V. S. Holmes is a New England based author with one title published and two more coming along shortly! You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, her website and her book, SMOKE AND RAIN on Amazon, for kindle and in paperback.
Do you write from home? I write all over, really. During the winter I mostly write from home, though I will sojourn to the local coffee shop to work with my writers' group. I work as an archaeologist for the other three seasons, so I travel throughout the northeast depending on the location of our sites. Most hotels have a workstation in the rooms with great wifi, power outlets and a desk, and that's where I write during the dig season.
Wherever you write, describe your desk/writing area. Messy. As it's winter, I'm home. My home desk is currently covered in two TBR piles, headphones, a stack of Archaeology magazine issues and two coffee cups. It's tucked into a makeshift alcove under a bank of windows and the walls are covered with small prints and original work that I've acquired from various Comic Cons. There's a book case on my right with my favorites and a box on my left for books I'm bringing to our local used book store. Right now the trees are bare, so I have a nice view through the window of a rather bleak sky.
What influences your writing the most? Experiences. Immersing myself in something, smelling the scents, hearing the sounds. People watching. Richness, whether it's the sound of a thick fabric moving when I walk through a warehouse with a friend or the smell of chicken soup cooked in a clay basin underground.
What is your definition of success? On a personal level, it's reading a manuscript and thinking, "hey, not bad at all." When I'm looking over a story and feel just as excited as I did when I concocted the first scene (despite the horrible days it might have taken to get there), I feel like I've succeeded.
On a different level, if one person reads my work and the characters, the setting, something, reaches out of the pages and grips their heart, that is success. I want readers to be able to see themselves in my work, or find solace from their own world, or a solution to an issue they face.
Does how you grew up influence your writing? I imagine it does, quite a bit. I grew up in a very remote area without any children my age close by. I didn't make friends very easily or have siblings, so I spent a lot of my time alone. We had 10.5 acres of land that abutted several miles of wilderness that is now a wildlife preserve. I spent almost all my time wandering the woods and streams there in my own little world. Pieces of that land are woven into the landscapes of my books for sure. My parents read a lot to me, and my dad would make up stories or share tales from his younger, rather colorful, days. Though I wasn't allowed much in the way of televised entertainment, I did watch NOVA, Cosmos, and Nature, which informed a lot of my love for science fiction.
What made you decide to write a book? I didn't really decide to write a book, I just started putting down a story in my head and continued to work on it. Eventually I realized I could actually do something with the project. Now it's the foundation for 16 books. I think the key is to not disregard something even if you can't surmise the purpose just yet.
Where did the inspiration for series like Reforged and Nel Bently come from? The story line of the first two books in Reforged started as a single book. There was an image in a National Geographic (I think) of a ruined city in a desert. The image of a young woman, waking in that city, sparked the character who is now Alea.
The Nel Bently Books began as a joke over the whole joke that is the Ancient Aliens TV show. Since my actual profession is archaeology, and I study prehistoric human migration, it seemed like a fun project for the camp that the National Novel Writing Month people hold a few months during the year. After a few chapters I fell in love with Nel, Mikey, and Lin.
Who is your favorite character that you've created? What book can we find them in? Well that's like asking a parent to pick a favorite child. Obviously I love my main characters, elsewise I wouldn't have written about them. But I'll choose a favorite supporting character.
An'thor (An'thoriend Domariigo) is a warrior from the frozen tundra of Neneviir. He's a drunk who wavers between jaded, desperate, and kind. An'thor is introduced first in Smoke and Rain, but he appears more often in Madness and Gods and Blood and Mercy, where he acts as a mentor/antagonist for one of the main characters. I plan to add more to his history in the prequel quartet.
What made you decide to be an Indie Author instead of going the traditional route? I tried the traditional route, and got several bites for Smoke and Rain, but the real thing for me was time. I work full time and if I couldn't make my own deadlines there was no way I was going to make someone else's. Being female in the publishing industry isn't easy, and being a female that isn't a cis/straight female or writing romance is also tough. A lot of authors find their female-MC covers "sexed-up," and frankly I don't have time for that bull.
Where are you most active on Social media? I'm a big fan of Twitter (if you use it properly, for fate's sake stop shouting at people). I'm on there often and will be sure to listen, interact, and ask. Facebook is a bit of a necessary evil for me, and I find the quality, authenticity, and professionalism of the conversations much easier to regulate on Twitter.
I've met some phenomenal humans just by listening and engaging people, and some who had really changed my view of the world.
What are you working on right now? I'm adding the final edits to Lightning and Flames, the second Reforged book, drafting Madness and Gods (the third one) and Drifters (the second Nel Bently Book).
What is the single most important thing you have learned from this process that you wish to share with other writers/authors? To experience. Take time to listen to other people, to strangers, to dear friends. Smell the air -- fresh wind or stagnant exhaust, smell it all. People watch. Try new things, even if you're uncomfortable at first. Those experiences will make your writing sing.