Author Interview - Holly Davis
Hello, everyone! In today's installment of the Author Interview Series, Holly Davis shared her writing journey as she peruses traditional publication with her work-in-progress, The Celestial Code. Check out what she had to say below!
1) Describe your most recently published book and/or your current work in progress.
My current WIP is The Celestial Code, a YA urban fantasy with space elements. TCC is about Lucci Baruvi, a sixteen-year-old girl who escapes her stepdad’s verbal abuse when she participates in the Ascension trial to become a powerful Celestial being in a world beyond Pluto.
2) Which do you prefer: self-publishing or traditional publishing? What factors made you choose one over the other?
I decided to go the traditional publishing route because I am not a very decisive person and don’t like to be in control. Many people who go into self-publishing are Type A [personalities] and love being in control of everything. I’m definitely not like that! Instead, I know I need a team of people behind me (my agent, editor, publisher, etc.) helping me along the way towards publishing my book and getting it into the hands of as many readers as possible! I do wish the process was much faster though (long wait times to hear back from agents, publishers, and for the book release). With that said, I’ll never rule out self-publishing!
3) Are there any books, movies, music, etc. that influenced your writing?
I draw inspiration EVERYWHERE, including music, nature, conversations with my physical therapy patients and coworkers, movies, Netflix shows that I’ve undoubtedly binge-watched, as well as anime and video games. Even if it’s just a line of dialogue or a tidbit for one scene, I use the world around me to influence what happens in my novel.
4) Which is your favorite genre(s) to write in? Which genre have you never written in but would love to try someday?
My favorite genre to write in is fantasy, hands down. I’ve always loved reading about worlds and situations I could never experience myself, so that’s why I gravitated towards writing it. Plus, I don’t have to have long, drawn-out explanations for why certain things happen. I can just say, well, it’s magic! ;) I’ve never written a contemporary novel (only short stories), but I think it would be a great experience to write in that genre.
5) Do you prefer reading on an e-reader or actual books? Which do you think is better from a publishing point of view?
I read both, but would have to go with actual books. I love the physical action of flipping pages, especially during an intense scene, and even just reading while out in public waiting at an office or something, because then I don’t look like another one of those darn kids on their phones. ;) Also, I have to give a shout out to audio books, making everyone’s work commutes and weekend chores somewhat manageable. As far as from a publishing point of view, I think physical books still win out. They can be stocked in libraries for people to read who can’t afford them, whereas that’d be a little trickier with an e-book. There is more work and money spent printing the physical books though, so I think we need both in the world.
6) How has the online writing community affected your writing career?
I don’t think I’d be where I am today in my writer journey if not for the writing community! The only reason I got back into writing and finished the novel I started in 2007 was because I found out about NaNoWriMo in 2015 and found others writing on there, too. Even then, I was still a newbie and didn’t know what I was doing. But from finding a group of like-minded people who I now call friends through Instagram and YouTube, I’ve found motivation, encouragement, writing tips, and so much more. I learned from them never to give up, which is why I’m still here writing.
7) Describe your typical writing routine.
I usually wake up 1-1.5 hours before I normally do for work and head over to Panera Bread or Starbucks to write. Sometimes I will fit in some writing during my lunch break at work. Usually, I’m way too tired to write after work, but if I didn’t hit my word count goal that day or somehow have a bunch of energy, I’ll write at home. Usually my writing sessions involve reviewing the last scene or chapter I wrote, my outline, turning on some instrumental music, sipping some coffee or tea, and letting the words flow. And I like longer writing sessions to get in the zone.
8) What is your ultimate goal in terms of writing?
My goal is to become a traditionally published, full-time author, and live comfortably with my earnings. My ultimate goal would be to be a NYT bestseller, have my book become a movie, and be a guest speaker at BookCon. But I need to finish editing The Celestial Code first! Ha ha. I’ll be querying to literary agents soon though.
9) What has been your biggest writing struggle? What is your greatest strength?
I hit a MAJOR slump back in July  going through developmental edits for The Celestial Code. I can get very overwhelmed with even a few tasks, and editing that draft felt so daunting to me. I just wanted my manuscript to be query-ready but was too tired to put in the work. But I’ve been able to push through bouts of anxiety and depression because writing is something I can’t NOT do.
As far as my strength, I think that’s my perseverance to get things done no matter what. I set quarterly goals for my writing and editing and have pretty much stuck to that schedule. When I need to find the discipline, it’s there, to make sacrifices and devote my time to improving my writing by reading writing craft books, waking up early to write instead of sleeping in, etc.
10) Is there anything about the publishing world that has been very difficult? Has anything been easier than you expected? If you aren’t published yet, what do you anticipate being easy or difficult?
I think the timeline will be difficult. Since I want to become a full-time author, that won’t be for a number of years, because by the time I get a publishing deal, that still might be a 1-3 year wait before they decide to publish my book. Hopefully, it’ll be sooner rather than later.
11) What is your favorite way to market your book and yourself as an author?
I absolutely love sharing quotes and aesthetics from The Celestial Code on Instagram. It’s so seamless and easy and allows readers a sneak peek into TCC’s world.
12) Have you taken any writing classes? If yes, would you recommend them? If no, do you want to?
I’ve attended a one-day writer’s workshop, which I found extremely helpful! Some people find classes or conferences too expensive, so I recommend a one or two-day workshop. I met some wonderful writers there, plus you have the option to query literary agents at some workshops too!
13) Is writing your full-time job? If yes, what was your last profession? If no, do you want it to be and what do you do now?
I’m currently working as a physical therapist for a hospital-based outpatient clinic. As I said, I would love to write full-time. I love working as a PT, but writing is my passion and won’t let me go. If anything, I’d at least love to be a part-time PT, part-time author.
14) What do you think the future will hold for the publishing industry?
I think it will continue to blossom! There are so many budding writers and authors creating content with diverse characters, #ownvoices, LQBTQ topics, and more. People will always read, so the publishing industry will keep thriving.
15) What advice would you give to someone who has just started writing?
Seriously, don’t give up. You’re going to feel like your writing isn’t good enough. And you know what, maybe it isn’t. But that’s how all the successfully published authors and NYT bestselling authors started out. Just like any profession, you must learn and grow through time and practice. There will be days you are proud of your work and days that you aren’t. There are days you think you can do all the things and days you can barely "adult" or "life." And that’s okay. We all experience those things. Just keep working hard and it’ll pay off. Trust me, someone out there is waiting for your book.
Keep up with Holly's writing endeavors by following the links below!
Check out Holly's official website.
Follow Holly on Instagram, like her on Facebook, and tweet her on Twitter.
Watch Holly's latest videos on YouTube.