Welcome Nancy Holland to the Dangerously Seductive Blog.
Respected former philosophy professor Nancy Holland recently began to live her dream as a full-time writer. After being a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart© contest and publishing two well-received short contemporary romances with HarperCollins UK, she is thrilled to return to her first love and write fantasy novels for Tule Publishing.
Holland draws on her understanding of how people from many times and places thought and lived, her vision of what human existence at its best can be, and the creative wellsprings of her mind to create characters who live in a world of witches and warriors, but are as real as the people you see on the street every day.
Despite dark pasts, heart-breaking betrayal, and a future that is always at risk, her fantasy heroes and heroines accomplish amazing feats of valor and magic to create a better world for everyone. More importantly, her characters refuse to give up on themselves, struggle to improve their lives, and learn to trust each other.
Tanisha D Jones: Hi Nancy, glad to have you here. Tell me about your current work.
Can love and sacrifice conquer a curse?
When Felyn was a young, defenseless witch, she was cursed to live as a shape shifter—a deadly panther. She might have been rescued and raised by a noble and powerful leader, but she lives in fear she will hurt those she loves in her animal form so each full moon she hides deep in the forest. But how can she refuse her adoptive father’s plea for an arranged marriage with a new ally? After all, it’s temporary and in name only…
Varz agrees to an arranged marriage reluctantly because he needs the military and diplomatic alliance. He has secrets and a growing power struggle back home. He's relieved he need only marry the young witch for a year until he meets his bride. Felyn is beautiful and intelligent and not easy to ignore, but Varz is a man of his word. His vow to leave his bride untouched will be the hardest one he has had to keep.
TDJ: Do you write more than one genre?
NH: Yes, in addition to my fantasy trilogy, I write short contemporary romances.
TDJ: Do you find it harder to write in one genre over another?
NH: The challenges are different. My fantasy novels are longer and darker and have more complex plots. On the other hand, I’ve come realize fantasy fits my voice better, so it’s easier in that way.
TDJ: I do as well. I love my contemporary romance characters, but feel the fantasy characters speak to me more. They have a way of reminding me that they are still waiting. Do your characters speak to you?
NH: Definitely, in both genres. When I’m working on a book, I’m always jotting down pieces of dialogue, some of which I use, some of which I don’t because the character develops in a different direction as I write.
TDJ: Why did you choose this particular genre? What inspired it?
NH: I came to romance through my mother’s Harlequins, so writing short contemporary was the natural thing to do. The fantasy books came later, as a mixture of romance and the fairy tales and other stories about magic I’ve loved ever since I was a little kid.
TDJ: How do you write? Do you start and stop? Or write furiously until it’s done? Do you plot or are you a pantser?
NH: I’ve become more and more of a plotter, especially in fantasy. When nothing else intervenes (like edits on another book), I write a story straight through (but not necessarily “furiously”), then go back to rewrite, revise and edit it.
TDJ: Do you have any strange writing habits?
NH: I don’t know how strange it is, but I use Scrivener to outline and draft my story, but then move the story to Word for everything else. I can’t really draft in Word anymore and I never mastered editing in Scrivener. I’m also pathetically dependent on character and plot charts like GMC, the hero’s journey, etc.
TDJ: I understand the Scrivener issues. It has taken me years to get it right. I still use Work for some editing though. But Scrivener is pretty awesome.
NH: Totally agree. Don’t know how I could write now without it.
TDJ: Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
NH: You got it -- action scenes, including sex scenes. Description and dialogue are no problem, but if my characters have to do something it’s a real struggle.
TDJ: I’ve been told that I do too many sex scenes. Like that’s a bad thing.
NH: I’ve found that each story, each set of characters demands a different level of sex scenes. You have to stay true to your story. I can’t guarantee there will be any in one of the stories I’m working on now, for instance (but there probably will be.)
TDJ: Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad?
NH: I read the ones with lots of stars because it makes me happy and sometimes gives me good quotes; I read the one-stars (which I don’t have very many of) to find out why they didn’t like it and whether there was something I could do to fix it in the next book. I never respond except to “like” the good ones.
TDJ: Name 3 authors/books that impacted your writing.
NH: If you mean craft authors -- Debra Dixon’s GMC, Blake Snyder Save the Cat, and Michael Hauge’s workshops; if you mean fiction authors -- J.R.R. Tolkein, T.H. White, and too many Harlequin authors to mention.
TDJ: If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
NH: I love this question! For Varz, Jason Momoa (if we could find someone bigger and taller to play Thalgor in the early scenes!); for Felyn, Gal Gadot.
TDJ: Great choices! My cast evolves every few years. I’ve had people suggest my urban fantasy be turned into a script. Have you ever thought of writing a script for your trilogy?
NH: Jason Momoa and Chris Hemsworth show up a lot in my “casts.” I have thought about a movie of Thalgor’s Witch (the first book in the Witch King trilogy), but I don’t seem to have the screenwriter gene. A CGI panther would be awesome in Felyn’s Curse.
TDJ: How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
NH: It sounds rather strange, but my characters often “tell” me their names. If they don’t, I tend to go by sound, what letters of the alphabet I haven’t started other names with, and things like that. My fantasies are set in another world, so I never know what they mean!
TDJ: I totally get it. My characters names have to fit them. I’ve changed names when I realize they aren’t strong or soft enough.
TDJ: Have you ever created a character that changed mid-project from what you first envisioned? Have they ever evolved on their own?
NH: Originally Varz was supposed to be strong, fierce, and self-confident like Thalgor, but not only had I already told that character’s story, as it were, Felyn needed another kind of hero, a more vulnerable (but still plenty strong and fierce) one who could benefit from her wisdom and comfort. It made it possible for the villain to attack him psychologically.
TDJ: Is it easier for you to write the hero or villain? What are the hardest scenes for you to write?
NH: The hero. The hardest scenes are duels, because there are only so many ways to say they lunged at each other, wounded each other, etc.
TDJ: I’m a Sci-Fi/Fantasy buff, I love movies/shows in this genre, was or is there a T.V. Show or movie which has inspired you (doesn’t have to be Sci-fi /Fantasy).
NH: I’m not sure, but if I had to name some for fantasy, I’d name the three Star Wars movies that came out first. For romance, the original “Sabrina” with Audrey Hepburn.
TDJ: What are you working on now? What is your next project?
NH: I’m trying to decide between another fantasy project and a sequel to the already written contemporary my publisher is interested in.
TDJ: Well, which ever you decide, I look forward to reading it.
NH: Thank you!
TDJ: Last Question: Ice Cream or Chocolate?
NH: It depends on the season -- ice cream in summer, chocolate in winter.
TDJ: I’m ice cream year round. But I live in New Orleans and it’s always ice cream weather. Well ice cream or snowballs.
NH: Lucky you! I love New Orleans.
TDJ: It’s been really great talking to you. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog.
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