A Day In The Life of Gina Holland

I wanted to get to know more about my author family more so welcome to “A Day In The Life of…”

I’d like to say that most days I float around in a kaftan with a glass of gin in one hand and a dictaphone in9859 the other, and that I alternate sips (of the former) with the recording of new book ideas (into the latter), being careful not to get the two confused. My ideas stem from my glamorous international travels and the many sexy and scintillating people I have met along the way. Unfortunately, that would all be a vicious –– albeit attractive –– lie.

What I actually do, like most authors, is go to my day job, which for me is in marketing. Then I return home to ensure the family is fed before carrying out life admin / being Mum Taxi / watching some rubbish on telly because I’m too tired to write a word (delete as appropriate).

I often read articles by writers who say to be successful, you must write every day. Great if you can, but that’s just not realistic for me, and I know many other 30, 40 and 50 something women writers who would say the same thing. Thankfully, it’s just not true that you need to write every day in order to produce a book.

However, I do try whenever possible to carve out days which I can dedicate to writing –– at least until tea time! On these days I make a beeline to get out of the house. After working from home for months, I appreciate the opportunity to escape my four walls and have a change of scenery. That’s why I’ve taken to hiring a desk in a freelancing office, where coffee is on tap and I can hop out into town for a quick lunch or to run a few errands before it’s back to work.

Writing is mostly a solitary pursuit, but I’m a pretty sociable person who is a self-confessed nosy parker. I get my social kicks through meeting other folks by the coffee machine and finding out what they’re up to.

Here’s what a normal ‘writing ‘ day looks like for me:

9am: Park up on Worthing seafront and head for the office. It’s a 20-minute walk into town and it’s such a lovely route along the promenade. At least, it is on a sunny day, but you can get blown to bits or end up saturated if you don’t dress accordingly!

9.20am: A quick stop at Caffe Nero and I’m all flap-jacked up, ready for some serious writing business

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9.30am: Arrive in office. Choose a desk. I’m so indecisive that this stage can be a bit of an ordeal for me. I usually try to be not too close to a window as I can get easily distracted by the shoppers bustling around outside.

9.30am – 12pm: Hopefully I’ll manage around 1,500 words in this time. I’ve found I’m most productive and creative in a morning, so this is my best writing time.

12pm – 1pm: Nip out for a bite to eat. I usually aim for M&S cafe as there’s a nice view from there, but can someone please bring back the chicken and rice soup? I miss it! This is also a good excuse to have a browse at something or other on my way out and think up new ways why I don’t need a new x, y or z today.

1pm – 2.30pm: Afternoon writing session. I should manage another 1,000 words in this time, but they’ll probably need a good edit as my head isn’t as fresh at this time.

2.30pm: Walk back to my car in hopefully decent, not Arctic, conditions. Although if I do end up drenched, the thought of a hot bath and a coffee on my return lifts my spirits.

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3.15pm: Arrive home and spend evening ruminating over whether what I wrote today was genius or nonsense that will need a thorough re-write. The only way to tell is to do it all again tomorrow!

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Gina’s new book is out 31st January 2022, check it out below.

1 -Orange with fun busWhen going back to your roots is the only way forward …

Raegan Kent-Walters is living the high life. Thanks to her husband’s salary, she enjoys the elite Surrey housewife existence of luxury holidays, exclusive gym memberships and skinny lattes.

But then the high life comes crashing down, and, whilst reeling from the discovery that her husband wasn’t the man she thought he was, Raegan is also confronted with the reality that she and her daughter, Sabrine, will have to make some major life changes.

So, out goes the state-of-the-art Range Rover, and in comes the beat-up old Transit van to take them away; back to Raegan’s roots in Yorkshire and the life she abandoned.

But perhaps by embracing who she used to be, Raegan can find the strength she never knew she had, building something unexpected – but truly special – to get her and Sabrine through to a brighter future.

Order the books below

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All Gina’s other book can be found HERE

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I’ve previously spoken to Gina about her favoutie books and introduced her as part of the Choc-Lit family. Both posts can be found HERE

Which Books… Gina Hollands

Gina Hollands is next up with her summer romance and I am already loving the play on words in the title name. Yours Trudy…

Which book do you wish you’d written. 9859

Bridget Jones’ Diary. A book series and movie deal starring A-listers – which author wouldn’t want that? Sales success aside, this was the first ‘chicklit’ book I read. I was 15 and thought it was incredible!

Which book cover have you looked at and gone that’s amazing.

I love the cover of Jessie Burton’s The Confession. I haven’t read it myself but bought it for a friend on the basis of the cover being beautiful. I’m fickle like that! They say not to judge a book by its cover but it’s human nature to do just that.

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Which was the last book that broke your heart.

I’m not good with sad things so try my best to stay away from anything I know is going to be depressing. There’s enough sadness in the world without reading about it, which is why I’d never read a misery memoir. However, I recently read Alison Moore’s He Wants and although it’s not a sad book as such, there was a part in it that stayed with me.

Which book would you rewrite in a different genre.

I like writing across genres. I started with a romance, went on to erotica then went over to sweet romance. My latest book, Yours, Trudy is a romcom, and my next book is going to be a crime. If I fancy writing a genre, I write it! One day I’d also like to write a non-fiction book.

Which book taught you the largest lesson about life.

When you read fiction, you get a sense of what the world looks like through the author’s eyes. That I find interesting. The book that most made me think about ‘life’ was Matt Haig’s Midnight Library, which I couldn’t get enough of, but I think the largest lessons I’ve learned from books have come from non-fiction. Angela Duckworth’s book entitled Grit was an eye-opener. 

Which three books would you take on holiday in 2021?

I really hope I do get to go on holiday in 2021! And if I do, I’ll be taking Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, which I’ve been meaning to read for ages; Blood on the Bulb Fields by Judith Cranswick, who I read about in Writing Magazine, and Finding Gina by Lizzie Chantree, which I ordered today because I love to find out what other Ginas are up to!

 

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How many positive words and exclamation marks can you fit into the space of one email?

A lot is the answer, if you’re Trudy Drinkwater. As ‘Head of People Happiness’, her cheery emails are carefully written to boost the morale of her ‘fellow finned friends’ at Pink Fish Web Design. Yay!

But, in reality, there is very little Trudy has to say ‘yay!’ about in her home life. Her marriage is all but over, she’s in a near constant battle to make her two chicken nugget loving teens eat anything vaguely nutritious, and the days when she and her husband were young lovers with big dreams seem very far away.
Can Trudy keep up the chirpy pretense of her day job, or does she really need a new start and a second chance at true happiness?

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You can keep up with all things Gina Hollands related

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Gina’s books can be found here.

 

I spoke to Gina when she released her first book “Little Village of Second Chances” as part of the meet the family series that can be found HERE

 

Meet The Family – Gina Hollands

Meet The Family – Gina Hollands

 

This is a new feature on my blog, where I will be talking to the authors in the Choc-lit and Ruby-lit family.

Like myself Gina is a relative new member of the Chco-lit family and with her debut book due out this week I couldn’t wait to sit down and have a chat with her about all things ficionary.

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Hi Gina and welcome to my blog “A Story About A Girl” I was so excited to get to sit down and chat to another debut like myself and learn all about you and what you have in store for us.

What inspired you to write “Little Villages of Second Chances?”

Many, many things. I set the book in Yorkshire, where I grew up. Although Wetherstone-on-Ouse is a fictional village, I based it on places I’ve been. One of my favourite scenes in the book is set in the city of York, which is beautiful, and it was a pleasure to write about Clifford’s Tower and The Shambles – places I’ve been many times.

The main character, Sarah, is named after my real-life best friend, and although it’s not her, the fictional Sarah shares many characteristics with the real-life version. Shay is my idea of a man you’d like to get to know – gorgeous, intelligent and brave but with a very gentle side. He’s had his fair share of difficulties but he’s still got a big heart, even if it needs repairing.

I decided to make Shay an ex-firefighter after conversations with my lovely friend, Martin, who is in the fire service. He helped me out with lots of information, some of which is in the book. Shay is suffering from PTSD, which is a big issue with many people in the emergency services, and while that’s not the focus of the story, it was important for me to highlight it.

Ultimately, I was inspired to write a feel-good story because to me reading can be wonderful escapism. And we all need a bit of that once in a while.

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What made you decide to submit with ChocLit?

I’d been on the ChocLit Tasting Panel for a while (the group of readers who help choose which books get published) and I realised Little Village of Second Chances, the novel I was working on at the time, fitted with what readers seemed to enjoy. I’d also read a few books by ChocLit authors, such as Jane Lovering and Kathryn Freeman, which I’d really liked, and I thought if I joined the ChocLit family, then I’d be in excellent company.

If you could go back to when you first started writing what one piece advice would you give yourself?

Trust in your instincts. Inherently you know when something in your writing doesn’t work, but it’s tempting to ignore it, especially if to address it means a big re-write. Ignoring any potential problems will only bite you on the bum later and inevitably mean bigger fixes in the long-run, so if something’s niggling you, it’s worth sorting out straightaway.

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If you weren’t writing what would you be doing?

My real-life job’s in marketing, and I spend every spare hour I can writing, which can be challenging with a family. However, if I were doing something else with my spare time it would be studying for an MA, as that’s something I’ve always wanted to do. At the moment it’s a trade-off between the two and writing won. Who knows though, maybe in the future I’ll find the time to do both.

How did you deal with rejections when you started out?

Having worked in PR for many years, I was fairly used to rejection and already had a pretty thick skin. I also knew the feeling of acceptance and success and how wonderful that was, even though the road to it wasn’t always smooth. So, by the time I started writing I wasn’t of the mindset that I’d simply write a book, send it off and, hey-presto, a book deal would arrive in my lap. I fully expected that it might take a few years and several shelved manuscripts before I received that magical ‘yes’.

I am someone who hates giving  up, so while every ‘no’ might give my confidence a bit of a shudder, I refused to let it knock me completely, and I carried on reading, learning, writing and entering competitions as I continued to submit.

My first published work was a short story in an anthology published by the Romance Writers of Australia (RWA), which I achieved through placing quite high in a competition they ran. I’m sure that helped when I wrote off to publishers. In the end, it took five years to get a book deal. My first book, The Virgin’s Gamble, was released in 2018 and it felt brilliant.

What would you say to someone who wants to write?

girl-160172_640I’d say to be under no illusion –  it can be exceptionally hard work. But if you’re prepared to put the work in, then you can make it happen. The media loves a good story and you’ll often read about overnight successes, but the truth is, they are very few and far between. Most authors have spent years and undertaken eye-watering amounts of work before they got their name on a spine.

If you do decide to go for it, then expect rejections and vow to keep on regardless. Learn your craft – go on courses, speak to other authors, read articles online, join a writers’ group. Writing is like any other skill – it requires study and practice before you get good at it.

And the most important advice ever – read, read, read.

Do you have any writing routines or rituals if so what are they?

I always type, and never write long-hand as I don’t see the point in having to type it all up afterwards. There was one exception – when I was stuck in Vienna airport for seven hours. I bought a pen and a notebook and used the time to write. I’m time-poor, but the advantage of that is that I can’t afford to procrastinate. If I have a spare couple of hours, I hit the keyboard.

There’s nothing like getting into the swing of writing. It’s the strangest experience ever – you go into a weird zone where three hours passes in what feels like twenty minutes. I believe it’s known as ‘flow’ and it really is weird yet wonderful.

Which authors inspired you to write?

No doubt it was Milly Johnson. I’ve read every one of her books and love her. Her novels are so touching and yet so funny. I met her once at an event and thought I really must go and talk to her. I was so happy to meet her that I almost cried – she must have thought I was a complete lunatic. She was lovely though, so hopefully not!

Who would you want to play the main characters in your book if your novel was optioned for tv / film?

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Haha, if only! It would have to be Jason Momoa for the hero, Shay, as he fits the bill perfectly. He’d have to be able to do a good Irish accent though. When I first think out my characters, I make a Pinterest board, and Jason Momoa was the inspiration for Shay – physically, at least. I’m not sure how much he knows about farming organic flowers, but maybe I’d be surprised!

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For the heroine, Sarah, it would be the American actress Zooey Deschanel as she looks just like I imagined Sarah to look (although a bit on the skinny side as Sarah loves a hearty meal). Like Jason, Zooey would have to work on her accent. Sarah’s a Yorkshire girl, so that would be interesting.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

Little Village of Second Chances is my first book in a three-book deal with ChocLit. I’m now planning book number two – a romcom based in my hometown of Worthing, West Sussex. I love comedy in writing, and while my previous books have had comedic elements, they haven’t been out and out romcoms, so this is an exciting step for me.

More About Gina

“Originally from Yorkshire, Gina now lives by the sea in West Sussex with her husband and son. When she’s not working in her job in marketing and PR, or writing her latest book, Gina can be found dancing everything from lindy hop to salsa, shopping (she loves clothes far too much for her own good), eating out (she hates cooking far too much for her own good), or relaxing, which generally involves reading a book someone else has written or indulging in her new hobby of learning to play the piano. She has a sneaky suspicion she may be a musical genius in the making, but isn’t about to give up the day job just yet”

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Surely everyone deserves a second chance?

Ex-fireman and edible flower farmer Shay McGillen has plenty of reasons not to give Sarah Pickering even one chance when she turns up in his small Yorkshire village. After all, she is only there to try and convince him and his fellow villagers to sell up so her company can build a bypass. If Sarah thinks she can make Shay give up his farmhouse and his business, she has another thing coming!

But when an unexpected blizzard leaves Sarah stranded in Shay’s home, he soon realises that they are far more alike than he could have ever imagined – and perhaps both of them deserve a second chance …

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