Tuesday 25 January 2022

 Guest Post With Gina Hollands

My first guest of 2022 is fellow Ruby Fiction author, Gina Hollands. Her latest novel, The Fall and Rise of Ronni Fairweather, will be published on January 31st and is described as '...an uplifting and inspirational story for the nerw year!

Gina, welcome! Please tell us a little about yourself and your writing.

I’ve been writing fiction for around ten years and have written erotica, romance and now I’m writing my first crime novel. My new book, The Fall and Rise of Ronni Fairweather, is my fifth novel. I’ve also written three novellas and quite a few short stories. When I’m not writing, I love to dance, whether it be salsa, lindy hop, tap or modern jive. If I’m feeling energetic, I’ll go for the occasional run, as long as I can come home to a cosy movie, a cup of tea and a couple of biscuits as a reward for all my hard work!

What do readers expect when they pick up a Gina Hollands book?

It depends which one they read! I’ve written in many different styles, and I don’t think any two are the same. I’ve got a little key on my website so readers can check out whether a book is steamy or sweet before they choose one. I aim to write for the enjoyment of readers, so always keep pace, accessibility and entertainment front of mind, and I hope this is obvious and consistent across my books.

What inspired you to write The Fall and Rise of Ronni Fairweather, your new novel?

I always approach a new novel with a theme. For The Fall and Rise of Ronni Fairweather, the theme was ‘starting over' and reaching a conclusion as to what’s most important in life. At the beginning of the book, the main character gets some terrible news, which is followed by a revelation that everything in her privileged life is not what it seemed. She finds herself having to start afresh, using her own brain and resourcefulness to get through. Despite her facing some challenging times, it’s an uplifting novel with some comedic moments.

Can you summarise your novel in just a few sentences?


I think the snippet on the front of the book sums it up nicely: when going back to your roots is the only way forward. The heroine has spent her whole life fighting against the kind of life she thought she was destined to live. She always desired something she perceived as better and strove to get it. When it all comes crashing down, it forces her to reconsider what’s important.

Can you say which came first, the characters or the story you wanted to tell?

Although I’m generally a thematic writer, The Fall and Rise of Ronni Fairweather actually started out life as a short story for a competition and the character was fully formed in my head. I didn’t win, sadly, but a friend of mine who’s also a writer suggested I work it into a novel. Two years and 95,000 words later, the novel was complete!

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Anyone who knows me would laugh at the thought that I could possibly be a pantser. I plan every last detail of life and that includes novel writing. I’m definitely not someone who leaves things to chance - too much could go wrong! Having said that, just because I have a plan doesn’t mean I always stick to it; I just feel more relaxed when I know I’m organised. I always allow my characters to write their own stories and if the plot isn’t working the way I planned, I’m flexible enough to take it in a different direction. Being too rigid with a plot when you know it’s wrong, just because you’ve planned it that way, is never going to work out well. 

How would you like your readers to feel when they’ve finished reading The Fall and Rise of Ronni Fairweather?

Uplifted and inspired. Ronni has many flaws, which are evident. She goes on an incredible journey in spite of them and learns a lot about herself in the process. I hope readers think ‘if Ronni can do it, so can I’. 

On a more general note, do you have a particular writing routine? 

I wish I did - life would be a lot easier! I work in marketing four days a week and am currently doing an MA in crime writing, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for a routine. I grab weekends and the odd day off whenever I can to write. If I’m lucky enough to get away on holiday, then I spend hours writing. I get into the swing of planning my next chapter last thing at night, so it’s fresh in my head when I wake up the next morning. I have a quick breakfast, then get to work!

What are you currently working on? 

My first crime novel, which is a serial killer thriller set in my hometown of Worthing. I’m hoping to have it finished by summer 2023.

A new novel, a new year. What are your wishes and goals for 2022?

Sooo many! I like the start of a new year as I always feel inspired to start new things and achieve new goals and ambitions. This year on my list is to have as much fun as possible. The last two years have been challenging for everyone to different degrees. At the very least, people’s well-laid plans were put on hold. I want to dance, go to the theatre, and travel as much as I can. Book-wise, I’d love to have my novels translated into foreign languages, especially German as I did my degree in the language. Reading one of my own novels in the language I spent years learning would be wonderful!

Thank you, Gina. It's been great getting to know more about you and your writing. I hope your wishes come true this year. 

BLURB FOR The Rise and Fall of Ronni Fairweather

Raegan Kent-walters is living the high life. Thanks to her husband's salary, she enjoys the elite Surrey housewife existence of luxury holidays, exclusive gym membershios and skinny lattes.

But then the high life comes crashing down, and, whilst reeling from the discovery that her husband wasn't the man she thought he was, Taegan is also confronted with the reality that she and her daughter, Sabrine, will have to make some like changes. 

So, out goes the state-of-the-art Range Rover, and in comes the beat-up old Transit van to take them away, back to Taegan's roots in Yorkshire and the life she abandoned. 

But perhaps by embracing who she used to be, Raegan can find the strength she never knew she had, building something unexpected - but truly special - to get her and Sabrine through to a brighter future.

BIO:  Originally from Yorkshire, Gina now lives by the sea in West Sussex with her husband and son. When shes not working in her job in marketing and PR, or writing her latest book, Gina can be found dancing everything from lindy hop to salsa, shopping (she loves clothes far too much for her own good), eating out (she hates washing up far too much for her own good), or relaxing, which generally involves reading a book someone else has written or indulging in her new hobby of learning to play the piano. She has a sneaky suspicion she may be a musical genius in the making, but isnt about to give up the day job just yet. 

Links on Amazon/other platforms:


Blog and website: www.ginahollands.co

FB Author page: www.facebook.com/ginahollands 

Insta: gina_hollands

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed finding out more about Gina. If you are a writer like her, after the two years we've had, what are your wishes and goals for 2022?

You may also follow me on Twitter@JanBaynham and on my Jan Baynham Writer Facebook page. 

You can find out about me and my books on my Amazon Page. Her Mother's Secret is currently reduced to 99p.

Thank you.  

Friday 7 January 2022

 Looking Forward

The blog is eight years old this January and although it's changed over the years as my writing journey has progressed, I still like to set myself some goals for the coming twelve months. Whereas back in 2014, they were very specific and related to short stories and writing competitions, now they relate more to my novels and writing in general. I came across a blog post, New Year Writing Inspiration and Prompt Challenge, written by Katie Smart, on a newsletter from Curtis Brown and it resonated with me. You may read it HERE. I'm going to use three of the points made as part of my list of goals for this year:

  • Set myself a 'BIG' goal for the year -  I intend to get fully immersed in writing the first draft of novel four after having completed some planning and research before Christmas. I need to start writing! One way that works for me is to set myself some smaller targets within the big goal. All three of Katie Smart's suggestions - word count targets, sticking to a writing routine or taking a writing course to help me on the way - appeal to me. I'd already  enrolled on a Life-Long Learning Writing Historical Fiction course at Cardiff University and know I'll be able to link the assignments and homework to my novel in progress.
  • Develop a Writing Routine - This is something I need to work on. I often leave too long a gap in between writing sessions and my writing output becomes erratic. Then, It's hard to hold your novel in your head, says Smart, and I need to try to regularise my writing and decide on a schedule. But it won't be 'the famous dawn session that many people wake up to each day'.
  • Read Widely - I'm quite a slow reader as I only tend to read every night in bed but this year, I intend to find time to sit down in the day and read then, too. As well as reading within my own historical and family story genre, Smart recommends reading outside it as well to '...note how language and sound are used for effect in poetry, how worlds are constructed for effect in fantasy, how suspense is created in crime/thrillers...' I do try to read other genres but if I'm honest I seem to be drawn to novels that I would have loved to have written myself. 
My other goals include:
  • continuing with the blog. There were eighteen blog posts this year, down on 2020, I'm afraid, but I was pleased to welcome eight guests to ask them abour their new publications. I've been fortunate in having been supported by other writers and I enjoy being able to reciprocate when I can. Besides, it's always interesting to hear the inspiration behind their stories. 
  • continuing to enjoy my writing and learn more about the craft. As well as the historical fiction course mentioned earlier, I shall enjoy working with Jenny Kane again on a new Imagine Writing Course. I get so much out of her sessions and know it's going to impact on my WiP.
Wish me luck!

Thank you for reading and your loyal support. I hope that you achieve your writing goals in 2022. I'd love it if you shared them on here. Thanks. 

You may also follow me on Twitter @JanBaynham and on my Jan Baynham Writer page. 

You may find out about me and all my books on my Amazon Author Page.