Published on 11 March 2010
Category: Interviews and Webchats
Posted by: Tavia Stewart on 11/06/2009
With Vicky Holmes
As a writer, your primary job is to keep your readers wanting to know what’s on the next page. Your philosophical message, the destiny you have in mind for your characters, your love for the location that you’ve created all play supporting roles. Just because you’re sitting alone at your desk doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be performing for your audience!
My rule of thumb is that if I’m feeling bored as I write, the chances are high that the readers will be bored as well. Keep yourself interested in the action and dialogue. Make yourself feel breathless as exciting things happen; feel the heartache as one of your characters reveals their innermost sorrows. I often speak dialogue out loud before I write it, acting out an entire scene by speaking all the different parts, so that it feels emotionally real to me right from the start. My dog thinks I’m crazy, but that’s another story…
Being a writer means that you get to live in your imagination, which is fabulous, but don’t stray too far from what you know best. You don’t want to be stopping every other line to research a detail of medieval weaponry or weather conditions in a far-flung part of the world.
Above all, write with passion
. You might be passionate about unicorns or motorbikes, a particular river or space travel; whatever it is, put it at the center of your story and your readers will feel your passion, too. Don’t write about cats or vampires because they seem popular with publishers at the moment. Write about what matters most to you, because only then will your story have a ring of conviction.
Fans of Warriors
will know that I don’t have a particular passion for cats, which might make this piece of advice questionable. I’m more of a dog person. But I do have a passion for animals in their natural habitat–and for issues such as war, religion, bereavement, forbidden love, rivalry, politics, the nature of parenthood…sound familiar? Yup, every theme in Warriors
springs from something I hold very close to my heart. Cats, bears or people–the shape of my characters makes no difference to me because I’m passionate about the reality of whatever they’re facing.
Share your characters’ adventures alongside them, feel their sorrow and their triumph, champion their cause when the whole world seems to be against them. It’s a wild ride!
Vicky Holmes grew up on a farm and loves all animals, including cats, but most especially dogs and horses. This comes in very handy when she needs to send cats to a sticky end—she’d have a lot more trouble killing off a dog or a horse! After studying English at Oxford University, she rode horses for a living until she decided that she needed a proper job. She tried teaching and realized that she loved books more than all the administration and form-filling that was required, so she became an editor. Which led to coming up with the idea for Warriors, and enlisting the services of Kate, Cherith, and finally Tui to be Team Erin!
Vicky loves being one of the Erins, and frequently dreams of being a cat running through a forest when she is coming up with new storylines. She is currently the very proud owner of a gorgeous Staffordshire bull terrier called Missy who thinks she should write about dogs instead. In the past, she has owned cats ranging from a tiny semi-feral silver tabby who was born on a beam in her father’s barn, to a dignified and handsome lavender point Burmese called Algernon.