Saturday 15 October 2016

Close to Home...Jo Hollywood

As a book reviewer I have made contact with authors from all across the globe and feel immensely privileged to be able to share some amazing work. However, there is always something rather special when a book comes to my attention which has been written by an author in my part of the North of England. So with this in mind I have great pleasure in featuring some of those authors who are literally close to my home. Over the next few Saturdays, and hopefully beyond, I will be sharing the work of a very talented bunch of Northern authors.

Please welcome Lancashire Author

Jo Hollywood

Hi Jo, A warm welcome to Jaffareadstoo. Tell us a little about yourself and what got you started as an author?

I am a married mother of two young boys and in a former life worked as a renal nurse. Prior to starting my nursing career I had studied an English Literature and Drama (BA Hons) degree, I just love to write and read stories. When my youngest son was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 3, I found that I began to write again., I began by writing a self help book for parents, then a weekly newspaper column and occasionally blogging for the Huffington Post. However, this new found thirst for writing prompted me into wanting to write fiction, and primarily romantic fiction, something that was just for me, and so I joined Wattpad and began to write An Unextraordinary Life. My very first novel.

As a writer based in the North West, does this present any problems in terms of marketing and promoting your books and if so, how do you overcome them?

To be honest I am very new to this world and as yet have had only had to promote one book, so I have not encountered any problems other than bang an indie author. I do know though that it can be more difficult for Northern authors with a strong Northern theme in their work to get their books out there and read. Why this is so still baffles me.

If you were pitching the North West as an ideal place to live, work and write – how would you sell it and what makes it so special?

I love living in the North West. We did live in the South West for five years in beautiful Dorset, and although I loved the area and the people I did miss the North West. I grew up in the Wirral and today live in Lancashire. So how would I sell the North West as a place to live, work and write? Well, for starters the people are very friendly and outgoing. You can always have a conversation with someone in a café or while stood waiting for the bus. There is always someone to talk to, so you are never short of ideas for your characters. The area also has some stunning scenery to help the creative juices. I live just down the road from Morecambe and there is nothing quite like strolling along the prom to think through plot lines. I just love the North West, it is comforting and feels like home.

In your writing, have you been inspired by anything in particular, ie a place or a person?

Lots of people and places have inspired me with my writing. When writing the library scenes in my latest novel I pictured Lancaster Central Library in my mind, I could hear the voices all around me as well as the smell of books. In An Unextraordinary Life, the bookshop café was very much based upon a local café in town. I think that as writers we draw inspiration form every day things that happen around us, what we are comfortable with. As for people, they are usually a mixture of different people that are known to me, all rolled up into one.


How did you break into the publishing world?

Well I am still a very new author and I decided to self publish my first novel. I am however writing my second novel which I hope to find a publisher for. If not, then I will self publish again. I think the main thing is to just get your work out there and read, in whatever format you can manage.

What are the up and downs to being an author?

The ups are most definitely writing every day. I love to write and for me it is a form of therapy. I escape the every day world. I also need to read every day. Other benefits are that you get to see your words on the printed page and in digital format. Others get to read those words and can hopefully gain enjoyment from them. The downside is that it takes a lot of work and effort to produce a novel, and sometimes it can seem like an uphill battle. Negative reviews also hurt, but then not everyone will like your book. It's just the way it is.

How can readers find out more about you and your work?

Readers can read about me on my website 

They can also find An Unextraordinary Life over on Amazon

I also write book reviews over on my website

Huge thanks to Jo for taking the time to share her thoughts about the North West and for answering my questions so thoughtfully

I hope that you have enjoyed reading today's Close to Home feature.

Coming next Saturday : Deborah Swift


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