Here on Diane Capri Reveals, we’ve featured some of the biggest names in our genre, including my friends and colleagues Lee Child, the father of Rambo, David Morrell, my colleague at the Bar, Steve Berry, the dynamite writing duos Maxine Paetro (and James Patterson), Grant Blackwood (and James Rollins), and more. You can check out those posts by clicking HERE.
For the next few weeks, by popular demand, we’re introducing Licensed to Thrill readers to new authors and new voices in this continuing series focused on Indie Authors.
Today, it’s my pleasure to feature Steena Holmes who recently took the plunge from indie to hybrid author with her award-winning bestseller, Finding Emma. Steena is the author of eight indie books so far, and still has many secrets to be revealed.
Steena was a pastor’s wife for ten years. Now, she and her husband and three daughters and lives in Calgary, Alberta. Beautiful country up there, to be sure, but it’s a place where long, luxurious winters leave time for Steena’s favorite activities. She said she loves to read, bake, create cover designs, read (yes, she mentioned reading twice!) and, of course, to write. One big challenge? She needs silence to write, and in a house with three kids and those long, long winters, silence isn’t easy to find.
Lately, though, Steena has been floating on rarefied air. But before we get to that, let’s begin at the beginning, shall we?
Diane Capri: Your name is unusual and you’re the first Steena I’ve ever met. What’s the origin?
Steena Holmes: I like to say that I’m just unique and different and you’ll never meet another me. *grins* Hmmm…my mom used to babysit a girl from Europe with the name. I’ve met two others – one was from Alaska and was a decendent of a native princess and the other was from Finland and was absolutely beautiful. I try not to think of her too much – she was tall, blond and gorgeous – other than having buck teeth! *laughs*
Steena Holmes: Me. Honestly – that’s the one word I think of when I think of who I am 🙂 How would you describe me? *laughs*
Diane Capri: Oh, no, you don’t. We’re Revealing you, not me! And what you’re saying is you’re feeling very comfortable being Steena. Good for you! Why not? You’ve been having a helluva ride! *laughs* Let’s try this. What are you passionate about these days?
Steena Holmes: Publishing! Whether it’s indie/tradtional/small press. I love the choices available to us. I love the options that are out there. I love the fact that so many writers today are seeing their dreams come true. I’m a prime example of that. I wrote a story from my heart and I’ve watched as the doors continue to open for me in ways I never thought possible because of Finding Emma.
Diane Capri: Finding Emma has certainly been a game changer for you. Winner of the 2012 National Indie Excellence Book Awards, a huge women’s fiction bestseller, and soon to be re-released by Amazon’s Montlake imprint. Congratulations! All this success must be breathtaking. How has Finding Emma changed your life?
Steena Holmes: It’s an exciting time for us Diane, and I can’t wait to see what will happen as more authors find their dreams come true. I keep hearing over and over how authors are needing to redo their goals – all because they didn’t dream large enough and they’ve met their 1, 5 and 10 year plans. Myself included. Once upon a time I wanted to be published. Then have a bestselling book. Then make enough money that we could pay our bills and relax for awhile (my husband and I were pastors for 10 years and trust me…the thought of having enough money was always just a dream).
Diane Capri: You have two more books in the Emma series coming soon, Emma’s Secret and Dear Jack. Can you Reveal a bit about those?
Steena Holmes: Emma’s Secret will be out in Spring 2013. It was originally suppposed to be indie pubbed at the beginning of this month, but my editor at Amazon talked me into changing my mindset. With her help, it will now be a stronger book and even though it means fans having to wait a little bit longer, it will be worth it. But…in the meantime I have a little novella coming out in December called Dear Jack. So many readers were interested in Jack and Dottie’s storyline in Finding Emma so I decided to share Dottie’s journals she kept while Jack was away at war and then later declared MIA.
Diane Capri: Sounds terrific! Okay, now let’s get into some Steena secrets here. What are three things we’d be surprised to know about you?
Steena Holmes: I’m a chocoholic? No? You probably already knew that! Hmmm…I’m afraid of heights. Even looking down from my bedroom window into our backyard has my stomach doing flipflops. Gremlins still scares me – I tried to watch the movie last month and found myself changing the channel. I can’t remember how old I am. It’s true. I always have to count back and then since I’m not very good at math end up asking someone to figure it out for me. And no, don’t ask me how old I am! *laughs*
Diane Capri: Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?
Steena Holmes: Tuscany! I bought this painting two years ago that I fell in love with. The artist painted it in Tuscany herself and you can see her passion through every stroke. Each time I look up at that painting I see a story unfold and my fingers itch to tell it.
Diane Capri: Obviously, you’re a woman with goals and ambition. What are you hoping for next?
Steena Holmes: Now it’s to hit the New York Bestsellers List and USA Today list, speak at a conference maybe, become a millionaire! Hey – why not dream big, right?
Diane Capri: Why not, indeed? Good luck to you, Steena and for readers who want to connect with you, they can find you at your website: SteenaHolmes.com and on Facebook: SteenaHolmesAuthor
Haha, I love that pic of you with the giant chocolate bar, Steena! You are on fire–wishing you even bigger and more awesomely-awesome success! 🙂
that was so awesome – being in that store!!! I have way more pictures of that Hershey store than I do of the rest of the trip 🙂 LOL fun times I’m telling ya!
The only thing better than that big chocolate bar would have been some red wine to go with it! Thanks for reading, Angela!
Bestseller list, conference speaker, and millionaire … you will see those dreams come true, Steena, I know you will. 🙂 Thanks for the lovely interview, ladies!
awww … thanks darlin!
She’s a dynamo, isn’t she Sheila? Makes me feel like a slacker in the dreams department, hmmm? Thanks for reading!
Great interview ladies! Congratulations on all of your success Steena! I am grateful that writers like you and Diane are paving the way for the rest of us.
Oh, and I can’t resist telling you that I’m running a writer’s retreat in Tuscany this spring. Perhaps you could join us! 😉
Julie, I keep eyeing that Tuscan retreat of yours but my hubby keeps saying no ;( what a spoil sport he is …. but NEXT time you do it … I’d love to help you plan it – then he can’t say no 🙂 ha!
Diane – thanks for my reveal – it was so much fun doing that with you 🙂 you are an absolute sweetheart!
Paving the way, Julie? Yiyiyiyiyiyi! You’re doing great over there on your 12 x 12 — and I’m sooooo jealous about your Italy adventure! I LOVE Italy!
Great to get to know you, Steena! I love the line that we need to redo our goals because we didn’t dream large enough. Excellent point. There are so many exciting options now. Thanks for another great reveal, Diane!
Kassandra, I’m learning that redoing goals isn’t as easy as I thought 🙂 How high is too high and how high is just ridiculous? But then what if it’s not high enough? There’s not enough chocolate to help me get through another goal setting time in the near future 😉
Good point, Kassandra! Maybe we need Steena to hold a goal-setting workshop for all of us! Thanks for reading!
Diane another great interview. I’m really enjoying the Reveal series. Steena, nothing but good stuff is coming your way. You’ll meet all your goals and have all your dreams come true. Of that I have no doubt.
Thanks, Louise. This is certainly a talented group of writers, isn’t it?
Stella congratulations on your award and upcoming publications. You may be having a little trouble readjusting your goals, but you’re on the right path. Lots and lots of chocolate. It’s the antidote for thinking too small and is bound to increase your energy levels so you can move forward and upward! And you know we’ll all be cheering you as you go! Thanks, Diane. I love your Reveal series.
Glad you’re enjoying it, Lynette! I’m totally with you on the Chocolate thing! 😀
Any excuse for chocolate is a good excuse in my books 😉
Wow, Steena, congrats on the Amazon deal! Sounds like you’re well on your way to publishing success! I think you should set a sales goal and celebrate when you get there with a trip to Italy. 🙂
A trip to Italy sounds fabulous, Shannon! Maybe we should all go??? 😉
Oh Shannon – I like that idea!!! Hmmm..sales goal…do I make it small so I know I’ll end up going soon or large so that it’s really a reward….
Wonderful interview ladies. And, congrats on all the great news, Steena! I’m happy to see things are going so well for you and I wish you a ton of success.
Thank you so much Rhonda!
Thanks for reading, Rhonda. Glad you enjoyed the interview!
Three cheers for dreaming big. 🙂 You’re such an inspiration, Steena. I love how open and embracing you are of the publishing industry and writers in general.
Best of luck with Emma’s Secret and EVERYTHING else. May your road be paved with chocolate-y goodness and success. *raises cocoa*
*cocoa is raised* Thanks darlin!
What a great interview, Steena. Love the giant Hershey bar. That in itself would be a great thing to take with you to Tuscany. Looking forward to reading Finding Emma.
No kidding, Karla! Where can we get one of those Hershey bars, Steena??? It’s not nice to eat and refuse to share! 😀
That was outside of Hershey store in Niagara Falls Canada 😉 I wish it were edible!!
Steena is a beautiful name. Sounds like the name of a famous author, and you made it happen! Woo hoo! This is such an inspiring Reveal, Diane and Steena. That’s right, might as well dream big, Steena, but your big dream sounds like it’s just within your grasp! Congratulations on your successful writing journey.