I am excited to have Nancy Holder here today as my guest. Nancy’s latest book Possessions released this past September and Resurrections, the fifth book in her Wicked series, was released this past July. Today, Nancy’s here to talk about these books and her other writings.
Also, as an added bonus today, Nancy has generously offered to giveaway five of her books and a tin of Wicked mints to one lucky commenter. Details at the end of this post.
A big Welcome to Nancy Holder!
Tell us about your YA series Wicked, Possessions and your writings based in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Smallville TV series.
I had already actually written a detailed proposal and received a 4-book contract for WICKED before Debbie came on board. Debbie had been my student at the Maui Writers Conference and her talent and creativity shone in everything she wrote. I asked her to be my co-author on the series and we got to work. It was such a joy to collaborate with her. This was her first published work and what a ride she's had! The first four books came out six years ago, and we had left book four on a wild cliffhanger. Then our editor left Simon and Schuster and the series got "orphaned," as we say in publishing. Eventually the books were repackaged and reissued and they sold so well that S&S asked us to finally write that fifth book, where we could answer all the questions we'd left for readers to stew about...for six long years. We were ecstatic. Then we started hitting the New York Times bestseller list. We were even MORE ecstatic!
WICKED is a young adult dark fantasy series about witches and magick, revenge and retribution. POSSESSIONS is more purely horror--an isolated, haunted boarding school, ghosts, possessions--but like WICKED, there's a mystery that arcs across the entire series (I have sold four POSSESSIONS novels so far.) To get in the mood for POSSESSIONS, I watch a horror movie every day and listen to scary music soundtracks the whole time I'm writing. By the time the sun goes down, I'm a basket case and I have to sleep with the hall light on and I for sure can't look in the bathroom mirror!
For WICKED, it's usually epic music like LORD OF THE RINGS and movies like THE CRAFT or LADYHAWKE.
BUFFY (and I include ANGEL) was a dream come true. I had heard about the show and a writer friend introduced me to an editor who was bidding on the rights. I was so nervous that when I went to Dark Delicacies, the fantastic horror store in Burbank, California, I bought the soundtrack to the BUFFY movie.
That editor didn't get the rights, but I quickly found out who did. With various coauthors and by myself, I've written 31 BUFFY and ANGEL novels and nonfiction books, and a lot of novellas. I would write BUFFY tomorrow if the publishing program was revived. I loved working on THE WATCHER'S GUIDE(S) and interviewing the cast and crew. I loved going on set and watching production...and getting to go on location as well. I loved talking to the writers, of course, and Joss, of course. One of my favorite interviewees was Director of Photography Michael Gershman, who gave me wonderful parenting advice--read to my daughter and cut her lots of slack. Hands down, the kindest man on either set was Marc Blucas, who played Riley Finn, Buffy's boyfriend--a thankless job, arriving in continuity after Buffy's two intense loves, Angel and Spike.
SMALLVILLE was another wonderful gig. I used to watched SMALLVILLE with the sound turned off (which I do with all the shows I write tie-in material for) and just marvel at how beautiful everything is--the production design is colorful and luminous. The actors are ethereal, the sets, magical and bright. When my first SMALLVILLE book, HAUNTINGS, came out, (there's that love of ghosts again!), DC Comics sent me a birth announcement. I framed it.
DreamWorks Studios has acquired the rights to your Wicked series co-written with Debbie Viguié. Congratulations! How did you feel when heard this wonderful news?
DreamWorks. There's a dream come true! We had met our film agent, Michael Prevett of Gotham Group, at the San Diego Comic-con, shortly before Debbie and I left on our author tour to promote WICKED: RESURRECTION. We have a relationship with Michael through our literary agent, Howard Morhaim. Michael told us that the Benay brothers were working on a pitch and suddenly things felt more real. Then he started telling us where they were pitching. We said no a few times--which was nerve racking--and then, once we got to yes, we called each other up after the big conference call (Debbie lives in Hawaii and I live in California) and started laughing. When the news hit the trades, it felt as if I could trust our good news. It felt real then. It's still pretty new and it still amazes me.
Do have any actresses/actors in mind who would make good candidates for the starring roles in Wicked?
We have wish lists of actors and actresses we would love to see in any role in the movie. Mine has to include Adrien Brody, Viggo Mortensen, Zachary Quinto, Danielle Panabaker, Emily Browning, Zoe Saldana, Bryce Dallas Howard, Eva Green,Emily Blunt, Evan Rachel Wood, Keira Knightley, Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman. Debbie wants Molly C. Quinn as either Nicole or Amanda, and Jensen Ackles as Eli. I love, love, love Richard Dean Anderson. I usually watch between five and ten episodes of “Stargate SG-1” a week.
I read in your bio, that early on you were studying to be a ballet dancer, what made you decide to be writer instead? And what influenced you to write in the paranormal genres?
Even when I was a ballet kid, I was interested in the paranormal. I loved to read creepy comic books and watch scary movies. My mom sat with me and we watched the original FRANKENSTEIN together. Every once in a while she would offhandedly say, "I wonder where the camera is in this shot." She died two weeks before I turned ten so I had to have been very young when we watched it. I would never have let my daughter see something that scary at such an early age. I also liked magic kits and puppets. Theatrical, eerie stuff. I came wired that way, I think.
Ballet--I'm short and I have short legs for a dancer. I was really worried about ever getting very good roles if I stayed in dance. Then I banged my knee up on a radiator doing the tango at ballet school in Germany. It hurt so badly that I couldn't lift my leg to climb up into the streetcar to go home, and I walked about five miles. I decided that was a crazy way to make a living and quit school. I had always had encouragement to be a writer, and I was always writing little stories, but after ballet, I wanted a normal life and a normal job. But when I went to UC San Diego, I wound up taking a lot of independent studies writing classes with Dr. John Waterhouse. He encouraged me to send out my stories. They all came back rejected. After I graduated, I applied to graduate school, and he wrote me a letter of recommendation, saying that he thought I could become a professional freelance writer if I wanted to. That shocked me and made me rethink my decision to steer clear of the arts. I still have that letter.
What's your writing environment like? What inspires you while your writing?
I listen to music constantly while I write. As long as I have headphones/ear buds, I can write anywhere. I usually write in the downstairs bedroom of my house--it's like a bunker--or on a white-tiled table in my family room. But I've written in my car waiting to pick up my daughter at school; at the dog park--anywhere. I need the music to cue me in, though. And in the morning, I have to have my coffee. I go to bed at night savoring the anticipation of that first cup in the morning. So that inspires me! I also watch a lot of movies--horror movies and fantasies. Or sometimes, if I'm researching a place, I'll watch a movie set there strictly for the setting. And of course I read. I use my own emotions--imagining how I would feel in a given situation, whether it be afraid, happy, nervous, etc., and try to get that down on the page.
What's coming up for you in the book world?
I write a lot of stories about supernatural beings. Right now, Debbie and I are finishing the first draft of CRUSADE, a dark fantasy trilogy, which has the tone and flavor of WICKED, but is about a band of vampire hunters...after the vampires have revealed themselves and turned on us. Our hunters are based in Salamanca, Spain. I have a wonderful friend who lives in Madrid helping me with the Spanish. CRUSADE starts coming out next fall.
I'm still writing POSSESSIONS novels. I write a comic book called THE DOMINO LADY, about a noir character created in the 1930's. One of her weapons is her sex appeal. Men are mesmerized by her curves. I also love to write short fiction and have written, or will write, a number of stories about Sherlock Holmes; and some paranormal romance short stories, mostly about vampires, in books such as THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF VAMPIRE ROMANCE and its sequel.
What are you reading now? What do you read for your own reading pleasure? And what are your favorite genres/authors?
I am also on the faculty of the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing Program, administered by the University of Southern Maine. It's an excellent program and our students are amazing. I spend a lot of my reading time reading their work. Much of it is professional calibre and I thoroughly enjoy it. I have a huge stack of TBR young adult novels and am really looking forward to plowing through them, hopefully at Christmas. I have so many friends who are writers that I hesitate to single anyone out as a favorite to read, but Stephen King is still my King. I love Edgar Allan Poe and Shirley Jackson. Huge talents. I spent an entire day of a whirlwind four-day sightseeing trip to Washington D.C. visiting Poe's grave in Baltimore.
If you were interviewing yourself, what question would you ask yourself? How would you answer that question?
If I were interviewing myself, I would ask myself if I will ever be satisfied with my work. There are moments--sometimes hours or even days--where I really feel like I'm in the zone. Writers usually call it "flow." And now and then I'll read something and be happy with it. But most of the time I'm not satisfied with what I've done. The answer is, that it doesn't matter if I'm satisfied. It matters that I tried my best.
Do you have anything you'd like to share with us?
I want to thank everyone who has ever read a book of mine, and everyone who's been kind to me along the way of my writing career. Writing can be a lonely, frustrating profession, but I'm not lonely or frustrated. I have wonderful friends and the world's best daughter, ever, who is supportive and proud of me. We've written two short stories together that have been published, and we've done book signings and appeared on panels at conferences together. And no one has patronized her or treated her like some goofy little kid. That delights me. Watching Debbie Viguie's career flourish delights me. It really means a lot to me when someone emails me or leaves a comments somewhere on the net that shows interest in what I do, whether it is as a writer or as a teacher. I'm very grateful for the career I have, and it wouldn't have happened without a lot of random acts of kindness.
Thank you Nancy for taking the time to answer a few of my questions.
For a chance to win the following five books by Nancy Holder and a tin of Wicked green apple mints:
|Wicked 1: Witch & Curse||Wicked 2: Legacy & Spellbound ||Wicked 3: Resurrection ||Possessions ||Pretty Little Devils|
- Leave a comment or question for Nancy.
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- This giveaway is open to Everyone.
- Giveaway ends on Friday, November 27th at 8PM CST.
- The giveaway prizes will be mailed to the winner by Nancy.