Friday 28 October 2011


  1. What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now? Holly Patrone, I was born in Queens and raised on the north shore of Long Island, NY.  Although I have lived in other places, I moved back over 20 years ago and now live on the east end.
  2. Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be? From the time I was in fourth grade I wanted to be a writer. It was then that I won a contest and was awarded a feather quill pen for a story that I wrote called The Mannequin Mansion. I have always written short pieces, birthday cards, etc. 
  3. When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"? I won 2nd prize in an international contest and my short story “Nadya” was printed in an anthology in 2009.  I got paid for it and I guess that’s was the first time I felt like a “real” writer.
  4. Did it take a long time to get your first book published? No.  I submitted the first 7,000 words into the Great American Novel Contest that was run by an entrepreneurial publisher in Texas called TAG Publishing.  It won Best in Class and the Editor’s Choice Award.  The editors at TAG asked to see the manuscript and after reading, talked to me about publishing it.  It really went quite quickly.
  5. What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say? The book is titled ‘Death Is A Relative Thing” and I don’t know how to say anything in less than 20 words!  How about “April killed her husband while having sex, now she can’t find a date. Outrageous, laugh out loud funny book.” Whew- did it in 19.
  6. Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?  TAG Publishing.  They are an entrepreneurial publisher in Amarillo Texas.
  7. What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre? I am writing the sequel to ‘Death Is A Relative Thing’. I like humor and I could very well write something similar after it’s complete, however, I’m also working on another book that is more of a fantasy type YA book.  I’ve written a children’s picture book that I have sent off to a publisher- and I’m hopeful it will get picked up.   A book of short stories would especially interest me- I like short stories because I have a teeny tiny attention span and full length novels are tough for me! I love to write in many different styles.
  8. Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series? Yes, I am writing a sequel to ‘Death Is A Relative Thing’.
  9. How long have you been writing? and who or what inspired you to write? I have been writing forever- but my grandmother, Ida Serao, encouraged me to write. She said that talent ran in the family.  Of course, she also told me that my short stubby toes were a sign of royalty, so I’m not sure how much credence I’d give that!  But she told me that  we were related to the great feminist journalistic author Matilde Serao who was born in the 1850’s. She was a woman ahead of her time and she wrote right up until the time of her death in the 1920’s.  Her books are still used in universities. Unfortunately, I didn’t clarify the relationship before my grandmother died and unlike Sal in my book, she hasn’t made her way back here to enlighten me as to how we’re related.  I’m searching for more information. The timeframe could make Matilde Serao my grandmother’s great aunt. It’s almost impossible to research as all of the records are in Italy.  
  10. Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release themNo I didn’t.  I think it would be the thing to do though, to have more of a marketing strategy and having reviews out of the gate might be prudent going forward.
  11. Do you gift books to readers to do reviews? Kind of-  I will gift to bloggers and established reviewers, but not to just anyone who says they will r4ead it and write a review because I wouldn't be able to afford it!. A book blogger or reviewer with a following though - well,  If every one of them had to purchase all the books they reviewed, it would be overwhelming so yes, I gift to them. 
  12. Do you read all the reviews of your book/books? Every one of them.  Most of the reviews I’ve gotten have been very positive and that makes me feel good- Thank goodness I don’t get many negative reviews, but when I have, it makes me sad and I do take it personally.
  13. How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books? I came up with the title. TAG felt it fit so there was no other discussion there.  TAG did all the cover design work.  I was glad that they asked for my input which went a lot like “No pastels, no people and if you could do “red, white and black” that would be great.  If you can’t do that then maybe try for “black, red and white.” I LOVED the cover the second I saw it.  Covers are so important and I think TAG did a great job.
  14. What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller ? It really depends on the genre and the reader.  Good writing though, is the backbone for any audience.  If the product itself is not of quality no matter what the genre, then it won’t sell or if it initially does, will not inspire an audience to repeat the experience. 
  15. Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"? I get stuck every time I sit at the computer.  I don’t write an outline because, well, because I just can’t.  What I have going on in my brain is organized chaos- an idea of where I’m starting, where I want to end and I know there has to be an awful lot of junk in the middle but I don’t have the details ironed out. I sometimes just don’t know where to go.  When that happens, I regroup and just write the next line.  And the next.  It usually just works and on the occasions it doesn’t, well, I have a starter for a short story.
  16.  What do you do to unwind and relax? Ummm, well, I write.  Which doesn’t sound very relaxing to most people but to me it is.  I also go to the gym 4-5 times a week and work out which is a great stress reliever.
  17. Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing? I love  so many writers- Erma Bombeck, Janet Evanovich, Stephen King, Nelson DeMille, Agatha Christie, Dan Brown, to name a few.  I read voraciously.  When I was in fourth grade I was reading O Henry.  My teacher didn’t believe I could understand it and actually informally quizzed me on it. In fifth grade I was reading on a college level. I read almost all genres- so many authors have influenced me.
  18. Which format of book do you prefer, ebook, hardback, or paperback? Oh my, here is where the line gets drawn in the sand right?  Is there room in the world for electronic books and paper or will e-books take over the world and force future generations to never know how to fold down the corner of a paper book page.  I LOVE books, real paper books. I have many hardcover books, but my paperbacks are the well loved ones- I love to look at books on a shelf, touch them, throw it in my purse and fall asleep with them on my chest. I love that they can be signed by an author, and they have a smell.  I don’t need to remember to plug a book in to make it work and if I drop it in the bathtub, well, I’ll have to dry it out, but it will be ok. That being said…I LOVE Technology.  I think it’s great that reading is becoming greener and trees are being saved. So many books can be toted around on a little device, and that the price of ebooks is lower than paper books, therefore making reading more affordable especially in these tough economic times.  So, I prefer books, but I will embrace the technology,  As long as people are reading, I'm not sure the "how" is all that important.
  19. What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once? Stephen King- ‘The Stand’. Read it probably 35 times- both versions.  I love the message, the characters are unforgettable and the writing is classic Stephen King- tangents that go over the river and through the woods- but what a wonderful journey it is
  20. Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst  book to movie transfer? No. No- no- no -no - not for me. I hate to see the movie of anything after reading the book.  Especially anything by Stephen King.  Movies don’t  look like what I have in my head and invariably something big and important gets taken out or altered and I get angry. Of course, I will rescind that opinion and disavow any knowledge of having opined that if a producer would call and offer to make a movie out of my book!
  21. Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed booksTotally, no.  Will it be the predominant way to read , yes.  Will POD at that time be the only cost effective way to print books…yes. 
  22. Do you think children at schools these days are encouraged enough to read? and/or do Imaginative writing? My goodness yes- at least to reading  My school district has a very intensive parent/child/teacher/library relationship with a lot of opportunities for children to read.  Unfortunately there is little time for imaginative writing.  To a large degree, at least in NY, teachers are almost forced to teach to testing standards and NY is standardized tests are aggressive.  It leaves little time for imaginative writing. It’s sad, because children are less well rounded and creative thinkers if all the focus is on scores and not enough on dreams.
  23. What do you think about book trailersCulturally, we have become desensitized to the amount of ‘noise’ all around us.  To stand out, just about anything needs to either be silent or create more noise.  Being silent will not sell a book.  Therefore, a book trailer can be an effective way to channel some of that noise to the book.
  24. What piece of advice would you give to a new writer? Keep writing.  Ask opinions.  Don’t take every piece of advice to heart, because not everyone is going to like all of your writing (except maybe your mother) but if you hear the same concerns/criticisms especially if they are functional issues,- syntax/tense/punctuation/form over and over, take it to heart and maybe make some changes.  Literary license is one thing, butchery of the language and  rules is a no-no though in any genre.

Holly Patrone
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