Hello, this weekend I have another interview with a self published author for you! This week I spoke to the lovely Holly Sparks, the author of Enrule, all about writing, motivation and self publishing. I hope you enjoy!
1. Introduce yourself! Who are you? What do you write / what genre? What are you currently working on? Do you have any published works?
Hi everyone! I’m Holly Sparks, author of The Enrule Series. I published my first novel ‘Enrule’ in December 2015. But I am a totally normal girl. I go to college, I go to work daily and I spend my evenings staying up as late as my eyes will let me reading chapters and chapters of books. I just can’t get enough. You know when you get that feeling bubbling up inside of you when you walk past a bookstore, the kind of feeling that makes you want to scream and burst into song as you skip through the entrance, yeah. That’s the kind of feeling I get when I write.
My book ‘Enrule’ is my first novel. It was a story that was bubbling up inside my head — I like the word ‘bubbling’, hehe — for ages and it demanded to be told. Ella is a nineteen year old girl, lost in a dystopian world that’s been overrun by horrifying creatures and madmen posed as scientists. Ella fights her way through the book, meeting new friends, falling for a boy who is everything she hates and Ella also becomes the warrior she never thought she’d be.
I’m currently working on the sequel. The cover and title release for this novel will be announced early next year, so I hope you’re all excited.
2. When did you first start writing and what motivated you to start?
I’m going to be completely truthful here and not say it was something I wanted to do since birth, because I’m not sure any of us know what we want to do in our first few minutes of life, except for cry uncontrollably just to annoy our parents. Believe it or not, I started writing four years ago. It was just something that I fell into, and I’m so glad I did. I didn’t fall head first or anything. All the credit goes to my sister really. I don’t know what I’d do without that girl! She passed me a book one day — books were a foreign language to me back then — and she simply said ‘You need to read this.’ And so I did, and so the world of books were thrust upon my life. I spent every waking minute thinking about books, dreaming about books until they became my life. It wasn’t until a few months later that I really began to write. I just had so many ideas, so many characters that wanted a say. It’s turned into my passion and I just couldn’t be happier to share these characters with the world now.
3. What inspires you to write? Can you tell us about the inspiration for any specific pieces of writing you have completed / are working on?
Ah! This is my favourite topic. Inspiration to write comes from a whole list of different things but I’ll try and narrow it down for you guys. The first thing that takes me to whole other place are books. I think the more you read, the more inspired you get to create your own worlds, your own characters. Music is also up their with the big guns. Certain artists inspire me to write. Each artist has a difference voice, a different message to share with its audience. The rhythm and tone in each piece of music really add to the structure of my writing too. But then I do have some music on my playlist that just makes me want to get up and boogie. Yes, I used the word ‘boogie’, sue me.
4. How important is the planning stage for you? Do you like to plan everything before you start or do you simply start writing with a vague idea in mind?
I’m a writer that just goes with the flow. I don’t plan. I have a vague idea of what’s going to happen in the next four pages or so but after that, it’s a complete mystery. That’s what makes it so much freaking fun! The characters seem to take over, the words just leaving my fingertips like magic. I’m definitely not a planner, I guess I just like surprises.
5. What is your writing process like?
Hehe. My writing process is a very strange one indeed. I tend to write full force ahead, typing letters and words into the keyboard that flow from my mind, and not stop writing until my brain is frazzled. Sometimes it can be ten minutes, sometimes hours. Once I take a break and then look back at what I’ve written, ‘Oh my giddy aunt.’ It’s like seeing a crime scene that you just want to tape off from the public ever seeing. There are so many words that I don’t even think are in the English dictionary.
But once I go over and correct the grammar and spelling, it’s a little decent. Those who expect to see a perfect manuscript from a first draft are going to be in for disappointment. I wish we could all have a perfect story from the first draft but, let’s face it, it’s not going to happen.
6. What are your writing essentials / what do you use when you write?
I simply write anywhere and everywhere. But my favourite place is laying on my bed, headphones in and stuffing mountains of chocolate and skittles into my mouth. The sugar really opens up the imagination in my brain and the inspiration of the music in my ears makes me an unstoppable writing force! I use either my laptop or iPad to write indoors but always take a notepad and pen for when I’m out of the house, because we all have those ideas that just pop into our heads…and if we don’t write them down, we WILL forget them.
7. What is your favourite thing to write? E.g. Dialogue, action scenes, saucy scenes…
Oh, that question cracked me up! Sorry, I’m not meant to laugh am I? Okay… I’ll be normal. *cough cough*
I love writing action scenes. I love description and I love, as you say, ‘saucy scenes.’ There is just something so powerful about the emotion displayed in characters when it comes down the nitty gritty, the powerful scenes when every character is forced to battle, to fight for their place in the world. It’s in those scenes where we see the raw strength in characters and I LOVE it. And let’s face it, saucy scenes are just so much fun to write. If you deny…I know you’re lying.
8. What do you think is the most difficult part of writing?
I SUCK at dialogue. I simply suck. I have always wanted the easy flow of characters voices to come to me, but they don’t. For some reason I have to work extra hard creating the characters voices to match their actions. But then again, we all have our writing problems, don’t we?
‘Read more, laugh more… Oh, and eat lots of chocolate.’
9. It is always interesting to know what other writers listen to when writing. Do you listen to music whilst you write? If so, let us know some of the songs which have inspired you the most!
- Sia –California Dreamin’
- You Me At Six – Room To Breathe
- Snow Patrol – Just Say Yes
- One Republic – Secrets
- Birdy – Skinny Love
- Avril Lavigne – Alice
10. Do you ever struggle with writer’s block? What do you do to overcome it?
Yes. All the time. I get to a scene in a book where I have no idea where to go next. Then all of a sudden in an hour, in two days, in two months… It hits me! I’m sad to say that writer’s block is just like having a stitch. Either you run through it, or give up. I don’t surrender that easy. Stitches will fear me when I’m through with them.
11. How do you go about researching for a new book? Do you have any tips for others who are researching for a book?
Researching is the most boring part I find. There’s no imagination, no mystery. I tend to do my research as I go along to break it up a bit. I tend to just go with it and do my research when I edit.
12. Where do you find your inspiration for character names and place names? Do you ever name characters after people you know?
Haha! What a great question. I usually just come up with names on the spot and if they don’t feel right, I change them later on. But I’ve never named a character after someone I know. I don’t know why, but I feel my writing is something very personal and therefore I’m quite selfish by not including anything about anyone I know. I don’t know why, but maybe I will give it a go in time. I’ll have some fun with my evil characters then, hehe.
13. What are your future plans when it comes to writing or even publishing?
I plan to self publish the next two books in ‘The Enrule Series’. The sequel being released next year. Then I plan to write a spin-off series and sometime in the future, I plan to go down the traditional publishing route as I’d love to explore every aspect of writing and publishing.
14. As we all love books I wondered, what are your five favourite books?
Ah! It’s so hard to pick.
- The Hex Hall Series by Rachel Hawkins
- The Fallen Star Series by Jessica Sorensen
- The Crescent Chronicles by Alyssa Rose Ivy
- The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
- A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas — because let’s face it, we’re all in love with Rhysand.
15. Can you tell us a little more about your experience with self-publishing? And do you have any advice for others planning to self publish?
My advice to others who want to go down the self publishing route is to definitely DO your research. It doesn’t happen over night. You need to get to know your audience, get to know your social media as you will basically be marketing yourself. Most importantly have the best team of people behind you. It’s a learning curve and one of the most special moments of your life. Don’t rush it.
16 Finally, where can we find you on social media?
- Instagram – BooksandSkittles
- Twitter – hollgal123
- Blog – Hollyswonderlandblog.wordpress.com
- Website (where you can find a free sample of Enrule) – Hollylouisa.wixsite.com/hollyswonderland
I hope you enjoyed this week’s interview with the lovely Holly Sparks! I had so much fun reading through this one and I definitely feel motivated to go write now! Let me know what you thought of this weeks interview!