Holly Evans is an urban fantasy author with an unhealthy fascination with blades, a deep love of hellhounds, and would love one day to wake up as a fae. When she isn’t wrangling rogue characters and trying to tame her muse, she’s researching shiny new ninja moves. During her spare time she fights crime and rights wrongs on the streets of Prague
- Can you tell a bit more about yourself?
I’m awful at these things! I’m a passionate redhead which can get me into trouble at times. I came to writing later than a lot of people seem to, it didn’t cross my mind to really write until I was 22. Until then I was a dog trainer and horse riding instructor. Writing became my focus when I moved to Prague.
- What inspired you to write?
I was always a bit of a storyteller, I loved created little stories to make friends laugh and smile. I suppose I wanted to take that a bit further. I saw the potential for exploration of a wide array of topics, ideas, and the like and it really went from there. Once I realised I could combine making people happy, and exploring fun and fascinating topics, I was hooked.
- What is your latest book about?
Stolen Ink is about Dacian, a gay tattoo magician. A tattoo thief comes to the city of Wildrun, people quickly turn to Dacian to find and stop said thief. Unfortunately for Dacian, he’s not just a tattoo magician, he’s an ink magician, a rare skill that means many people would love to get their hands on him. If they knew. Dacian must juggle saving people’s lives with hiding his secret, which is even harder than it sounds.
- Where and how do you write
I write on my sofa most of the time. I put in my headphones, pick whichever playlist works best at the time, and write straight into Scrivener until I run out of steam. Sometimes if I’m struggling I’ll write scenes I’m looking forward to and tuck them away for later.
- Did you plot and how does your plotting process work?
I do very loose plotting. I pin down the main conflict and summarise that in a couple of sentences, then I figure out a couple of subplots, and off I go. If I find myself struggling then I’ll expand on the world and the characters until the plot forms from there.
- Do you have an editing strategy and what is it?
I don’t know if it’s really a strategy. I allow the book to sit for as long as my schedule allows, anything from forty-eight hours to a month. Then I dive in and fix everything I spot, from typos, to plot holes and inconsistencies. From there I hand it over to my editor who does a developmental pass on it. I go through his notes and use those to really tighten everything up. It goes back to my editor for two copy editing passes, and then it’s published.
- What does your family think of your writing?
They’re entirely ambivalent. They’re vaguely aware that I write, but they don’t really care and have no idea what I write. My mother in law is very supportive though.
- How hard was it to get your book out there?
That depends on how you mean get out there. If you mean getting it written and published, not too difficult. Stolen Ink was quite firmly in my comfort zone, I’m really excited about the characters and world.
If you mean getting it into readers hands and reaching beyond my circle of family and friends – I’ll let you know once it’s live!
- What do you think is the hardest part of writing a novel?
Pulling together the plot and balancing everything during the middle. I love the beginning and the end, the editing’s cathartic, but that middle is hard!
A great story pulls the reader in and makes them feel. It allows them to experience things they could never experience for themselves. If shows them something new, it takes them on a rollercoaster ride that sticks with them for a long time to come.
- Looking back, what would you have done differently or why wouldn’t you?
That’s hard. I think I’d have started a new pen-name sooner and paid more attention to what the market looks for in Urban Fantasy sooner.
- Where do you get your inspiration?
Everywhere. I’m an extrovert so it quite often comes from people in some form or another. It could be the expression one someone’s face as they walk past me on the street, or a snippet from a conversation. The possibilities are endless.
- How do you handle writer’s block?
I walk away and do something else. I absolutely refuse to push myself. Isaac Asimov’s advice fits in with my views and methods. He said don’t sit and stare at a blank page, go and focus on another project. In my case that could taking photos around the city, watching movies, a night out with friends, or simply starting a purely for fun project.
- Your top 3 tips for people who want to start writing.
Read. Read everything. Don’t remain constrained to one genre, or one form of writing. Read essays, poetry, newspapers, scientific articles, marketing copy, non-fiction, fiction of all genres and age groups.
Open your mind to the possibility of inspiration being everywhere. Allow your mind to run away with you and create wonderful, insane, impossible stories. Forget about realism and all of that, just allow it to happen.
Don’t worry about perfection, grammar, and mechanics when you’re first starting. Start by figuring out what makes a good story. Play, experiment, and don’t be afraid. You only fail if you stop trying.
- Where would people be able to find you online?
Twitter. @KhaosFoxe – if someone wants me and they don’t have my email address, they’ll get me on Twitter. That’s where I hang out.
My blog: Chaos Fox Writing.