Friday, March 03, 2006

Pro-File: Nancy Holder

Ed here: If you have a mystery or crime novel that has appeared in the past thirty days or will appear in the next thirty days, this blog will begin publishing New Books pieces in which writers talk about their books in 800 words or less. Why you wrote it, what it's about, interesting insights into the writing process, etc. We need name of publisher, price, on sale date. If you have a New Books piece e-mail it to No e-books or self-published books please. Regular trade houses and small press houses only. Thanks.////////

Pro-File: Nancy Holder

Nancy Holder was born in Los Altos, California, and her family settled for a time in Walnut Creek. Her father, who taught at Stanford, joined the navy and the family traveled throughout California and lived in Japan for three years. A famous schoolmate is Mark Hamill of Star Wars fame. When she was sixteen, she dropped out of high school to become a ballet dancer in Cologne, Germany, and later relocated to Frankfurt Am Main.

Eventually she returned to California and graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at San Diego with a degree in Communications. Soon after, she began to write; her first sale was a young adult romance novel titled Teach Me to Love.

She lives in San Diego, California, with her daughter Belle; their cat David and kitten Snow; and their anole, Cammy. She has no spare time.

Nancy's work has appeared on the USA TODAY, LA Times,, Waldenbooks, LOCUS, and other bestseller lists. A four-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association, she has also received accolades from the American Library Association, the American Reading Association, the New York Public Library, and The Romantic Times.

She has sold approximately six dozen book-length projects, many of them set in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Smallville universes. Wicked, her recent series for Simon and Schuster, was co-authored with her former Maui Writers Retreat student, Debbie Viguie. She has also sold approximately two hundred short stories, essays, and articles, mostly recently to Hot Blood XI and BTVS: Tales of the Slayer 3.

Nancy also worked as the editor for a computer game company; she provides editorial consulting services and ghostwriting for private clients. She also teaches creative writing.

1. I am currently working on two novels. One is a pseudonymous novel
for "tween" girls. These are girls who are not just little kids
anymore, but not yet teenagers. Let's call them the trainer-bra crowd.
My nine-year-old daughter is a self-identified tween. (My friend Karen
asked her about her trainer bra. She said, "What is it that you are
training?") If you watch THAT'S SO RAVEN/ /and you know who Aly and AJ
are, you are either a tween or have very well developed tweendar.

1.5 and 2.0 I am also working on a trilogy of books that are being sold
via Silhouette Bombshell, which is actually an imprint of Harlequin.
Bombshell is seeking to attract readers who like Buffy, /Alias, /Lara
Croft--ballsy women shooting bad guys, solving mysteries, saving
handsome guys and their own teenage daughters. I just read one about a
fire jumper that was very cool. There's usually a love interest-guy but
if there's no guy like that, these women still have sex lives. My first
is called DAUGHTER OF THE FLAMES and the umbrella title for the trilogy

The weird thing about my DAUGHTER books is that they have become
intricate mystery novels. No plan on my part, but every time I would
have a character do or say something, I would trace back the motivation
and then try to figure out what the motivation was for THAT. How come X
wanted to do that, and how would they set up that ambush, for God's
sake? People (and vampires) are getting killed and my heroine is
finding out that All Is Not As It Seems. I think this shows growth on
my part. The first time I wrote a mystery, it was a short story and I
had no idea how to salt in the clues, and point the reader toward the
inevitable conclusion, etc. It all came down to a book of matches. Now
I'm just a regular Inspector Gadget.

I am also working on a short story with my tweenette, about a mouse who
saves mousedom from the Katzies during WWI. Yes, it's a bit scrambled.
This is our second collaborative work. "The Further Adventures of
Lightning Merriemouse-Jones" went to FURRY FANTASTIC, and we each got
our own contracts and our own half of the money. Life is good.

So in essence, I'm writing fantasy, dark fantasy, and chicklet lit. All
of this is thrilling to me. I love the act of writing. I love being
asked to write all these different projects. I'm good to go, gimme the
keyboard, let me talk to myself while I work (because I do, even in
restaurants.) And I have established that if I push the driver's seat
back, I can balance my laptop on the steering wheel, which is a useful
thing to know if you arrive at a bookstore early for a signing while on

3. The greatest pleasure of a writing career is being able to get paid
while learning on the job. I learn something new every day. I am so
sloppy and lazy and I use adverbs. I'm extremely, terribly, totally
ashamed of my dependence on adverbs. I love email. I love getting
missives from other writers, seeing how funny they are, how witty and
creative. Another woman writer and I just discovered that we have been
quoting Piet Hein poetry to various other writers. I'm on a list with
one of my idols, Ursula K. LeGuin. I teach her in class (via UCSD
Extension) and then I go home and email her. Fantastic! What a life!
I have a writer friend who helps me with all my gun questions and
another friend who helps me swear in French Canadian. How cool is that?

When I was writing Buffy books (I've written more Buffy tie-in projects
than any other author) I visited the set a number of times and I never
got over my starstruckidity. Interviewing Joss. Getting a steak from
the catering truck. I had two Christmas dinners/lunches with those
guys. I was walking along through a park with one of the set dressers
and he bent down and picked up a pine cone. He said, "Oh, my God. This
is a perfect pine cone." I wanted to marry him. I was a
Communications major in college and all the miniutae of tv and film
production is like porn to me. I can't get enough. I love
interviewing crew. Listening to a DP wax on about his choices of gels
and baby-baby's. Oooh. That's the cool stuff writers get to do.

4. Dis-pleasure: Lawrence Kasdan has been quoted as saying, "Being a
writer is like having homework for the rest of your life." This is
true. I envy people with jobs they leave. I have a friend who is a
therapist. She makes tons of money sitting in a chair. When the last
client leaves, she gets up and shuts the door and drives home. She is
always lecturing me about being a workaholic and observes that I need to
restructure my life. Additionally, I have such a finely honed
imagination that I can easily see myself burning out, auguring in, and
starving to death. These scenarios usually send me to
looking for jobs for which I am unqualified. I had a substitute
teaching credential for a few years but I never used it, ever, so I let
it go. I had hives for days. Another writer friend of mine has parents
who are teachers. They wanted him to at least get a teaching
credential, for God's sake. He said, "Ma, if I have something to fall
back on, I'll fall back on it." I get horrible cases of the heebie
jeebies and I sit around like Bob in that Bill Murray movie, saying
things like, "I am an island of serenity. My external circumstances
have nothing to do with my inner peace and tranquility." And then I
realize that it has been four days since I cleaned out the cat box and I
haven't called the cable company to find out why I can no longer DVR LOST.

5. A piece of advice FOR the publishing world? Hire me all the time
and pay me a lot more money. Now. And: do your best every day, and
even if things go south, you can know that you did your best, every
day. This sounds inane but it is truly excellent advice.

6. Two or three forgotten mystery writers. I forget. But I did google
"Forgotten Mystery Writers" and discovered THEY DIED IN VAIN:
Jim Huang. This sounds like something I need to buy at my local
independent bookstore.

7. My first sale. My agent called with the good news and I didn't
believe him. He had to convince me. He said, "What's wrong?" I said,
"I'm waiting for the shoe to drop." He said, "There is no shoe. You
sold it! It's your first sale." I kept saying, "Uh huh. Okay." I'm
sure it was very unfulfilling for him. But I wrote Stephen King and
told him, because I had promised myself that when I sold a book, I would
buy King's DANSE MACABRE in hardback. So I did, and I went to the
bookstore, and I came home and read it all weekend swigging hot cheap
champagne out of a bottle. He wrote me back and congratulated me. We
had faces then.


Blogger Larry said...

Amazing how some people can just be so fearless, like that guy on television, Steve what is his face, from Australia who hands all the scary animals. How much courage does that take? I went researching about the guy and then came across a totally irrelevant topic like cars attract women that somehow took my mind off that crocodile guy for good. Weird how you can be so tangled up in one thing and then move onto another. Sheesh.
cars attract women

7:33 AM  

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