by Jill Williamson
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.