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Interview: Holly Kerr, Author of ‘Coming Home’

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Holly KerrHolly Kerr has survived the long, cold winter in Toronto and now she is celebrating summer by watching a lot of baseball – all three kids, plus her beloved Blue Jays – preparing for cottage life and trying to grow 200 pound pumpkins for her husband.  She’s also working on another novel, thanks to Camp NaNoWriMo and attempting to write a kids book for her children.  

Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Coming Home. When did you start writing and what got you into women’s fiction?

Thanks!  I started writing when I was a child; I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t writing.  In high school, I wrote a story about two sisters, one who died and I was amazed when my teacher gave me a 49/50 and told me to submit it into a writing competition.  (I didn’t win).  But my teacher Mr. Clark’s encouragement and support gave me the confidence to think I might have a future in writing books.  Flash forward 20+years and here I am!  

I’ve tried writing a variety of genres over the years and I believe my stories and style fit best in the women’s fiction category.  My first novel, Baby! Baby? Baby?!, is chick lit, but my writing style has become a little more ‘grownup’ in Coming Home, less informal.  

What was your inspiration for Coming Home?

I’ve always been enamored with large families and the relationships between sisters, probably because my relationship with my older sister was as conflicted as Brenna and Kat in Coming Home.  My relationship with my sister, and how we’ve mended it over the years, was the inspiration for the book.

Coming Home 2Who is your target audience?

I’d like to say Coming Home will appeal to anyone, male or female, but I think women in their 20s and older will appreciate it the most!

Many writers experience a vague anxiety before they sit down to write. Can you relate to this?

The anxiety comes later for me! When I’ve has written part of a book, when I’ve finished enough to that it would be painful to scrap it, that’s when I get writer’s block and with it, the anxious feeling that everything I’ve just spent my blood, sweat and tears writing, sucks.  It’s not a nice feeling!  But thankfully, with a break and a clear head, it passes.  Usually.  I’ve given up on more books than I can count though!  The ones I persevere with are the ones where the characters really talk to me and creep into my heart and I can’t forget about their story.  

I think every writer experiences feelings of anxiety somewhere through the writing process.  Being a writer means putting a part of yourself out there for everyone to see…and critique…and criticize.  But with enough love for your story, a writer has no choice.  There’s no point writing to leave it in a drawer someone, or on the hard drive for no one to ever read. 

Do you have a writing schedule? Are you disciplined?

I try to be disciplined, especially now, when I have recently made the decision to quit my job to be a full-time writer.  I prefer to write in the mornings, early mornings before anyone is awake in the house, but that’s not always possible as my kids wake up really early!

I’ve just begun to use the pomodoro technique – 25 mins work and 5 min break – which is great because it helps me deal with the distraction of social media.  If I can get my 25 minutes in, then it’s okay to check Facebook!

What do you love most about the writer’s life?

Even with all the challenges and anxiety, I realize I am truly lucky to be able to do what I love.

Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about your work?

Please check out my website http://hollykerr.ca/.  I write a blog about anything that catches her fancy!

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About Mayra Calvani

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others. Represented by Serendipity Literary.