Jean Holloway has graciously agreed to be interviewed by yours truly on Book Reviews By Bobbie. As one of my all-time favourite authors, Jean Holloway has opened my eyes and made me a fan of the erotic thriller genre; I’m an even bigger fan of her work! Check out my glowing reviews of Ace of Hearts and Black Jack!
An Interview with Jean Holloway:
Who or what inspires you to write erotic thrillers?
I probably should give hubby some of the credit, lol, but basically I like to write a book that I would read. I wrote ‘Ace of Hearts’ on a bet with my sister, Lori, almost 30 years ago. I love a shocker, something that grabs the reader’s attention and then slaps you when you don’t see it coming.
I tell folks I write erotic, not erotica. Sex is a part of life and I don’t think I could tell my story without it.
I’ve been a fan of thrillers, mysteries and horror all my life and wanted to include elements of each in my novels. I’ve also been fascinated with true crime stories, so I thought of some of the most heinous crimes committed against women and threw in a little necrophilia for a chaser.
How many books have you had published thus far?
Two, so far, ‘Ace of Hearts’ and ‘Black Jack’. My goal is a series of four novels with Detective Shevaughn Robinson as the lead character. After that, I may take a break and write some short stories. Since I have grandchildren and great grandchildren, I’m thinking about a children’s book, but I don’t know how folks would react to that. I’m definitely no Mother Goose!
When did you begin your writing, in a professional capacity?
Hmmm, I guess that would have been in 2006, when I was offered a publishing contract. When I finished ‘Ace of Hearts’ in 1982, I set myself up for a sequel, just didn’t know it would be 24 years later before anyone would be looking for it! It all came together after I got laid off. I decided to follow my heart and become what I wanted to be – a published author.
How do you push-through writer’s block?
Ooh, I don’t even like thinking about it. I usually back off for a while. Lately, I’ve found that it helps to have more than one project going at a time. This way if I get stuck on one, I can go to the other. I also talk it out with family and friends, sometimes someone will say something that stokes the fire. Or my characters will get vocal again.
How DO you imagine up the fiendishly-realistic serial killers?
OK, this is going to sound a bit off. They come to me at night and talk to me, letting me know what they’re thinking and what motivates them. My first villain did it for the power rush. He wanted to see how much he could get away with. In ‘Black Jack’, the money-hungry antagonist actually changed the direction of the book. I wanted one thing (which resulted in writer’s block), he wanted another. We actually had an argument! I’m glad he won.
How do you deal with negative feedback from critics and readers?
Not well, at first. When I completed ‘Ace’ I did what I’d been warned against and sent unsolicited manuscripts to well-known publishing houses. The rejection letters hit me pretty hard. I even got a personal rejection letter (like the form letter wasn’t enough) from one publishing company saying ‘Ace’ was nothing but straight porno! I was so hurt; I shelved it from 1982 to 2004 and went about the business of working and raising my family. Since Ace has been published, I’m blessed to say I’ve only run across a few negative comments. Now it’s like water off a duck’s back because no matter what is said I’m still a published author. They can’t take that away from me. I realize you can’t please everybody all the time. So now I please me.
Did you research serial killers and rapists?
Yes, back in the day, I would spend hours in the library, now thanks to the internet I can do the same thing from home. I don’t know about you, but I would listen to the news and hear about the atrocities people have done to each other and wonder what made them go to such lengths? In my novels, I try to let the readers in on their thoughts.
Do you enjoy coffee, tea or hot chocolate?
I make a mean half caff caramel truffle coffee and love green tea. Sadly, I’m allergic to chocolate, but every once in a while, I’ll pop a Benadryl and go for it.
What are you currently working on?
I just finished a short story for an anthology coming out in late May and I’m in the midst of ‘Deuces Wild’, book 3 in the Deck of Cardz series. I also just started book 4, ‘Full House.’ These are all with my new publisher, PHE Ink. And I have to mention I’m working with my publicist, Dana Pittman of Nia Promotions (or she’ll have something to say, believe me!)
How much do you personally identify with Shevaughn Robinson?
A lot. I think I have her sense of humor and wish I had her courage. I know what it’s like to have a job people don’t feel you’re qualified for and how good it feels to prove them wrong. Now Shevaughn is learning the importance of family, something I realized a long time ago.
What are your top 5 favourite foods?
I’m a cheesaholic; so anything Italian (lasagna is at the top of my list), seafood (please don’t make me choose between lobster, shrimp or crab), Chinese (Cantonese), hubby’s smoked prime rib and my favorite dessert is peach cobbler with caramel praline crunch ice cream.
Where do you write (at your desk, on the couch, etc.)?
My dining room has been converted into a home office, so I sit at my computer desk which faces a bay window. I also consider myself the neighborhood watch.
What are your 3 biggest accomplishments?
Being married 38 years and raising 6 children, doing stand-up comedy (I was on Oprah in the early 80s! Not in person, they ran the show credits over my Comedy Store audition) and being nominated against Walter Mosley for best mystery in 2008. (He beat me like a bad child! ;o)
Has your health ever played a factor in your creativity?
Yes, definitely. I was recuperating from foot surgery when my sister (yep, the same one) said “You can’t go anywhere, you need to get ‘Ace’ out, re-edit and see if it’ll fly this time.” It did!
What would you like your readers to take away from your novels?
Since my novels are set in the 80s, I want to take them down memory lane, with a lot of twists and turns. They should be emotionally exhausted by the end of my story. I tell folks my novels have no redeeming value except entertainment, but I do like to put in an educational tidbit, here and there.
I want them to feel a connection with Shevaughn, like she’s someone you’d want to be friends with and I guess the best compliment a reader could give me would be that they hated when the book ended.
I hope that you’ve enjoy the interview as much as I have. Thank you, Jean!
To find out more about Jean Holloway or her books, please visit her website at www.deckofcardz.com.
Copyright © Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy