Jen: Today we welcome Holley Trent to Romancing the Book. Holley, will you share a short bio with us?
Holley: Holley Trent is an award-winning author of more than 40 works of contemporary, paranormal, and erotic romance. She has a Colorado driver’s license and more knit hats than she cares to count, but is a Carolina girl at heart. To see her full backlist of Crimson Romance and other titles, visit her website at holleytrent.com. If you’re feeling bold, chat with her on Twitter where she tweets as @holleytrent. Want to receive an email alert when the next Desert Guards book is available? Subscribe to her paranormal romance newsletter.
Jen: Tell us about your newest release.
Holley: The Cougar’s Pawn is the first book in a trio of novels about three Were-cougar brothers who have to snatch mates or else be cursed to spend the rest of their lives in their cat forms. The Desert Guards series is set about a year after the final novel in my Sons of Gulielmus series. The two series are set in the same world, and the characters cross over, but each series arc can be read independently. If you want to start at the beginning, though, check out A Demon in Waiting.
In this world I’ve got angels, demons, werewolves, cat shifters, witches, gods, and a couple of other things I can’t name without being spoilery. What I don’t have are blood suckers (unless we’re talking about emotional vampires—I’ve got plenty of those. Family dysfunction seems par for the course in paranormal romance, though, right?).
Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Holley: For the most part, I’m a pantser. When I start a book—or series—I know a little bit about who the characters are and what the background plot is, but I tend to let the currents take me where they will. I don’t always know a character’s full motivations until somewhere near the end of the first draft, and that’s because sometimes what I think I know about a character at the beginning just doesn’t make a lot of sense the closer I get to the climax. I’m usually able to fix most of the mess in subsequent drafts.
Jen: Describe your writing in 3 words.
Holley: Sexy, snarky, and modern.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Holley: I watched a lot of YouTube videos about cougar mating habits.
A lot of the research for the Desert Guards series carried over from Sons of Gulielmus. I research local mythology for the book’s setting and then spin it into something a bit different so I have some room to play. I don’t want to disrespect anyone’s culture or belief systems.
Jen: How do you come up with character names?
Holley: Sometimes, I pull them out of my high school yearbooks, especially when I’m writing characters who are from North Carolina. Other times, I pluck them out of thin air or glean them off the back of some package sitting on my desk at the moment. Ellery’s first name was one of those “thin air” ones. I put a little more thought into her last name, name. I needed something that was French-sounding for a very particular reason that’s brought up in A Demon in Love.
Jen: What’s next?
Holley: The next Desert Guards book will be out later this summer. It’s called The Cougar’s Trade, and it’s Hank’s book. It’s a bit more angsty than The Cougar’s Pawn, but I try to make up for the boo-hoo stuff with puns and running gags.