Interview: Steena Holmes

Jen: Today we welcome Steena Holmes to Romancing the Book. Steena, will you share a short bio with us?
Steena: Steena Holmes is the bestselling author of Finding Emma, her debut women’s fiction novel. Finding Emma tells the story of one mother’s journey to find her missing daughter and Steena has partnered with the Missing Children’s Society of Canada, a national charity for missing children, to donate proceeds from the sales of Finding Emma to help bring missing children home.

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Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Steena: Stillwater Rising is a town experiencing the aftermath of a small town school shooting. The whole focus of the story is on the aftermath – the things we don’t hear about once the news of a tragedy is out of the media. How does the town cope as a community? The families?

After losing her son in an elementary school shooting that devastates the tight-knit community of Stillwater Bay, Jennifer Crowne finds herself unable to settle back into her role of perfect stay-at-home mom and committee organizer. Meanwhile, her best friend, Mayor Charlotte Stone, struggles to keep the town together, and Charlotte s husband, the school principal, may not be the hero everyone thinks him to be.

As they try to heal from this irrevocable trauma, Jenn and Charlotte find themselves at a crossroads within the town and within their friendship. For Jenn, broken and grieving, there is no going back, and she demands that the school be closed so that she can bury the past. Yet Charlotte is equally desperate to hold the town together, fighting the school closure and helping the shooter s mother regain her place in the community. Jenn and Charlotte s relationship is put to the ultimate test as each weighs her own interests against the bonds of their friendship.”

Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Steena: I find I work best when I incorporate both methods. I like to have a basic idea of what’s going to happen in the story but I tend to let my characters story play out while I write. One thing I can’t handle is knowing the how the story ends at the beginning when I start to write. I will have a rough idea, but I can’t know for sure – at least, not until the halfway point.

Jen: Describe your writing in 3 words.
Steena: Emotional. Impacting. Personal.

Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Steena: I find my best writing time is at night, but I’m working very hard to retrain myself. I work from home and it’s ideal if I can write while my kids are in school and my house is quiet. Unfortunately, that’s not always what happens.

Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Steena: I’ll either write them down or put it in my phone. But I tend to ignore them in the end. The ideas I remember most are the ones that keep hitting me over the head and even give me ideas on what happen. Those are the stories I end up writing.

Jen: Is there a genre you’d like to write? Is there one you’ll probably stay away from? Why?
Steena: I love writing contemporary fiction and sweet romance. I love to read fantasy and sci fi but I don’t have the skills to write in that genre.

Jen: If you were able to travel in time, where would you go and what 3 things would you take with you?
Steena: I would go to the Scottish Highlands and I’d bring toothpaste, a warm sweater and make sure I wore good socks. I tend to get cold very easily.

Jen: How do you come up with characters names?
Steena: I ask my readers for name suggestions. It’s a huge hit when I do as well…I really need to make a file of all the awesome name suggestions I’ve been given – but then, I wouldn’t need to ask my readers and where’s the fun in that?

Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one you most identify with?
Steena: My favorite character is Jack, from my Finding Emma series. I love him. He’s my father and my grandfather combined. He likes to come off as a grumpy teddy bear.

Jen: What’s been the highlight of you career to this point?
Steena: Hands down, it’s been the ability to travel! It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I soak in every moment.

Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Steena: Free time? You mean when I’m not writing? I like to read, catch up on tv shows, bake, buy cookbooks…I’m actually going to take a photography editing class and some cooking classes as well. I can’t wait!

Jen: What’s next for you?
Steena: I’m going to be continuing on with the series but delving deeper into the lives of those who are impacted.