‘The end goal for me is reaching readers. Everything I do when it comes to the books I write, the posts I make on social media – it’s all for the reader and how I can have a better interaction with them.’
Today I am delighted to welcome New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Steena Holmes to Swirl and Thread for a chat. Steena has just published her latest novel The Forgotten Ones, a story ‘where the search for truth is defined by secrets and lies’.
In 2015, named in the ‘Top 20 Women Authors to Read’ by Good Housekeeping, Steena Holmes is also a travel junkie, an avid baker, a wife and mother.
Read on to see how she juggles it all and lots more…
Steena having read through your website can I just say I’m exhausted!!!!! A mother, wife, author, travel junkie, baker…….please share with us all a top tip on time management. How do you make it all work?
HA! I wish I knew 😉 It’s all about priorities I think…for instance…just how much do I want a piece of cake compared to getting my words today? If I bake that cake, it means cleaning the bathrooms gets moved to the bottom of the list…oh wait, the kids can do that chore which gives me time to check out hotel sites for my next trip which then reminds me I need to write in order to go on that trip, so butt in chair and fingers on keyboard it is.
In all seriousness, I use a program called Things 3 which helps me big time! With so much going on, my biggest fear is dropping balls. So far so good (knock on wood). I also have a great husband who helps take care of regular day chores when my writing life needs to take priority.
The books you write cross many genre from Psychological Suspense to Women’s Fiction, Small Town Contemporary to Sweet Romance. What process do you go through in deciding into which genre your next novel will be? Is there a pattern/rotation?
The first thing I take into consideration are commitments or deadlines. After that, it depends on what gets me excited the most. Right now, it’s the psychological stories that have my attention.
Writing is obviously a huge passion of yours, but we also share a different passion and that is our love for chocolate! In many of your books you include recipes of a ‘delectable’ delight that has meaning in your life. Where did this love of baking come from?
Ahh! I get to share a secret with you! Growing up, my mother was a cook by trade. Which meant that nothing I made would compare to her cooking. But she didn’t have time always to bake – so I took that on. No one criticized or judged my baking which meant I could do it whenever I wanted. While she was working, I babysat for a family where the mother was a farmhouse baker and she taught me so many tips and tricks. I remember how she never used measuring cups or spoons…she was amazing and her desserts delicious!
Today, when I bake, it’s a stress relief. So if you ever see me sharing recipes or photos of those delectable treats…you know one of two things. I’m either craving some chocolate or stressed and about to bake up a storm!
Your latest novel ‘The Forgotten Ones’, a stand alone thriller published on April 1st, is described as thought-provoking and a book that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Can you tell us a little about the premise of the book?
It’s all centered around the deep dark secrets hidden within families. These secret have the power to destroy everything unless the truth comes out. But what happens if the truth is even more powerful and more deadly?
You’ll have to read the story to find out!
In 2015 you were named in the ‘Top 20 Women Authors to Read’ by Good Housekeeping. As an advocate of Indie Publishing, this must have been very important recognition for you and also encouragement for many other Indie writers. What is your stance on the world of Indie Publishing? Is it getting any easier to get your book out there when you are competing constantly with the big publishing houses?
I have the pleasure of both worlds – where I’m able to self publish as well as work with a publisher. The end goal for me is reaching readers. Everything I do when it comes to the books I write, the posts I make on social media – it’s all for the reader and how I can have a better interaction with them.
Indie publishing gives us that advantage – we’re not blocked in by high prices or held back by publishing more stories in a set world if that’s what our readers are wanting.
As I mentioned above you are a travel junkie, so much so that you have your own site dedicated to ‘Living a life with passion and pursuing dreams’ Where is the most exciting place you have travelled to and why?
I am such a travel junkie that I even have a website called SteenaTravels.com! If I’m not on a trip, I’m planning a trip and I have the notebooks full of prices and places and things I want to do to prove it – lol. My top location was Bruges, Belgium for a number of reasons. The small town is beautiful and it has over 50 chocolate shops – imagine that! I literally went from store to store to store to store and ate a piece of chocolate at every shop – it was amazing! But it was also the first location I went to as a solo traveler. I want to go back, to stay for a few days and wander the streets, sit at cafes and drink coffee, take my laptop and write while others walk past. I want to fill my soul with the peace I found there – and I can’t wait to go back!
Steena I don’t doubt that you are an avid reader! Who would you consider to be the most important literary influence(s) on your life to date?
I grew up devouring Lucy Maude Montgomery and Tolkien. I fell in love with the written world in a way that has obviously never left my soul. Today I love Ted Dekker and Stephen King and Karen Marie Moning and Kimberly Belle.
You have accomplished so much Steena, can you share with us all what your next adventure, either in travel or writing, will be?
My next adventure is to continue challenging my self when it comes to writing psychological thrillers. I want to go deeper with my writing! As for travel – I have a trip with my husband to Hawaii coming up. But next year, I have something really special being planned for my readers…quite possibly we’ll be doing a Chocolate tour through Europe – how exciting will that be!
The Forgotten Ones ~ Book Blurb
Elle is a survivor. She’s managed to piece together a solid life from a childhood of broken memories and fairy tales her mom told her to explain away bad dreams. But weekly visits to her mother still fill Elle with a paralyzing fear she can’t explain. It’s just another of so many unanswered questions she grew up with in a family estranged by silence and secrets.
Elle’s world turns upside down when she receives a deathbed request from her grandfather, a man she was told had died years ago. Racked by grief, regrets, and a haunted conscience, he has a tale of his own to tell Elle: about her mother, an imaginary friend, and two strangers who came to the house one night and never left.
As Elle’s past unfolds, so does the truth—if she can believe it. She must face the reasons for her inexplicable dread. As dark as they are, Elle must listen…before her grandfather’s death buries the family’s secrets forever.
Purchase Link ~ The Forgotten Ones
Named in the Top 20 Women Author to read in 2015 by Good Housekeeping, she won the National Indie Excellence Award in 2012 for Finding Emma as well as the USA Book News Award for The Word Game in 2015.
Having her Author Brand featured repeatedly on sites such as Goodreads, BookBub, RedBook, and Goodhousekeeping, Steena is an authority on creating an effective author brand and has been invited to speak on the subject at various author forums around the world.
Website ~ www.steenaholmes.com
Twitter ~ @steenaholmes
Facebook ~ Steena Holmes-Author