Gina Hollands joins me this week to talk about her personal journey from being a reader to becoming a writer. Gina‘s novel Little Village of Second Chances was published by Choc Lit on 23 June 2020. Over to Gina …
Although I was over 30 by the time I decided to write a novel, I think in the back of my mind I always knew I would – I was just waiting to become patient enough! From the moment I learned how to read, I was hooked and became a huge bookworm. I don’t think, when I was young, my family got a lot of conversation out of me because I usually had my head stuck in a book. I vividly remember sitting in my school uniform at the kitchen table, eating breakfast and refusing to look up from the page. This happened every day. It was probably a bit rude, when I think about it now, but my pleas of “Just let me get to the end of this chapter” were usually heeded by parents who thankfully encouraged my reading hobby – or should I say ‘addiction’, and were keen readers themselves.
I knew the shelves of the village library like the back of my hand. When I was a young teenager, the section for ‘young adults’ was fairly limited, and I think I must have read every book they had. In the case of the Point Horror novels, more than once!
Pocket money was spent on books, as was birthday money, and my best friend and I owned row upon row of Sweet Valley High books by Francine Pascal. We adored them and desperately wanted to be Jessica and Elizabeth – the main characters in the series. Oh, to live in California, be beautiful and popular and have hunky boyfriends who adored us – our first foray into escapism, and a million miles from our own school days in rainy Britain where every day we’d trudge to school in our ghastly uniforms.
My love of reading never waned, even when I went to university and after graduating. The only years I read very little were when my son was very young.. There wasn’t a lot of time for luxuries like reading in those days! As he’s got older, however, I’ve picked the books back up and now share the joy of reading with him as we work our way through the Harry Potter series, which he’s loving. My husband, who has never voluntarily read a book in his life, can’t understand how I can remember all the different voices for all the different characters, or how you can tell so quickly who’s saying what. Ha ha! It’s practice, I tell him – a lifetime of it.
Funny, though, that even having read countless novels, when it came to writing my own, I didn’t initially pass the all-important hurdle of having it accepted by a publisher. Several attempts later, an offer came in from the US-based publisher, The Wild Rose Press. When I think back now to my poor editor who had to deal with this novice writer – me – I can’t believe how patient she was. I was making all the classic errors – head-hopping, not delving deep enough into my characters’ emotions, and even changing their eye colour halfway through!
Now when I read – which I do all the time – I do it as not just a reader but as a writer too, and I’ve found the experience entirely different but also enjoyable. It’s like I’m learning to read all over again. I pick up tips on how to use linguistic devices and often marvel at the way an author has cleverly used their words to evoke their readers’ emotions. I’m racing through a page-turner of a crime novel at the moment by Peter James and have mentally banked several ways in which he has (I’m assuming, deliberately) chosen words and phrases because they lend so much to the narrative.
I have not known one author who is not also a lover of reading. I can’t imagine my life without reading, and these days I can’t imagine it without writing. The jump from reader to writer is huge but rewarding, and the great thing about it is that there’s always something new to discover.
Thank you, Gina. I can’t believe how much you sound like me – I could have written this article about myself! Mx
About Gina Hollands
Originally from Yorkshire, Gina now lives by the sea in West Sussex with her husband and son. When she’s not working in her job in marketing and PR, or writing her latest book, Gina can be found dancing everything from lindy hop to salsa, shopping (she loves clothes far too much for her own good), eating out (she hates cooking far too much for her own good), or relaxing, which generally involves reading a book someone else has written or indulging in her new hobby of learning to play the piano. She has a sneaky suspicion she may be a musical genius in the making, but isn’t about to give up the day job just yet.
To keep in touch with Gina, you can use the following links:-
To buy the novel use the link here
Thank you for joining me Gina and for inviting me to join you on your blog soon. Mx