Today we are putting Debra Holt in the spotlight.
Born and raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Debra grew up among horses, cowboys, wide open spaces, and real Texas Rangers. Pride in her state and ancestry knows no bounds and it is these heroes and heroines she loves to write about the most. She also draws upon a variety of life experiences including working with abused children, caring for baby animals at a major zoo, and owning a wedding planning business (ah, romance!).
Debra’s real pride and joys, however, are her son, an aspiring film actor, and a daughter with aspirations to join the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (more story ideas!) When she isn’t busy writing about tall Texans and feisty heroines, she can be found cheering on her Texas Tech Red Raiders, or heading off on another cruise adventure. She read her first romance…Janet Dailey’s Fiesta San Antonio, over thirty years ago and became hooked on the genre. Writing contemporary western romances, is both her passion and dream come true, and she hopes her books will bring smiles…and sighs… to all who believe in happily-ever-after’s.
Debra, here are a few questions we would love to know the answers to.
What does your writing area look like?
My office has a roll top desk with lots of calendars and sticky notes and notebooks with more story ideas stacked around it. The bookshelves are full of favorite books. The window overlooks my rose garden and huge weeping willow. All that being said…when it comes to actual writing…I can be found with my laptop balanced on my knee anyplace I have the urge to write! LOL
I love the rose garden and willow tree, but I’m afraid I’d be tempted to look outside all the time.
How do you come up with titles and character names?
The titles come to me almost immediately as the story idea comes along. Character names come soon afterward. The inspirations come from a myriad of places. For instance, for my contemporary western romance, Three of Hearts, the whole idea came from a twenty-second glance at a passing billboard. I saw the picture, the title flashed in my mind, and then by the time I reached my destination five hours later, I had three chapters dictated into my little recorder in the car. What was the billboard? A cowboy dad and a cute little cowboy…hiding flower bouquets behind their backs as they were about to surprise the mom for Valentine’s Day.
Sweet! I think you must be open to inspiration. Most of us would have seen the billboard and forgotten it a few minutes later.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Write what you love to read. It is something we all hear but sometimes we get away from that and then the writing becomes more difficult. Write everyday…seven days a week. Don’t ever give up on your dream. Use each rejection to make you a stronger writer.
Good advice, and we can never hear it too often.
What author (dead or alive) would you most like to meet?
Margaret Mitchell. I would love to share some sweet iced tea with her and pick her brain as to how she wrote such an incredible book with such strong characters that has withstood the test of time. It would be a great afternoon on the veranda!
Give her enough tea and I bet she’d share her secret!
What is something unique about you that others don’t know?
I usually produce a complete manuscript in three weeks. Once I begin a manuscript, I cannot rest until it is done.
Oh my gosh, that is incredible! I take a year on one story. I’m trying to get faster, though.
What do you love that most people don’t like and wouldn’t understand why you do?
Cold pickle juice, strawberry ice cream, and cheese enchiladas….together. Enough said.
Hmmm – and I have nothing to say to that.
Places I have visited…..Rocky Mountains
Okay, we’re ready to learn about your newest book, “Under Texas Blue Skies.”
J.D. Sterling, country music’s sexy superstar, has come home again. He has achieved his wildest dreams and did what he set out to do when he shook the dirt of the small Texas town from his boot heels a dozen years before. Now, he’s returned for the final piece of the puzzle to completing his life….the girl who holds his heart. Mandy.
Amanda Lawson has grown up. From sheer heartbreak to struggling to survive to becoming a shrewd businesswoman, she has taught herself to never look back. She survived once before the wild, green-eyed cowboy with only a guitar to his name and a pocketful of dreams. He took her heart and so much more when he left her behind with his hollow vows.
Mandy was his muse…J.D. was her dream. Despite tragedy, can they find their way home to each other again?
J.D. Sterling’s heartbeats were thumping loud as a bass drum at the sight of the red sedan as it pulled into the circular driveway, stopping just behind the other realtor’s Hummer. He had purposely seated himself in a corner of the wide porch, away from the glare of the noonday sun, where climbing vines and shade would enable him to be concealed from the woman’s line of sight. He didn’t want her to know he was there, at least not right away. J.D. needed to see her first, to get his feet under him. At least, that’s the excuse he’d given himself. For someone who always planted his feet solidly in the middle of any situation, this was one time the spotlight was not what he sought. His pulses were racing as he saw the driver’s door swing open, and two slender ankles encased in gray high heels became visible as they touched the ground.
The woman stood up, one hand pushed her sunglasses further up on the bridge of her nose, and then she closed the car door behind her. She slung the straps of her leather bag over her shoulder and moved around the hood of the car, her heels making soft crunching sounds on the pea gravel along the drive. In the early afternoon stillness of the ranch, those sounds seemed to be amplified.
The eyes in the shadows drank in the features of the woman as she moved toward the house. Nowhere in sight was the country girl he had last seen. The vision that approached was confident in her stride, her head up and shoulders resolute. The girl he used to know was just short of being painfully shy and always hesitant to stand out of any crowd. Sunglasses concealed her eyes from view so he couldn’t see if they were still the amazingly vivid blue he remembered and had even immortalized in song once. They had filled his dreams on many a night and gotten him through some really hard times. It was those eyes he would see when he closed his own as he sang across the bright lights into the dark recesses of some huge arena, packed with screaming fans and loud music. He would sing to the girl in his dreams… the one he had left behind but never left out of his heart.
“Hello, Mandy,” he spoke softly from the shadows.
Amanda’s head swung in its direction. Her eyes sought to focus on the tall figure that stepped from darkness into light. She went to take a quick breath but found she couldn’t. In fact, for some reason, the light was receding, and the darkness was swallowing them all up.
I can see there is going to be a lot of tension in this story before they get together — they do get together, right? I love a Happy Ever After.
Debra, tell us where we can find your books.
And before you go, I want to share what you have in store for us.
The Seymour Agency represents Debra and she is soon to have two more contemporary romances published by Spencer Hill/Tulip Romance and by Bling! Romances. Debra invites you to visit her website at www.debraholtbooks.com. She loves to hear from other aspiring authors or readers via email at email@example.com. Follow her on twitter @debraholtbooks and like her author page on facebook. Her blog can be found at debraholtbooks.blogspot.com.