Hi World. Another week, yet another great interview.
Today I’m very lucky to be speaking to Beverley Hollowed, author of Beautifully Unfinished, which is her 12th released title.
Hi Beverley, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I was born and bred a true Dubliner. I live there with my husband Brian and my two sons. I am a full-time writer/mother/domestic goddess. I love anything creative, which includes writing, drawing, crocheting, jewellery making and designing my own book covers. I also love Karaoke. I am a dreadful Karaoke Queen.
- When did you first realize that you wanted to become a writer?
I think I always wanted to be a writer. I started off writing poems and short stories. Then I discovered Sweet Dreams books, and that’s when I fell in love with books. I wanted to write my own Sweet Dreams. I was about eighteen when I started writing my first proper full-length story, but back then I had no idea how or where to get it published. I gave up writing when my boys came along, but the longing to write never went away until finally I gave in and started writing again about four years ago and wrote Forever and Always.
2. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Well, I write mostly because I have a story to tell. Yes the NYT Bestseller list would be awesome. I think all authors would love to achieve that, but for me, I love when my stories touch someone. I would like to think that one day, people will be talking about my books, and saying to their friend, “Oh my god, you have to read this book.” That for me is the goal.
3. Which writers inspire you?
I love Sylvain Reynard. I love the Gabriel books. I love the writing style and the buildup of the story. I also like Cecelia Ahern, Shelia O Flanagan, and Sinead Moriarty. But if I am honest, I think reading 50 shades pushed me into trying to write again, so maybe it was EL James that inspired me.
4. So, what have you written?
My first book was Forever and Always, which I released in December 2012. Since then I have released eleven more full-length books, included two series. I also wrote a short story called Changing Hearts an anthology for charity, which was only available for a limited time. I will be releasing the story as a novella over the next couple of weeks. My latest release was in June, it was called Beautifully Unfinished, and was probably my hardest story to write because of the subject matter. Forever and Always is probably my favourite though, as there is a lot of me in that book, and I still can’t ready through it all without crying, especially chapter 10. Plus it was my first fictional baby.
5. What are you working on at the minute?
I have several WIP at the moment, but right now I am working on two books. One is called A New Normal. It’s the story of Grace, who has to learn to live again after losing her husband in a car accident. I recently lost both my mom and dad, and I learned that after you lose someone you love, the normal you know is gone forever, and you have to find a new normal. That is what this story is about, learning to live after loss. The other one is called Loving Noah. It’s primarily a romance, but it also deals with how hard life can be with a child with special needs. As I have a son with special needs, so it’s something close to my heart.
6. Why do you write?
I always say writing in not what I do; it’s who I am, but I guess I write because it’s my escape. As I said before, my youngest son has special needs, and life can be hard and often very stressful. Writing gives me an outlet to live a thousand different lives, in a thousand different places. Well, that and the voices in my head tell me to….hehehe. All my best friends live in my mind. Sometimes we fall out, and I get writer’s block from hell. In all honesty, I think writing is just in my soul. It’s all I want to do. It’s what makes me happy.
7. Where do your ideas come from?
From anywhere really. A song, a scene from a movie or TV program. Very often they come from dreams. Forever and Always was a dream, so was Finding Scarlet, (and considering Finding Scarlet is about a girl left for dead by a serial killer, I sometimes wonder if I need professional help lol)
8. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?
I start with a fact file, giving each character a name, age, job title and backstory. Then I try to write a plot, but I almost never stick to it. More often than not, the character does their own thing, and I am like, okay if that’s where you wanna go.
9. How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I’m not sure, I would like to think that I have evolved a lot. I do like to challenge myself. A couple of my stories have difficult subject matter, but I will always try and improve my writing. I will listen to constructive criticism,
10. What is the hardest and easiest things about writing?
The hardest part, that’s easy, publishing. The editing, proofing, formatting, and uploading it to Kindle or whatever platform, oh and writing a blurb, they are a nightmare. The easiest part for me is the developing the character. Sometimes I forget they aren’t actually real people because they feel real to me. Once I have a clear picture in my head, I get lost in writing the words and that’s the part I love the most.
11. Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I used to read five to six books a week. Now I am nowhere near that limit, but I do try to read when I can, but it can be hard when you are writing so much. My favourite author is Sylvain Reynard. I am very much a fan girl, and would love the chance to meet Sylvain someday. I also love Shelia O Flanagan, Cecelia Ahern and Sinead Moriarty.
12. What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
Well, the advantages of self-publishing are you work to your own time frame. You have complete control over every aspect of your book, and as I am a control freak, this is huge for me. The disadvantages are you are doing it all on your own. You have to depend on friends to help get the word out. My ideal would be just to write the story and then give it to someone else to do the rest, well I say that, but like I said, I am a control freak, so I would probably be climbing the walls worrying about things I can’t control.
13. Do you have any advice for other budding authors?
First thing always is, don’t read negative reviews. You are gonna get them, we all do. Not everyone will like you, and that’s fine, just remember that it’s one person’s opinion. Secondly, keep your inner circle small. Networking it very important, but the book world is a little like high school, and it can get very bitchy. So have a couple of friends you truly trust, that have your back. Thirdly, don’t rant on any social media platform. We all feel like doing it from time to time, but I think authors that rant, or are constantly negative are destroying their brand. Finally, don’t get sucked into bitching. I have a saying, “someone else’s monkey, someone else’s circus.” Just don’t get involved, because there is always two sides, and you are always gonna piss someone off.
14. How do you relax?
I love to watch Grey’s Anatomy, I have watched it from the start about a dozen times now. When I want to chillax, I stick on some Greys and put my feet up. I also like to crochet, and I like designing covers. (I may need an intervention). I love to listen to music, and I drive my family nuts singing. My favourite thing I guess is to hang out with my hubs, who is also my bestie. We have been together since I was 19, so that is 23 years now, which is odd as I am still only 21..shhhh
15. What is your favourite book and why?
My favourite book is PS I love you (hated the movie). I read that every summer. It makes me cry every single time I read it, and that to me is the mark of a good book. It was the first book I read that was set in Ireland, and I knew where the places are she was talking about, so it made it more real for me.
Thanks Bev. It was great speaking to you. You’ve given us a real insight into what makes you tick, what inspires you, and what you dream about!
Please check out Bev’s links below: