Friday, April 26, 2013

Confessions of a Geek by Avalon/Montlake and Superromance Author Holly Jacobs

Hey, Ruthy here... 

And I'm bringing back one of the gals I love to pieces. I met Holly online... And through Facebook, we became friends. Somehow we managed to fool the gals in the WNYRWA group to have us come and chat with them and THEY DID IT...

And we laughed ourselves silly as we answered questions, made fun of each other, and literally had a ball.

I first saw Holly's work in the Barclay, way back when. She was writing for the romantic comedy line and I cracked up over her story... hysterically funny. And then that line was dropped. Holly has done blogs about versatility and adaptability because she's "danced" on numerous stages, and has been successful at each one. And that's my kind of "brand"... sure, you want your audience to find you... but IF your line folds, what will you do to find an audience?  Here's Holly talking about her delightful, warm and funny love for science fiction/fantasy (something else we have in common!) and how she created her own "village" for her upcoming series!


I’ve set most of my books here in Erie, PA.  It’s my hometown and I’ll confess, while I might be a bit biased, I do think it’s an awesome community.  But in my last few series, I’ve created towns. Granted they’re nearby Erie, but I built them from the ground up.

First there was Whedon, PA.  It’s a small town that sits about half hour or forty-five minutes from Erie (well, in my head).  It’s home to some very special people. Readers met them in Unexpected Gifts, A One-of-a-Kind Family, Homecoming Day and A Father’s Name.

When I finished that series, I pitched a new trilogy to my editor.  It’s set in another fictional town.  I’ll tell you about it a second, but first some backstory about me—something you all may or may not already know.  I’m a geek. 

Yes, I said it. 

Holly Jacobs is a big geek.  (My kids and a lot of friends are all nodding their heads…they already knew it.)

I’m a science fiction and fantasy reading/tv watching geek.  I grew up with JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Robert Heinlein, and I watched things like Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica (and yes, I was a fan of the BSG reboot, too)…  And even though I write romance, I am still am a geek at heart.  When my husband calls me, the ringtone is “A Man’s Got to Do” from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-AlongBlog. When The Lord of the Rings was turned into movies, I went to see all the films with a geek-friend, Chris.  We were always there early enough to get very good seats.



And when the Star Trek reboot opened, I was there opening night with three of my Star Trek friends (waving at Mike, John and Adam).  I’m hoping to be there again when the next one is released.



And one of my goals is to one day soon head down to Dragon Con in Atlanta with my friend and fellow geek, Tanya Michaels/Michna (who in addition to being a fellow geek is a heck of a writer).

I’ve spent my life walking in other worlds, from Middle Earth to a starship named Dora.  I don’t write science fiction, but I’ll confess, my years hanging out with the Firefly gang and with Harry Dresden had me yearning to try my hand at world building.

So, now that I’ve confessed my geekiness, I’ll tell you about my new world-building adventure with my fictional town of Valley Ridge.  You see, I sold a trilogy (and after that sold a fourth Valley Ridge book).  I set the town in New York, just over the border from North East, Pennsylvania and a stone’s throw from Erie.



When you visit Valley Ridge, you’ll find places like Marilee and Vivienne’s shop, MarVee's Quarters.  You see, they bought the old Five and Dime and renamed it…because of inflation.  If there’s a Twitter feed in Valley Ridge, it runs through the Quarters and right into the coffee shop (Park Perks…the main street in Valley Ridge is Park St.) and the diner, where you’ll still find Hank serving coffee, just as he’s done for decades.


I can see the town as I write it.  I can see the few blocks that comprise downtown Valley Ridge, New York, but more than that I can see the people who populate it.  Those people are the heart of the community…the heart of the world that I’ve built.  Those secondary characters make them come alive for me.  For instance, there’s JoAnn who runs the B and B.  A few of the characters stay with her throughout the series.  My heroine in this first book, Mattie, remembers running away from home when she was young and staying with JoAnn. There's Mrs. Esterly and...  Well, the town is populated with people who became oh-so real to me.

When I world-build, I don’t have to imagine alien nations or foreign environments, but I think creating a fictional community and trying to capture its essence can be just as hard, and hopefully it can come as alive for readers as it did for me as I wrote the books.  Hopefully, readers will be able to picture old Mr. Mento putting up the train in the storefront window every Thanksgiving night.  And they’ll know that the former mayor loves the community so much, he’s still giving back to it in his retirement by working as a crossing guard.



I hope you’ll drop in and visit Valley Ridge and when you do, I hope you enjoy your visit.  Be sure to stop by for a cup of coffee at Park’s Perks, grab one of those banana/blueberry muffins (here’s the recipe if you’re interested) that Mattie’s making.  They’re healthy and they’re quickly becoming a community favorite! 

Holly

Welcome to Valley Ridge, NY in A Valley Ridge Wedding Trilogy:
 A Valley Ridge Christmas, 12/13

68 comments:

Tina Radcliffe said...

WELCOME HOLLY!!!

I have the first (and sniff, only season) of The Dresden Files on DVD.

I love, love, looooove, Harry!!!

Vince said...

Hi Holly:

When I was reading SF, and I liked hard SF in which the physics had to make sense and there was no magic, I never met a girl fan. That was before women had come a long way. How nice it must be now for geek guys to have geek girls to relate to. I was not really a geek. I was a philosopher. I liked Silverberg. Geeks had to be better in math than I was.

I liked the C.S. Lewis SF trilogy as Christian allegories but they were very hard going. I think my favorite SF book is “Childhood’s End”. Do you have a favorite?

As a geek one would expect you to be a plotter and to use a writing program like Scrivener (which could be a great help in keeping track of every character in your invented world.) One would expect you to work a regular work schedule and to be a little early in meeting your deadlines.

Do you fit the stereotype? What is your work day like? Do you like music when you write or do you need it to be quiet? Can you write in a Starbucks with people buzzing about?

I know these are a lot of questions but writers are very interested in how other writers work. Also, you are free to answere only the questions you feel like answering. : )

Vince

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Yay, Ruthy, you got Holly here! I have loved Holly's writing for a good while now. And her geekiness!

Holly, love all your books. But then you know that!

PS Man O and I will be at the next Star Trek movie ASAP as well.

Peace, Julie

HollyJacobs said...

Tina, I watched the show, too. I was so sad when they canceled it. The books rock though, so Harry's still out there.

Thank you for the welcome!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Vince,

It's always fun to meet another geek!

Alas, I'm no plotter. I'm a sear-of-the pants writer. I prefer the quiet, but I can work in chaos. I have four kids, so chaos is my norm here.

As for favorite sci fi...well, fantasy would have to be The Hobbit, because it's one of the first ones I ever read. I spent a great deal of my childhood in Middle Earth. Straight up science fiction would have to be Time Enough for Love by Robert Heinlein. Frankly, Lazarus and Dora's story is a romance, so there's that, too! LOL

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Julie,

Thank you for that. You've been such a good friend! And we'll have to have a good old geek chat after the new Star Trek. I so can't wait!

Holly

Debra E. Marvin said...

So, it seems that your towns and Ruthy's town are close enough to vie for the next Super Walmart, eh?

In my job, over the winter, I had to do a lot of research on school districts in NY State. Believe me you can learn a lot about a town and area by checking out their school website. I think I've visited your town now that you mention it...

The school my granddaughter will attend has sports teams called The Hillbillies. quite intimidating if you think about it.

Holly, I would love to have been at the RWA mtg with you and Ruthy. Thanks for sharing your sci-fi roots and your book series(s)

Hey, what is the plural of series anyway?

Debby Giusti said...

One glance at your covers and I've fallen in love with your series!

So glad Ruthy invited you to join us in Seekerville today.

You need to come back to M&M! Tell Tanya you want to join her there next year. 'Kay?

Or maybe you and Ruthy could give your workshop at M&M. Hmmm? Sounds like a winning idea to me.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Good Morning HOLLY and welcome to Seekerville.

Valley Ridge sounds delightful. I can tell you're a friend of RUTHY because she has wonderful communities also.
I think community is important in a romance and I know SuperRomance specializes in that. Great going.

Rose said...

Hi Holly,

I share your love of Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long blog.

Your books look wonderful. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your 'geekiness'.

Jeanne T said...

Holly, it's nice to meet you here! And, I'm with Debby, your book covers are wonderful! I love how your secondary characters help create the town for you--and the feel of it. You have some creative names for your shops. :)

Loved getting to know you a bit!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, good morning HOLLY!!!! :)

Deb Giusti, I think you're right that Holly and I should take our dog and pony show on the road!

We had such a good time, and the WNYRWA is a great group of gals. So fun and welcoming. And they fed me.

We all know that's 'bout all I need. A forum for talk and food.

I'M SO HAPPY THEN!!!

I didn't realize Holly was a Geek when we got to know each other and because I love sci-fi... and fantasy... and dystopian utopias that never quite erase the truth.... I loved this post!

Say YES if you love Star Wars, Star Trek, Time-travel, Steampunk, Fantasy, Dystopian, and Fairytales re-told!!!

:)

I love living in Netherworlds. My husband would say that's not a surprise because most of the people I connect with are in my IMAGINATION....

Pshaw on him!

Welcome, Holly! I brought some fresh cookies that I made for our roofing crew... Chocolate and Peanut Butter chip Butter cookies...

The Roofers are Happy!

Marianne Barkman said...

Ru thy, how re the babies doing with all the constuction? Do they need a break? Thanks for bringing Holly. It's been awhile since I read a Super Romance, actually probably since I found Seekerville, and you have kept me busy trying to keep up with your books ( talking and waving to all Seekerville authors). I love them, but not a fan of sci fi. Have a great day, e eryone. Spring has come here with strong west winds and warmer temperatures. The water is running and the snow disappearing! Yeah

Mary Connealy said...

HOLLY as long as you're making up a town, could you please name a beauty shop 'Curl Up and Dye'.

I've always wanted to but the opportunity for beauty shops in historical westerns is suprisingly slim.

DebH said...

I don't think I qualify as a "real" geek because math and I don't really mix (we have an understanding to be nice to each other but that's it), but Ruthy... YES!!!

all the authors mentioned thus far - i ate up as a youth. i loved Anne Maccaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series.

love this post.

Ruthy you betcha those roofers are happy. hard workers always enjoy treats. my mom used to give the trash men cookies or drinks (cold in summer, hot in winter) every week. they told her once they never had problems getting time off since all the guys in the system knew about the "cookie lady" route and loved to sub if needed.

Mary my neighborhood growing up had a shop with that name, Curl Up and Dye. Always did think that was clever...

Missy Tippens said...

Welcome, Holly!! So glad to have you today! I love the sound of the world you created. I love that feeling of being part of something, of connection. I think readers really do as well. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Hey! I'm in with Debby. You need to come down for Moonlight & Magnolias. In fact, haven't you been before? Or maybe I met you in Knoxville for a conference ages ago. Can't remember for sure!

HollyJacobs said...

Debra, You're right, our towns are close enough for that WalMart. LOL

And speaking of hillbillies, there's a garage band that I have play in the books called The Glenwood Hillbillies.

Series-es? LOL I'd have to think the plural of series would still be series...like deer and deer?

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Debby, I'd so love to go to M&M. Ruth and I would have a blast taking our talk on the road! I'll let Tanya know!

And glad you like the covers...I love them all, but I'm particularly fond of April Showers. My youngest keeps looking at the heroine's outfit and saying she'd wear that!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Sandra, I always had that sense of community, though I didn't really give it thought early on in my career. One of the early lines I wrote for was Silhouette Romance. I set the first book, Do You Hear What I Hear?, on Perry Square, a real park in Erie. I went on to do a bunch more set there because I so loved the fictional Perry Square I'd invented.

Here in my neighborhood, I walk my dogs three or four miles a day and have a bunch of different routes. I'd missed one for a while, because one day as I walked it, a lady ran out of her house and said she was glad I was okay. She hadn't seen me walk by in a while. That's the kind of feel I want...the kind of community that would miss you if you didn't walk by their house for a while!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Rose, I love when someone loves Dr. Horrible as much as I do. "Laundry Day, see you there..." Yeah, I'm signing. I'll confess, I have a lot of Dr. Horrible ringtones. When my son calls "Bad Horse," plays! LOL

Did you hear there's talk of a Dr. Horrible 2??

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Jeanne, I'll confess, coming up with names for the shops gave me glee! The problem with inventing a community is it starts to feel so much like home, and then you finish and realize, you can't even pop in for a visit. I'd love to visit Park Perks and grab one of Mattie's sweets and a coffee!

Holly

Mary Connealy said...

I liked Quantum Leap, does that count? :)
I'm not a huge sci fi fan though I like a little paranormal in my romances sometimes.

The thing I love about sci fi fantasy is the opportunity for huge battles of good against evil.

COME TO THE DARK SIDE, LUKE.

USE THE POWER OF THE FORCE, LUKE.

That is so easily seen through a Christian lens with the temptation and the good vs evil. Harry Potter, too, that battle.

I think great fantasy is very easy to flip into Christianity.

Mary Connealy said...

I was so in love with the first Star Trek that I've never really given the other versions a chance.

But everytime I see that picture of Picard with his face in his hands and the words FACEPALM under it, I sort of wish I could watch it.

HollyJacobs said...

Ruthy,

Keeping the roofers happy is always a good thing!! I have a house full of company today, so I'm popping in between activities. Rumor has it, there's a jaunt to our favorite antique store soon!

And I bet the Buffalo girls would let us come visit again...and yes, I love that not only are they lovely, they feed us! LOL

Thanks again for letting me come hang with you all today!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Marianne,

Supers is a marvelous line! I wrote for Duets and Flipside, both were comedies. And my Silhouette Romances along with my current Montlake books are very sweet with humor. Super pushed me further. They do have some humor, and still qualify as sweet, but they're so much more emotional. I deal with so many issues that are near and dear to me in the scope of the stories. I love getting to push myself.

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Mary,

Laughing my butt off here. I'd love to use Curl Up and Dye! Back in my Perry Square series, I had Snips and Snaps Beauty Salon!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Deb,

I don't know that math is a requirement to geekhood. I'm okay with it, but no expert. And I'll confess, I love science stuff, but don't have the math to ever be a scientist.

Oh, I loved Pern!! I still visit on occasion. I love series I grew up with...rereading them feels like going home!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Missy,

I so hope readers enjoy the community! Valley Ridge is so special to me. After this spring's trilogy, there's a book at Christmas that was so much fun to write. A homeless family ends up in Valley Ridge, and Christmas magic happens.

And no, I've never been to M&M, though I'd love to go. I've been to Knoxville a few times. So much fun!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Mary,

I loved Quantum Leap. Do you remember "Abigail" trilogy??? So romantic and sweet.

And I've watched all the Star Treks. Actually, I think my favorite was Deep Space Nine. And since I'm talking about community/world building here, I think maybe that's part of it. And I love the Cpt's relationship with his son!

Okay, funny Star Trek story. My daughter was working at a hotel in a city where they were having a convention. She called me saying someone was getting married at the convention...they were having a Klingon wedding. She said, "Tell me you don't know what that is." I sighed. I did. Worf and Judzea (sp?) had a Klingon ceremony on DS9. I said, "Yes." She figured that nailed my geekness for sure. LOL

Holly

Myra Johnson said...

Welcome, Holly! Wow, I never thought of myself as a geek, but you named some of my all-time favorite books and movies!

Oh, wow--Lord of the Rings! I think I've read the entire series at least three times since high school, and I've lost count of how many times I've watched the movies (I own all the extended-version DVDs). Could not wait for The Hobbit movie this year!!! So Jackson took some liberties with the storyline--I still loved it!

Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate--love 'em all, old and new. C.S. Lewis SF trilogy--you bet!

And thank you for saying we don't have to love math and science to be SF geeks. ;-)

Donna said...

Holly, your made up worlds sound like a great place to visit! I love making up people and places!

Were you a fan of the tv series Lost? IMHO, it was the best ever. But I've never seen Dr. Horrible. I'll have to check it out.

Myra Johnson said...

Donna, I was a big fan of Lost! Now I'm hooked on Revolution.

Interesting, though--I've never really had the bug to seriously attempt writing fantasy or sci-fi.

Holly, how about you?

Jan Drexler said...

Dr. Horrible is a household name around here, and Star Trek? One of our favorite sayings is that the best Star Trek movie so far is Galaxy Quest :)

And then there's Dr. Who. I haven't watched the new guy - I never made the transition from David Tennant, but loved him and Eggleston.

Not to mention Firefly (love that show!).

And I'll have to look for The Dresden Files....

Who knew there were so many geeks among us?

The great thing about Sci Fi and fantasy is that they expand our imaginations. Would we ever have imagined Lothlorien with Tolkein? Or Caer Paravel without Lewis?

Sherida Stewart said...

Hello, Holly!

I'm married to a super-geek, so he has carried me to Geekdom! I LOVE Firefly and Serenity!

One of my WIPs has a created town named in honor of our granddaughter. Sounds like I would like your Valley Ridge.

Ruthy, my Walmart didn't have your book yet! :( We live on the far end of the distribution chain, I'm sure. I'll look again next week.

Myra Johnson said...

Just thought of another one. Any Sanctuary fans here? I was so disappointed when that show was cancelled.

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Holly, you are not alone!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh my stars, I'm all over Lord of the Rings....

And getting lost in strange, new worlds.

Hey, we went to Zarpentine Farms for the last day of the "season"... time to plant, trim, spray, get the apple crop and corn crops, etc. set for this fall... So I've got fresh fried cakes for the lot o' youse and they just melt-in-your-mouth!

Holly, how are your Montlake books doing on Amazon? Can you tell us about that, about the differences between Avalon and Montlake and what it's like? Inquiring minds want to know!

And can you pass the coffee please? I need to dunk my cinnamon fried cake.

:)

Vince said...

Hi Holly:

I’m a little confused. I went to Amazon to find out what themes your romances were. (I often like to buy by themes when I can. I like ‘hidden child’, ‘marriage of convenience’ and ‘runaway bride’ – I just can’t get enough runaway bride stories.)

There seems to be two Holly Jacobs. One is this beautiful woman with glamorous hair* who leads a fantastic life as witnessed by her bio:

“Holly Jacobs leads a life full of romance and adventure. From skydiving to jet-setting around Europe, from snorkeling in coral reefs to writing while wearing beautiful silk peignoir sets and popping chocolate bonbons, Holly Jacobs leads a life that is the epitome of romance.”

Are you this Holly Jacobs? Does your website have the sailboat on it? If yes, do you have skydiving and snorkeling in your novels? I’m into flying and snorkeling and I've been all over Europe (with a Europass -- no jet-setting : () Or better yet, have you written an autobiography?

Vince

*glamorous hair is long like men like it.

Playground Monitor said...

Another Dr. Horrible Sing-a-Long fan here!

And I love Holly's work. She and Tanya both re-invented themselves when the Duet line folded. And they've invented themselves very well.

Short comment today. I have the afternoon off (it's Law Day so the firm closed at noon and since I only work afternoons, I had a whole day off) and I'm going to help a friend move out of her house to her new apartment. She's divorced too so I know there's going to be tears. I'm not even going to bother with make-up cause I'll cry with her and cry it all off.

Marilyn

Pam Hillman said...

I'm sorry to say that I can't distinguish between dystopian, sci-fi and fantasy, but if my adult children assure me it's not GORY and GRUESOME, I'll watch it.

Just watched THOR. Sci/fi? Fantasy? Dystopian. Dunno, but I liked it.

Holly, your town building sounds awesome. So glad to have you in Seekerville!

CatMom said...

Welcome Holly, and thanks for sharing with us today. ~ If you ever make it down here to Atlanta for DragonCon, you'll very likely see my son and a group of his friends! (they've had SO much fun when they've been part of it).
Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

Pam Hillman said...

STOP THE PRESSESS!!!!

FRIED CAKES????

Ruthy, you're killing me!

HollyJacobs said...

Myra, I think everyone has their own definition of geek, and math's not in mine! LOL I really loved the LOTR movies. I was nervous, but I didn't mind the changes...he stayed true to the spirit of the books!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Donna, Oh, yeah, I watched Lost. Loved it. You definitely have to check out Dr. Horrible. Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly) put it out himself. It's brilliant!!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Myra,

I did do some fantasy romances early on under my other name...Holly Fuhrmann. Uh, no one could spell that, so I went with Jacobs with Harlequin and that's stuck.

Anyway, they were Mad About Max, Magic for Joy, Miracles for Nick and Fairly Human. For those who read Heinlein, I loved his theory that all fictional places are real somewhere...and ran with it. Three inept fairy godmothers come to life and craziness follows. And love, of course.

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Jan,

Dr. Horrible's a household name here. I do adore it!

I'm so planning to sit down and watch Dr. Who someday...I can't believe I've missed it. Thank goodness for Netflix!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Sherida,

Oh, that's sweet to name a town after your granddaughter!! And in my opinion, geeky guys rock!!

Sorry you're having trouble finding any of the Harlequins. They're hard to find around here, too!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Myra, I watched Sanctuary, too! Started Defiance...liking it so far!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Eva,

I'm laughing... geekiness loves company!! Thanks!!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Ruthy,

I wrote for Avalon for a long while...short, sweet and humorous romances. Last year, Montlake Romance bought out Avalon. They reissued nine of my old Avalons as eBooks and paperbacks (Avalons were hard backs) and they published a tenth themselves. Everything But a Dog. It came out in January, and I've been beyond thrilled with how well all the old books and this one new one are doing on Amazon. They've been marvelous to work with and my books have found so many new readers.

The two series, Everything But... (a Hungarian grandmother curses her own family to bad weddings for a trilogy, then gets bored and spends a second trilogy matchmaking) and WLVH Radio (four romances tied to a radio station) have found a new life there!

The new book, Everything But a Dog was so much fun. If you check out the cover....those are my dogs, Ethel Merman and Ella Fitzgerald. I modeled the dogs in the book after them! They've been waiting for the...wait for it...wait for it...Puparazzi to Hound them! LOL

Thanks for asking!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Vince,

Yeah, the second part of that bio is the accurate part. Happily married, mother of four, walker of dogs, basket making baker! Thanks for checking out my books on Amazon. There is another Holly Jacobs, but all my books are in my acct there at http://tinyurl.com/cl6aohl

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Vince,

Yeah, the second part of that bio is the accurate part. Happily married, mother of four, walker of dogs, basket making baker! Thanks for checking out my books on Amazon. There is another Holly Jacobs, but all my books are in my acct there at http://tinyurl.com/cl6aohl

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Marilyn,

Oh, I always love meeting other Dr. Horrible fans! And thanks for the kind words. I still miss Duets.

I'm so sorry for your friend! Good luck with moving her.

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Pam,

I'm glad to be here!! I don't do the gruesome stuff well...I have to watch it with my eyes closed. LOL I love all the new comic book movies. Joss Whedon, of my Dr. Horrible love, did the Avengers. Loved that one!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Catmom, I'm so going someday soon!! And how cool for your son!! I've heard it's such an awesome time!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Pam,

Ruthy's always got something good cooking at her house!

Holly

Elaine Manders said...

Hi Holly,

I enjoyed your post. I'm not much into sci-fi, which is odd since I love all things math and science. That surely qualifies me as a geek, or maybe just odd. Anyway, my daughter loves sci-fi, so I'll tell her about your books.

All this reminded me that science fiction often becomes fact. The one Star Trek series I watched, the one with Data, had holograms. I believe the day will come when we can produce our own movies with our books. It should be easy. We'd select our characters from a library of holographic actors, select our settings, click a button, and our stories could play out on the big screen. Sounds great to me since I picture my stories playing out like movies in my mind.

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Holly! We've met through Shirley Jump ages ago. The town of Valley Ridge sounds wonderful. Love how you've brought the residents alive with heartwarming details that give them skin and soul. How do you keep track of all these people from book to book?

Janet

HollyJacobs said...

Elaine,

Your/Star Trek's ideas of books is a lovely one! And I hear you on the science geek. I had a book with a science geek hero...he named his cat Schrodinger. All the science geeks laugh at that one when I'm speaking in public! My editor didn't find it nearly as funny as I did! She wasn't a science geek. LOL

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Janet, When I first started writing, I started a very simple character chart. Character's names, maybe a line or two about setting. As time went on, the character charts got longer, more in depth. Now, I have character names, description, back story. In depth setting info. Maps even. Then I have a time line. Day by day what happens to who.

This is especially important when I'm doing a series, like this. Two of the books have overlapping time, which means, I need to make sure everyone's where they're supposed to be on any given day.

I think I had almost thirty pages in the character chart (which is still how I label them) for this four book series.

Oh, and it also comes in very handy with series like my Everything But... They were all written with huge gaps between books. So, I could go back and pretty much pick up where I left off.

Holly

Barbara White Daille said...

Hello, Seekers, Ruthy, and Holly!

Yep, nodding my head at the big geek comment. Sorry, Holly. But I did know that about you. ;)

Just popping in so am probably repeating what everyone else has said, but...

Valley Ridge sounds wonderful!

And isn't it great to be able to make up your own town and put whatever things you want where you want them? I think it's fun for readers and writers to go back to visit with folks who become like old friends.

Off to check out that blueberry muffin recipe....

Barbara

Natalie Monk said...

Oh, my! I hate I'm late to this sci-fi, geeky party! I'm loving the Middle-Earth and Narnia references! And I'm finding some new SF I can check out. Never heard of the Dr. Horrible blog, but I'm going to look into it immediately, lol. Been wanting to get into Dr. Who, but just haven't had time. I haven't even written in a couple weeks. SHAME on me! But I have been reading over the ms and editing off and on. Next Monday marks the end of my "post-Speedbo writing break" and I'm fixing to get serious with edits.

I created my own town for the main setting of my WIP and used the real ghost town of Elkmont, TN for a side setting that the characters visit a couple times. It's going to play a major role in book #2, though, so I may have to do some research.

Loved reading about your "geekstory" and how you create fictional worlds, Holly! I'm wanting to check out your fantasy romance books now. :)

Natalie Monk said...

P.S.
*waves at Ruthy*

Chill N said...

So, Holly ... when you create your fictional towns ... do you, like, make maps and maybe ... like ... add things to the town as time passes or maybe have an old building torn down and something new replacing it ... and maybe figure out which streets are the busiest or ... and make sure you don't have a character in front of the newspaper office after they leave the candy store instead of in front of the mercantile, which is next to the newspaper office ... I mean, not that I do that kind of thing when I write ...

I so appreciate the attention you give to your towns. Location can become such a strong part of the story-- you know, like the USS Enterprise :-)

Nancy C

HollyJacobs said...

Barbara, Oh, do check out the recipe. It's healthy, adaptable and a family favorite.

And wait, you're saying my geek was showing before I flashed it??? LOL

I'll confess, I always love writing about Erie. The new cozy that I wrote will be out in August. It's actually set in LA, but I still worked in an Erie connection! But even when I set books in actual Erie, I do world build. Whether I'm rebuilding Perry Square and giving it my own shops and character, or I'm adding a school that works as the real setting of the stories...I think even in the most factual setting, there's world building in fiction.

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Natalie, The lovely part of never hearing of Dr. Horrible is you get to experience it for the first time now! I'm sort of jealous. For those who never saw it before and try it out, you'll have to let me know what you think!

And thanks. I still love my fairies, but do keep in mind, they're some of my earliest work. I'm not someone whoever goes back and rereads the books I wrote more than a decade ago, but I had to reread one of my first ones a while back. I'll confess, I still smiled at parts, but I also found myself scolding that past me...why didn't your do this, or that? It was eyeopening, being able to sort of measure how much my writing has grown. Anyway, I still had fun with the fairies and they still sell well. The last one, Fairly Human, was actually written for readers who kept asking what happened to Fern, Myrtle and Blossom. I had a lot of fun giving the fairy godmothers their own Happily Ever After!

Holly

HollyJacobs said...

Nancy,

LOL Not that you do that sort of thing...I chuckled at that.

I do have a simple map in my character chart. There are holes in it, places with buildings/stores I never directly mentioned. But the big landmarks for me are there. The secondary characters who make up the heart of the town are all listed with bits of their backstory. If I ever do a fifth Valley Ridge, or a short to go with them, it will be easy to fall back into the heart of the town.

Holly