Today is Wednesday, and I’m pleased to have Debra Holt join us with her debut release, Under Texas Blue Skies. Debra’s novel has taken off with a bang! Her book was featured today in USA Today. You can catch the excitement here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/happyeverafter/2014/07/29/three-things-debra-holt-tina-donahue/13321695/. In the meantime, dig in to the blurb about Under Texas Blue Skies and then we’ll talk to Debra about what inspired the book and what her writing process is like.
J.D. Sterling, country music’s sexy superstar, has come home again. He has achieved his wildest dreams and did what he set out to do when he shook the dirt of the small Texas town from his boot heels a dozen years before. Now, he’s returned for the final piece of the puzzle to completing his life….the girl who holds his heart. Mandy.
Amanda Lawson has grown up. From sheer heartbreak to struggling to survive to becoming a shrewd businesswoman, she has taught herself to never look back. She survived once before the wild, green-eyed cowboy with only a guitar to his name and a pocketful of dreams. He took her heart and so much more when he left her behind with his hollow vows.
Mandy was his muse…J.D. was her dream. Despite tragedy, can they find their way home to each other again?
CL: What sparked the idea for your new release, Under Texas Blue Skies?
DH: It is interesting but sometimes I have the title come to mind before I even have the story idea in mind. Go figure. It was a gorgeous spring day in Texas with fields of bluebonnets and George Strait on the radio. My mind began to wander and the book was born.
CL: Tell us a little bit about your writing process.
DH: I am a pantser and proud of it! There is no method to my madness. For instance, one day I am coming back from a long trip and driving through downtown Fort Worth, Texas. Out of my side vision, I catch a brief glimpse of a billboard. Instantly, a story is born and I have to make a u-turn and take photo of the sign. By the time I arrived at my home some five hours later, I had the first four chapters dictated into my tape recorder. That billboard hopefully will someday be the cover of one of my books…Three of Hearts. I can and do write anyplace…usually with a television blaring and my laptop poised on my knees!
CL: What was the most difficult part of writing Under Texas Blue Skies?
DH: The difficult part came after it was done. I usually finish my books in about three weeks. After completion, began the social media and the publishing ins and outs, etc. Those were the most challenging for me. The long wait for it to actually be ‘out there’…was excruciating since it was my first time.
CL: Tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming a published author.
DH: It began with my being offered…after many attempts and re-edits…representation by my agents at the Seymour Agency. I had determined that for a newbie like me, having an agent was the way to go. I did my homework and now I have Nicole Resciniti working on my behalf and she is amazing! Of course, there were rejections…but I had prepared myself for them. I used them to make me more determined to succeed instead of letting them get me down. Some authors have told me that I did all this in a very short time. It feels like it has been forever to me! My second book will be out later in the fall from another publisher and I can’t wait!
CL: What advice would you offer aspiring writers on the writing business?
DH: Be patient. Write what YOU love to read. Trust in YOUR instincts always. Find the best people to surround yourself with…agent, beta reader, critique partner(s), line editor, etc. Don’t be afraid to plumb their minds and expertise and always READ…for enjoyment but also for knowledge. NEVER give up on yourself or your dream.
CL: Any special tips for writers who are juggling writing with raising a family, working a day job or just everyday life in general?
DH: It is hard. I work for a major university marching band and I take care of their every need and travel with them. At home, I am a wife, mother, and grandmother. I am also a writer. You must make time for yourself. Be organized and be zealous in protecting your time….take deep breaths and keep your eye on the prize…your dream of being a published author. It is a gift not only to yourself but to your family and loved ones. A wise author said that we are giving HOPE to those who read our words. It is true. When your life seems overwhelming…remember that. Someone else’s life is far worse than yours…and if they can escape for an hour or so with something you have written…and then come back refreshed and ready to face their fears or whatever it is in their lives at that moment…with renewed energy and hope for better things…then you have done your job and everything you have dealt with to get to that point in time will be more than worth it.
Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra Holt grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers. Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most. She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and owning a wedding planning business (ah, romance!).
Debra’s real pride and joys, however, are her son, an aspiring film actor, and a daughter with aspirations to join the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (more story ideas!) When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure. She read her first romance…Janet Dailey’s Fiesta San Antonio, over thirty years ago and became hooked on the genre. Writing contemporary western romances, is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles…and sighs… to all who believe in happily-ever-after’s.
The Seymour Agency represents Debra and she is soon to have two contemporary romances published by Spencer Hill/Tulip Romance and Astraea Press.
Debra invites you to visit her website at www.debraholtbooks.com. She loves to hear from other aspiring authors or readers via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on twitter at https://twitter.com/DebraHoltBooks and like her author page on https://www.facebook.com/debbie.holt.1253.
You can purchase Under Texas Blue Skies from these online retailers:
Thanks to Debra Holt for stopping by!