Exclusive Interview with

N.L.Holmes

Let’s start with your Career as a writer!

When did you start writing?

I started four years ago, when I retired from teaching.

What makes writing your passion?

I love words, and I love books and
I love to do research. One is always learning one's craft and growing.

How long have you been writing?

What was the feeling when you published your first book?

Relief: I self-published, and it's exhausting.

What’s the story behind your choice of characters?

My stories are based on historical events, so many of the characters were real protagonists, but I've tried to tell the story from the viewpoint of unexpected personages.

What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?

Having to do the publicity myself.

How do you get over the “writer’s block”?

I thought I had hit writer's block on my first novel, but it turned out that I was forcing myself to plot everything out up front. As soon as I gave myself permission to be pantser, the juices flowed.

We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?

Remember writing is a business as well as an art. Also, don't be too quick to give up--not in querying, not in thinking what you've written is rubbish, not in having to overcome the distractions of real life

If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?

Yes, because even the bad ones have something to teach you--maybe especially the bad ones. Although it may just not have been the right book for that reviewer.

What is the feeling when you get a good review?

I'm glad my story has touched someone in some way, if only to entertain them.

Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?

Not real events, but certainly emotional experiences.

Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?

There's a little of me in all the characters, I guess. But I haven't based any of them on myself or anyone else.

What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?

Oh yes!
I often judge a book by its cover if I know nothing about the author, especially when browsing the shelves of a bookstore.

Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?

I guess I prefer to express myself through my writing, although I'm happy to talk with anyone who wants to. My social media presence is minimal. I don't want to be a public figure.

How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?

It's humbling.

Who is your favorite author? Why?

Too hard! I love so many! People like Louise Erdrich and Elizabeth Strout and Marilynne Robinson.
But I guess I love the 19th-century realists best of all, in French or in English.

What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?

Being big is not a goal. I just want some people out there to find something for themselves in my books. Mid-list is plenty good.

Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?

I actually am rewriting one. The plot drifted off into the episodic because I never got a handle on the characters, to understand where they'd take me.

If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?

What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.

Don't. Why would anyone be so keen to annoy someone they don't know?

What would you say to your readers?

I hope you find something you can identify with in my books. Maybe recognize a moral crisis or an agonizing event that must be endured. Reading makes us conscience of our solidarity.

Thank you for sharing! Let’s talk about your Personal Life!

Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?

I live in Tampa and in northern France with my husband and three cats. Our son is grown.

What is your day job if you have one?

I'm an archaeologist, retired from teaching ancient history and humanities at a university.

What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?

I like to weave, to play the violin, to dance, to hike, and to drive a jogcart.

Did you have a happy childhood?

Average. I was too weird to be completely happy!

Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?

Nothing specific. My cousin and I used to write "novels" to entertain ourselves.

Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?

I've only published the first two books of each of my two series. Four more completed ones are unpublished. In the case of The Lord Hani mysteries, they are continuations of the adventures of the Egyptian diplomat Hani. The books of the Empire at Twilight series are more loosely related. There is one about a eunuch slave who gets entangled in a conspiracy, and one about a shy, repressed king, who struggles to find the path of justice.

What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?

A knowledge of our own culture and our own past. With all the emphasis on STEM, the humanities go begging.

If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?

What is your favorite music?

I like classical music, Baroque and opera--I always have, even as a kid.

Share a secret with us 🙂

I used to be cloistered nun, an antiques dealer, an interior decorator, an artist, and the administrative assistant of a foundation.

Thank you! We wish you the best of luck for you and your art!