N.L. Holmes Author Bio:
N.L. Holmes is the pen name of a professional archaeologist who received her doctorate from Bryn Mawr College. She has excavated in Greece and in Israel, and taught ancient history and humanities at the university level for many years. She has always had a passion for books, and in childhood, she and her cousin (also a writer today) used to write stories for fun. Now that their son is grown, she lives with her husband and three cats, splitting her time between Florida and northern France, where she plays the violin, weaves, gardens–and reads, of course.
What inspires you to write?
I have always loved being transported into another world, challenged to think, have my emotions wrung by a book. As a kid, I used to find "my people" in books. And as a history teacher, my goal was to make the people of the past come to life, so writing historical fiction wasn't that much different. To create a world and all the characters that populate it–that uses the whole brain an all the heart. Authors ought to become better people.
Tell us about your writing process.
I'm a "pantser" who never knows how a book will end until I get there–and that includes who-dunnits. I start with a historical event or personage, known only by their name and deeds. Then I flesh them out with a kind of mini-biography in longhand, usually. Since I write series, that helps me keep track of how old everyone is at a given moment. Sometimes, if I have in mind a scene–a revelation, a confrontation–I write that first, out of order. If I have enough scenes, that becomes a kind of outline to be stitched together in order.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I listen to them. They are the first thing that gels, then I set them in my world and let 'em run. The choices they make are the direction my plot will go.
Who are your favorite authors?
Some of my new-found faves are Tana French (any book) and Maggie Farrell (Hamnet). Is it Irish writers?? But I also love the oldies like Dorothy Dunnett's King's Game and Rosemary Sutcliff's Sword at Twilight. Anything atmospheric and gloomy! I love the 19th- and early 20th-century Realists, and I guess my favorite novel of all times is Zola's Germinale. Dark and graphic: those images will never leave me! And that's success.
What genres do you write?
Historical–historical mystery (cozy), LGBTQ, political intrigue
How did you choose the genre(s) you write?
I've always loved history and have dealt with the ancient world professionally for many years, so it was a no-brainer that I turn to the past for the settings of my novels. I like mysteries too, and thought that would give some structure to a series set in ancient Egypt. The LGBTQ story just happened: I had to explain a historical rupture between two men with something really powerful, and what is more powerful than rejected love.
What three things are on your writing desk at any given moment?
I wish I had a desk! At the moment I'm relegated to the living room couch! But one would find there a calendar, lots of loose notes for books and for promos, and a ballpoint pen that's marking up the slipcover.
What hobbies do you have when you need a break from writing?
I love to play the violin (badly), to weave and do anything textile-related, to garden, to be around animals–chickens now and cats, but I used to drive a horse cart. That was part of my research for the book The Lightning Horse. Anything manual or out-of-doors. I'm always making stuff: cheese, sauerkraut, etc.
What formats are your books in?
eBook, Print, Audiobook
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All information is provided by the author and is presented as it was submitted so you the reader get to hear the author’s own “voice” in their interview.