Our first subject is author and Evanston Writers Workshop Board Member Tina Holland. Author of eight books, Tina is also a member of Romance Writers of America and heads up their online chapter, an international discussion group of writers and authors. We are lucky to have her expertise on our board and wanted to share a little about her with you, our members and readers.
SN: You mention in your bio that you are a "military brat." Does growing up with that kind of structure and culture affect how you see your characters in your stories?Be sure to visit Tina's website for more information, and to purchase her books. When you comment, feel free to ask her any questions you may have about her own work or the publishing process.
Tina: Yes and No. My parents met at a Vietnam Protest Rally – my father registering for the armed forces and my mother getting in his face. They fell in love and had sort of a tumultuous courtship before getting married. While my mother was never a structured person…I am and was from the cradle. According to my mother if she didn’t follow it, I’d be sure to let her know, quiet adamantly.
SN: How did you transition to living on a farm? Do you miss a city and international travel to settle down to a country life?
Tina: I have a few memories of my major city Augsburg, Germany, from there I spent time in rural Kentucky before my parents finally settled in Fargo, ND. (Yes, like the movie). It’s not exactly sprawling. I was initially concerned but find I very much enjoy the solitude my farm offers.
SN: When you say "hobby farm," what does that mean? I know your bio mentions horses and such, but do you grow crops or livestock for market?
Tina: I mean that we don’t raise crops or livestock for anything other than hobbies. We have two Arab horses (Hawkeye & Foxy)for pleasure riding (out of the gutter children). We used to have chickens, which we would “show” at the county fair. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a ‘Poultry Costume Contest’.
We have plum trees surrounding our property that I take to my grandmother’s to make jam.
Also we have two chocolate labs, Kaiser & Mocha, and four male cats, Meeko, Mr. Bubbles, Evian & Oliver.
My husband has always loved birds so years ago we got a Sun Conure named, Zuzu.
SN: Your tagline, "Have you been naughty today," is a lot of fun. Do you try to live by it in your "real life," or do you let that side of yourself out to play on the page?
Tina: I love the word, naughty because to me it conjures up something bad but not necessarily sinister. I think everyone should explore their inner, “Dennis the Menace” so to speak. Eat ice cream for dinner, Let down your hair and of course be creative and playful in the bedroom. When you read one of my books I want it to feel like a guilty pleasure.
SN: What was the inspiration for your first book, THE PILOT AND THE PINUP?
Tina: Two things - An actual flat tire on my way to an RT Booklovers Convention [formerly Romantic Times Convention -SN] in Kansas City, MO – the book opens with the heroine getting a flat tire. A gentleman helped me change it and I thought it was a great way to introduce two characters. The second thing was I’ve always had this thought in my head. What if EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) met RWA (Romance Writers of America)? My husband is in EAA and it was sort of a thing I had in my head. There are a number of similarities in the book between my relationship with my spouse and the characters in the book.
SN: Do you have any writing rituals that you follow on a regular basis?
Tina: When I actually have projects in the queue, I like to work in blocks of time. I prefer to write all day Saturday & Sunday instead of one-hour blocks. I do write in one-hour blocks but it’s usually a project that isn’t contracted or still very early in the book.
I love to research before writing. Since I write Contemp and Paranormal. I’ll research jobs, locations, mythology, etc. up to a month before. I tend to buy a lot of research books.
SN: What are your must-have writing tools?
Tina: My character profiles, my three ring binder containing all the tips and tricks I’ve learned. “The Romance Writers” phrase book and my online thesauruses for my sex scenes.
We look forward to reading more of her stories in the future, and we're very grateful to have her as part of our team!