Guest: Vanessa Holland - Bound to You
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.”

Bound to You is available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble at a great low price for a full length novel.

Please follow or "Friend" Vanessa at: Twitter and Facebook.

26 Responses
  1. I'm so glad to meet another pantser! I loved the excerpt too. Is the book you're finishing connected to this book?

  2. Norah Wilson Says:

    Good interview, ladies! And well done, Vanessa! I'll have to take a closer look at your book. I like reunion romances, with or without secret babies. :)

  3. derekd Says:

    Nice interview gals. Always fun for me to read about another writer's process. I love to hear you push through and write anyway, even though you might not feel creative at the moment. That's a great word for all of us.

    Good luck with Bound To You.

  4. Hi Vanessa, my fellow pantser! This is a great interview. I love secret babies so your book sounds wonderful. The excerpt left me wanting more!

    Your creative process sounds a lot like mine!

    Best of luck with this book and the many stories to follow!!

  5. Thanks so much for checking out the interview, everyone! Vanessa is at work today but she'll probably stop by the blog this evening to comment. Thanks!

  6. Cate Parke Says:

    I loved the interview, Vanessa and Vonda. In fact, I added the book to my Nook to pick up next. Vonda's recommendation was good enough for me--she has GREAT taste. So glad to meet another pantser who uses music to get her back into her story.

  7. I really enjoyed this post, Vanessa. I learned about your book through Vonda, bought it and have been spreading the word through social netwks. With this teaser, I'm really looking forward to reading the whole story.

    Hey, nice to cyber meet another Texan. I'm originally from NW Texas - Mineral Wells.

  8. So nice to meet you today, Vanessa. You are very lucky to have Vonda as a friend - she is the BEST!

    I so agree with you about Tennessee. I spent several years there during Fan Fair because I ran a fan club for Kevin Sharp. The people are so friendly and great to spend time with - the scenery is gorgeous.

    Best of luck with lots of sales on your first story. It sounds like something everyone should enjoy!!

  9. Vanessa Holland Says:

    Thanks, everyone! I'm glad to see so many fellow panters out there. I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview! I'm honored to be here. Thanks, Vonda!

  10. Vanessa Holland Says:

    Thanks Linda. This is a stand-alone book. But I'm working on a Texas cowboy story. And I'm having a blast with it.

  11. Maeve Says:

    Oh this sounds like a definite MUST read to me!


  12. Vanessa Holland Says:

    Thanks so much Carol! I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for spreading the word. I've driven through Mineral Wells many, many times. :-)

  13. Vanessa Holland Says:

    Paisley, I so agree. Tennessee is an awesome and beautiful place and the people are so friendly. I spent a decade there and I miss it. I consider it my home away from home.

  14. Vanessa Holland Says:

    Thanks again everyone for all your encouragement! It's been a thrill for me to be here. And it's great to meet you all. And thanks again, Vonda! I agree with Paisley - you're the best!

  15. Thanks everyone for dropping in and checking out the interview and for leaving so many nice comments! Vanessa, thanks for being our guest! I've enjoyed it!

  16. Your book sounds fabulous, Vanessa! I just snatched up my copy this morning and look forward to the read. :)

  17. Dana Rodgers Says:

    Great interview ladies! I really enjoyed hearing about your creative process. You are so right about changing a character's name sometimes making all the difference. I love reunion stories, so I'll have to check this one out.

    Best of luck in your writing Vanessa and I wish you many sales!

  18. Late to the party but offering congrats on the release of Bound to You, Vanessa. The excerpt sizzles! Nicely done. And I completely agree with your writing advice. "Just write" is one of our writing group mottos. Good luck with that cowboy story!

  19. Wow, what a great interview and a GREAT excerpt!!! This is my kind of story!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    Wishing you many, many sales!


  20. Vanessa Holland Says:

    Thanks so much Jolyn! I hope you enjoy it!

  21. Vanessa Holland Says:

    Thanks again to everyone for all your encouragement! It's nice to meet so many fellow writers.

  22. You know Vanessa, they always say write about what you know. I love that you set the story in a place where you love.

    I am from PA so I like to throw in a lot of PA flavor, I am currently living in NJ so that gets in there too.

    there is nothing more romantic than love sought, won, lost and won again. Best of luck to you and I can't wait to read more in the future.

  23. Dana Rodgers Says:

    Vanessa, I had read this interview yesterday. Your story and excerpt intrigued me enough that I downloaded your story to my Kindle. Last night I started it while I was waiting for my daughter to finish with tutoring. Huge mistake!!! I wound up reading into the wee hours and then couldn't wait to get everyone out the door so I could finish it this morning. This may be your first interview but with that kind of strong writing it definitely won't be your last! Congratulations!

  24. Vanessa Holland Says:

    Thanks, Lizzie. I agree. That's what I love about romance novels, the journey to HEA. I've always wanted to visit PA, btw.

  25. Vanessa Holland Says:

    Thanks so much, Dana! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! That means a lot and makes all the hard work worthwhile.

  26. Vanessa Holland Says:

    Thanks again, Vonda, and everyone. This has been a blast.

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