Interview with author Lilla Holt

Updated: Mar 30

Tell me a bit about yourself….


I grew up on a lush green sheep farm in Waimate North, enjoying all the wonderful experiences and freedom of the great outdoors. Apart from enjoying my love of writing, I have dabbled in artistic painting and have completed portraits for family and friends. Recently I completed a painting of my granddaughter, Elinor. I have three adult children and four grandchildren.

The concept of reincarnation fascinates me. I have read books written by Dr. Brian Weiss, Dr. Ian Stevenson, Edgar Cayce, and Shakti Gawain, but the most influential for me were the Seth Books written by Jane Roberts.


What genre/s do you write in?


My first novel is character-driven but it leans towards SciFi; my second and third novels are literary fiction. I also write in children’s literature.


How long have you been writing?


Since 2002.


Do you have any published books or articles? Tell me a bit about these and what publishing route you took.


I have self-published two novels, The Jovian Legacy and In Between the After as well as a collection of children’s stories, Riwi the Kiwi (a series of three) Bad Nana, The Mansion Rats, Lilla Gorilla, and There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shed. Apart from Bad Nana, my stories are rhyming. In my teenage years, I wrote limericks with dark humor in birthday cards for friends and family, which were successful in delivering a few laughs, and which is probably why I progressed to children’s rhyming stories.


Did you use an editor? If so, who?


Yes. Barbara Unkovic, who holds a Master of Creative Writing (Hons) from Auckland University.


Did you use a book formatter and cover designer?


Yes to both.


Did you self-publish or get traditionally published? How did this go for you?


All my books are self-published. It is not for want of trying to become traditionally published, but literary agents are highly subjective and will only take on stories that are currently in vogue and that are proven to be good sellers.


How do you market your work and promote your brand? (Include links.)


I have a children’s book website https://picketybooks.com/ for my children’s books, and the link to my new release is amzn.to/3HI7n7Y

As far as marketing goes, I am only now dipping my toes into it, and this week have had banners designed by my professional book cover designer, for use on Facebook and Instagram.


What social media and writing platforms would you recommend?


Facebook book groups, Instagram, Twitter. For platforms, I use BookBub, and am currently listing my book with Draft2Digital, Booksprout, and The Literary Edit for the purpose of obtaining reviews.


Do you use an agent?


No.


Do you use paid advertising? If so, what?


Yes, I will be, as soon as I have researched this. A bad experience with Amazon advertising due to my lack of knowledge and understanding of how their charges work left me reeling.


Do you have a blog or website?

https://picketybooks.com/


What inspires you most to write?


The sense of achievement, and I’d like to think that my latest novel, Soldier Sailor Lover Slave, makes a difference in someone’s life from reading it.


What do you do to help with writer’s block?


I put my laptop aside and go for a walk and/or a swim. (I live on the beach.)


How do you plan your writing and start?


I don’t plan. An idea may pop into my head when I’m least expecting it. I start by sitting in front of my laptop and waiting, and seeing what comes forth.


Is writing your full-time job? If not, what else do you do?


No, but it depends on how you classify “full time”. There weren’t enough hours in the day during the writing of my novel. I am a retired legal secretary.

I have just completed a quiet book for my grandson. This took weeks of sewing and using a hot glue gun to create an activity book from felt.


What are you working on at the moment?


I am having a break, and excitedly, eagerly, feverishly looking forward to meeting my eight-month-old grandson, who is arriving in a week’s time with his parents, who have settled in Seattle.


What is your target audience?


My book is for lovers of psychological and historical adventure, for people who love exploring, and for those who are living a hand-to-mouth or robotic existence and wish to do something about it.


How long does it take you to write a book?


At least two years.


When did you first discover you enjoyed writing?


In 2002, when I found myself at odds with myself.


What does your writing schedule look like?


Not until after I’ve finished the housework do I sit down and write. In order to declutter my mind, I first need to declutter the house!


What does your family think about you writing?


They’re proud of me :)


What do you do when you are not writing?


Pre-COVID times, I would be catching up with friends over coffee. These days I catch up with my three adult children via WhatsApp video calls, who all live in various parts of the world.


Where do you get information and ideas for your writing?


Sometimes I make a mental note about something someone has said in conversation. Most of the time, ideas come to me first thing in the morning, upon waking.


What do you think makes a good story?


Originality and authenticity.



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