Writer Wednesday: Holly Martin

Holly Martin’s first two novels Changing Casanova and The Chainsaw Masquerade were both shortlisted for the New Talent award at the Festival of Romance. She won the Belinda Jones Travel Club short story competition and her story One Hundred Proposals was published in the Sunlounger anthology earlier this year. Sunlounger 2 will be out next summer and this time Holly will be one of the featured writers.

Her debut novel The Sentinel, a YA fantasy action adventure is out now and her Chicklit novel The Guestbook will be published in January.

1. Why did you want to become a writer?
I’ve always written stories, as far back as I can remember. I remember one of my stories was pinned to the wall in the classroom, a very proud moment for me. I think it was my own version of the Animals of Farthing Wood, my first piece of fanfiction. I always wanted to write a book. After a holiday in Spain where I read eight books in a week, I just thought, ‘I can do that.’ In the last four years I’ve written four chicklits and the first three books in a YA series. My dream is to see someone in a hotel, or by a pool, reading my book and enjoying it.

2. What's the toughest part of the writing process for you? 
I work full time and very long hours, up at five most mornings and I won’t get home till seven most nights. I make sure I write every night, but the hardest part for me is being awake enough to write something decent, to stay awake long enough that I get down all the ideas in my head. I have so much I want to write, so many ideas that sometimes I have two or three stories on the go at once, but it’s just a lack of time. Most nights I fall asleep over my laptop and I wake up to see hgjshkjglfdgdfkb k lxl xk k lpowk fflsmc;, on my screen.

3. What's the most enjoyable part of writing? 
That the characters do exactly what I want them to do… most of the time. It’s complete escapism into a world where I have full control. Although I do love it when a book takes a completely different path to the one it was on at the beginning of the story, a new character, a new twist that even I didn’t see coming.

4. Out of all the amazing books out there, which book do you wish you had written and why?
It would have to be Harry Potter, not because of the money, although that would come in very handy, but because it’s just sooooo good, the characters, the magic. It completely transported me every time I read it and I love that it was one of those books that got strangers talking. People on the bus would see a fellow passenger reading it and stop them to talk to them about it. That’s an incredible gift.

5. If you could only save one of your characters from fictional calamity, who would you pick and why? 
It would have to be Seth from my book The Sentinel. I just love him and I love how much he loves Eve. Although he is a being with super strength, so I imagine he wouldn’t need my help to save him.

6. If you could spend the day with your favourite character (not from your books), who would you spend it with and what would you do? 
I’d go dog sledding in Quebec with Jacques from Winter Wonderland by Belinda Jones. Firstly because I’ve never been dog sledding before and I imagine it would be great fun and secondly - although this should probably have been a firstly – Jacques is just the loveliest person in the world and I’d want him to take care of me.

7. What can we expect next from you? 
My YA The Sentinel is out now and I also have a short story published in a Christmas anthology called Merry Chicklit, with all proceeds going to Breast Cancer charity ‘Rocking the Road to a Cure’. My Chicklit novel, The Guestbook, will be out in January and I’m also writing for Sunlounger 2 next year after my short story won a place in the anthology this year.

8. Is there any particular writing advice you wish you'd been given at the start of your writing career? If so, what is it? If not, what advice would you give to someone starting out? 
I think the most important piece of advice is not to give up. It’s so hard when you get rejections but dust yourself off and do it again. Keep editing, changing, sending it to people, readers, agents and publishers. If they give you feedback try to act on it. And read. Read lots, read everything that is part of your genre, especially the ones that do well and try to work out why they do so well.

9. Tell us what a typical writing day involves for you. 
A typical writing day normally involves around me thinking ideas up whilst I work and try to write them down before I fall asleep at night. I wish I had some great regime which would involve breakfast in some sunny conservatory, walking my dogs over the hills and beaches whilst I mulled over something great and inspirational, go for a swim and then write all night something outstanding, but I don’t. I write whenever, wherever I can get the chance.

10. Finally, what are you reading at the moment? 
I’ve just finished reading X by Jack Croxall and The Memory Game by Sharon Sant. Both incredible reads and I’m just finishing the Afterlife Academy by Jaimie Admans which is really good. I haven’t read any chicklit for a while and it’s a genre I really love so I’m really looking forward to starting Lisa Dickenson’s novel The 12 Dates of Christmas.

The Sentinel:

When Eve is rescued from a horrific coach crash by her teachers, she is shocked to discover they possess super strength and speed. But what happens next is even more harrowing. In the aftermath of the crash she discovers that everyone in her life from neighbours, doctors, dentists, teachers, shop keepers and even her family and friends are actually super strength Guardians sent to protect her. They all have one thing in common, a single minded ferocity that she must be kept alive at all costs.

However, she is surrounded by secrets and lies. Those in the know deny all knowledge of what happened that fateful night. Everyone else carries on as normal, seemingly unaware of the new strange world that she has stumbled against.

With the help of Seth, her best friend, Eve discovers the prophecies surrounding her true identity and the super strength she too holds. With her Guardians pledged to protect her, her closest friends ready to die for her, her own hopes and dreams are put on hold whilst she battles to control the amazing powers she has been bestowed with.

But those that seek to destroy her move ever closer. Will the Guardians be enough to protect her when so many are prepared to stop at nothing to see her dead? And will she be strong enough to fulfil her destiny when the time comes?

A fast paced fantasy adventure for young adults. With high speed car chases, airborne fights, amazing stunts and super powered beings, this is a story of loyalty, friendship and love.

Buy The Sentinel | Follow Holly on Twitter | Read her blog

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