Name: April Holthaus
Where are you from: Minneapolis, Minnesota
A little about your self `ie your education Family life ect
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I am excited to announce that currently, The Honor of a Highlander has now been out for one month and to my amazement has been in the Top 100 Best Sales for the Historical Romance Scottish genre on Amazon.
At home: I am in the process of doing a major remodel of my house to put it up on the market and looking to buy a new home with several acres in the spring. I am also expecting my first child in March of next year, so I have been quite busy!!!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have been writing poems and short stories ever since I was in high school but never considered being an author. It wasn’t until the beginning of 2013, that I started to seriously give it a try.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
As I have only published my first debut book, I still don’t think it has hit me yet. I still feel so new and more of a story teller than an author. I think everything just seems so surreal right now.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I started The Honor of a Highlander at first more as a hobby; I honestly didn’t think it would go anywhere. I was quite nervous at first putting it out there on Amazon because I didn’t think it would sell more than 10 e-books and get more than a 3-star review. To my surprise, in just this first month I have sold over 1,500 and out of the few reviews I have received so far have all 4 to 5 star reviews.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I usually jot down notes or scenes that randomly pop in my head that helps create my story line. It’s like seeing it in my head like a movie first. I always have some idea of where I want the story to go, but coming up with all of the details of how I want to characters to get to one scene to another takes some time.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I actually went through a few different ones. The original title was to be called Heroine’s Revenge, but after going through the first round of edits, it was suggested that it didn’t create the right hook that it needed for audiences, so I had changed it.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I am not sure if my first book has a particular message, other than the importance of not giving up on yourself or those you care for.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
In regards to the time frame and what was happening during that time, I tried my best to be as historically accurate as possible. The characters, the roles of the clans and the particular story are all a work of fiction.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The lead character, Annella is a lot like myself. I was partly raised by my father who didn’t necessarily know how to raise a girl and throughout my childhood and adolescents I had dealt with more than a child should have so I was forced to be a stronger person no matter how terrible things became.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
I think one of the most influential books to me was the book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Over the course of my life, for various reasons, I have struggled with my own faith but am continuingly learning about religion and my own spirituality.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Oh, this one is easy…Author Suzan Tisdale. Over the past several months, I have had the rare opportunity to take part of her Highland Lassies, helping to promote her amazing books and she has been my greatest inspiration!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am currently reading, one of my favorite author B.J. Scott’s newest book Highland Homecoming. Her series are my absolute favorite!
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Author Lily Baldwin. I have recently read her book, To Bewitch a Highlander and I am very interesting in reading more books from her.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am currently working on Book 2 of my series, Escape to the Highlands to be released this coming January, hoping for December. I am also working on the storyline for Book 3, Highland Daydreams.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Definitely my Facebook friends, who have encouraged me to keep writing and not give up.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
At this point, I am not quite sure where this road will take me.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
If I was to change anything I think I would have tried to develop the scenes a little better. As I have only written my first book, I am still in the learning phase, but I know that over time my writing will improve with each book I write.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My mother was a big influence. She used to write the most beautiful poems and I started it as a way to express my feelings.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Well I am very excited about Book 2: Escape to the Highlands. Ewan in the first book, I wrote as a sarcastic, carefree character that I considered the “comic relief”. In Book 2, it really gets more into his personality and background. I equally matched him with a heroine who is just as stubborn as he is and they butt heads, a lot. But over time they have to learn to depend on each other and throughout the story you see their trust and love blossom.
Meet Jacqueline: The new heroine from Escape to the Highlands:
“Damn him Maggie. He treats me like a child. If only I could leave from this place,” Jacqueline said as she picked up a ball of dough from the kitchen counter and began to knead it.
“Oh my lady, I knew Sir Wayland locked you away in your chamber again after the evening meal, but what I don’t know is why. Does it have anything to do with that man that was here last evening?” Maggie asked.
“Man? Ha, hardly. Lord, whatever his face was, was arrogant and repulsive. I told my brother not to invite him so if I have embarrassed him it’s his own fault.”
“What is it that you had done to anger him so?”
“I happened to have spilled my wine on his white tunic.”
“Was it an accident?”
“Ah, well no, not exactly. He tried to put his hands on me, so I threw it at him.”
Maggie couldn’t help but giggle, even though she tried so desperately to hold it in. “Oh child, you really are trying your brother’s patience aren’t you? I’m sure he is just trying to do what is best for you by finding you a proper suitor.”
“What’s best for me? He doesn’t even know me, Maggie. He ignores everything I say and the only time he seems to pay any attention is when I do something he disagrees with.”
Jacqueline threw the ball of dough down on the table with a thud and watched as the particles of flour dust danced through the air. Plopping herself down on the stool next to her, she looked at Maggie and sighed. Maggie walked around to counter to stand beside her and gently put her hand on top of Jacqueline’s shoulder for comfort.
“My Lady, one day you will find your way. Perhaps meet a strong, handsome Baron who will take you away from here. Oh, I pray that it happens for you, my lady. There are many fine men out there.”
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I have noticed that when I write I often go back several times and re-edit the same few chapters over and over. I need to just write and go back to do the editing later. I find myself stuck on the same two chapters for weeks at a time doing that.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
This is a hard question because I have three favorites. I am going to have to say B.J. Scott. As much as I love the several other books by my other favorite authors, I find Mrs. Scott’s books filled with so much passion and detail that I find myself teary-eyed during certain scenes. She just really knows who to draw in her audience that you can “feel” how her characters are feeling. I remember when I finished her first book, I was so bummed that it was over.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, unfortunately I have not done any traveling, but hope to one day!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did the cover for the first book. It took weeks to find the right picture. My second and third book will be created by my good friend, Graphic Designer Jenni.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that there is a lot of time that goes into writing, especially the editing. I first started believing that I could have my book finished months before it will finally complete.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Definitely having a good editor is one of the most important things. And just don’t give up.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I would like to personally thank them for giving me and my book a chance. Their kind words and inspiration is what drives me to keep writing.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I enjoy compiling records for my genealogy. My grandmother had started it before she had passed and I continued her work. Over the last 8 years I have found over 350 grandparents on my direct blood line. It’s been a lot of fun finding different stories and connecting with distant cousins around the world.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
My favorite current TV shows are: Castle, NCIS and Elementary.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:
Favorite food would be Italian, color is Purple and I am an eclectic when it comes to music. I listen to anything depending on my mood.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Continue staying at my current job. I have been in the mailing/printing industry for the past 12 years.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? if so what is it?
I don’t have a blog or a personal website but I do have an author Facebook page that anyone who is interested can follow for all my updates and random fun giveaways. http://www.facebook.com/author.april.holthaus