Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesday Debut Interview: Syeira by Gill L. Holland


Today's Wednesday Debut Interview features Gill L. Holland, author of the YA paranormal novel, Syeira,


First off, tell us a bit about yourself! What's one thing people might not expect about you?

Well I’m Gill; fifty three years old from rainy Manchester in England. I’m married to Andrew. I have six grown up children, nine grandchildren and four cats. I have always been interested in creative projects for as long as I can remember. I have worked with many different mediums in the past. I once had a local market stall selling artwork that Andrew and myself produced. It was very successful, but I made little profit so I had to change direction. I still love doing craft work. Recently I sold an events business I started with my Andrew. I made Swarovski crystal, wedding bouquets that looked stunning, the brides adored them.

I work part-time in the local High School as a Behavioural Manager and Counsellor, which is very demanding, but also extremely rewarding.

Apart from writing my novel, which my friends and family still can’t believe I’ve done, most people are surprised to learn I am a Clinical Hypnotherapist.


How would you describe Syeira in one sentence?

Syeira…she’s a typical, ordinary teenage girl coming to terms with growing up, she suddenly discovers there is more to her and her life than she could possibly have imagined, especially the vampires.


How long as this process taken for you, from the time that you began the first draft of this book until the date of its publication? How many novels had you written prior to this?

I have been planning the book for five years, but it has taken six months to write and complete. The endless editing and re-editing has been the hardest aspect. You have to read the book time and time again, checking every single punctuation mark, spelling and grammar. It is the only way to ensure it is correct, but it is very time consuming.


What part of this book did you most enjoy writing?

The first chapter and the last chapter. The first chapter was so exciting getting started, it is so satisfying when you look back over it and see what you’ve done, it motivates you to go on. The last chapter was so emotional, the feeling you get when you finally finish writing the story is amazing. The sense of achievement is tremendous. I couldn’t wait to show it to my friends.


Every writer experiences some rejection and setbacks along the way. How did you learn to cope with them and move on?

I haven’t experienced rejection as yet, I am self publishing so I haven’t got anyone judging my work, only the reader, who I hope will enjoy what I have produced, but not everyone will enjoy it, that’s just the way it is. I am happy with what I have written. The only setback has been trying to decide who to go with for E-Publishing and Print On Demand, this can be a very confusing task to deal with and takes up a lot of your time. Finishing the book is only the beginning of the work, getting it out there and earning money from it very demanding.


What brought you to the decision to self-publish Syeira? What do you think has made this the best choice for your book?

The decision to Self-Publish was made because I wanted total control of my work, there are plenty of services out there to achieve this. The likelihood of rejection is also low as your work is not being scrutinised by an agent, who may not like your work, even though others might. I also, to an extent have control over the revenue from sales because I can choose who to publish with.

This is my first book so I think by Self-Publishing I can choose how to market it. My intention is to follow it up as soon as possible with the sequel so I need to get as much exposure as possible as a new author. Getting established is very important for the long term.


As you mentioned, in self-publishing, a lot more falls onto the author to do. What steps did you go through in order to prepare SYEIRA for publication?

The story was written using Microsoft Word, then it was “fleshed out” into a book using Adobe Indesign, it was converted into PDF, EPUB and the various other formats that required for reading on the various devices out there. I am lucky, Andrew is competent in all these areas, we have done everything ourselves.


Tell us about your cover! Who designed it? What do you want it to tell your readers about your story?

The cover and the back, and all the additional artwork was designed by Andrew, he is a whizz with Graphic Design, he uses Adobe Photoshop for all the graphics. Photoshop works seamlessly alongside Indesign.

I wanted the cover to reflect the genre. It had to be striking and dramatic with high contrast, predominantly in red, white and black. The colours most often associated with the genre. The picture is of my daughter Rachael and it also features Syeira’s Talisman to add intrigue.


Tell us about the title: Syeira. Was this the original title you'd had in mind? If not, what made you change it?

Syeira is taken from Romania and it is a traditional gypsy name, meaning Princess. It is the original name I chose for the title.

What's next for you after this book debuts? Have you started working on another book?

I am going to get working on the sequel as soon as this book is launched, I already have the basic story worked out. I feel I have more creative freedom with the next book having now established the characters. Readers will be familiar with them so the hard part is done. I am looking forward to writing the next book more because I can take it anywhere now. You have to assign so much space in the first book to establish your characters, so you have limited space to take them to where you really want to go.


How does it feel to finally have your book out in the hands of readers? Do you have any events planned you want people to know about?

It is very satisfying and also very frightening knowing the book is available for others to read and criticise, it is like your baby, it’s hard to let go of. I am arranging for local book launches when I have the book printed and I will take it from there, I haven’t really given much thought to this side of things, suppose I will now it’s out there.


Is there any other advice you'd like to pass on to others pursuing publication? Anything you would have done differently?

My advice to anyone thinking of producing there first novel is simple; Don’t Give Up!...keep at it. Once you have the first few chapters down you will relax and settle into a rhythm. You will find that once you have a very basic story written down you will go back over it and enhance the grammar and punctuation and the story. You have the benefit of knowing the ending so you can change the beginning. You can repeat this process, until you are happy with it, but first you need to get your basic story down.

I am not sure whether I would do anything different for the next book, everything seemed to work and fall into place, so I can’t think what I could do differently, maybe pay someone else to write it. That would be easier.


And, just for fun: what fictional character would your main character most like to have dinner with?

I think Syeira would love to sit down in an Italian restaurant with Boudica, (queen of the British Iceni tribe). She is Syeira’s inspiration, she gives her strength in times of need, Syeira models herself on her. I think they would both love a good Lasagne and a Tiramsu to follow, and then they could have a good chat about the best way to defeat the enemy. I would imagine they would get a few stares.


Sounds like they'd have a great time! Thanks for telling us about your writing/publication journey!

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