Introducing Holly Pritchard, writer of the sci-fi Melanie Winters series, blogger and mental health advocate. We are excited to share with you her tips for defeating writer's block, her vivid imagination and the inspiring project she has in the pipeline!
Who are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Holly Pritchard. I'm 26 and I live in a small town in South Wales. I'm a self-published author and lifestyle blogger and can be found changing my hair colour every couple of seconds in my spare time.
What first inspired you to start writing?
I have always had an incredibly vivid imagination ever since I was a kid, and growing up I loved to read books. Books were a way for me to escape into a different world and taught me lots of important life lessons. Creating my own make-believe worlds when I was younger led to me make up all sorts of stories and cemented becoming an author as my childhood dream.
What made you want to work with Rowanvale and be published?
I had tried for many years to go down the traditional publishing route with some of my other work and was constantly getting rejected. After I discovered self-publishing was a possibility, I decided I'd had enough of trying the traditional route and decided my stories would get out into the world one way or another!
When I first decided to go down the self-publishing route, I was very serious about my work being the best it could be. Although I knew that it was going to be a difficult and quite expensive journey, having my work professionally edited was always the plan. And after a google search for book editors based in Wales, Rowanvale came up. After a read of the site, I knew that they were the people I wanted to work with and reached out immediately.
When you’re not writing, what are you reading?
I read lots of different books from all kinds of genres although I do love my science fiction and fantasy! At the moment I'm reading Unnatural Causes by Richard Shepherd, which was a gift from my wonderful friend Libby. It's such a fascinating read into his work as a forensic pathologist and has had me more curious with each turn of the page.
Which work are you most proud of?
Definitely my debut, The Ascension of Melanie Winters. I know it's probably such a cliché to have your first book as the answer, but that was the moment I could officially call myself an author. I wrote the bulk of my debut through a very dark period of anxiety and depression about three years back; working on the book was what got me through the awful days I experienced.
I owe a lot to that time in my life and getting to hold a book I'd written for the first time was nothing short of a beautiful moment.
What’s your best advice for handling writer's block?
My best advice is simple: write in Comic Sans. Yes, I'm dead serious. I saw a tweet on Twitter floating around about two years ago talking about how writing in Comic Sans can increase your productivity and make writer's block disappear. I was struggling to write my second novel at the time so I decided to give it a shot and it was an absolute game changer for me. I now write all of my drafts in Comic Sans as it helps me so much, especially when I took part in NaNoWriMo last year and got a personal best!
What’s one thing you always have with you when you’re writing?
Music! It's funny because I never used to like to listen to music when I would write. It had to be complete silence otherwise I couldn't concentrate properly. Now, I find that I struggle if I'm not listening to something! It's a great moment when I'm working on a story and the right song comes on shuffle that completely fits the mood of what scene I'm writing. There were even a few select albums I would listen to on repeat when writing my first two books as they conveyed my story so well.
What is the one book you would take with you if you were stuck on a desert island?
Probably A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin. It's quite a chunky book so would keep me occupied for a while and I love the way he intertwines multiple viewpoints into one book; something I'd love to have a go at myself.
What is the best part about being an independently published author?
I get to write on my own terms and I can share my work with the world without having to rely on a traditional publisher. Although it's a lot more work and there have been times I've almost thrown in the towel, I wouldn't trade it for anything. Being able to look at my work and know that I made all of it happen through my hard work and crazy ideas is something I'm fiercely proud of.
What’s next for you?
At the moment, I'm gearing up to take part in NaNoWriMo next month! I'm also helping to crowdfund a mental health anthology book that I'm writing for, called Through The Hourglass. It's a look at the different stages of mental health recovery through a series of letters addressing past, present and future selves. We're hoping to have it completely funded by next year.