I’m really excited about today’s interview! I received two of Evans’ novels as ARCs and have thoroughly enjoyed them both (in case you missed my reviews and were wondering – Infernal Ties & Infernal Bonds), so it’s my great pleasure to welcome Holly Evans to Cookie Break today!
Holly Evans is an urban fantasy author with an unhealthy fascination with blades, a deep love of hellhounds, and would love one day to wake up as a fae. When she isn’t wrangling rogue characters and trying to tame her muse, she’s researching shiny new ninja moves. During her spare time she fights crime and rights wrongs on the streets of Prague.
Holly blogs about books and her writing, and shares her (really interesting and helpful – check it out if you haven’t already!) insights.
Hi Holly, and welcome to Cookie Break! Congratulations on your Infernal Hunt series – and on publishing the third book so soon! I’m really excited to hear more.
Could you tell us a little about your book? No spoilers, please! 😉
The Infernal Hunt books are urban fantasy set in Prague, they follow the twins Evie and Quin who’re hunters. It’s a little bit like the TV show Supernatural. Book One Infernal Ties sees Evie turn Prague upside trying to find Quin after he vanished. Book Two, Infernal Bonds opens with the night of a blood moon and an unusual celestial alignment that makes the veil between the planes very fragile. That allows infernal creatures to walk the city, which of course descends into chaos.
Would you mind sharing an excerpt with us, or a favourite quote?
I have so many favourite quotes, I love these characters 😀
This is from Infernal Ties and it makes me smile. It’s a good look at Evie and her view on the supernal world.
My twin was in trouble, and the time for manners and platitudes had vanished along with him. I pulled back my jacket to reveal the two daggers on my hips; I kept the vial and throwing knives hidden. It’s good to have some surprises.
His eyes yellowed and he nodded to the back room. We were known around the city. We’d never made any attempts to hide what we did. As long as they played by the rules, we left them alone. It was almost a shame they couldn’t play by the rules. I smiled to myself as I walked past the bar into the adjoining room; I knew that I’d hate a quiet life. I enjoyed the thrill of the fight too much to give it up.
Three broad males were in the far room with polished tree stumps for seating around the edge. The tables were stained slabs of wood, complete with knots and uneven surface. The entire place was a chaotic mash of styles and desires, yet, somehow, it managed to work. It also offered weapons; no one enjoyed having their head smashed onto one of those tree stumps.
They stopped whatever conversation they were having and turned to face me. I gave them my sweetest smile as I strolled over to the wall between the room I stood in and their room and leaned against the archway; doorway was too strong a term. If nothing else, it had no door.
“Hello, boys, have you missed me?”
The tallest, with pitch-black hair, snarled at me. I pouted.
“Now, Felix, that really isn’t very friendly.”
His younger brother, the scrawniest of the bunch, given he fit through the doorway without too much effort, put his hand on Felix’s chest and held him where he stood.
“She’s not worth it.”
I gave them a dark smile and stepped closer. “Oh… but I am.”
Do you remember what sparked the idea for this series?
I was toying with the idea of writing twins, I thought the dynamic would be really fun, and I knew that I wanted to write an urban fantasy set here in Prague. It’s such a great location for it, with the twisting alleys and underground bars, it’s crying out for an urban fantasy book!
What are you working on right now?
Right this second I’m editing Infernal Alliances, book 4 in the series. I’m also slowly working on the first draft of Branded In Ink book one in my next Urban Fantasy series. This one follows a Dacian the tattoo magician. Between all of that I’m toying with a fun project. It’s also Urban Fantasy and will likely never be edited, it’s to help me relax and destress. That’s focused on Connor a hound from The Wild Hunt, and Alexis she’s something rather special with very illegal magic. It’s full of wonderful Urban Fantasy tropes and absolutely no care given! lol
What draws you to the genre you write in? Have you always been drawn to it?
I didn’t realise it existed until a few years ago, but as soon as I found out I felt in love. It’s perfect for me! It has action and intrigue, with paranormal elements, all set in the real world. It’s something that’s set so close to home being in the modern day, so it’s really fun to play with. There’s also a huge scope there that I love, there’s so much variety within the genre. I can go and play with dragons, or question what it means to be me through the eyes and experiences of a fallen angel, there are so many options.
Who/what is your writing inspiration?
Prague provides a lot of inspiration. I step outside and see this gorgeous city and little ideas pop into my head. I wander down an alley and a scene will form in my mind, it’s amazing. My best friend also provides a lot of inspiration, we’ll often bounce random ideas back and forth between us. He’s the reason I have snarky gay/pansexual elves in my fiction!
What do you do if inspiration just won’t come?
I walk away. I wander down by the river, or devour a few books, or watch some TV. I refuse to try and force things, so I step back and relax.
Which part of the writing process is your favourite, and which part do you dread?
I love starting a new project. The excitement and the thrill of something shiny and new, knowing that there’s so much there for you to explore and experience is amazing. I dread the final proofing pass when I’ve read the book too many times and I have to do the teeny tiny nit-picky bits. I’m ready to be done with it and hand it over to readers by then.
What is your number one distraction?
Wonderful shiny books that I want to read. I’m an avid reader and I quite often have to put my kindle away so I’m not tempted to read a few chapters when I’m supposed to be writing.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Somewhere between the two. It depends on the book really. Some have had really intense, detailed outlines, others have been pantsed where I know the very broad strokes and nothing more. I always know the big plot points, whether I know the fine details is anyone’s guess lol.
Tea or coffee?
Ack! Both? I’m English I adore tea, I keep at least three types of tea in at all times. That being said, I couldn’t function without coffee and I love coffee. Can I have both?
What are the most important three things you’ve learned about writing, editing or publishing (or all of the above!) since you started your journey?
Hmm I think the most important thing I’ve learnt applies to all three. You really, really, need to read absolutely everything you can lay your hands on. For writing, I read some 100 books last summer, in a variety of genres all to try and refine what does and doesn’t work. I also read poetry, non-fiction, copy, everything I can. You need to read everything about the publishing industry you can. It’s a huge sprawling industry, there are so many details, so many tips and tricks that you need to master. And you’ll improve your editing if again, you read and read, so you get a better grasp on story structure, on what readers want, and all that good stuff.
Next is that you need to be passionate. If you’re not passionate, if you’re not madly in love with what you’re writing and what you’re doing it’ll show on all levels.
Finally, you cannot self-edit. It’s been psychologically proven that you really can’t do it. Your brain slots in what you know should be there as opposed to what is there.
What’s your favourite quote on writing?
I love this one:
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
― Anaïs Nin
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
If you can’t write, read. Reading is so important. You learn a lot of reading from a variety of sources, it offers you downtime to refresh your brain, and it can be so wonderfully inspiring.
Where else can we connect with you?
You can also find Holly and her books over on Goodreads.
Thanks for having me, it was a pleasure!
Thanks for stopping by, Holly! The third novel in this series, Witch Infernal, will be released next week, on the 9th August. If you can’t wait, like me, you can pre-order it now! 😉
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