Q&A With Author V.S. Holmes
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How does your geographic location affect your writing?
Location is certainly an inspiration for my writing — we’ve gotten record snowfall this year and it’s no coincidence that my characters are suffering through some rather cold weather. I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot for my “day-job,” which brings new inspiration. New Hampshire’s white mountains, the cenotes in the Yucatan, and climbing Mt. Olympus in Greece have each found their way into the worlds in my books.
Do you have a writing routine or do you write when inspiration strikes?
I have a rather hectic work schedule, which makes planned writing time a luxury. I try to write 2000 words a day, four or five days a week. In the early stages of drafting, I’ll only write the scenes I’m inspired to write. I find my quality is better when I listen to what my heart feels like saying. I’m an introvert, which makes living inside my head easy, so even if I’m not writing, I’m usually thinking about my characters. It makes it easy to get right into the story when I finally find a moment.
Do you listen to music as you write, and if so, what kind?
Music is an integral part of my writing process. Close to 90% of my writing is done while listening to instrumental music — film scores, epic instrumental pieces, and classical. I’ve been on a Two Steps From Hell kick lately, as well as the soundtrack to Joss Whedon’s Serenity film. Like most writers, I have character theme songs, but I also have Spotify set up with playlists for different moods — Weep, Scream, Breathe, and Inspire.
How many revisions do your stories typically go through? What is your revision process like?
I enjoy editing a lot. It’s author-exercise — painful, but afterward there is a flood of endorphins. Granted, I edit far more than I actually exercise. My books go through at least three main revisions, the last one usually after working with beta readers — they are invaluable! During NaNoWriMo 2014 I developed a new editing process, where I completely transcribe the first draft into a new document, instead of making changes within the same document. Very tedious, but it forces me to literally re-write each sentence. It’s something I’ll continue with each new project.
Who is your favourite author of all time? Do you try to emulate him/her in your writing?
I would be hard pressed to choose a single favourite, but Patrick Rothfuss sticks out as a big inspiration to me. He writes epic fantasy as well, and his prose is beautifully crafted. His work has reminded me to take extra care with each word I use, and I think I’ve learned a lot from reading his work. A good friend of mine often remarks that good writing speaks to you, and great writing sings. Rothfuss manages to do both.
V.S. Holmes is the author of Smoke and Rain, the first in an epic fantasy series. Her favorite genres include fantasy, science (of both the non-fiction and fiction varieties), and most anything else she finds in her hands. While not writing, she works as a contract archaeologist. She lives with her artist/illustrator husband in a Tiny House (yes, like the HGTV show) and owns far too many books for such a small abode.
How many revisions do your stories typically go through?