Friday, December 30, 2011

Interview with Guest Blogger: Debra Holland

It is my pleasure to have Indie Author Debra Holland back on my blog this month. I am currently reading the first book in her God's Dream Trilogy and LOVING it. I'm sure readers will too! I asked Debra about her current series, what she's working on now and, since she writes screenplays too, a little bit about her screenwriting.

Lisa: What inspired you to write Sower of Dreams?

Debra: I wrote a short story for Andre Norton’s Witchworld Anthology. When I queried her, she wrote that she no longer did the anthology. So I changed the world to one of my own, expanded the story to a book and entered it in the Golden Heart, where it finaled. Then I made it a long book, with two more in the trilogy. All the time I was writing the Sower of Dreams, I continued to correspond with Andre, and she ended up reading the book and giving me suggestions. Then she gave me an endorsement--one of the last ones before she died.

Lisa: I know you write screenplays as well. Can you tell us a little bit about that project too and how you got into it?

Debra: When you take plotting classes, most teachers use screenplays as examples because more people have seen the same movie than read the same book. The structure for screenplays and novels are the same.

I started writing screenplays when an actor friend introduced me to his director and asked that I help with the movie, which was a Western. I went to a meeting with the director (who wrote the original) and the man who was the writer at the time. I’d marked up my version because even though I didn’t know much about screenplays, I did know about motivation and visuals and other important details. In the meeting the other writer would argue with me. For example, we spent 45 minutes on the concept that if a man is going to change from being a good man to being a bad man, that has to be motivated. He can’t just wake up the next day and be bad. Luckily, the director kept siding with me and the other writer quit in frustration.


I adapted my first book, Wild Montana Sky, into a screenplay. It’s won some awards, but I haven’t done anything with it.

Lisa: How does writing novels and screenplays differ?
Debra: The biggest difference is no interior thoughts in screenplays. You have to show the emotion or have it expressed in dialogue. It’s hard for screenwriters to switch to writing books because they tend to gloss over this.

In some ways, screenplays are easier because they are shorter. But you have to make everything count.

Lisa: Is there anything in particular that you find challenging about writing? How do you overcome it?

Debra: Actually doing it. I avoid writing as much as possible. J About three months ago, a friend (who also wasn’t writing) started coming over, and we sit at opposite ends of the table and work on our own stories.

Lisa: Plotter, pantser, puzzler or linear writer? (For the record I am a puzzler. I write completely out of order.)

Debra: More of a plotter than a panster. I have some books well plotted out and others the outline is vague.

Lisa: Do you have a routine when you write? Must have coffee in hand? Must sit in the same chair at the coffee shop? Must eat donut before you get started?

Debra: No routine, although I write better after a nap. J

Lisa: Speaking of coffee...Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts?

Debra: Lol. Green tea. So I’ll go to Starbucks for that. But mostly I make it at home.

(Note from Lisa: No coffee? I wouldn't survive! If I could put a Dunkin Donuts in my front yard I'd be thrilled!)

Lisa: What is the most interesting thing you have done to research a book?

Debra: I think it’s what I’m about to do in researching my current book--Harvest of Dreams. My heroine competes with the saber. I’m going to have to go and learn a bit about the weapon.

(Note from Lisa: Very cool!)

Lisa: Tell us about your current series? What do you have coming up next?

Debra: I’m working on the third book of The Gods’ Dream Trilogy, which is fantasy romance. I hope to have it out in three months.

I’m finishing up the last edits for Stormy Montana Sky--my sweet historical Western romance series. I should have it out next week.

The first book in my space opera trilogy is ready to publish. I’m waiting for the cover for Lywin’s Quest, then it will be available. Hopefully next week.

(Note from Lisa: Space opera trilogy? I can't wait!)
Excerpt from Sower of Dreams:

 






Dream threads wrapped around Daria, tugging her away from Seagem to an unfamiliar place.

She stood on a hilly desert, gritty beige sand under her bare feet. Overhead, a yellow sun blazed in an arching azure sky. The starkness of the color dried the air from her lungs, making her lightheaded.

Daria fought the dizziness. Where is this place? What am I doing here?

She’d curbed herself of dream walking without the presence of Yadarius, ever since Indaran’s death. Somehow her blocks must have slipped.

Trepidation, like cold fingers, clutched her stomach, chilling her in spite of the blistering heat.

She shaded her eyes with one hand, staring at the vast blueness. She wasn’t in Seagem anymore; she doubted a sky of such a hue existed anywhere on her world. Was this Yadarius’ doing? Had He sent her somewhere? For what purpose?

Turning in a small circle, she scanned her surroundings, searching for signs of the SeaGod’s presence.

Nothing. Not even a hint of brine in the parched air.

She took deep breaths, striving for calm. To break her paralysis, she forced herself to take a step. The hot sand slithered under her feet. At least being in a dream protected the soles of her feet from burning.

The act of moving freed her from the bonds of her childhood fears. I’m a woman grown. A warrior. This is an entirely different dream walk than my last meeting with Indaran. She tried to believe her words.

Trudging to the top of the hill, Daria looked around. Sand dunes ringed this barren, rocky outcropping, scarce of vegetation. A sense of purpose unfurled tendrils of knowingness. There must be a reason for her being here, and she needed to find out what.

Her ears caught a rhythmic sound, then the scrape of a shod hoof on a stone.

More curious than apprehensive, she waited.

A rider on an ebony stallion, leading a pack mare, appeared between two ridges, The man wore a loose, light-colored garment over trews, and a head-covering that looked like a cap with a long cloth shielding the back of his neck. She noted the bow hooked close to his hand on the saddle and the fletches of what must be a quiver of arrows on his back. No sword, though.

He turned his head. A strong face, unlike any she’d ever seen. Hawk-like features. Dark skin. Penetrating brown eyes.

His gaze shot to hers, like an arrow through her heart.

Daria felt the impact and stumbled back, her hand flying to cover her chest. Beneath her palm, her heartbeat stuttered, then quickened, like a horse kicked into a canter. Warmth spread under her fingers, racing throughout her body. Her knees weakened.

The man reined in his stallion, watching her, his eyes narrowed. Slowly, he extended his hand to her, palm up, a clear invitation to come to him.

She reached out her hand.

A chain of connection forged across the distance between them.

Then she saw darkness stain the horizon behind him. A clear warning of danger swept through her othersense. She lowered her hand and backed away.

Then the dream threads unraveled. Daria slept on, dreamless.


Visit Debra Holland at http://www.DrDebraHolland.com

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