Today, we have the pleasure of speaking with author Holly Rae Garcia. Holly’s debut thriller, Come Join the Murder, was published just this past week, so a big congratulations to her on the first of many published novels! Come Join the Murder is available on AMAZON both in print and digitally.
We recently caught up with Holly and were able to ask her a few questions about her novel and journey as an author:
Hello Holly! Congratulations on the publication of your debut novel. Thank you for joining us for this interview. Let’s start by getting to know a little about the journey of this book. How did the idea for Come Join the Murder come about?
We were sitting around a bonfire and my friend John was talking about his hometown. He said, “The land was so flat, you could watch your dog run away for a week,” and I just loved that phrase. When I returned home, I free-wrote a little about a man who was saying that and it evolved into where he was, why he was there, and how he got there. I had him as a hitchhiker looking for the person who murdered his wife and child. And of course, I wanted to think of the worst possible scenario around that. Is he a “bad” guy? Why? Are people afraid of him? Should they be afraid of him? I had a few pages of plot ideas for that story before changing the main character to a woman. The plot was tweaked a lot from there before ending up with the story in Come Join the Murder. The phrase about the dog running away isn’t anywhere in the book, but it definitely started off the process.
Turning to your novel’s protagonist, how did you go about creating their character? Was it pure imagination or are bits and pieces of their personality based on yourself or people you know?
I had a small character profile before digging into the first draft and Rebecca’s base characteristics are probably the same, but a few tics or things were added along the way to round her out. I would say her issues with balancing work and home life are very real to most working mothers out there, myself included. Rebecca chose her work most of the time and I like to think I didn’t, but you’d probably have to ask my kids how successful that was. She, like me, is the family photographer and loves art. That might be all I have in common with her.
What are you hoping that readers feel by the time they finish the last page of your novel?
It’s hard for me to answer this one without giving away spoilers, so I’ll just say that I hope readers feel closer to their families. I hope they appreciate them a little more and hug them a little tighter. Because it can change in an instant.
As far as your career in writing goes, what made you decide to pick up the pen and pursue a career as an author?
To see if I could. Honestly, that’s the very simple reason I started writing a book. I’ve been a reader for as long as I can remember, and I just wanted to see if I could do it. The best way to learn how to write a book… is to write a book, right? The learning curve was enormous and often painful but I was driven to see it through. I learned a lot about the craft, about what I liked to write, and cut my teeth on many short stories along the way. I would not recommend it to new writers, but it was my process and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
As a fairly new writer, what are some of the biggest obstacles you have had to overcome thus far?
Allowing other people to read my writing and accepting criticism graciously. It’s a very personal and tedious process, so by the time you’re done with anything it can be scary to allow it out into the world. And even harder to look at it with an editorial eye.
Is there any advice you’d give to any aspiring authors reading this?
There’s so much advice out there but I think my favorite is this: Just write. Put your butt in the chair and finish that story. Then, edit it until you can’t stand looking at in one more day. Give it to someone else to read (beta reader) and don’t look at it again for at least a month. I remember joking about Come Join the Murder, “I still love my book, but I think it’s time we see other people.”
Lastly, where do you see yourself going from here? Will there be a second part to the story in Come Join the Murder, or are you tackling different projects?
There will not be a second part to the book, though I did toss the idea around a little as I was forming the ending. I’m currently working with my husband on a Bigfoot horror novella tentatively titled, “Easton Falls Massacre.” I love sci-fi or cryptozoological horror, even the cheesy B-story stuff. I realize Bigfoot is very different from Come Join the Murder, but the dark themes are prevalent throughout both.