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Author Interview: El Holly

El Holly enjoys writing about a lot of things, but her heart is taken by the fantasy genre.

Her most recent book, A Twist of Fae, is the second book in the Finding Fae trilogy.

When she isn’t writing, she reads, teaches, drinks coffee, and goes on adventures with her family.

She lives in Minnesota with her husband, their two kids, and her favorite fluffball, Mack.

LQ: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

EH: First, I want to say I love the qualifier “when you’re writing” to this question. Because, despite my many efforts to retain a consistent writing schedule, I don’t. And that’s okay. I write in spurts rather than a steady stream, but either way, the writing gets done. My work schedule when I’m writing typically involves me handwriting scenes and plotting out details for my book when on breaks from my day job as an online teacher. Then I like to use weekends or sometimes nights to type up the scenes and do my editing.

LQ: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

EH: I’ve found I work best when I hand write my stories first. So it takes a little longer, but I get a better sense of the characters and the plot when I do it this way. Plus I catch a lot of things when I go back and type up the chapters. I like to hand write as many chapters as I can in a few days, then type them up chapter by chapter, editing and revising and changing things as I go.

LQ: When did you write your first book and how old were you?

EH: I wrote my first full length novel when I was fourteen, over the summertime. It will probably never see the light of day.

LQ: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

EH: When I’m not writing I like to spend time with my family and friends. I have two kiddos, a fabulous husband, and a fluff ball named Mack (who I like to feature on my author page because he’s an adorable floof). We like to go hiking together, explore Minnesota (where we live), and play board games and tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons. I also adore reading (I am part of a YA Book Club and absolutely love it), and I also enjoy baking. Sometimes I post my baking adventures on my author IG/FB as well, just for fun.

LQ: What does your family think of your writing?

EH: My family has always been supportive of my writing. I think one reason I continue to write and publish is because of them, especially my kids. My oldest has said he wants to be an author someday, and my youngest recently started making his own comic books and says he wants to be a graphic novel writer someday.

LQ: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

EH: So far I’ve written 8 books (5 MG fantasy books in a series, 1 poetry book, and 2 YA fantasy books) that are published. 9 if you include the one I wrote when I was 14, which shall remain for my eyes only.

LQ: Does writing energize or exhaust you?

EH: Writing energizes me. Just ask my husband! There have been lots of late nights where he tries to sleep and I chat out loud about characters, plot, etc.

LQ: Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

EH: I do write under a pseudonym/pen name. El Holly is a name I had come up with back when I was first dreaming of being an author someday, when I was in 7th grade.

LQ: What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters, if anything?

EH: I don’t tend to base characters fully on real people, with the exception of the characters of Sean and Shannon in my Finding Fae trilogy. Usually I take bits and pieces of people’s personalities and blend them together with other traits to see what kind of characters I can create. To the real Sean and Shannon, thank you guys again for letting me write fictional versions of you into my books! I feed them a lot of home-baked goods, so hopefully they consider themselves well-paid.

LQ: What do you have coming next?

EH: Coming next (due to be published in 2023 if I stay on track) is the 3rd and final book in the Finding Fae trilogy.

I'm so thankful to El for participating in my Author Interview segments. In addition, she was kind enough to share an excerpt from A Twist of Fae.

In this snippet, Eevee, who recently found out she is fae, has left her job for the day because she sensed an animal nearby, the stray cat, Scamp. But Scamp may be more than he seems, which she discovers after tripping over him…

“Scamp, what the heck?” I complain as he yowls at me. His presence in my mind is full of righteous indignation, as if I should be ashamed of myself for tripping over him when he was winding himself around my feet.

Then the cantankerous cat does something I don’t expect. As I push myself up off the snowy ground, he bumps his one-eared head against my bare hand, like he’s trying to nuzzle me.

I can’t help but laugh. “Scamp, this isn’t like you! I missed you too, buddy. It’s–”

I pull my hand back, but not before the vision hits me.

A meadow floods my vision, full of long grasses, and flowers of all colors dancing in a balmy breeze. Laughter tickles my ears, from many voices. Then, a hush. A woman singing, her voice sweet and ageless, full of longing.

“Come to the meadow,

pick a flower or two.

Save one for me

and the other for you.

Dance in the meadow

‘til your feet soak with dew,

then look for the fairies.

We’ll be looking for you.”

Scamp blinks his bright green eyes up at me, all innocence, as I eye him suspiciously.

“You’re not just a cat, are you?” I ask.

In response, he picks the bite of sausage up off the napkin, leaving the egg, and zooms away, his skinny, dusty-colored body disappearing around the corner of the building.

The vision he’d given me is seared in my memory, the words of the song playing on repeat in my head. I crouch in the snow, trying to make sense of it.

I need to talk to Quince, or Cam, or Maggie about what just happened. Talking to Quince is out of the question until we can meet up again, so I send Cam and Maggie a quick text.

E: saw Scamp just now. something weird happened. txt me ASAP!

Hopefully they get back to me soon. My phone buzzes as I’m about to put it away, and for a moment I think maybe I’ve caught Maggie on break, but it’s another message from Amelia: Trent is bringing me home right now. can’t wait 4 my muffin!

My mind is a swirling mess, but I re-enter Gramp’s, dusting the snow off my jacket, and buy Amelia her banana nut muffin, plus a double chocolate chip one for me.

By the time I sit down in the car, my muffin is gone, but the vision remains.

My skin prickles with goosebumps. Whatever that song might mean, whoever sang it, one thing is clear: someone in Elfaeme wants to meet me.

Want to read more about Eevee's adventures? You can purchase the Finding Fae series here.

Stay connected with El and the adorable Mack by subscribing to her website, or following her on Instagram or Facebook.

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