I am a writer and avid reader of romances particularly historical romances. Please join me on my journey through time
Please welcome Anne Holster author of Imaginary Grace.
Anne will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
by Anne Holster
READING inspired me to start writing! I love to read and I read a lot of books. Every time I read a new one I found myself thinking up different things that could have happened in it or different ways that it could have ended. “What if the character did this instead of that” or “what if the story took place here instead of there” or my favorite, “what if the heroine ended up with that ‘other’ guy”. It was on one of those silly rants that I came up with the idea for Imaginary Grace. It started as just a passing thought, but I decided to write it down. The next thing I knew I had the first chapter finished and it just grew from there.
I believe I brought my experience as an avid and conscientious reader. I think this is even more important than taking writing classes, because it allows you to learn from the experts in terms of storyline, character development and realistic dialogue. It teaches you what you can get away with as an author and what you can’t. I learned as much from books I didn’t like as those I did.
When I first started writing Imaginary Grace – actually well into the writing of it – I believed it would be my only book. Then somewhere along the line I became truly addicted to the storytelling. It became such an incredible experience for me that I couldn’t imagine not continuing down this path. I am now working on my second novel.
Well, Grace, of course! She is naïve but a very smart, grounded person. What she is lacking in fashion sense, she more than makes up for in character, and I think she proves as the story progresses that while the former can be learned, the second cannot. More importantly, she comes to know her own worth during the story; she realizes that she, not Tanner, is the real “catch”.
I’ve actually thought about that and I’m not sure who I would specifically choose, especially for Grace. I can’t seem to come up with someone who would be a perfect match for her innocence, intelligence and shy awkwardness. Tanner is a bit easier, but not by much. To play him I think I’d choose a guy with the bad-boy with the heart-of-gold looks and attitude, perhaps like Taylor Kitsch in Friday Night Lights. It’s tough because everyone pictures characters differently when they read a book and you would never be able to please everyone.
I’ve never belonged to a critique group. I’ve asked a couple of friends to put in their two cents here or there, but basically I prefer to be on my own. I’m sure there’s a few things in Imaginary Grace that a critique group would have suggested removing, but I had a specific idea on how I wanted the story to unfold and I’m happy with the way it turned out.
I guess I always knew I would publish Imaginary Grace. I mean, if the story is worthy of writing, I felt it deserved a chance and since it was my first book I felt I had nothing to lose. Remember that old saying, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” If I didn’t put it out there I’d always be wondering….what if? On the other hand, I did not allow myself to have expectations about sales. I didn’t want that to color my experience.
With Imaginary Grace, I didn’t do much of a formal outline. I had the story in my head – the characters and the major plot points – and pretty much stuck to that. When I hit a point in the story where I didn’t know which way it should go I just took a break and waited for the characters to ‘tell’ me what was supposed to happen next. Eventually they did and that worked for me. I do see the benefits for outlining, though. I’m making a more thorough outline for my second book and encourage others to do the same.
Well, it’s not really a hobby, but I do love listening to older music – classic rock from the 70’s and 80’s. I also enjoy watching local bands play. When I was tossing around ideas for the character of Tanner in Imaginary Grace, at first I was going to make him a college athlete, but I’m not really a big sports buff so I was having some trouble pulling that together. Then I took a step back and thought to myself “What am I into?” “What would I think was hot in a college guy?” Then it hit me – a musician – and more specifically a guitar player. When I decided Tanner would be in a band it seemed only natural that he’d play the kind of music that I liked. The idea just took off from there and once I had his character down the rest came easy.
Yep, I’m currently working on my next book. It’s similar to Imaginary Grace in the sense that it’s a new adult, college romance, but that’s where the similarities end. The main character, Jess, is a lot more sure of herself from the start than Grace was. As for my leading male character, he’s a bit different than the brooding up and coming rock star Tanner, but he’s every bit as hot. I’m having a lot of fun with these characters and can’t wait until it all comes together, hopefully by years end.
I would argue that there are a few of them in Imaginary Grace, but I would have to say that the black moment is when Grace finds out the truth of why Tanner asked her out. It goes to the heart of all her insecurities around her looks and whether guys – especially one as desirable as Tanner – would ever really be interested in her. Even more than that, it makes her feel like a fool; it makes her question her own judgment. Actually, this happens on the first page! What makes it interesting is the fact that we now get to go back and see what leads up to the black moment. When I first started writing Imaginary Grace I didn’t plan on that approach. The idea came to me out of the blue at about the mid-point and I decided to go with it. I’m glad I did because I think it’s a great set up to Grace and Tanner’s story – you know what’s coming, but you don’t know how or when it’s coming.
I want to tell other first-time writers not to give up. I know how tough it can be – you are too close to the story to tell whether it is good or not; you know you need feedback from others but worry they’ll tell you the story is a disaster and you can’t write worth a nickel. I have been through it all. But along the way I learned that the personal joy you get from creating – from birthing – your story is well worth it.
Tanner has always gotten wants from girls-whether it’s the co-ed sitting next to him in class or the scantily dressed groupies that follow his band, Hudson Nash. There’s only one woman immune to his charms, and that’s his mother. Tired of Tanner’s hard partying, she’s waiting for him to grow up and settle down, preferably with a nice girl. When she refuses to finance his tour with the band, Tanner knows he’ll have to find a way to change her mind.
Grace Roberts is not like most college girls. Shy and bookish, she prefers sneakers to stilettos and never quite mastered the art of taming her mane of unmanageable hair. Guys are not exactly throwing themselves at her, so when Tanner Reed, the hottest guy in school (scratch that, the hottest guy anywhere!) takes an interest in her, it seems too good to be true.
Bound by his deception and her girlish hopes, Tanner and Grace will be forced to question everything they believe about each other, and themselves. When these two get together, anything can happen and anyone can get hurt. Anyone can fall in love.
I just stared as I watched him walk in what seemed like slow motion – no, walk is not the word to describe what he did – more like I watched as he swaggered into the room. He was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. His thick, shoulder-length brown hair was just a shade or two lighter than mine but fell perfectly around his equally perfect face. He was clean-shaven with a strong-looking, sculpted jaw and when he looked up, I saw that he had the most exquisite cornflower-blue eyes that I had ever seen. He wore a tight-fitting, gray vintage rock-n-roll t-shirt that stretched across a well-defined chest and revealed a set of equally well-defined biceps. My eyes traveled down to a pair of worn, faded blue jeans that hung low on his slim waist and I noticed that there was a slight tear just below his right knee that showed when he walked.
He took a desk a few seats up and to the right from mine. Then he turned and began a conversation with the girl next to him. I couldn’t see her face but I could tell from her body language that she found him as attractive as I did. At one point she put a hand on his arm and said, “Oh, Tanner!” in a half-scolding tone. Tanner? Hmmm. When the professor walked in he turned around and I dragged my attention to the front of the room, but every so often I glanced in his direction. When class was over, I quickly gathered my things, but by the time I got up to leave he was already gone.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
First time author Anne Holster resides in Northern New Jersey with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing she enjoys spending time with her family, playing tennis and reading angsty romance novels. She is currently working on her second novel.
Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/imaginarygracebook
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Anne will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.