Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Welcome back everyone! 
There was a rumor going around that S.E. Holden was tied up and being held here against his will this week. Please allow me to reassure everyone that this is not so!! 
I'm certain that Mr. Holden would attest to this, however he is, ahem, a little preoccupied at the moment with some maintenance work that needed attention in the basement... What? Did you honestly think I would have a man around for an entire week and not find something for him to do? I mean, come on, I am a single woman with needs and some men are much better with plumbing than I am. 
S.E. certainly is, anyway. =^-^=
While he was busy and a bit distracted, I took the liberty of getting to know him a little better. Here's your chance to get to know him, too!
Hi Robin. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to be a guest on your site.
Welcome!! I am so glad you stuck around. Let’s begin with a question I love to ask my guests. It’s always different for everyone, but it’s an event none ever forget.
How did you feel when you got your first publishing contract?

Let me set this up for you because if I were to write it in a story, you would call shenanigans right out of the gate. It was my birthday and I had submitted my first story to a publisher a few weeks before. Of course, I never strayed far from an email source so I kept checking my Blackberry for the yay or nay. We are a bowling family. By that I mean that my kids bowl in multiple leagues and my wife and I bowl in a mixed league on Sunday night. We spend way too much time in a bowling center during the week. Anyway…it was my birthday and my wife and I were bowling on Sunday night. Game two of three, I bowled my second perfect game (300) of my life. Holy crap. Can you see where this is going?
So, during game three I checked my phone. There was an email from Breathless Press in my Inbox saying that they were interested in my story. I was elated. My dream of becoming a published author was coming true and on my birthday and after I bowled a perfect game.
You don't get many days like that.  

And you’ve bowled us all over with one good book after another ever since!! Sorry couldn’t resist! LOL!
How do you categorize yourself: pantser or plotter?

I'm a pantser turned plotter. When I started this writing adventure a little over a year ago, I started with short stories. The plot was critical, but of small enough scope that I could keep all the moving parts going in my head. I knew the beginning and the end. To get there, I just followed where my characters led. I didn't feel that I needed to outline or plot them in line to get from point A to point B.
Now, though, I'm writing my first novel. The number of balls I'm juggling is crazy. I need to know that character A got to point B by time C and did D in order for the other pieces of the puzzle to fit together. I spun my wheels on the first three chapters. I knew how the story ended. I knew how it started. I knew a couple things in the middle. What I didn't know was how to get all those pieces to hook up, how to move my characters through the story arc. It wasn't coming to me like it did for the short stories. So I wrote the first three chapters. Reviewed them. Rewrote them. Thought about more cool stuff to include somewhere in the plot. Went back to the first part.
Ultimately, I took a class with NY Times best-selling Fantasy author David Farland on outlining. It changed my entire outlook on attacking the writing process. I was able to link all the major pieces together through an outline, layering in all the inner, outer and romantic plot lines of each of the point-of-view characters. I have the road map for my entire novel mapped out. Some people may say that this stifles the writing process. I disagree with that. I feel that it's liberating. Instead of worrying about the plot points, I can focus on making the writing and dialog sparkle.
Each writer is different and what is now working for me won't be for everybody. I say find what works for you and your style and write your ass off. 

       I couldn’t agree more! What makes a book great in your eyes?

      A great book needs to involve me emotionally. Telling a story is good, but if I'm not right there with the characters living the adventure with them, it's not worth the time to read. I want to get sucked in. Feel the danger, hold my breath as they wait for the other shoe to drop on their perfect day, fall in love with the True Love character, root for the hero and revel in the victory at the end.
I want to see characters grow and feel that I've grown along with them.

All wonderful qualities to look for in a book.
I’m sure you have met budding authors, newer to this world than either of us, so what’s the biggest piece of advice you can give a beginning writer?

Finish something. I've told this story before, but it was a critical item for me and stuck for the last twenty plus years. I met NY Times best-selling author Terry Brooks at a book signing in King of Prussia, PA. I was a college kid dreaming of becoming an author. I'd started a number of projects, including a screen play, but hadn't finished any of them. I asked Terry for advice. I was anxious, eager, poised to get any pearl of wisdom from my favorite author at the time. He looked up from signing my copy of Elf Queen of Shannara and asked me a question. "Have you finished anything?"
I looked at my shoes, embarrassed that I would have to admit to this fantasy icon that I hadn't finished a project. I shook my head and he smiled knowingly. He told me that his best advice for a young writer was to finish something, anything. You can't be an author unless you finish your story.
Well, I finally finished something. But it took me over twenty years to listen to him. I say twenty years, but it was probably more. They say the memory is the first thing to go, whoever 'they' are. See, I've forgotten them too.

You’ve forgotten because that hardheaded youth that used to rule your world blocked out the wisdom he knew was true, so the “I told you so” people wouldn’t start their crap! It’s what I like to call the dung-ball effect, which is akin to the snowball effect, only messier.
 Speaking of finishing what you start, what are you working on now?

Like I mentioned in an earlier question, I'm working on my first novel. It's a heroic/urban fantasy about elemental knights battling an ancient foe in modern day Tampa, FL. Lots of action and character growth with a kick-ass love story rocks the first book of a five book series. I hope to be shopping it around to agents and publishers by the end of the year.

We wish you the nest of luck with that exciting story. It looks like you’re on your way to being a very busy man and hopefully bestselling author. So tell us, who is S. E. Holden’s favorite all-time author?

     Terry Goodkind. The Sword of Truth series is amazing. One book in particular, Faith of the Fallen, hit home for me on so many levels. When I read it for the first time, I was struggling in my professional IT life and I felt that special connection with Richard Rahl as he dealt with his own challenges. The book hit me at the right time and with the right mindset to oust my former favorite, Terry Brooks, from his throne.

I love ot when things fall into place like that.
Okay, enough with the small talk. What everyone here wants to know is…Whipped Cream, Strawberry Sauce or Chocolate Syrup?

Whipped Cream. The cold nip as it hits your, or your partner's, skin enhances the experience.

Yes it does!! One last thing and then you can get back in the, ahem,          basement and tend to my pipes…I mean the pipes.
What is the craziest/sexiest thing you have ever done in public?

Here's my confession…I don't do crazy stuff in public. Even as a kid, I was stoic and proper. Maybe that's why I let my mind wander so much and explore the crazy side of life through my imagination. 

Thanks for sticking around… as if you had a choice!

S.E.'s Contact Links:
Twitter: @seholden25

Back on Track Buy Links

Don’t forget… Three drawings will be held this week and anyone who comments will be entered in a chance to win a copy of one of the books S.E. Holden is showcasing here this week…so what are you waiting for….comment!!!


  1. Thanks for sharing your writing journey! I'm still in the pantser mode, but even in school, I always outlined AFTER I wrote the paper (to please the teacher). Maybe if my novels get beyond 250 pages, tho, I may change my mind. Like with that historical Western I'm pondering.

    All the best--and I'm glad Robin untied you!

  2. Thanks, Kally. The ropes weren't too tight and I wasn't in a hurry to leave. Robin's basement is a cool place to hang out even thought she's got me doing some 'odd' jobs. Anyway...thanks for stopping by and good luck with the Western.

  3. What a great interview! Nice to get to know you better! All the best to you SE and to you as well Robin!

  4. Thanks for the comment and for stopping by Kellie.

  5. Can't stop thinking about whipped cream now!

  6. Thanks everyone for venturing down into the basement to join our little talk. I'm sure SE appreciated the break. ;-)