Hello sweet book loves! I am so honored to be doing an interview with…*drum roll*… Rhonda Holt! Author of The Fort! So let’s start by you telling us about yourself!
R. Holt: Aw, easier to write about others than yourself! I was raised in a house full of people but no one knew anyone. My family was what you’d call dysfunctional, but that wasn’t a term used back then. I’ve lived in the same city for most of my life. I’ve been married to the same person for a really long time. I have two children, a grandchild, a grand dog, a rabbit, turtles, and fish. I don’t have a lot of friends, but the friends I do have are keepers and have been a part of my life forever. I’ve never really had a career, just the odd job here and there. I went to college but didn’t finish and I always wished I had. I stayed at home with my children and did the mom thing.
Me: When and why did you begin writing?
R. Holt: I’ve always enjoyed writing and reading. I started writing in high school because I had to (for a class) and then because I loved it. I would write short stories, little poems (not my favorite or best work), and just random thoughts. Sometimes just an insignificant object would trigger a story. I didn’t realize this form of entertainment and enjoyment should have been turned into a career. Hindsight and all that. As my youngest child was in high school I started thinking about my writing more seriously. Staying at home with my children, while loving time shared with them, I was left without a job or a purpose when they went to college. That’s when I decided to do my book and I was on my way to completing The FORT.
Me: Which writers inspire you?
R. Holt: I don’t know if any one writer ever inspired me especially early on. I always had favorites and usually read as many of their books as I could. Bouncing back and forth between lighthearted books and darker stories such as Sophie Kinsella, Stephen King, and Janet Evanovich. J. K. Rowling is probably the closest thing to writer inspiration I’ve ever had. I love the Harry Potter series; never tire of reading it and each time discovering something new. It’s like a puzzle or a mystery, clues given along the way but not realized until later.
Me: What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
R. Holt: In some ways it was easier to write this book knowing what to expect and not going into the project blind. But it has been challenging this time, dealing with the same characters. I had to scrutinize the last book for details of each story and character. I love watching movies and finding mistakes (actor placement, articles of clothing, hair, or jewelry) and just as I do this with films others do it with books. Editing my current book has proven more difficult than The FORT.
Me: Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
R. Holt: This is an interesting question. There is a part in my latest book where several of the characters discuss this. So, I’ll just leave this one blank.
Me: Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
R. Holt: I proofread/edit my work. But in addition, I have three others read my manuscript: a younger person (daughter and biggest fan!!), a middle aged person, and an elderly person. This gives me a very different perspective on the storyline. This has proven to be extremely helpful.
Me: Are the experiences in your book based on you, someone else, or merely a work of fiction?
R. Holt: It is fiction but I have placed certain persons I know in the story, just a random bystander if you will.
Me: You traveled many different places while writing The Fort correct? Can you tell us about that?
R. Holt: I love to travel. I traveled as a child (a necessity) and got the travel bug. I wanted to be a stewardess and travel the world before I met my husband. I have been very fortunate over the years to have the opportunity to travel and visit some magnificent places. I have incorporated various destinations into my stories. A dear family member is from England and because of her huge influence in my life I have a great fondness for all things British. I was working on The FORT and had the idea of doing the sequel while traveling to several locations. My travel journals, keepsakes, maps, photos, and memory have come in handy during my writing.
Me: Do you have any advice for young writers?
R. Holt: My advice is to just write. It took me years to finally make a story out of my writings. I have journals, pads of paper, and boxes with pages of writing in them. I write constantly jotting down feelings, sights, smells, and just random thoughts because these are the things that make up the details in stories. I observe people too, people-watch in malls or crowded places. People are so similar yet so different and it’s fascinating. Take eyes for example- the various colors, the shape, eyelashes, eyebrows, and whether eyes are covered in glasses or naked.
Me: Can you share any teasers from the sequel?
R. Holt: This book will require more tissues on stand-by.
Me: That last answer gave me all the feels. Cannot wait!
You can connect R.Holt and keep up to date with her awesome works here! Be sure to enter her giveaway on her Instagram to win a free copy of The Fort!
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