Thursday, January 8, 2015

Talking with Holli Anderson, author of Five

by Jill Williamson

I was so glad to meet Holli Anderson, author of the Five series, last September at Salt Lake Comic Con. 

Holli Anderson has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing—which has nothing to do with writing, except maybe by adding some pretty descriptive injury and vomit scenes to her books. She discovered her joy of writing during a very trying period in her life when escaping into make-believe saved her. She enjoys reading any book she gets her hands on, but has a particular love for anything fantasy. Along with her husband, Steve, and their four sons, she lives in Grantsville, Utah—the same small town in which she grew up. She is the author of the Five series. Visit Holli online at www.holli-anderson.com to learn more.

Thanks for visiting Go Teen Writers, Holli. Tell us about yourself and your series Five.

I am Registered Nurse working as the Emergency Department Director at a rural hospital. I am the married mother of 4 boys and the (very young) grandma of a beautiful girl (yay!) named Harley and a cute baby boy named Rayce.

Five started out because of a dream I had about a group of teens in an underground, fighting for their space there. I woke up in the middle of the night and wrote it down. I was in the middle of writing another book at the time and wanted to finish it before starting a new one---this story kept nagging at me to write it. It was a great motivator to get the other book done!

Five is about five teenagers who find out they have magical abilities---they don't know each other at first and they all end up having to leave home for one reason or another. They are drawn toward the Seattle Underground and find each other one-by-one. They spend time trying to figure out their magic and they soon discover that monsters and demons are real. They decide to become protectors of the rest of us humans that can't see the evil beings surrounding us. That's where the fun starts.

Sounds awesome. Here's a little bit more about book one, Five: Out of the Dark.

Five teenagers who’ve recently discovered they have magical powers and are living in the Seattle underground feel it’s their responsibility to protect unsuspecting humans from otherworldly foes. Things are going well until Johnathan, their unofficial leader and the boy sixteen year old Paige is in love with, is bitten by a changeling – the venomous saliva causing him to metamorphose into a ravening beast with each full moon. Paige vows that, no matter the cost, she will find a way to cure Johnathan of the evil that has embedded itself in his soul.

Johnathan’s monthly transformation and daily personality roller coaster isn’t the only problem they have to deal with. The Five are also gearing up to face their toughest and most dangerous enemy yet—a powerful and ruthless Warlock who will go to any means, including high school, to build his Dark Army.



Would you share your journey to publication, Holli?

I feel extremely fortunate in my journey to publication. I queried 5 agents whom I'd met at a writer's conference in Seattle and had all asked for a submission. One of them requested a full manuscript and then requested a revise and resubmit---which I did. She ultimately ended up rejecting it because she felt she already represented too many of the same genre. But . . . it gave me great hope to go on!

At one of my monthly writer's group meetings, one of the other members mentioned that she had queried Curiosity Quills Press. I'd never heard of them, so I did some research and then decided to query them. After another revise and resubmit, they offered me a contract, which I signed, and here we are today!

I realize that my story is not typical in the publishing world and I am so lucky to have found CQ. They have been amazing to work with and are growing by leaps and bounds.

That's wonderful, Holli. Congrats! I enjoy hearing how authors got their first contracts. How many books did you write before Five was published?

This is probably another unusual thing about my journey as a writer. I only wrote one other book before writing the first book in the Five series. I got a late start at this writing thing, only starting to write about 7 years ago.

Sweet! I love that. Writing is a second career for me. What advice would you give teen writers?

You have wondrous stories to tell! Keep writing even if it's junk---that's what the revision and editing process is for. Join a writer's group so you have a crowd of people that understand what is happening in your head, your struggles with writing and publishing, and a group of people to bounce ideas off of.  The hardest thing for me was letting other people read my stuff---my husband was the only one who even knew I was writing up until I signed my contract with my publisher. But, it's important to let people read what you're writing and it's important that you learn how to use critiques of your writing to better it.

So true. That's great advice. What's next for you? How many books will be in the Five series?

There will be FIVE books in the series. I'm feverishly working on Book 3 right now and hope to have it ready for my publisher sometime next month. I have so many ideas for new stand-alone books as well as new series---I won't be running out of ideas anytime soon. My ultimate goal would be to earn enough with my writing to be able to quit my job and just write full time---I would be so much more productive if I didn't have to squeeze writing in around my 40-50 hour a week job.

A wonderful dream, Holli! It sounds like you're on your way! Thanks so much for talking with us today!

To thank Holli for coming, we're giving away a copy of her book Five. Enter on the Rafflecopter form below. International winners are welcome and will be shipped from The Book Depository. 

And feel free to leave questions or comments for Holli below.



56 comments:

  1. This sounds awesome, Mrs. Williamson! Love the advice. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks Jonathan! One of the main characters is named Johnathan . . .

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  2. Mrs. Anderson, your advice about a writers group is great. I love getting advice about things in my manuscript, as well as knowing I can talk to them about the 'voices in my head' without them thinking I'm crazy. :P Thanks for your advice!

    (and Mrs. Williamson--I broke through the tough spot in my WIP yesterday and am successfully back to productivity!)

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    2. I noticed an error in my first reply --- I couldn't just leave it there! haha. Anyway, that's great Linea! I really enjoy my writers group. Non-writers just don't understand the way our minds work sometimes!

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    3. Thank you! And I do love interacting with other writers. Thanks for stopping by Go Teen Writers!

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  3. I really enjoy hearing how other people get published

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  4. Five sounds like a pretty cool novel. I might have to check it out if I get time.
    Thanks for the interview and the giveaway!

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  5. 'keep writing even if it's junk'
    BEST.ADVICE.EVER! :D (
    not exaggerating, really helped me out of a writing block I've had while starting a new WIP this month,
    thank you!).


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    1. I'm glad it helped! Good luck with your new WIP.

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  6. Dude, sounds awesome! I love books about monsters!

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    1. It is AWESOME! (I might be a little biased). :)

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    1. Thanks! It oozes coolness if I do say so myself . . .

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  8. Thanks! ***see reply to Rcubed above***

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  9. Five sounds great! I love stories that feature a team dynamic like that, and I love the Jonathan twist. It's good advice to keep in mind, too.

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  10. Thanks for visiting! I love reading about how published authors got to where they are now. :-) Five sounds amazing, and I've been looking for an interesting new series.

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    1. Thanks Jessica! I like to hear how other authors got published, too--everyone has a different story.

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  11. The Five books sounds amazing! I'll definitely have to check them out. Your writing advice is extremely helpful; I think my main problem with completing stories is because I keep thinking that my writing is junk. I'll have to stop saying that to myself. :P Anyway, good luck on writing the rest of the series!

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    1. Everyone's writing is 'junk' the first time through. That's why it's called a 'rough' or 'first' draft. Embrace the editing and revising process!! Just think about how amazing your story will be when it's all polished up!

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    2. After thinking this over for a minute ----- maybe not EVERYONE'S writing is junk the first draft. I don't think Brandon Sanderson could write junk if he tried. :-)

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  12. This sounds really cool! I'd love to read it. ^ ^

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  13. l love your writing junk advice. I have such a problem with trying to edit as I go and then I go around in circles. Thank you, and your book sounds amazing! I'll have to pick up a copy when I get a chance and donate it to my library when I'm done. Other people have to enjoy teenagers and monsters a little bit more.

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    1. I love that you donate books to the library! I try to do that as often as possible. And, you're right, if everyone would enjoy magical teenagers and monsters a little more, the world would be a better place!

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  14. Good advice, and Five sounds fun-- and like something that may keep me up to late reading.... :-)

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    1. I will not take responsibility for making you stay up past your bedtime! But I love it when my writing causes sleep deprivation . . . :)

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    1. Is your name really Candy Barr? Because the awesomeness of that is overwhelmingly cool. And, thank you!

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  16. I'm not a teen, but I love to read YA. I think your series sounds like a lot of fun and I plan to check it out. Keep writing!

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  17. I really want to thank Jill -- this has been one of my favorite interviews. I love all of the interaction and comments from everyone. So . . . Thank you Jill!!

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    1. You're welcome, Holli! Thanks for the interview and for interacting here in the comments. :-)

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  18. This sounds like a great book! :)

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  19. I absolutely loved reading this interview, Holli! I hate and love when I get a new idea in the middle of a time when I'm trying to finish a draft of another manuscript. I just recently got what I think is my best novel idea yet, and I'm itching to write it, but I'm forcing myself to finish the manuscript I'm working on before I start a new novel. Also, it's really encouraging to hear that you only had to write one novel before getting published. I've finished the first draft of one novel and I'm in the middle draft of another novel. I can see myself starting to try to get published this year, but I've been discouraged by people saying that it takes many trunked novels before a published one. This was so encouraging.

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    1. I'm glad that my story is inspiring to you. Good luck with your publishing journey!

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  20. This book sounds like a rather interesting mix!

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  21. Ooh, Five sounds very intriguing! And nice advice!


    Alexa S. Winters
    thessalexa.blogspot.com

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  22. This sounds like an interesting series! I love the idea of a series called FIVE about five teens made up of five books. :)

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  23. Thanks so much Clare, Hannah, other Hannah, Alexa, and Georgina. And, Georgina, yes, I like to stick with a theme I guess!

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  24. Congrats Holli on your new book! It's really cool to hear how writing is possible even if it's not your full-time career!

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  25. Your book sounds amazing! I can't wait to read it!

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