I would like to welcome, Holly Bush to Layered Pages. Holly writes historical romance set on the American Prairie, in Victorian England and recently released her first Women’s Fiction title. Her books are described as emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance. She makes her home with her husband in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Hello, Holly! Thank you for chatting with me today and congrats on the B.R.G. Medallion for you book, Red, White & Screwed. This book looks like it is quite a change from the other stories you write. What made you decide to venture out of historical writing?
Hi Stephanie and thanks for having me! I love writing historical but this character, Glenda Nelson, really called to me. She was fully formed in my head before I put the first word on paper. I couldn’t not write her story.
How fascinating! Please tell me about your book.
The main character of Red, White & Screwed, Glenda Nelson, lives in Lancaster County, PA, with her two teenagers. She is divorced and her ex is a PA State Representative, and she works for the local Democratic Party. A few major events happen to Glenda early on in the book, her father is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a candidate she’s been grooming to run for a state-wide office is caught cheating on his wife, and she meets a man she is interested. The book is about how Glenda handles all these events as so many women do in their forties with aging parents and stressful jobs.
Could you please share an excerpt?
Sure! Glenda meets a man, Christopher Goodwich, who she’s interested in after a long hiatus from the dating world, and runs into him a few days later at her daughter’s school where Glenda’s attending a special Art Program that her daughter is involved in. The excerpt is below.
Please tell me a little about Glenda Nelson. What are her weaknesses and strengths?
Glenda’s extremely loyal and very smart. She’s doing the very best she can and raising two teenagers virtually alone. But she’s let her past color her vision of herself and her confidence has been sapped away.
Many female authors like to write about strong female characters. Is that the same for you?
Yes. It is absolutely true. Women often ‘do it all’ including working, raising children, and being part of their community – they have to be strong!
What advice would you give to a writer who wants to write in Women’s Fiction?
Hmmm. I hate answering this sort of question mostly because I don’t write to genre, generally. I try to let characters come to me, write their story, and then see what avenues I need to take to get the story to the readers looking for them. But this is different for every writer. The general advice I give to any writer is to write, and write some more, and don’t be afraid to edit.
How much time did it take to write your story?
I work four days a week now but when I wrote Glenda’s story I was still working five days a week and had a teenager at home. Probably took me eighteen months of weekends.
Where in your home do you like to write?
We bought a new house this past fall and I have a small spare bedroom that I have my desk in and do much of my writing there, although with this cold weather, we’ve been lighting the fireplace in the living room and I set a table up and write there. It’s fabulous!
Where can readers buy your book?
My books are available as ebooks and paperbacks at Amazon, KOBO, B & N, and ITunes.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on the sequel to my last historical romance. It will be the third in The Crawford Family Series following Train Station Bride and Contract to Wed, which was just released.
How has your experience been with self-publishing so far?
I queried agents and publishers for twenty years and had nearly given up until my husband convinced me to self-publish. I remember telling him at the time, and it was true then in 2011, that if I self-published, I’d never get an agent or a publisher. Things have changed considerably since then. My experience has been generally positive. I’ve been fortunate to have a marketing background because, of course, Indies do their own marketing. I’ve met some wonderful people that have helped me get my books to readers. The romance community is very willing to share experiences and knowledge and that has helped immensely.
How did you discover indieBRAG?
Online. They were talking about a way to help readers discover new authors that had been vetted to some degree. I thought it was a great idea then and I still do!
The doors of the Mansville High School were covered with posters ranging from “Just Say No To Drugs” to a square dance being held Friday night after the football game. After getting directions to the art rooms, I ran down the hallway and burst through the door. The student art gala included a speaker. I smiled at Christopher Goodwich, straightened my skirt and hair, and found a seat. Sylvia was glaring at me.
“Art is about beauty,” Goodwich was saying. “But beauty is speculative. What is beautiful to you and what is beautiful to the student beside you may be two different things.”
I settled into one of those seats with the desk attached. My rear end was not cooperating and hung out either one side or the other. Goodwich was a good speaker and I listened intently. He was patient with the kids, and Sylvia’s art teacher was batting her lashes and giggling.
Goodwich would never go for her type, I thought to myself. The overt artsy-craftsy, caftans-are-still-in-style, kind of a woman. And her hair was long. Why doesn’t someone tell women over forty to cut their hair? What kind of woman would Goodwich go for? Meg did say he wasn’t gay. Everyone was clapping. I stood up enthusiastically and took with me the desk still attached to my rump. Sylvia pulled at the seat, and markers went flying. Christopher Goodwich was heading my way.
“It’s nice to see you again, Glenda.” Goodwich looked at the desk stuck to my hips. “Can I help?”
The desk plopped off my ass with a thump, and I ran a hand through my hair. “Chris! What a surprise.”
Sylvia was looking from one of us to the other.
“Is this your daughter?” He smiled at Sylvia. “She’s a terrific artist. You should be very proud.”
Sylvia giggled. Did he have this effect on all women, regardless of age?
“Thank you. She’s a great kid and so is her brother Frank. I didn’t know you were speaking here. What brought you to the high school today?”
“Mary, Mrs. Elfson-King,” he nodded to the mu-mu clad woman at the front of the room, “was in college with me. We’ve kept in touch over the years on and off. I let her know I was coming out this way, and she asked me to speak to her class.” He turned his full attention on me. “I’m glad she did.”
I batted my eyelashes and giggled. “I am, too.”
I stood there moony-eyed, and he wasn’t moving a muscle either. Just staring at me with those big, green eyes and smiling. One of the great things God did for women is to make us appreciate age-appropriate beauty. Today’s movie stars are nice-looking but remind me of my son and his friends. And that makes them cute, like a baby laughing or little girls in Christmas dresses.
The sexiest men of the stage are the ones I’ve grown up with. Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp were hot in Thelma & Louise and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. They’re still hot today. The laugh lines, the way a face and a body changes with time, makes them as sexy at fifty as when they were twenty.
Unfortunately, I think God only gifted women with this hormone. Men, as a general rule of thumb, do not see wrinkles as sexy.
“You’re very beautiful, Glenda,” Chris said. “I’d like to paint you.”
I had a bizarre vision of myself in a seventeenth-century portrait, plump, stretched out naked on a couch holding a bunch of grapes in one hand with a sheet winding through my legs and over one breast. I could feel my face turn red.
“Oh, Chris,” Mrs. Elfson-King tittered, “There are some students who have a few questions.”
I smiled at Mrs. Hyphenated Name. “I didn’t mean to hold you up, Chris.”
“Give me a minute, Glenda.” He turned to a roomful of starry-eyed mothers with their children in tow.
A message from BRAG:
We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Holly Bush, who is the author of, Red, White & Screwed our medallion honorees at indieBRAG . To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion TM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Red, White & Screwed, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.