Friday, November 18, 2016

Author Interview: M. Hollis

I recently got to chat with author M. Hollis, author of the F/F novella The Melody of You and Me. (If you haven't gotten to read it yet, check it out - I gave it a 5-star review on Goodreads.)

From her Goodreads page:

M. Hollis could never decide what to do with her life. From the time she was a child, she has changed her ideas for a career hundreds of times. After writing in hidden notebooks during classes and daydreaming during every spare moment of her day, she decided to fully dedicate herself to her stories. When she isn’t scrolling around her social media accounts or reading lots of femslash fanfiction, you’ll find her crying about female characters and baking cookies. 

She's already hard at work on the other novellas in the Lillac Town series. You can follow her on Goodreads and Twitter to see the latest from her.

Tell us about yourself. What made you start writing fiction?
I’ve been writing fiction since I was around 11, but my mind was always in the clouds. My days are spent pretty much daydreaming about imaginary worlds. It has been like this forever. In High School, I would write during classes and show my stories to my friends. I don’t think I ever decided on this. Creating worlds and characters is just something that I do because my mind won’t ever stop working.

Do your characters and plots draw any inspiration from your own life?
Yes, but more on the characters. All of them have a bit of me, or from my friends. I like to mix it up a bit and play around with different personalities and traits that I see on the people around me. Being a quiet and shy person I tend to observe things a lot and draw this as inspiration for my stories.

Your most recent work is a F/F contemporary romance novella. Are there other genres you want to branch out into at some point?
I write a little bit of everything. It’s still weird for me to call myself a contemporary romance writer! But I think it was a lot from the fact that stories about straight characters falling in love were just boring to me. Once I started reading and writing F/F books and fanfiction, suddenly that was all I wanted to work with. The cheesy plots are always better when it involves two women.

Last year I wrote a paranormal YA. I have a few short stories that fit into fantasy, and some WIPs that are set in dystopian/apocalyptic worlds. There is also this YA thriller that I’m 100% sure I’m going to write one day. It was my NaNo for this month, but since it’s a complicated plot with 3 POVs I decided to leave it for a year I’m not writing so much at the same time.

Tell us about your next project.
I’m currently writing two stories. The next novella in the Lillac Town Series from Lily’s POV is definitely what you’ll see coming sooner. All the four New Adult stories I’m writing in this series will be short romances involving women. Lily’s story will bring a lot about her family and how she deals with her past now that she left them behind. Her romance will be steamy, not as cute as it was with Chris and Josie. But there is definitely some scenes that will make people swoon over. Also, I can't wait for people to meet some new characters; Lily's roommates are like her new found family. It's fun to write their scenes together.

My other project that I’m starting for NaNo is an adult romantic comedy. It’s a story about two women who had a thing when they were teenagers and meet each other again in a High School Reunion. One of them is a teacher who just got fired and the other a famous actress. It’s going to be so interesting to write this one!

How is NaNoWriMo going for you? Have you hit any major roadblocks?

My Nano is going a bit slower than I expected, but I'm still on a good path. It can be hard to work on two projects at the same time. I feel very attached to the characters in the Lillac Town Series since I've been working with them for months without pause now. But it'll be good to bring some fresh ideas for what I want to do with my writing in the next year. As long as I keep writing even just one word a day, that's a success already.

What do you do besides writing?
I’m such a boring person. I don’t really do anything that exciting. My hobbies include baking cookies and making pizza, going to the movie theaters and occasionally singing on karaoke night. I’m jumping from job to job lately so life is a bit unstable at the moment.

I also love to beta read and help other writers with their stories. If I’m not writing, I’m reading or watching things to inspire myself.

How much writing do you usually get done in the average week? How do you make time to write?
Sometimes I don’t write for a whole month. Sometimes I sit down and write a whole draft in a week. The story comes when it has to come. But if I’m stuck in my original writing you can be sure I’m writing some random new fanfic to keep me on the rhythm.

I have a lot of free time at the moment. When I was in college I spent years without writing fiction and those were the worst days of my life. I’m so happy I can now write as much as I want; I hope I don’t have to think about giving up on this anymore.

Any advice you'd like to give other authors?
Just write! We always worry so much about doing everything perfect in the first draft. That’s not how it works. You need to finish. This is the most important thing ever. Once you finish a very messy and awful draft, you can rewrite everything and turn into the beautiful story you want this to be. Writing is about rewriting and editing a lot more than just putting the words in the paper.

Also, you have to connect with other writers. Read their works, help them figure out how to make it better. Trade stories and share them. Cheer each other to reach your goals. Having beta readers is helping me so much to become the writer I want to be. New eyes always bring important suggestions that you can use in your work.

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