Advice to New Writers by Anne Holster – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Anne will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Advice to New Writers

As a new writer, I understand better than anyone the emotional roller coaster of writing that first book. While writing Imaginary Grace, there were many wonderful moments when the story just seemed to flow out of me. The characters rose, fully formed, to the challenge and led me where they would. It was truly magical. Then there were those other, much less pleasant moments when the writing process was slow and torturous, when coming up with every word felt like trying to wring a drop of water from a dry rag. Through it all, I was plagued by the feeling that I had no idea what I was doing or where the story was going. It was walking through a long, dark tunnel with only a dim flashlight to guide me.

And that was just the actual writing! There were also the seemingly endless details that had to be managed before the book could make it to market. First, I had to decide whether to self-publish or seek representation from a literary agent. Exploring the pros and cons of each option only led to a litany of other issues – for example, if I self-published I would have to find a cover designer that understood the book; was reputable; and wouldn’t break the bank. If on the other hand a traditional publisher picked up my manuscript, these decisions would be taken out of my hands, along, of course, with the control over the book’s appearance. I also knew that if I self-published the marketing would fall completely on my shoulders.

By now you might be wondering whether I am offering encouragement to new writers or simply advising them to throw in the towel. I can assure you, it is the former. Why? Because of those magical moments I mentioned earlier – when it felt as though the story had already been written and I was just the medium it flowed through on its way to the page. This feeling was worth all the agonizing, all the indecision, and then some. There were many times when I assumed Imaginary Grace would never sell to anyone but my family and friends, and I believe this freed me and my characters to create and fully inhabit the world of the book. I urge you to do the same.

MediaKit_BookCover_ImaginaryGraceTanner has always gotten wants from girls-whether it’s the co-ed sitting next to him in class or the scantily dressed groupies that follow his band, Hudson Nash. There’s only one woman immune to his charms, and that’s his mother. Tired of Tanner’s hard partying, she’s waiting for him to grow up and settle down, preferably with a nice girl. When she refuses to finance his tour with the band, Tanner knows he’ll have to find a way to change her mind.

Grace Roberts is not like most college girls. Shy and bookish, she prefers sneakers to stilettos and never quite mastered the art of taming her mane of unmanageable hair. Guys are not exactly throwing themselves at her, so when Tanner Reed, the hottest guy in school (scratch that, the hottest guy anywhere!) takes an interest in her, it seems too good to be true.

Bound by his deception and her girlish hopes, Tanner and Grace will be forced to question everything they believe about each other, and themselves. When these two get together, anything can happen and anyone can get hurt. Anyone can fall in love.

Enjoy an excerpt:

I just stared as I watched him walk in what seemed like slow motion – no, walk is not the word to describe what he did – more like I watched as he swaggered into the room. He was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. His thick, shoulder-length brown hair was just a shade or two lighter than mine but fell perfectly around his equally perfect face. He was clean-shaven with a strong-looking, sculpted jaw and when he looked up, I saw that he had the most exquisite cornflower-blue eyes that I had ever seen. He wore a tight-fitting, gray vintage rock-n-roll t-shirt that stretched across a well-defined chest and revealed a set of equally well-defined biceps. My eyes traveled down to a pair of worn, faded blue jeans that hung low on his slim waist and I noticed that there was a slight tear just below his right knee that showed when he walked.

He took a desk a few seats up and to the right from mine. Then he turned and began a conversation with the girl next to him. I couldn’t see her face but I could tell from her body language that she found him as attractive as I did. At one point she put a hand on his arm and said, “Oh, Tanner!” in a half-scolding tone. Tanner? Hmmm. When the professor walked in he turned around and I dragged my attention to the front of the room, but every so often I glanced in his direction. When class was over, I quickly gathered my things, but by the time I got up to leave he was already gone.

About the Author: First time author Anne Holster resides in Northern New Jersey with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing she enjoys spending time with her family, playing tennis and reading angsty romance novels. She is currently working on her second novel.

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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. Anne Holster says:

    Thank you so much for having me visit today!

  3. Rosemary Roberts says:

    I really enjoyed this book! I look forward to your next one! Will it be a sequel to the first???????

    • Anne Holster says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading Imaginary Grace, Roe! I’ve actually gotten this question from quite a few people so a sequel is definitely something I’m considering. Stay tuned!

  4. Excellent advice for new writers. I’m curious how long the whole process took? From the time you came up with the idea until the book was actually published.

    • Anne Holster says:

      Thanks Jean and that’s an excellent question! To actually write the first draft of Imaginary Grace it took eleven months, but add on the whole editing process and everything else involved it took a total of nearly two years. I hit a lot of bumps in the road along the way because I’d never done anything like it before. Basically I was ‘flying blind’ through the whole thing. I’m sure next time it will be a lot quicker! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

    • Anne Holster says:

      Well Mai, I can’t speak for anyone else but I found that the racy scenes in Imaginary Grace were definitely the hardest to write. As a first time author you tend to think to yourself, “Hey, what if my mom reads this?!” and it makes you hesitant, but you need to get over that. I found myself writing and then rewriting those scenes over and over before finally getting them perfect – well, my version of perfect anyway! Thanks for the question!

  6. Patricia C. says:

    Great advice! Thank you for sharing!

  7. Great advice 🙂 Would you do anything differently now that you can look back in retrospect about this first writing adventure?

    • Anne Holster says:

      Thanks Andra! Yes, what I’d do differently is that I would make a working outline first. When I wrote Imaginary Grace I made the story up as I went along which ended up working out fine, but In retrospect it would have been easier to work from an outline. Thanks for the question!

      • I really like to do an outline. Sometimes I hear folks say they don’t want to be tied to it, or that it will stifle creativity. I don’t feel that way at all. I can always edit or change the outline. But it really helps me start the big task of writing. You know that how to eat an elephant thing… one bite at a time. When I sit down to write I say, “Today I only need to write this scene where XYZ happens.”

        Thanks for sharing your experience with us Anne. I enjoyed your guest post.

        • Anne Holster says:

          Thanks Felita! And I wholeheartedly agree with you! An outline is definitely the way to go! Although I didn’t use an outline when writing Imaginary Grace I am using one for the book that I’m currently working on. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Rita Wray says:

    I enjoyed the excerpt, thank you.

  9. Patrick Siu says:

    I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

  10. Are the characters based on someone that you know or events that occurred in your own life?

    • Anne Holster says:

      I’ll never tell….! Just kidding Kim! Although Imaginary Grace is only a work of fiction I did find myself drawing from some of my own experiences and I think that’s only natural. You pull from what you know. I feel like there is a piece of me that shines through each of the four main characters in Imaginary Grace. Great question! Thanks for stopping by!

  11. sounds interesting

  12. Cali W. says:

    Thanks for the giveaway! I like the advice and excerpt. 🙂

  13. Mary M. says:

    I absolutely LOVED your book Ms. Holster! You totally captivated me and I couldn’t put it down! Excellent writing, characters and story–I am anxiously awaiting your next book! Care to leave any hints about it? If not, I understand. 🙂 I’ll be bringing Imaginary Grace on vacation to re-read on the beach!

    • Anne Holster says:

      Thank you Mary! I’m glad you enjoyed reading Imaginary Grace! Hmm…hints about my next book. Well, lets just say I’m working on two at the moment so stay tuned! Enjoy the beach this summer and thanks for stopping by!

  14. Anne, Enjoyed reading your book so much, really look forward to the next one! I have three friends reading it so I will keep you posted about their thoughts too!

    • Anne Holster says:

      Thank you Cheryl I’m glad you enjoyed reading Imaginary Grace and thrilled that you recommended it to your friends! Thanks for stopping by!

  15. angela smith says:

    i enjoyed reading the excerpt.the book sounds good

  16. Ree Dee says:

    Thank you for the post and the giveaway!

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