Another Column at MyShelf.Com

Beneath The Covers, Past
A Romance Column

An interview with romance author Holly Jacobs, review of Hung Up On You.

ELAINE: Welcome to MyShelf, Holly. We're excited and delighted that you could join us today.


ELAINE: First off, I'd like to congratulate you on your many contest wins for your laugh out loud romantic comedies with Harlequin. Please tell us about your recent awards and your books that won.

HOLLY: Elaine, It's been a very good contest year. I've had books final in The Madcap Award (which is specifically for romantic comedy), The Holt Medallion, The Golden Quill, and finally three finalists in More Than Magic, one of which won the traditional category. I've won a Golden Quill and a Madcap Award in the past.


ELAINE: Do you feel it's important to enter contests? Why? Do you feel they've helped your sales and/or name recognition?

HOLLY: I do think contests are a very good way to generate name recognition. Are they necessary? No. But they can be fun! Hey, my kids aren't necessary either, but I keep them around! <g>


ELAINE: Please tell us about your journey to success, starting with Neighborhood Press, ImaJinn, Kensington’s Precious Gems, and now Harlequin and Silhouette.

HOLLY: When I see it in print, I realize that I have indeed written for a diverse group of publishers. But each has helped my writing grow, just as each book, each story has been a journey of growth for me. I've learned so much. ImaJinn released the last of my Fairy Godmother stories in March. It was sort of bittersweet saying goodbye to my fairies after four books. But Harlequin and Silhouette are keeping me busy. I've got a royalty trilogy coming out next May, June and July from Silhouette Romance, and two more Flipsides in the lineup. One is scheduled for Sept ‘05 and waiting for the other's date. Like I said, each book is special...each one is a journey of discovery. I still find the fact that people buy and read my books surreal...but soooo much fun!


ELAINE: How is writing for Flipside different than writing for Duets?

HOLLY: Well, both Harlequin Duets and Flipside are comedy lines. Duets had a sort of I Love Lucy tone, and to my mind Flipsides are more Will and Grace (if Will were straight and it was a romance <g>). The tone and humor in Flipside is a bit more realistic...but just as much fun as the Duets. Truly, I've enjoyed both lines. I love writing comedy, making people laugh while I, hopefully, touch their hearts.


ELAINE: How is writing for Flipside different than writing for Silhouette Romance? Is it difficult to change modes?

HOLLY: My Flipsides are comedies. My Silhouette Romances do have humor, but they're a bit more of an emotional story. I might describe them as slightly gentler. Changing modes? I love the differences...I think the change of pace keeps my writing fresh.


ELAINE: You're putting out at least two or three books a year. How do you write so fast? How many books have you been putting out a year?

HOLLY: I treat writing like a full-time job! I write seven days a week. In the summer and on weekends my work days are shorter, but I plan for that. My general goal is five pages every day. If you do the math, I can finish a short category book in just a couple months with that schedule.


ELAINE: What is your favorite type of book to write? Why?

HOLLY: Okay, this is going to sound hokey, but it's the truth. My favorite book is always the book I'm currently working on. If it's not, then there's something wrong with the story and I know I need to address it. Why? Because if I'm not having fun, not being pulled back to the book, then how do I expect the reader to?


ELAINE: What is your favorite type of book to read? Why?

HOLLY: I read widely and eclectically. Romance, science fiction, fantasy. I love science, love reading about religions and philosophies. Biographies. We keep Times, Popular Science, National Geographic and Readers Digests floating through the house. Heck, I've been known to spend my breakfast reading the cereal box! I'm a reader through and through. I can't remember a time when I wasn't reading a book. Right now I'm reading Gregory Maguire's “Wicked”. Love his twist on a classic story.


ELAINE: Where do you get your story ideas? Please tell us specifically how you got the idea for your recent Flipside, Hung Up On You.

HOLLY: Hung Up on You is one of the few books that I can explain exactly where and why it was born. I was sitting in my office, stuck in a phone maze, lost in an electronic answering system, just looking for a real-live human to assist me. As I punched number after number, feeling like I was playing Let's Make a Deal and looking for the right curtain, I thought, this could be a book and started writing the opening to Hung Up on You right then!


ELAINE: Please tell us about your family, including your daughter who just graduated from college. Congratulations, by the way. I know you must be a very proud mom.

HOLLY: Oh, a Mom-brag. I'm good at those! <g> I have four of the greatest kids ever! You're right, my oldest just graduated with her nursing degree. Daughter number two is a biology/chemistry/secondary education major and entering her junior year of college. We have a high school sophomore and a fifth grader rounding out the family. They all delight me...and drive me crazy in turn! Add a wonderful husband and a 200 lb Old English Mastiff to the mix and you'll see that even my craziest story doesn't match the craziness that is my life! <g>


ELAINE: I know that a lot of your stories are set in your home town of Erie, Pennsylvania. Are all of them set there? Have you always lived in Erie?

HOLLY: Yes, I've always live in Erie and truly can't imagine living anywhere else!! I've got the amenities of a larger city along with the feel of a small town...and Lake Erie at my doorstep. All my Silhouette Romances have been set here, all but one of my Duets as well. But my Flipsides are taking me out and about. Philadelphia, Toronto,'s fun exploring other cities, but it's always good to be home.


ELAINE: Please tell us about the Dreamweavers.

HOLLY: Writing is a solitary sort of business. I tell my husband that I don't have a water cooler to stand around and chat with friends. That's true in a way, but a bit of fib in another. You see, I've been blessed with wonderful online friends! The internet is my water cooler! LOL The Dreamweavers are a mixed group of writers. We've been together for what, five years now? Close. They've supported me through my ups and downs. They're the best.


ELAINE: Do you have a long term goal and if so, what is it?

HOLLY: Each year I try to set new goals for myself. I like having some kind of path set out. Of course, the path changes from time to time. When that happens I just try to readjust my goal. I guess my biggest long-term goal would be to continue writing and telling my stories.


ELAINE: If one of your books could be made into a movie, which one would you choose and why? Who would you cast for the main characters and why?

HOLLY: LOL Great question. Hmmmm....

Okay, let's go with my October Flipside, Found and Lost. My heroine, Markie Walkowicz, discovers a dead body on her front porch on a Monday morning and while she's calling 911, it disappears. Enter an old friend, Detective Zac Marshall. While he helps her find the body (which appears, then disappears from her back yard the next week), maybe they can get over old losses and find a new relationship...maybe love? For Markie how about Kate Hudson, and for Zac Ben Affleck.


ELAINE: You travel to several romance writing and reading conferences. What is the most fun you had at one? Which one?

HOLLY: I love going to speak at conferences and writing groups. I truly think writers are some of the very nicest people around. Maybe it's because they spend so much time putting themselves in other people's shoes while they work, that they just do it all the time. That ability to empathize makes for some of the sweetest people around. So, even though I've never seen a study about it, I think the anecdotal evidence proves out...writers are great. Which means, going out and spending a day or a weekend with them is bound to be a blast! Hanging with nice people and talking about a job I love...what could be better?


ELAINE: Are you planning to attend any conferences this next year where your fans can meet you? Which ones?

HOLLY: I'll be at RWA's National Conference in Dallas at the end of July. I'll be speaking in Buffalo in October. That's it for this year. I'm currently booking ‘05. I know I'll be in Knoxville in April.


ELAINE: Do you have any book signings scheduled? If so, where and when?

HOLLY: A lot of the conferences, such as RWA's in Dallas, have booksignings involved with them. And here in Erie, there's a huge signing being planned for the end of October at Waldenbooks in the Mall. I'll be there, and writing buddies Susan Gable and Jamie Denton will be as well.


ELAINE: What do you like to do in your spare time to relax?

HOLLY: Um....relax? <g> Seriously, I do relax. Reading, sunsets on the cream! They all make for great downtime.


ELAINE: Is it difficult to write with a large family? Do you have any tips for writing moms?

HOLLY: I was up at five this morning so I could write in peace and quiet for a while before the thundering herd awoke!! During the school year it's easier. I write while they're in school. Tips? I guess my biggest tip is not to give yourself excuses not to write. Everyone can find a half hour or so a day. Whether you get up early, stay up a half hour late. Write through lunch. When I first started writing, I made the commitment to write something, anything, every day. I made time...I still do.


ELAINE: What are your dreams? What would you still like to accomplish?

HOLLY: Personally, I hope all my kids grow up to have great, meaningful lives. Professionally, I'd like to keep writing for a very, very long time!


ELAINE: What advice would you give to aspiring and newly published authors?

HOLLY: My best advice I've already mentioned, but it bears being repeated...write something, anything, every day. Writing is work, but it's also craft. And as with any craft, the more you do it, the better you become.


ELAINE: What is your website address?

HOLLY: Please drop in any time. There are excerpts of upcoming books, and a monthly contest.


ELAINE: Is there anything else you'd like to share with your fans?

HOLLY: Just my appreciation. I've been so lucky to have so many people support me personally, and professionally. There aren't enough thanks in the world that are adequate.


ELAINE: What books do you have in store for us? When can we expect your next book to be released and what is its name?

Be My Baby, Sil. Rom., A Perry Square Romance, 8/04
Found and Lost, Harlequin Flipside, 10/04
Perry Square Royalty Trilogy, Silhouette Romance, 5,6,7/05
Laughting Out Loud, Harlequin Flipside, 9/05
Wedding or Not, Harlequin Flipside, tba

Thanks, so much, Elaine!!


Hung Up On Your
By Holly Jacobs
Harlequin Flipside, No. 9- Feb. 2004
ISBN: 0-373-44183-5 - Paperbck
Series Romance
Buy a Copy
Read an Excerpt

Reviewed by Elaine Hopper, MyShelf.Com

    Hung Up On You by Holly Jacobs is an irreverently funny romantic comedy revolving around a phone answering company and life gone awry. Murphy’s Law applies when everything that can go wrong in Ari’s very orderly life does…and more. Just when her life seems as if it can’t get suckier, another tragedy befalls her.

     Surprisingly, Ari discovers that when God closes a door, he opens a window and in climbs sexy hero-in-disguise, Simon Masterson. It doesn’t take long for the sworn adversaries to join forces and find love in most unlikely places.

      In her typical charming manner, Holly Jacobs has created another enchanting romantic comedy to make hopeful romantics out of all of us. A refreshingly witty, laugh-out-loud comedy combined with heart-melting romance is reminiscent of the Doris Day/Rock Hudson and Kathryn Hepburn/Cary Grant movies I love so much to watch on lazy Sunday afternoons. I devoured Hung Up On You in one sitting, unable to put down the book until the happily-ever-after concluded.

**Note: Reviewer Elaine Hopper is the author of twenty published romance novels.

2004 Past Columns

© MyShelf.Com. All Rights Reserved.