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Friday, June 18, 2010

Author Interview with Nancy Holder + CONTEST!

Hi there!
Welcome back to day three of our Nancy Holder fest celebration here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!  I hope that your week has gone well and the weekend holds nothing but the best for you.  A quick note before we go into today's actual post...if you haven't had a chance to check out the Got Books? Event site as of yet, I suggest you do!  We've got over 50 blogs currently signed up to participate and over 20 sponsors for the Kick-Off contest (including the one that you are about to read more about...ahem, Nancy Holder...thank you!).  Check it out for more information and join the fun!


Today's post is special indeed for not only do you get a chance to win the first two books in this growing series (Possessions) but we also have a facinating interview with the author herself!  I'll be the first to admit it...I don't do author interviews very often.  It's not that they are not fabulous people worth know about, because they certainly are....it's more that I fall for their work and end up at a loss for questions to ask them beyond the book itself (most of which you learn the answers to while reading, creating a spoiler situation).  There are those cases though where I make the exception and delve a little deeper to find those questions that not only I would like to know the answer to but also those I feel YOU would be interested in reading. 
I give you fair warning, THIS IS A LONG POST (much like this paragraph)...HOWEVER, I must also say that it is a VERY INTERESTING and HEARTFELT INTERVIEW as well thanks to Ms. Holder's responses and you would be remise to skim it's contents.  (Oh admit it...you skim posts sometimes...I'm as guilty as you...it's okay, I still think you're great...just really, read this one...it's worth it.)

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Interview with Author Nancy Holder


Your work tends to be geared towards teens and young adult fiction fans.  Why did you choose this genre to make your claim in the literary world?

I think the only difference between young adults and adults is that young adults still let themselves feel:  hopes, dreams, fears, and regrets.  A lot of adults shut down their “unrealistic” expectations about life.  Young adults still go there, and I want to honor that.  Dream, be!  Live!  Soar! 

They believe as I do:  “Even in the darkest place, there is hope.” 

Ooh, ooh!  Agreed.  Though it is hard to see, it’s still there.

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What is it about boarding schools that present that air of mystery or foreboding (in your opinion, of course)...

A boarding school is a closed system.  You can’t just walk out the door and go home.  It’s sort of like a genteel prison…if you’re feeling trapped.  In the case of THE EVIL WITHIN, the boarding school is situated high in the mountains of Northern California.  It takes two hours up a winding road to reach the nearest town…and one of the roads leading to the main road is patrolled by a ghost…or so they say….

It’s almost a more agonizing situation when you have the option of leaving a place, but you know that once you go, you can’t turn back.  How bad do things have to get before you bail?  What if you might get something really great (a college scholarship, the boy of your dreams) if you stay?

They say that what we regret most in life is the things we didn’t do, but is that really true?

Good question…hard to say.  I know at on my own path in life there are a few things I wish I had done, but would the outcome have been any better…one never really knows….

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Cliques are another central theme as is the desire to be in one.  What are your thoughts on the topic?  Any experience with them yourself you'd care to share? 

I think that my experiences in the dance department had something to do with cliques, although I’m still not certain what exactly was going on.  I think all the jostling people do to form cliques, get into cliques, etc., has to do with power and wanting to belong, be a part of, rather than apart from.  Every human being needs a place in the sun.  We all need to feel that we matter and that we’re important.  Some of us need symbols to prove that—the right clothes, lots of money, the most friends and/or followers. 

Plato said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a kind of battle.”  That doesn’t mean to be a doormat, but it does mean to treat people civilly and courteously. 

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Some of the hazing to become a "Mandy-clone" was a bit extreme.  Grant it that's coming from someone that would never have thought to consider doing any of those things to "fit in" but alas, reality shows us some do.  How did you come up with the "stunts" they had to pull off in order to be deemed "worthy"?

The scary answer is that they just came to me.  I tried to think of extreme stunts because I had to make the situations larger than life, to make it very clear that what Mandy was demanding was beyond the beyond.  And sad to say, for some people, those stunts probably weren’t all that extreme.  I have seen people do far worse.  Risk their lives.  You get into a zone where it’s all for show, for being silly, and it never dawns on you that you might really die.  How can you die?  It’s just for fun. 

Well…

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Any characters within the novels have real life counterparts?  (You don't have to name names, just curious....)

There have been two times in my life when I was around some really mean girls and women.  The first time was in community college.  I had studied to be a professional ballet dancer in Germany, gave up the dream, and came back to the States to go to college.  I got involved in the dance department but I was very quiet and low key, not discussing my previous aspirations.  I just wanted to dance. 

The degree of venom among this little bunch of female dancers just baffled me.  Not so much directed at me, but at anyone who wasn’t a member of their select little group.

Example:  We were all going to be in a dance concert and a couple of us suggested we take up a collection for our choreographer.  The little group traded looks; one of them snapped, “That’s not the way we do it.”  I was so puzzled.  I kept wondering if there was something we “losers” were doing or saying that annoyed or aggravated them.  I never figured it out.

The other time was when I was working as a bank teller.  I was a “floating teller,” sort of like a substitute.  I went to the branches that needed extra help.  There was a teller at one of the branches who not only was mean, but who actively tried to get me in trouble.  She would ask me leading questions—“Did you get an ID on that woman at your window?”—when our supervisor was within earshot.  I knew what she was doing.  I just never knew why.  She didn’t even know me.  We worked together for one day.

This kind of weird-random-targeting cruelty fascinates me.  I didn’t have anything invested in being part of the dance department and I didn’t stay in banking.  I had other options.  But what if I hadn’t?  What if I wanted to major in dance, or I got assigned to that branch permanently?  What if those situations meant more to me?  How much would I have put up with to stay, and for what?
The happy news is that I recently reunited with that choregrapher.  She’s a very successful paranormal romance writer and we have had some great times talking about our dancing days.  And some of my fondest memories having anything to do with banking are of sitting with my little girl at our local Wells Fargo.  When she was in the third grade, she and her best friend would sit in these enormous overstuffed chairs.  They would drink little dollops of coffee loaded with creamer and “read” the Wall St. Journal.  They were so little that their legs stuck straight out. 

I would dole out my daughter’s allowance in quarters, and she would decide how much to deposit.  Then we’d fill out the receipt and go through the teller line with her stack of quarters.  To this day, we both still get happy-face stickers on our receipts and she still loves to mook around with the coffee.  I have stayed with that branch because they gave her a stuffed pony at Christmas. 

Oh, that’s awful how they treated you, but I can’t say (and I’m sure my readers can’t either) that I haven’t seen it before.  It’s wrong and it’s so beneath where we should be in society but it does happen.  I do think that talking about it either person to person or in books (etc) we can keep putting the word out there and help those going through it currently, or hopefully put an end to it in our lifetimes.  (Really, what does it accomplish…uncalled for meanness?)

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Okay, let's get personal for a moment.  Truthfully...were you more of a leader, a follower, or someone in the background who went with the flow....

I was a dancer.  I was committed to ballet and I didn’t think much past that, except that it made me feel like an outsider.  Also, like Lindsay, my mom died when I was young (I was nine), so I felt a bit out of it because of that, as well.  That has made me appreciate commitment to a passion, and to savor every moment of being a mom myself.  I am passionate about a number of things:  being a writer, being a mom, and taking good care of my dogs.  I am passionate about music.  When I listen to certain pieces of music, I can’t help but dance—even if I’m driving!—and I can be moved to tears, easily. 

So sorry to hear about your mother but glad that you are a committed mom to both your children and your fuzzy ones.  Being passionate can be exhausting at times, but it’s so enjoyable it makes it worth every second.

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Writing a novel of this nature, especially a series, leaves this reader curious to know...what are your beliefs on the whole haunting business?  Real, fake, somewhere in-between?  Just how much "you" seeped into the pages of the book....

By light of day, I will tell you that I think there are no such things as ghosts or possessions.  But at night, I get scared.  I have a wide-screened TV and if it’s on after I turn off the cable, it completely freaks me out.  I can’t watch horror movies at night.  I start thinking about all the scary stories I’ve heard and sometimes I have to sleep with the light on.

When I’m working in the Possessions world, I usually watch a horror movie every morning.  I pick out movies about haunted boarding schools, convents, hospitals, etc., and also about ghosts and possessions.  There are some movies that look too scary for me:  The Possession of Emily Rose and Paranormal Activity, for two.

I don’t go through Halloween haunted houses, either.  Too scary. 

Oh, the Emily Rose movie had a good creepy factor but wasn’t really that scary to me.  Guess you wouldn’t like the elderly lady climbing the walls in the Exorcist movies then, huh?  I feel you on the haunted houses thing.  I’ve wanted to go through the whole Horror Nights event in Florida, but I don’t know…my reaction could go two ways.  One scared witless and get carried out, or two brave face it all and enjoy the heck out of it.  *ponders*

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Another similarity I found in reviewing your published works is the strong paranormal thread.  It seems to be a favorite topic for you.  Why choose this area?  What drew YOU to it?

I don’t know what drew me to it.  When I was little, I got a black wig.  I started writing screenplays where I could show an actor wearing my wig.  They were titled The Monster in the Furnace and The Monster in the Swimming Pool.  Always with the monsters! 

I made a movie for a book report in ninth grade:  MacBeth, agonizing over his sins.  I wore my cheerleader bloomers (I was a cheerleader for one year, basketball, and we lost every single game); my dad’s velour shirt, and an enamel pendant he and I bought together at a Shakespeare festival.  On a chessboard, I covered the white king with ketchup and showed him having fallen over with the black king and black queen having cornered him.  Predating Stephen Meyer, I might add.

My dad and I also made a radio play of The Martian Chronicles for a book report.  It was “Usher II,” about these robots (I think) in a sort of theme park version of Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher” that were killing people. 

I had a magic kit and the only trick I played with was sawing the lady in half (she was made of blue plastic, possibly to cut down on the gore factor. And? Magnets.)  

I would give my Barbie’s elaborate Viking funerals, wrapping them in tissues and placing them on biers.  Then I would dig a pit around them, line it with newspapers and sticks, and light the fire.  My mom would call out, “What are you doing, sweetie?” And I would reply, “Playing Barbie’s.”  “Okay, then!”

I read scary comics and I watched scary movies and I never got any sleep because I was terrified all the time.  When I’m writing for Possessions, I start up the fear machine so I’ll be in the terror zone. Why do this to myself?  Why, oh why?  So I’ll write scary.

So do I believe?  I must, no?

I would think on some level, yes…interesting Barbie activities though.  Most I did to mine was giving the one a classic bob hairstyle (to match my own)…Mom was none too happy. 

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A few quid-pro-quo questions...

My favorite book is....  The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson
One of my favorite authors is....my coauthor, Debbie Viguie!
On my nightstand...Dog bandana, magic stone, and The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics.  I’m also a comic book writer.
When I'm not writing, I am usually....hanging with my daughter and my Corgis, yard work, going to Disneyland!  We heart the Mouse!
If I wasn't an author, I would have been....a fulltime teacher or speech therapist.
Growing up, I could always be found....at ballet school.
The thing I know now, that I wished I knew then....you have to keep going.  Write the next sentence, the next paragraph, the next book.  Only YOU can tell your stories.  If you don’t tell them, no one will ever know them.  So write them!
Additional thoughts I'd like to share....As I said, “Even in the darkest place, there is hope.”  The light we need to grow is the light inside ourselves.  It really, really is.

Love the nightstand combination and I am definitely there with you on the love for the Mouse.  (Yep, I’m a Disney kid too.) Great advice for future authors-to-be out there and I must say I am really loving that “mantra” on hope.   

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Thank you so much Nancy Holder for the amazing interview.  You shared so much that will not only speak to readers of your novels but also on a more personal level as well.  If you haven't checked out her site or followed her on Twitter yet...um, why not?

Now for part two of this marvelous posting day...the CONTEST!
Your chance to win a copy of Possessions and Possessions 2:  The Evil Within for your very own reading pleasure!  Thanks (again) to this great author, we have this set up for grabs.  So, how do you enter?  I thought you'd never ask!

First and foremost as it is the question on the minds of many readers, especially those around the world...is the contest International?

The answer...
YES! 

That's right!  This contest is open to everyone everywhere.  Let's get straight to the details, shall we?

The prize:

 
(1) SIGNED copy of Possessions
(1) copy of Possessions 2:  The Evil Within

To enter:
Follow the yellow brick road!
Just kidding....click on the word FORM.  Right there...to the left.


The rules:
*Open to EVERYONE!  US/Canada?  International?  Bring it on!  No P. O. Boxes please.
(Thanks to our gracious provider.)
* Entries will be accepted from Friday, June 18th, 2010 through Sunday, July 4th, 2010 at midnight CST.  (A few extra days with the holiday and all.) The entries will be tallied and entered into the random.org randomizer, after which a random number will be picked by their number generator.
(This way all the entries are mixed up nicely.)
* All entries must be submitted using the form accessable through this post.  No form, no entry.  You MUST include your email address in order to be counted as well as contacted should you be chosen as the winner!
*The winner will be contacted via email by Tuesday, July 6th, 2010 and will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address.  Should they fail to respond in the given time, a new winner will be chosen.
*Winners name and address will be forwarded to Nancy Holder for prize send out and then discarded.

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All right!
That's all she wrote.
I hope you enjoyed the Nancy Holder fest!
Until next time....happy reading!


40 comments:

Mystica said...

Nice interview and wonderful giveaway.

Darlyn said...

i went to boarding school.never thought that could adventurous enough to think of as it would be a cool idea to write such story like the evil within.cool!

Devon W said...

Awesome interview :)

Christinabean said...

Great interview! The second book gives me the heebie jeebies but I love the cover! Can't wait to read the series!

jedisakora said...

Wonderful interview and giveaway.

Melissa

Jenna said...

What a great interview. I loved reading Nancy's answers!

Thanks for the giveaway!

GMR said...

Mystica: Thanks!

Darlyn: You never know where inspiration will come from next...

Devon W: Glad you enjoyed it!

Christinabean: Agreed! The second book cover is creepy....the story though was creepier in book 1 for me. ^_^

jedisakora: Thanks!

Jenna: As did I! Much more than I even hoped for...

....Petty Witter said...

I love author interviews and this was no exception. Some great questions and answers, I especially liked the one about boarding schools. Thanks for the giveaway as well. Good luck everyone.

Karen said...

Great interview!

I love anything about boarding schools.

Thanks for this great giveaway.

Melanie said...

Great interview! I heart the Mouse too. :D

Thanks for the chance to win these books!

elaing8 said...

Great interview.
Thanks for the opportunity to win these books. They sounds like they are really good.

BookRants said...

Great interview! Can't wait to read these.

I love your yellow brick road pic!

GMR said...

Petty Witter: Yes...the boarding school one simply had to be asked! Thanks for entering!

Karen: Everyone is liking the boarding school bit. LOL.

Melanie: Another Mouse fan! ^_^

elaing8: They really are! Definitely recommend....

BookRants: Thanks! ^_^

Robin K said...

Hi Nancy, I avoid scary movies too. Especially after I had children. They freak me out far more now. Your books look fantastic!

Emma Kate "Coops" @ Whats Cracking Coops said...

Sweet contest and thanks for making it international!!! The cover to Evil Within is SPOOKY, LOL, But I LOVE the purple! :) I think I must buy it just for the cover :D

Cheers!
Emma

Melanie said...

Thanks for the great interview and giveaway.

Alexia561 said...

Great job with the interview! During the day, I don't believe in things that go bump in the night, but quickly change my tune once it's dark out! Then I become a true believer! *L*

About Nancy giving Viking funerals to her Barbie dolls as a young girl....hadn't heard that one before, so at least we know her creativity started at a young age!

Anonymous said...

Such a fan Nancy! :)

throuthehaze said...

Great interview! Thanks for the giveaway :)

GMR said...

Robyn K: Interesting, though I can understand with small children...

Emma Kate: Yes, isn't that a wonderful bonus? yay Nancy!

Melanie: *smile*

alexia561: LOL...yes it's hard to keep that composure when faced with the darkness. Definitely agree on the creativity...

Anonymous: ^_^

throuthehaze: Thanks for stopping by and the kind words!

donnas said...

Great interview. Thanks for taking the time to do this. I have been wanting to read Nancy's books for a while.

Shy said...

Very cool idea regarding mysteries that keep on surrounding lives in boarding school. And the question that Nancy left at the end of her answer really make me think a lot. I do support your thought on that. I keep on wondering if we do something differently, would it really make any difference in the end?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this interview! Guess that I've missed quite a lot by not being around for 2 weeks :-|

YzhaBella (aka Kate) said...

Ooooooooh! I've not yet ready and of Nancy's works, but I have been meaning to check them out! Great Interview!

GMR said...

donnas: It was too much fun to pass up!

Shy: Yes...a lot happens in a day let alone a week. Welcome back though! ^_^

YzhaBella: Gasp! You haven't? Definitely should...

Jacqueline C. said...

I've just recently checked out Nancy's backlist and added a bunch of her books to my wishlist since I've heard good things about them, especially, Possession. Loved the interview!

OutnumberedMama said...

Great questions. I am really intrigued by this series. Hope I win!

GMR said...

Jacqueline C: That's great! Sounds like you might have a new author to add to your favorite list....hope you enjoy the titles you check out!

OutnumberedMama: Thanks! Her answers were more than I expected...made it very interesting. Good luck!

Tabathia said...

It sounds like spooky fun!

Julie said...

This sounds like a great set of books. Thanks for the giveaway.

juliecookies(at)gmail.com

RedButterfly said...

Wonderful giveaway, thx for making it internationl ^_~ The books look great XD

Well... good luck for everyone ^_^

By the way I never went to boarding school. Anyway THX God 'cause they look creepy lol

Stella (Ex Libris) said...

Wonderful interview, thanks! I have had my eye on these books for some time now, they sound exciting!

Thank you for this fantastic giveaway and especialyl for making it international!!

Thank you! :-)

stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

GMR said...

Lookin good guys! Keep those entries rolling....and good luck to everyone!

Natasha said...

Great interview!! I seen these books a few times and kept forgetting about them. Thanks for the reminder and the giveaway!!! :)

Sandy! said...

I love this books!! =D

misha1989 said...

Thanks for the interview. I would love to read the books.

mishamary@gmail.com

Aik said...

This is so awesome!

Ekta said...

Great interview & thank you for the giveaway!

Kaitlyn said...

yay, this is so exciting!

angie said...

Thanks for the great giveaway!

GMR said...

Thanks to everyone that entered! The contest has officially closed (well, two days ago...) and the winner will be announced soon! ^_^

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