Category: Gina Holmes

Driftwood Tides by Gina Holmes

driftwoodtidesI am so happy to welcome to the blog today, my good friend, fellow novelist, and blogger extraordinaire, Gina Holmes, to talk about her newest release, Driftwood Tides. Gina is the founder of popular literary site, novelrocket.com. She is a two-time Christy and ECPA Book of the Year finalist and winner of the INSPY, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award. Her books regularly appear on Christian bestseller lists.

Gina, tell us a little bit about your newest release, Driftwood Tides.

Driftwood Tides is the story of an aging, alcoholic driftwood artist turned beach bum, Holton Creary, and young Libby Slater. Libby grew up with an absent father and a loving but cold, socialite mother. Leading up to her wedding, Libby and her groom-to-be go through genetic testing and she learns her blood type doesn’t match either of her parents. She confronts her mother and is reluctantly told that she’s adopted. She goes searching for her mother, Adele, only to find her husband, Holton Creary lying face down on the carpet of his Nags Head beach shack.

She lies about her real identity until she is finally found out. Holton does not welcome the news. He never knew the wife he had given saint status to had given up a daughter for adoption. Together the two search to find the truth about Adele, Libby’s father and themselves.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

At its heart, Driftwood Tides is really about discovering who we are, whose we are, where we belong and the need to accept and bestow forgiveness.

Why did you set the novel in Nags Head?sunrise-over-the-dunes

Oh, how I love that place! I’m not sure there’s a more peaceful setting in all the world. And the further out I get from civilization, the happier I am. I love the sand dunes, the untouched nature, the quaint towns. Just everything! (Well, except sand in my bathing suit maybe J)

You seem to have a recurring theme in your novels about absent fathers, if it’s not too personal, why do you think that is?

 It is too personal, but I don’t mind answering (wink!) When I was 6 years old, I was packed up by my stepfather and driven to my father’s house. Overnight I had a new Mom, new sisters and brother, house and life. It was as traumatic an experience as I can imagine. There were few explanations that made sense to me and I missed my other family desperately. I think ever since I’ve been trying to settle some pretty deep-seated questions. Writing books is wonderful for that.

The first novel I read of yours, Crossing Oceans, is still a fan-favorite. Do you ever see yourself writing a sequel?

Crossing Oceans I love that book too. Makes me cry just thinking about certain scenes. I would love to write a sequel, prequel or off shoot stories. I love those characters dearly. I’m under contract for three different novels, so I’m not sure when I’ll have the time, but I’d love to explore Craig’s story and of course, Bella’s. I miss Mama Peg very much!

You’ve said that your favorite novel you’ve written is Wings of Glass – I loved that one, too. Why is that one your favorite?

Well, for storyline, I think Crossing Oceans is the strongest. I think my writing in Wings of Glass was my best, plus when I was very young I watched my mother in one abusive relationship after another, and then two of my sisters. I had been there too, despite thinking I was better than that. I know the mindset that keeps a woman (or man) in a relationship like that and I wanted to give insight to those who don’t understand. I’ve received enough letters to know I did what I set out to do.

You’re originally from NJ but write all your novels from the South, why do you set your novels down South if you’re from up North?

 Ha, you found me out! Yes, I was born and raised in NJ. As much as I love my friends and family, I am definitely more suited for the slower pace of the South. I’ve lived in Southern VA for half of my life and I plan to spend the rest of my life here if I can help it. I try to write books from settings that make me happy. So I write where I want to be. (Although, I’ve got to say, NJ food is amazing and you’ve got to love a boisterous NJ laugh!)

What do you like most about being a writer? Least?ginacolortiltsmall

Most, I like being able to have a platform to share lessons I’ve learned in my life that I know others would benefit from. And more than that, I just love to tell a good story.

Least, would be the unpredictability of the business. Sometimes it seems so random and the lack of control makes me uncomfortable sometimes. (Which is probably right where God wants me!)

 Do you have any advice for aspiring novelists?

My advice is pretty much always the same. 1. Write. So many people want to have written but don’t actually do the work. 2. Get to a writers conference because there’s so much you don’t know, that you don’t even know you don’t know. If you don’t you’ll be spinning your wheels for years, wasting valuable time. 3. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest bookstore and buy yourself a copy of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. Then apply it. (Best money I ever spent!) 4. Join a good critique group and get a nice thick skin, ‘cause you’re sure going to need it!

If you could go back to the pre-published writer you were, knowing what you do now, what advice would you give her?

Well, I wouldn’t have told myself how many novels I’d write that would never see the light of day, because I would have given up. I wouldn’t have told myself how little money there is actually to be made or how lonely writing can sometimes be. I wouldn’t have told myself that I’d still have a day job with 4 novels out in stores, including 3 bestselling novels… okay, but that wasn’t your question… I would tell myself to relax. Some of this, most of this is, is out of your hands, and that’s okay. It’s not going to be at all what you think it is, but it’s going to be so much more. You won’t get rich, but you will touch lives. At the end of the day, that’s going to be exactly what will fulfill you.

Where can readers find your books and more about you?

Thanks for asking. My books are in B&N, BooksaMillion, Amazon, Lifeway, Parable, Family Christian and hopefully a good number of independent bookstores. You can find me at Ginaholmes.com. Thanks so much for hosting me!

Susan here: Thanks for being here, Gina!

 

Gina Holmes, my sweet guest today on Edgewise, is the bestselling author of Crossing Oceans and the newly released novel, DRY AS RAIN. She’s the founder of Novel Rocket, (formerly Novel Journey), a registered nurse,  wife and mother who makes her home in Southern Virginia. You can learn more about her at www.ginaholmes.com 

Edgewise: Welcome Gina! Your debut novel, Crossing Oceans – which I loved! – hit ECPA, Amazon, PW and CBA bestsellers lists and was a finalist in every major Christian book award, including Christy, ECPA, Retailer’s Choice, Carol Awards, and won RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice. Does having that kind of success put the pressure on for your second book?

Gina: I try not to think too much about it. I didn’t expect that kind of success but am very grateful for it. I had a lot of pressure on me on this releasing novel, not because of the success of the first book, but because, unlike the first, I didn’t have all the time in the world to write it. Some books flow smoothly, this one I had to yank out like a bad tooth. I faced multiple rewrites, some of them pretty major, all while trying to promote my all important first novel. I was still working full time, mothering, running Novel Journey (now Novel Rocket) and all of that, so this was a tough tough book for me to produce.

Edgewise: What you can you tell us about your latest release, Dry as Rain:

Gina: I’m a really bad pitchman so I’ll just repeat the back of the book copy:

Behind every broken vow lies a broken heart.
When Eric and Kyra Yoshida first met, they thought their love would last forever. But like many marriages, theirs has gradually crumbled, one thoughtless comment and misunderstanding at a time, until the ultimate betrayal pushes them beyond reconciliation. Though Eric longs to reunite with Kyra, the only woman he has truly loved, he has no idea how to repair the damage that’s been done.

Then a car accident erases part of Kyra’s memory—including her separation from Eric—and a glimmer of hope rises from the wreckage. Is this a precious opportunity for the fresh start Eric has longed for? Does he even deserve the chance to find forgiveness and win back Kyra’s heart . . . or will the truth blow up in his face, shattering their last hope for happiness? A richly engaging story of betrayal and redemption, Dry as Rain illuminates with striking emotional intensity the surprising truth of what it means to forgive.

You can read the first chapter HERE. 



Edgewise: This novel feels different than Crossing Oceans and yet I sense the same emotional pull.

Gina: I didn’t intent to write something completely different and I think it feels that way because of the characters telling the story. In Crossing Oceans, Jenny was our narrator and she was a melancholy, all woman sort.

In Dry as Rain, we have Eric, who is a man’s man and doesn’t think in flowery language and descriptions so it would have been wrong to write him that way. While both books have a heavy subject matter, Crossing Oceans was much more so. You can’t get heavier than dying, so it was bound to be more emotional, no matter how I wrote the next book.

But, my genre seems to be relational drama which both are and I like to pepper in a quirky cast and that’s true of both books.

Edgewise: Wow. First writing first person from a male’s perspective and having a protagonist who does a lot of things that aren’t very cool, like cheating on his wife, lying, etc. is kind of a gutsy move in the Christian market. Are you afraid this might hurt your sales in the Christian market?

Gina: The thing is Eric’s a nominal Christian at the beginning of the book, lukewarm about his faith like many who call themselves followers of Christ. This is his journey though and he doesn’t end up where he begins. I wanted to tell the story as truthfully as I could and at the end of the day let the chips fall where they may.

Edgewise: Applauding here. I totally get that. So tell us What happened to your long time website, Novel Journey?

Gina: www.noveljourney.blogspot.com is now www.novelrocket.com You can get to it by either address but we decided on an overhaul because we wanted to drop the blogspot address and just have a dot com. The guy who owned Novel Journey didn’t return our emails to sell so we had to do something a little different. This turned out to be a good thing maybe because we’d been chewing on broadening the site for some time. We’ve got some exciting changes now, the most notable is the addition of “Rocket Pages” a sort of Craig’s List for writers to find the services they need to launch and sustain their career.


Edgewise: I LOVE the Rocket! Well done. What’s going on with you personally?

Gina: Well, I’m blissfully married, mom to two, stepmom to three, and owner of 2 dogs and a fish. I bought a guitar and hope to start fiddling with that soon and just writing a lot. Nothing too exciting over here but that’s the way I like it. I’m the happiest I’ve been in my life. I’ve accomplished many of the dreams and goals I’d hoped to and I always tell my husband, if I died today, I’d feel I lived and full and rewarding life. Not that I’m looking to die just yet.

Edgewise. More applause! What are you working on now?

Gina: I can’t give the title yet as that’s a work in progress but it’s a story very close to my heart. I’m more excited about this one than anything I’ve ever written. Hopefully my publisher agrees and you see it on the stands in the next year or so. That’s really all I can say for now.

Edgewise. Well, okay. So tell us something we don’t know about you.

Gina: I’ll tell you a few. I thought I was afraid of heights until I bungee-jumped and loved it. I’d love to skydive for the first time in the next year, white water raft and get at least a little skill on the guitar. My husband is a talented songwriter. My kids are the sweetest in the world, (yes, the world!), and I love to get my hands dirty. That should do it. Thanks for having me!
Edgewise. Pleasure was all mine. See you in the marketplace, but not the bungee-jumping cliffs, cutie. . .

An ocean crossed

I am pleased today to share with you some good news about a good friend. Gina Holmes, whose wonderful blog Novel Journey I have linked to ever since I started Edgewise, is celebrating the release of her debut novel, Crossing Oceans.

I had the immense pleasure of reading this book for endorsement a few months ago and I can still see the characters in my head, can still hear Jenny whispering love notes to her little girl whom she sometimes calls “Bells.” I love that!

Gina has filled her website with all kinds of good stuff about this book – there’s a lovely book trailer there – and she shares how she got published on Chip MacGregor’s blog. It’s rewarding as a fellow author to see how she kept at her dream. She saw there was a big ocean to cross and she kept at it. She didn’t give in or give up to become a mere builder of sand castles. Not that there is anything wrong with sand castles, but you DO know what happens when the tide comes in, right?

Here’s a bit about what this book is about: “Sometimes love demands the impossible . . .

Nothing deepens a stream like a good rain – or makes it harder to cross. Jenny Lucas swore she’d never go home again. But life has a way of upending even the best-laid plans. Now, years after she left, she and her five-year-old daughter must return to her sleepy North Carolina town to face the ghosts she left behind. They welcome her in the form of her oxygen tank-toting grandmother, her stoic and distant father, and David, Isabella’s dad . . . who doesn’t yet know he has a daughter. As Jenny navigates the rough and unknown waters of her new reality, the unforgettable story that unfolds is a testament to the power of love to change everything—to heal old hurts, to bring new beginnings . . . even to overcome the impossible.”




And a great Q and A:

How much of Jenny did you draw from yourself?

Friends could probably be more objective in answering this question than I am. The honest answer would be maybe a little, maybe a lot. Each of the characters is drawn from parts of me, the good guys and the bad. I’ve got enough attributes and flaws to go around! Mostly the characters are their own creation though. They borrow a little from me, a little from others, and each takes on their own persona as well. It’s a combination.


Probably the one who’s most based on myself is Bella. She’s the glue that brings the two families together. I’ve always been a mediator type of person. I think most middle children probably are. However, I was more like Eeyore as a child than Isabella’s sunshiny self.

As you reviewed novels and talked to a lot of novelists who have had varying degrees of commercial success, was there ever a “dark night of the soul” where you decided this just wasn’t what you thought it was going to be, just wasn’t worth pursuing?

Not worth pursuing? No way! There are so many worthy stories to tell, and it’s my burning desire to do that. Not to say that I didn’t have fleeting moments of despair along the way, particularly when I came close to getting a contract, only to see it fall through at the last minute. But those moments really were fleeting, and I knew God’s timing would be perfect … and it was.

You have written several as-yet-unpublished novels, all of them in a completely different genre—thriller/suspense. Crossing Oceans is quite a departure. Do you prefer or find your voice more easily in one or the other?

I grew up reading suspense, so naturally that’s what I thought I should write. I did okay with it and got some recognition in a contest and came close to getting contracted, but ultimately none of those suspense novels ever sold. Then I started reading some really amazing novels outside the suspense genre, and it was like another world opened up to me. It was no longer a thriller I longed to write, but a story that would change lives the way the books I read had changed mine. When I started Crossing Oceans, I presented it along with a suspense novel I was working on to my agent, Chip MacGregor. I asked which one he thought suited me better. He told me both were good, but that Crossing Oceans seemed more like my true voice, or something to that effect. It turned out to be a turning point and absolutely the right advice. I’m now writing what comes naturally and absolutely loving it. Chip’s a genius.

How did the idea for Crossing Oceans come to you?

I’m not exactly sure where the idea came from, but when I write, I’m usually working out something in my personal life, past or present. Often it’s not until the story is done that I figure out exactly what. I think with Crossing Oceans it probably was my relationship with my parents. They divorced when I was a baby. For the first years of my life, I was with my mother, and then when I was in second grade, I went to live with my father. I know what it’s like to be torn, like Isabella, between two families who don’t always like each other but who all love the child they share. Then again, maybe I wasn’t working out anything! Maybe I just fell asleep watching something about a dying mother, and woke up thinking I had a brilliant idea.

Do you ever find your Christian worldview a challenge to convey in your writing or as you communicate with other novelists in the industry?

It’s not difficult to convey in my writing, I don’t think. At least not today. Hey, I’m a sinner. I wish I wasn’t and I try not to be, but I always seem to fall short. It’s the same for my characters. The thing with me, and them, is we get back up, dust ourselves off, and try to do better next time. My faith, in all its imperfection, isn’t lip service. It’s who I am. What I believe. That comes out in my conversations, my choice of clothing, music, friends, and in my writing. It’s very natural for me.

As far as other novelists go, I guess it’s not a challenge. I’m a Christian and not everyone’s going to agree with what I do, or what I write, or what I believe, and that doesn’t matter. My mother said when I turned forty that I would stop caring so much what people thought and really start being who I am. I’m almost there and, as usual, she was right. I would say that in my personal life, everyone who truly knows me is well aware that I’m a Christian. I don’t hide it in my professional life either.



Way to go, Gina!

On Monday I will share how I capitulated and became a tweeter.