February 2017 – T. M. Holladay
I wanted to be an author when I was in third grade, but the goals of my youth always did have a short attention span. When I did finally start writing semi-seriously, it was purely selfish. It was my creative outlet to deal with the expectations of college, life, and adulting.
What motivates you now to keep writing?
Three things. First, the story. Even though I know the main, sweeping story arc of this series already, all of the minor plot and character things are surprises that come along during the writing process. I need to see what’s going to happen!
Also, the fans! I get emails, and facebook messages, and I see postings or reviews, and it completely makes my day. It reminds me that there are people on this journey with me. How cool is that!? I’ve had a reader send me a picture of her book report project, and another reader sent me a picture of a t-shirt with a quote from my book that her parents made her. Just the other day a family friend brought me a canvas art hanging that reminded her of my book and she said that I “just need to have it!” I mean, come on. This stuff is a writer’s adrenaline.
Lastly, and probably the most motivating, is my family. My two oldest kids know that I’m a writer, and they ask frequently how the next book is coming along. My daughter sees that her mom set a goal and accomplished it. There’s not a chance I’m going to back out now. And my husband is incredible. He believes in me. When the most important person in your life believes in you, you believe in yourself.
What made you want to write about mermaids?
Honestly, I have no idea. When I was a little kid, I practically lived in the pool, and I’d dream about being a mermaid all day. But the story itself just kind of happened (see question below). That was eight years ago. Had I known mermaids would be so popular right now, I probably would have tossed the term “candeons,” went straight for “mermaids,” and then finished the first book a whole lot sooner!
What inspired you to write Hiding Haelo?
I went to college on the North Shore of Oahu (BYU-Hawai’i), just up the coast from the Byodo-In Buddhist Temple. There’s a koi pond in front of the temple, filled with these beautiful fish, covered with patchwork scales. A few days after one of our many visits to the temple’s gardens, I was trying to think through a compositional issue I was having (music major over here) and I couldn’t get an image of those scales, layered & slightly transparent, out of my head. One thought lead to another, lead to another, lead to another, and next thing I knew I was dreaming up this fantasy world of magical water people living among us humans. So instead of finishing that composition assignment, I wrote the first chapter. (Sorry, Dr. B.). In the book, Candeons have a patch of scales on their lower backs called mosaics. I picture these just like the koi fish: layered, variably transparent, organized chaos. Only on a smaller scale.
What are you reading right now?
I read three or four books a week. Two a week if I’m swamped. I can’t help it. I truly don’t know how I find the time to do so. Right now I’m re-reading one of my favorite series, “House of Oak,” an adorable time travel romance series by Nichole Van, and a book called “A Hero Rises: Moroni and the Battle of Manti” by Jason Mow. I’m hoping it will help me better understand military strategy and a thoughtful “warrior’s mindset,” which will come in handy as I edit some scenes in my upcoming sequel. Funny enough, I very rarely (if ever) read YA fantasy or paranormal. I think I’m scared I’d subconsciously steal ideas, so I don’t even give myself the chance.
Do you have a favorite book/author?
Oooh, this is a hard question. Probably “To Kill A Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee. Though my favorite book growing up was “The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle” by Avi. It was the book that turned me into a reader. Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” gets me every time.
What author would you want to meet, living or dead?
JK Rowling. Hands down. She is just way too cool. And any of the Victorian female authors who killed it in a “man’s” profession and genre (George Elliot, Louisa May Alcott, the Bronte sisters). Hats off to you, ladies.
What advice do you have for people who want to write?
A book written to please everyone will be a very boring book. Don’t write to please everyone.
Finally, what’s next for you?