Friday, 23 October 2015



Dr. Debra Holland is the New York Times and the USA Today bestselling author of the award-winning Montana Sky series (sweet, historical Western romance) and The Gods' Dream Trilogy (fantasy romance). 
Debra is a three-time Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist and one-time winner. In 2013, Amazon selected Starry Montana Sky as one of the Top 50 Greatest Love Stories. 
When she's not writing, Dr. Holland works as a psychotherapist and corporate crisis/grief counselor and is the author of The Essential Guide to Grief and Grieving, as well as Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude, a Ten Minute eBook. She's also a contributing author to The Naked Truth about Self-Publishing. 
Debra holds a Masters’ Degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy, and holds a PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern California, and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
Debra is a popular psychotherapist, consultant, and speaker on the topics of communication difficulties, relationships, stress, and dealing with difficult peopleShe is a featured expert for the media, and does entertainment consulting. 

Did your years of experience as a psychotherapist help you in writing your novels or creating characters with greater depth? Please tell the readers more about it. 
I use my experience to delve into my characters’ wounds, as well as help them confront their fears and have emotional and mental growth.

What inspired you to write the Montana Sky series?

I didn’t start out intending to write a series.
On New Year’s Eve in 1998, I was celebrating with friends at a cowboy dance bar in Orange County, California. As the old year drew to a close, I started dancing with a handsome young cowboy—a real one. Those are hard to find in the Orange Country.
We shared a midnight kiss. He asked me out, and still reeling from that kiss, I agreed.
The two of us began to date. We had nothing in common, but he was sexy and fun, and we had a good time. After a few weeks, I started thinking: What if we met in the Old West? Who would he be? How would I be different, and would we have worked? And so the idea came to me for the story that I titled, Wild Montana Sky.
I physically modeled the hero, Nick Sanders, after my cowboy, and I made the heroine, Elizabeth, a little like me.
I started to write some of the scenes that popped into my mind, beginning with the one where Nick and Elizabeth ride their horses by a stream—a beautiful Montana setting. After that, I had to figure out who these two characters were and what their story was. And I had to learn to write fiction.
After a few months, my cowboy and I drifted apart. His work at the racetrack came to an end, and he moved north. I never saw him again.

You are a three-time Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist and one-time winner. Tell the readers about your experience of winning this prestigious award.

In 2001, I attended my first RWA national conference in New Orleans. The awards ceremony is the culmination of a week of workshops, meetings, and parties. I was a finalist for my first book, Wild Montana Sky.
Before the ceremony, as I was ironing my gown, I told myself that I should practice an acceptance speech just in case I won. As soon as I said that, I had an intuitive feeling: I really need to memorize this speech because I’ll be giving it! I stopped ironing, went to the desk, and jotted down my speech on a notepad, including everyone I needed to thank. I didn’t want to forget anyone in the excitement of the moment.
Sure enough, I won. I climbed the stairs to the stage, accepted the Golden Heart necklace, and gave my speech. Afterwards, I had so many people tell me how poised I seemed. I didn’t tell them I knew in advance.

What was your early experience as an Authorpreneur? Kindly give the readers a little advice that proved most useful in boosting the sales of your books.

The early days of Indie publishing were very different than now, for the field wasn’t as crowded. However, one thing has stayed the same—authors helping authors.
I was successful because of my friends, who’d self-published a few months ahead of me. They generously shared what to do and not to do. That sharing hasn’t change—it’s just that my friends now number in the hundreds. Indie authors are very supportive, and we have success because of pooling our knowledge.

I read about your favorite Indie moment when you said to a traditional publisher who approached you for the publishing rights of Montana Sky series — “Well… you had your chance. My agent submitted these books to your house several years ago, and you rejected them. You chose to stay an indie author because you love the creative control an indie author experiences. Kindly elaborate on this point for the readers.
Self-publishing can be addicting. Once you start, you may not want to pursue traditional publishing. You may find you like having the control over your content, cover, blurb, and prices. You may enjoy receiving a check or direct deposit every month, and watching it grow bigger, instead of waiting to be paid quarterly or twice a year. You may find yourself moved to tears by a 5 star review or a fan email. And you may find you have more excitement and creativity about your writing career.

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude is your ten-minute micro-content non-fiction self-help eBook. It’s a brilliant idea for the writers to share their knowledge with readers. What is your next book in that series?
Surmounting Shame

India is an upcoming market for indie publishing. What advice will you give to Indian writers about indie writing?
The same as I’d give to an American author--earn the craft of writing a good story. Study the publishing market. Write a great book and have it professionally edited. Then, figure out if you want to approach traditional publishers or self-publish.

Debra Holland's latest book, Healing Montana Sky, of award-winning Montana Sky Series will be published in e-book and paperback on 28th October, 2015.

Related Post:
Kirtida Gautam interviews Beth Yarnall

Kirtida Gautam is a clinical psychologist and an author. Follow her on Twitter @KirtidaGautam  

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