Nancy Holder: That’s like asking a mom which kid is her favorite! I have loved something different about each book or series that I’ve worked on. When I’m writing a book I get so involved in that world that it’s hard to let go of it when I’m finished. Sometimes, remembering things that were happening during the writing of a book or paging through the finished pages evokes memories and emotions that are a lot like looking at home movies or scrapbooks. Sometimes the experience of writing a book is more satisfying than the actual book itself. Sometimes I read a book that I feel came out well despite my horrible mood or something that was going on at the time. So it’s really hard to say. I love how I feel when I start working–hopeful, excited, nervous…kind of like going on a date, or becoming a mom!
UT: Your “tie-in” novel On Fire based off the MTV Teen Wolf series was just released; how did you get involved in writing tie-in novels?
NH: I was working in Mysterious Galaxy bookstore and I noticed some novels based on the tv show Highlander. I wondered aloud if they were looking for more writers and my friend and employer, Maryelizabeth Hart, emailed the editor to ask her. She called me at the store and I sent her a bunch of ideas. I got the job! I have gone on to write tie-ins for Buffy, Angel, Smallville, Teen Wolf, Saving Grace, Hulk, Hellboy, Sabrina the Teen Age Witch, Zorro, Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes, Kolchak the Night Stalker, and others. I love writing them.
UT: You have been involved in writing an extensively impressive list of “tie-in” novels, do you have a favorite? If you could work on any “tie-in novel” what would it be?
NH: I love writing tie-ins. I absolutely adore working on anything in the Whedonverse and I super-love Teen Wolf. I would love to write Stargate SG-1 and Firefly novels.
UT: What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue writing “tie-in” novels?
NH: You need to have some writing credits first. It’s not enough to be a fan of the show. The editors and producers are going to need to know that you can write an entire book and you can make revisions that they request. And that you can do it quickly!
UT: In the Crusades series the novels are written so readers can pick-up any book in the series without feeling lost or confused on not having read the previous books. As an author, do you feel that this increases readership? Do you think that more authors should structure their books in a format similar to Crusades?
NH: Thank you! I think Debbie Viguie and I are able to structure our books that way because we have both written tie-in novels. We know how to weave in knowledge/backstory so you can pick up any of our books and still know what’s going on. We actually wrote a short story first and fleshed it out in the series. I think people pick things up much more quickly than some authors realize. Since I’ve done so much TV-related work, I have learned that you condense a lot with a few good visual or sensory cue. By the way, we loved working on Crusade and would love to go back and write some more!
UT: What would you say are the differences between the novels that you both write/co-author from “tie-in” novels?
NH: There’s not a lot of difference, actually. Tie-ins actually give writers a lot more freedom in some ways. You can write a funny novel, then a romantic one, then a caper or a mystery, as long as it’s about the characters in the show–varying in tone just like episodes. When working on non-tie-in material, you have to make sure you “sound” like you–which can vary from one reader to the next. I love writing, period.
UT: Do you have a certain writing process that you engage in before and during your writing?
NH: I have to go to the store to buy new file cards and a new pen so I can work out my plot on the file cards. I make a song playlist, and I pick out what kind of coffee I’m going to drink. I love office supply stores. I spend way too much money on office supplies! I have a “morning boot up” playlist. I make my coffee, get onto my treadmill (I have a treadmill desk), and play my boot up: Here’s the playlist:
“It’s a Beautiful Day” by U2
“The a la Menthe” (The Laser Dance Song) by La Caution
“Chaiyya Chaiyya” by A.R. Rahman
Thank you, Nancy Holder for the lovely interview!
A Little More About Our Featured Author:
Nancy Holder is a multiple award-winning, New York Times bestselling author (the Wicked Series). Her two new dark young adult dark fantasy series are Crusade and Wolf Springs Chronicles. She has won five Bram Stoker Awards from the Horror Writers Association, as well as a Scribe Award for Best Novel (Saving Grace: Tough Love.) Nancy has sold over eighty novels one hundred short stories, many of them based on such shows as Highlander, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and others. She lives in San Diego with her daughter, Belle, two corgis, and three cats.