Friday, March 06, 2009

Interview with Holly Jacobs

Hi, I'm Holly Jacobs. Like so many romance writers, I lead a life full of romance and adventure. From skydiving to jet-setting around Europe, from snorkeling in coral reefs to writing while wearing beautiful silk peignoir sets and popping chocolate bonbons, my life is the epitome of romance.
Okay, that's all a big lie. But I'll try to answer the interview questions more honestly! LOL

1) How long have you been published? Since 1997.

2) What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?

Ah, I've said this so often I should make a t-shirt. My advice...write something, anything, every day. You can't be a writer if you don't write!

3) What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

Believable characters. I want to read about characters you can imagine having coffee with, or hanging out with. If I can believe in them, then I can become invested in their struggles and goals!

4) You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?

Okay, I'm sort of gagging at how schmarmy this sounds, but I don't think anything. I'm a firm believer in the idea that things happen for a reason. Even the bad things that happened impact the direction we go in and the person we are now. And since I'm very, very happy with where I am now, I don't know that I'd erase anything. Does that make sense?

PS. I don't think I'd want to go back and relive any of the bad stuff, but hey, I wouldn't erase it!

5) What's the strangest thing you've ever eaten?

My family enjoys peanut butter and mustard on hotdogs! Yes, I know, but hey, don't knock it until you've tried it!

6) What comes first: the plot or the characters?

That depends on the story. Each one evolves in its own way. Some are one big rush of inspiration, and some are more work. Some I know the characters inside and out right up front, and some that knowing comes a little bit harder.

7) When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was the first thing you thought?

I don't even have to try an think on this one...I think the exact same thing every morning.


Yes, I have a love affair with that bitter black brew. I love the way it smells, and I love that first jolt as I sip it. My editor has commented at how frequently my characters seem obsessed with coffee...that would be a case of fiction imitating real life!

8) Describe your writing space.

I have a lovely office and desk, but I mainly work on the laptop on the couch. The dogs like it better and sit with me as I work. The puppy will frequently start typing if she feels I've worked too long! LOL

9) Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?

No. I'm a writer. I write. Now, sometimes what I write is total crap...but someone said (I don't remember where I heard it originally) that you can fix crap, but you can't fix a blank page. So I write. Even if it's crap.

10) What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

I don't that I can name specific authors. Before I wrote, I read a book a day...most days. Now that I write, I read less, but when I read, I read widely, eclectically. I do read fiction, grew up on science fiction/fantasy, philosophy and science. All those things come into play in my own writing. I wrote a hero once who was a scientist. He had a cat named Schrodinger, which gave me such geek glee. You see, if you're a science geek, you'll recognize that Schrodinger's Cat is a postulate about a cat in a box being alive and dead at the same time... Anyway, it was one of those geeky things that you wouldn't think would come into a romance, but it did!

So, the answer is, no specific book or author impacts me...they all sort of do. I feel like we're all the sum of our experiences...both real life and reading.

11) What are you reading now?

The newspaper. I read it every day.

12) Do you re-read your books once they're in print?

Nope. Never. First, there's the whole issue of finding things I'd like to fix and knowing I can't...I'm crazy enough without that added stress. Then there's the whole, I'm so busy writing I don't have time to read as much other authors as I like. I know what I wrote, so I don't need to reread that! LOL

13) What is your work schedule like when you are writing?

My kids are all in school, so I'm a daytime writer. I refer to the years they were small as my Vampire Years...I had to write at night after they were asleep. I like working days soooo much more!

14) How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

42...well, I'm working on number 42. And my answer always remains the same. Whatever book I'm actively working on is my favorite. If it's not, then I'm doing something REALLY wrong.

15) Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I do. I'm on Facebook , MySpace, and hang out at eHarlequin, which gives my readers a lot of ways to access me, in addition to email and snailmail. It's always a joy to hear that a story, or a character has touched someone.

16) Tell us about your family and where you live.

I live in Erie, PA. It's the setting of the majority of my books because...well, because I think Erie rocks! LOL We're right on Lake Erie, and in the summer, heading out to the peninsula to watch a sunset is one of my all time favorite things.

I'm married to a cop...and you'll notice (if you read it) that the hero in my February HAR was a cop. I don't write them too often, but I'll confess, I am biased. I think they're amazing people. And I really loved writing Chuck in Once Upon a Valentine's.

Together we have four kids, two dogs (Ethel Merman and Ella Fiztgerald) and a hamster named Sam.

17) Tell us about your most recent release(s).

I've written for a lot of Harlequin lines and it's been a long journey that's led me here, to Harlequin American Romance, and I have to say how much fun I'm having writing for this line. October '08, December '08 and February '09 were the release dates of my American Dad trilogy for the line. Once Upon a Thanksgiving, Once Upon a Christmas and last month's Once Upon a Valentine's. They're still available online.

What happens when three PTA single moms miss the first meeting of the year? They get 'volunteered' for the PTA Social Planning Committee. And while they plan the Thanksgiving pageant, the Christmas Fair and the Valentine's Dance, they find true friendship...and they all find another chance at love.

Really, as the mother of four and a school volunteer for more years than I want to count, this was a subject I knew inside and out. And they always tell writers to write what they know...well, I had this subject down! LOL

I think that's about can find me at, and there are links to my FaceBook and MySpace pages there if you're interested!

Thanks ladies for the interview, and for welcoming me into the fold of the Harlequin American Romance writers.

ONCE UPON A THANKSGIVING, Harlequin American Romance, 10/08
ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS, Harlequin American Romance, 12/08
ONCE UPON A VALENTINE'S, Harlequin American Romance, 2/9


Stephanie Julian said...

The peanut butter thing is definitely gross but anyone who reads the newspaper daily earns my everlasting gratitude.

Great interview.

HollyJacobs said...

Thanks, Steph! Now, I do realize that the peanut butter thing SOUNDS gross, but really, it's not. Try it sometime and let me know. LOL And my favorite way to start a morning is with my coffee and the paper.

Thanks for dropping in!


JV said...

Holly, as always, you deliver a chuckle. But, honestly, peanut butter and mustard on hot dogs. It may be better than it sounds, but what I can't understand is what twisted mind ever thought that might be a good combination?

Oh, yeah, and did you see the episode of Big Bang Theory that dealt with Schrodinger's Cat? Talk about geek glee! We love that show. It's so outrageously geeky and funny!

HollyJacobs said...

JV, I love Big Bang...I mean, adore it. Although, I only emphasize my geekiness when I laugh at the jokes before they're explained. When they talk sci fi shows...I so get it before anyone else in the family! And the Schrodinger reference had me LOL!!

Now, seriously, you all need to try the peanut butter on your next hotdog and report back. I have no idea who thought of it. My grandmother always did it and taught us. At the nursing home, they always brought her out a little jar of peanut butter on hot dog day! LOL The staff at the home was really the most wonderful bunch of people!


JV said...

Yeah, well, I can hardly criticize anyone for geekiness. After all, we're the ones who have our DD's Mole Day project on a shelf in our living room. Some people might find that a tad geeky. (In our defense, it IS art! She did a very fine rendition of a mole, I thought.)

HollyJacobs said...

JV, Mole day, Square Root, I'm holding out for Pi Day...pumpkin pie is my plan for celebrating it!

Your daughter's mole is art!

Geeks Rule!


Anonymous said...

I followed your trail. I think PB on a hotdog would be gr…oss. At least it's not PB and pickles sandwiches, which a friend of mine gradeschool ate, or PB and banana sandwiches. I think PB should be left for cookies.

HollyJacobs said...

Frenchie, Okay, peanut butter and pickles? Ew. But peanut butter and bananas?? That's good, too. Oh, and when we were kids we used to make peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches...I'm pretty sure they'd be too sweet for me now, but they tasted great then!

Oh, and I have no objection to peanut butter cookies either! LOL

Thanks for following me over!!


Lee McKenzie said...

I had a friend in high school who loved peanut and bacon sandwiches. The bacon had to fried till it was really crispy. I tried one and it wasn't horrible, but it sure wasn't low fat! Not good for the waistline, or the arteries, I'm sure!

Tracy Montoya said...

Loved the interview, Holly! No one has commented on it yet, but I think a lot of my characters are obsessed with Diet Coke. : )

Ann Roth said...

Holly- Great interview! thanks for sharing and making me smile.

HollyJacobs said...

Lee, LOL Yeah, I'm sure it wasn't low fat!

Tracy, I think all authors insert a lot of themselves in books. Next time I read one of yours, I'll watch for the soda! LOL

Thanks, Ann!


Kate Walker said...

Hi Holly

As you know I have the last 2 of your American Dads trilogy on my TBR pile - so how about you come and finish this book I'm writing for me so I can curl up with Sid the Cat and read them? No? Oh well, I tried!

How about writing a hero who was obsessed with cream puffs?? ;o)

I've followed your career through all those different lines and like I've always said - your writing is an irresistible mix of humour and poignancy - great stuff.

So please come and write this book so I can read . . .

See you in July

EllenToo said...

Love peanut butter and bananas and PB and apples. I even mix PB and honey and eat it by the spoon full. However I don't think I could ever eat PB and mustard on anything because I DON'T LIKE mustard!!!
As I have mentioned before I have so enjoyed your PTA books that I bought 5 of your Perry Square books and absolutely loved them too.

HollyJacobs said...

Kate, Aw, you're so sweet! I wish I could come write your book, but alas, I have to finish this one, which is due the day before I leave on my cruise! I have no wiggle room! But hey, don't be surprised if someday soon there's a cream puff in a book for my lovely friend! LOL Good luck with finishing your book!

EllenToo, Well, my brother ate his hotdogs with straight up peanut butter because he didn't like mustard either! LOL And thanks so much for backlisting my Perry Square books! Pearly Gates still get her own fan letter! And I have a certain friend's mom lobbying for Pearly to come back into a book. So, maybe you'll see her again! Hey, come to think of it, she cameoed in one of my Duets...I think it was Not Precisely Pregnant. That means she was in 8 books all together.

Thanks for the smiles, Kate and Ellen!


Tricia Fields said...

Holly, I've loved all your books so far. And I'm not sorry to say that I can't try your PB, mustard and hot dogs, because I can't eat hotdogs. What a shame! But I love PB & honey, PB & toasted marshmallows on bagels & PB and bananas or PB & apples. Or PB & cookies. Come to think of it, we go through a lot of PB in our house. >:-/

And I get to see both you and Kate in July! WhooHoooo!


HollyJacobs said...

Trish, Oh, cool about you being in DC! It's a drive for me, which will be nice...I think our Kate's going to have to travel a little farther! LOL Look forward to seeing you there!

And hey, that's a huge peanut butter list...I think you're fine if you skip the hotdogs! LOL

Thanks for the kind words about my books!


sheandeen said...

Hm...peanut butter and mustard on hotdogs. Well, mustard on hotdogs is a given--doesn't everyone use mustard? But peanut butter? Is that along with the mustard or a stand alone condiment?

Nice interview. Come back and play with us on the eharlequin boards. ;-)

Nicole said...

Great interview Holly! The whole peanut butter and hot dogs grossed me out because I don't care for hot dogs. I do love peanut butter, specially on ice cream YUM!

Estella said...

Very interesting interview.

HollyJacobs said...

I'm loving that the peanut butter and mustard on hotdogs has received so many comments! LOL

Nancy, I use both at once on the hotdog, but family who doesn't eat mustard goes with straight up peanut butter! And you know you all can't get rid of me on the eHarlequin boards...I'm like a bad penny, I just keep showing up! LOL

Nicole, I'll confess, I'm not a huge hotdog fan...maybe that's why I like the peanut butter and kills the taste! LOL

Estella, I hope it was 'interesting' good, not 'interesting' like my mom used to say when I came out in what she considered a questionable outfit! LOL


Linda Warren said...

Hi Holly,
Loved the interview. Peanut butter on a hot dog got my attention too. I have a b-i-l who puts it in his oatmeal every morning.
There must be something to this peanut butter thing. I may have to try it.

HollyJacobs said...


Give me a holler if you try it and let me know what you think!!

Thanks for checking out the interview!