking the time to leave me a comment...Pauline

tina said...

Well said Pauline, you never fail to inspire me with your wise words thank you.

Judy said...

I enjoyed your post!! Thanks for the great excerpt from your book. It sounds like a very good read. I also love the cover!! Good luck with your sales.

Paula Martin said...

Great interview, Pauline - and I can relate to what you said about writers in the past. I had 4 novels published in the 60's and 70's and, as you said, just sat back and banked the royalties. With a 5th novel due to be released this year (after a 30 year gap), I'm on a very steep learning curve about promotion etc! The world is a very different place.
Also love your comment about sieving through advice and agree that what works for one person might not work for another.
Very best wishes for the success of Merryweather Lodge.

Victoria said...

Excellent post. Long hand - WOW!
The excerpt is great too.

Gabriella Hewitt said...

I have to say I can relate to everything you wrote except the bit about writing longhand. I am a much faster typist and prefer to get as much done as I can in the amount of writing time I have. I love the quote you have on defining success. Very, very apt and worth aspiring to.

Cheers! I'll be guest posting here on Feb. 21st. I hope you stop by. ( :

Linda Andrews said...

Great advice. I can't tell you how many times I laugh when I've heard people say they plan to write a book and retire from their day jobs. I love your cover and your books sounds great.

Romance Odyssey said...

Very nicely put, Pauline. I wished I had been an author back in the day, I'm battling the promotion thing myself, so I feel your pain. I love your moto for success. Much better than riches and glory.

Also, my mother-in-law is British (from Stroud). I asked for a suggestion as to your home village, she said it could be Hersden. That's my guess :)

Best of luck with this crazy business!

Pauline Holyoak said...

Thank you all for your wonderful comments. I appreciate you taking the time to view my post and leave me a comment. The name for the village I grew up in, is on my website.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Pauline,
Sorry I am a bit late coming in here. Great interview. I write my first draft out in long hand too. I don't think there are too many of us who do that now.

regards

Margaret

Pauline Holyoak said...

Probably not Margaret but I still love the feel of a pen in my hand as it glides across the paper. Thank you for the comment.

Lynda K. Scott said...

Pauline just told me that she's chosen....

Ta Da!

Druscilla Morgan

as the winner of her contest!

Congrats to Drusilla! And thanks to Pauline for guesting with us!

Anonymous said...

Finding the best ways to promote your book will get easier, I'm sure. All the best to you!