Today our special guest is my friend, Vanessa Holland! I'm excited that her first book, which is awesome by the way, has just been released. And yes I would say the book is awesome even if I didn't know Vanessa. That's how fantastic it is! I literally couldn't put it down and I'm still thinking about the characters.
Q: Welcome, Vanessa! Please tell us about your latest release.
A: Thank you for allowing me to be here! My new book Bound To You is a contemporary romance.
A night of passion has forever bound Jenna Morgan to a man she thought she would spend her future with. Instead, he dumped her with barely a word of explanation and left the state. Three years later, she’s a single mom struggling to provide for her son and young sister, and harassed by an obsessed stalker.
After leaving home three years ago to run his aging grandfather’s ranch in Texas, Sam Strickland returns to Tennessee to discover a child he didn’t know existed. He thought he was saving Jenna’s future when he left home, and left her behind. He never dreamed he’d return to see a child with eyes the same shade as his own - and Jenna in serious trouble.
Sam thinks his only dilemma is whether he can earn back the trust of the woman he loves and commit to the responsibility of fatherhood. But Jenna’s life is more complicated than he could have imagined and he finds himself involved in a dangerous situation that could threaten his new son’s life.
Q: Why did you choose to write romance?
A: I enjoy writing romance because I love exploring characters, learning all I can about them and bringing them to life. I love watching my hero and heroine fall in love and exploring the complexities of their relationship. I also love knowing that no matter what trials I put my characters through in the end everything will turn out all right. I’m all for happily-ever-after endings.
Q: I definitely fell in love with your characters in this book. What do you enjoy most about writing?
A: I think I love the art of creating most about writing. Building a world from scratch and working to make that world as vivid as possible.
Q: Why did you choose your setting and why was it perfect for your book?
A: I chose to set my story in Tennessee because I was living in Tennessee as I wrote the story and was continually amazed at the scenic beauty there. I wanted to bring out some of that beauty in my story. As a native west Texan, Tennessee was like a new world for me and I wanted to relive my years there. Not only is Tennessee a beautiful place I met some really wonderful and interesting people there.
Q: I agree. Tennessee is very scenic and you created a wonderful sense of place in Bound to You. Which of your characters is most like you? Least like you? And why?
A: I don’t think any of my characters are most like me, but they are all a little like me. Except, perhaps, my villain – I hope. J
Q: LOL I agree. How do you choose names for your characters?
A: Names usually come to me when I envision a character. Strangely, if I find a character isn’t working, sometimes changing their name will make all the difference.
Q: I've been known to do the same thing! It works. Please tell us about your favorite character in the book.
A: My hero Sam is my favorite character. No matter what is thrown at him he tries to keep a positive attitude and face his problems head-on. He has his issues like anyone, but tries his best to stay upbeat and consider those around him. I suppose I created him with the image of my ideal man in mind. He’s also nice to look at. J
Q: He is definitely a hottie! I'm a big fan of Sam! Which element of story creation is your favorite?
A: I enjoy all elements of story creation, from character development and creating settings to thinking up plots. Characters have a way of taking on a life of their own and I always enjoy seeing who they will become. They often surprise me!
Q: What inspires you?
A: Music inspires me. I like to find a few songs that inspire me and play them on a loop on my iPod. I use different songs for different stories. Then when I hear those songs it helps me get back into the mood of that book.
Q: I know what you mean. I love finding music that inspires me. When did you know you wanted to be an author?
A: I can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t making up stories. I grew up on a farm and ranch in Texas near a very small town. Entertainment wasn’t easy to come by so I spent a lot of time reading and writing stories of my own. Seeing one of my stories released as a book is a thrill to be sure.
Q: I'm thrilled about it too! What is your writing process or method?
A: I simply take an idea and go from there. I’ve tried many different methods but have found flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants method works best for me. Once I have a solid first chapter written, I usually find the story will take off on its own. From there, I write a rough draft, working out any problems with plot or character development, and then once I finish the story, I go back and polish and edit. I’ve never been able to plot out a story ahead of time because until I get to know my characters I really don’t know what they will do. I love the way they surprise me along the way.
Q: That is one of the best parts about writing, discovering who the characters are deep down and how they're going to act and react. Do you have any advice for unpublished authors?
A: Keep writing and writing. Some days, I don’t feel creative at all and I stare at a page thinking it’s pointless to even try. But if I stick it out, the creativity will come and pretty soon I’m writing away. Also, don’t worry about what other writers are writing. Your voice is original.
Q: That's great advice! What’s next for you?
A: To keep writing. My next book is almost completed and I hope to see it published soon. Thanks again for having me here today!
Thanks for being our guest, Vanessa!! Everyone, here is an excerpt from one of my favorite scenes in Bound to You.
Jenna nodded toward Ethan. “Does he look familiar to you?”
“The boy?” Sam asked. “Well, he looks a lot like you. You say I know his dad?” He turned his gaze to her and she froze beneath the interest that seemed to gleam in those blue depths. “Yeah, I saw you with your boyfriend. Didn’t know there was a kid involved, though. You need me to leave? I will, just say so. I’m no angel, but I don’t do that. I don’t break up families.”
Surprised by his wild assumption, she had to struggle to follow his direction. “Are you talking about Brandon Stewart? Because Ethan is not his son.” That fact needed to be made perfectly clear. “And if I wanted you to leave you wouldn’t have to ask.”
“Ah,” Sam said, glancing away with an embarrassed grin on his face. “Okay, then, who is it? Somebody I oughta know?”
“You know him,” she said, “very well.”
He turned toward her, dropping his feet to the floor, gripping the arm of the wicker chair, and frowned sharply. The confident smile fell from his face. “What are you saying, Jenna?”
Watching him intently for his reaction, shaking so violently his face blurred slightly, she said, “He has your eyes.”