Thursday, May 28, 2009

HOLLY JACOBS interview...

We love learning more about authors we meet on the internet. So, I asked Holly Jacobs some questions. I think you’ll enjoy her replies.

#1. Reading a book by Holly Jacobs means almost certain laughter…who did you inherit your sense of humor from?

Oh, wow, there’s a question! My brother and I share a...uh, unique sense of humor, one that has had other members of our family rolling their eyes. My personal theory as a child had to do with aliens! LOL
Growing up, my somewhat warped sense of humor often got me in trouble. For instance, one time when my mother was yelling at me, she said, “And you never smile when I’m ‘talking.’ You always get that look on your face. I’m so tired of it.” Talking was her code word for yelling and that-look was one that any parent with teens knows intimately. Anyway, the next time she yelled, I smile. Uh...she didn’t see the humor in it. LOL Thankfully, my dh has an equally offbeat sense of humor and it seems to be an inherited trait–all our kids have it to. So in our house, laughter has always been the status quo.

#2. Which one of your characters are you most like?

Each of my characters is very a very unique person...individual and wholly their own in my mind. And I try to convey that sense of realness to readers. Yet, there are definitely pieces of me (and my life) in each of them. For instance, I write a lot of kids...well, because I have a lot of kids. We have four. And before I had them, I helped with my younger brothers and babysat. I know kids and (most of the time) love them. Being a mother has been a huge part of my life, so I write about kids and parents...there’s a lot of me in that. And I love writing crazy grandmas (like Nana Vancy in the Everything But... books) because I’ve lived that as well. My grandmother reached an age where she no longer cared what the world thought...she lived by her own rules.
Some of my characters espouse my personal beliefs, but some don’t. Like I said, they’re their own people...well, at least in my head! And having other people in your head...well, that can be worrisome unless you’re a writer! LOL

#3. How did you explain to your four kids that you were writing romance novels? [I’m dragging up a chair and holding on to my seat with both hands. I know this is going to be fun.]

Okay, this sounds really shmarmy, even to me, but my kids have always been a great support. When I started writing, I treated it like a job even before I sold. I’d go up to the “office” and work every night after the kids were in bed. Well, one night my oldest came in to ask me something, looked at the computer screen and said, “When you sell...” I don’t remember the rest of the sentence. Just those first three words...When you sell. She had utter faith that I would someday. All my kids were that supportive. And as soon as I knew that I wanted to write romance, they knew, so they’ve always just accepted that.

#4. Do your husband’s co-workers tease him about your romance writing?

Nope. They do however tease him when he has to drive my orange Vibe. Turns out cops don’t think Orange Vibes are overly...well, coply. And those who know me and know I named my Vibe Floyd find it even funnier when he drives it instead of his very coply grey stick-shifted truck. LOL

#5. Many of your books are based in Erie, PA. Are you getting credit from the tourism bureau?
After all, with your fan base, you are the best secret weapon they could have. Seriously, why Erie?

No, the tourism bureau hasn’t said anything to me, but Erie readers have been great! They have supported me in so many ways–coming out to signings, reading my books, mentioning me to others. The newspaper here has “discovered” me in the last few years, and has not only written some very lovely articles about my books, but they also invited me to write a piece for our op-ed page last year...if anyone’s interested it’s at
Why so many books set here? I love Erie. I love writing about Erie. It’s a smallish city right on lake Erie. What’s not to love? Maybe someday I’ll get a key to the city , but until then, just being able to introduce readers all over the world to my favorite town is enough.

#6. Has Ethel Merman appeared in any of your books? Will she in the future?

I put a rescue dog in Once Upon a Thanksgiving...he was inspired by Ethel Merman. Before we had Ethel and Ella Fitzgerald, we had an Old English Mastiff, who inspired the Mastiff, Dudley in my Avalon book, Night Calls. And in my December release, Everything But a Christmas Eve, there’s an English Bulldog. The inspiration for his character is my niece’s bulldog, Lucy. See, it’s not just my family or my favorite city that inspires me, but it’s the pets in my life! LOL

#7. You make us laugh…but do any of your books make your readers cry? Was that book hard to write?

I write a lot of comedy and romances that have light humor in them. I created my tagline for the website ( Where love is a laughing matter) because of that humor. Then I started writing for Harlequin’s Everlasting Love, which morphed into their SuperRomance line, and the tagline didn’t work for those books. My first Everlasting, The House on Briar Hill Road, dealt with breast cancer. In last year’s SuperRomance, Same Time Next Summer, the heroine’s daughter is in a coma as the book opens. This November’s SuperRomance, Unexpected Gifts, deals with a teen parenting teacher who finds herself pregnant and abandoned...her journey echoes the journey her student’s have been taking. So, I changed the tagline to– Where love is a laughing matter...except when it’s not! I believe in truth in advertising! LOL

#8. How did you come up with the cursed wedding idea for your Avalon series?

Well, the Salo family in the Everything But...series is Hungarian. My step-father is Hungarian. So, that was a starting point. And everyone knows that words have power in Hungary. Those little niggle of ideas led to the series.
It’s like that with all the books I write. Something small...listening to someone talk about how much waxing hurts (led to I Waxed My Legs for This?), or having four kids who all live to make mischief (inspired not only Ready, Willing...and Able? as well as its sequel, Raising Cain and other books) and working as a volunteer with local disc jockey, Craig Warvel, gave me the idea of doing some books set at a radio station (Avalon’s Pickup Lines, Lovehandles, Night Calls and Laugh Lines). On a more serious note, we lost my MIL (the sweetest, most wonderful woman ever) to breast cancer. Her courageous fight against the disease inspired my The House on Briar Hill Road.
Inspiration is everywhere. Even some of my geek-glee subjects find their way into books. You see, I love science concepts...find them fascinating. So, in How to Catch a Groom, I made the hero a scientist. And he named his cat Schrodinger. Now, I know, you’re thinking, that’s not funny. It’s what my editor said. But then I explained that Schrodinger’s Cat is a famous scientific concept about a cat in a box being alive and dead at the same time (well, until you open the door and observe if he’s alive or dead). That’s the same book in which the hero proclaims his love to the heroine in a Newtonian Physics love letter...yep, even science can inspire me! LOL

#9. You’ve said Avalon books are beautiful. [We all agree.] Now if you were trying to beat off a crowd of crazed fans, which would you rather have in your hand, your Avalon hardback book or one of your paperbacks? [This should be good. I can see it flying up in my face.]

Ah, now, Carol, while we all know a hardback is a preferable weapon, your question has a huge flaw...I’d never beat off readers (I feel presumptuous referring to readers as fans ). I’m always so hugely flattered and grateful that people read my books, that I’m always thrilled to meet them! So, no beating...lots of smiles though! LOL

#10. Okay, we know you cook for the clan. You chop and haul wood. You garden. You are a wonderful, loyal friend. Your nieces love you. And you can tickle our funny bones without even trying. But seriously, who is Holly Jacobs? Tell us something about you that we don’t know.

Gee. Who am I? First and foremost, I’m a wife and mother. My dh and I just went on a cruise to celebrate our 25th anniversary. He’s my best friend and...well, I adore him! And I’m sure I’m biased, but I have four of the most amazing kids in the universe. They’ve made me crazy, made me laugh, made me happy...they’ve made my life so much better in so many ways! I’m a daughter, a granddaughter. I’m friend. I try to be a good friend. I’m a woman who loves her hometown and specifically Lake Erie and the ocean (any ocean, I’m not prejudiced LOL) but I don’t go in them often because I’m not a fan of living critters in the water with me! I’m the woman who avoids the sun to the extent that I make vampires look like sun-bunnies! I’m someone who believes that there’s always room for ice cream and someone who would rather look at the glass as half full rather than half empty. I’m a science geek and I tried to live a green life before it became vogue. I believe life is too short, so we should all make the most of it...we should love, laugh and live with all the gusto we can manage!! And read a lot of books! Speaking of books...I’m a writer. The beauty in this facet of who-I-am means that all those other parts of who-I-am can inspire my writing and hopefully make it better!
I’ve got a fun FAQ section at
  • UNEXPECTED GIFTS, Harlequin SuperRomance, 11/09

And there you have it, folks! Many thanks, Holly for taking time to visit with us. Now it’s time to share.
What is your favorite book by Holly Jacobs?


HollyJacobs said...

Carol, Thanks for interviewing me!


Sandy Cody said...

Thanks, Holly and Carol, for making me smile. The whole time I was reading the interview, I felt I was in the presence of two nice people who are also good friends. What a great way to begin my day.

HollyJacobs said...

Thanks for taking the time to check it out, Sandy!! You're right...Carol is a very nice person, and a good friend to have!


JoAnn Ross said...

Hey Sweetie,

Well that fun interview -- and your op-ed letter -- had me almost wanting to move to Erie!! You also had me remembering with great fondness the Mastiff's Santa hat Christmas cards. (I just told Jay, who laughed remembering it, too.)

My kid was the same way. It was always "When you sell." How did we get so lucky?

Have a super summer! xo

HollyJacobs said...

JoAnn, We so miss Winston...he did have the cutest pictures. I mean, I love Ethel and Ella, but they're not quite as photogenic. My December book has a Winston-esque Christmas picture on the cover.

And I'm glad you liked Erie! You know, you have a standing invitation if you ever want to visit!!


Anonymous said...

Hey, Holly, did you teach a class at Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction Writing Program about seven years ago? Always wondered if you were the same Holly. I think I took your class, if you are. I was no sales then. Eleven now. Twelve if I count reprint in a compilation. I owe this to SHU's program, so if you were one of the teachers, you can take some of the credit.

HollyJacobs said...

Laurie Alice, Congrats on the sales!


Sierra Donovan said...

Carol, thanks for your interview with the illustrious Ms. Jacobs! Her books have brought me many a chuckle and a few tears, too.

I think my favorite Holly Jacobs book would be The House on Briar Hill Road. It's probably her most emotional book -- but joy is among those emotions.

HollyJacobs said...

Sierra, I think you're biased...illustrious?? I'm LOL I just cleaned the back bathroom. I'm pretty sure illustrious people don't scrub toilets! LOL

Anyway, on a serious note, thanks for the very kind comments on Briar Hill. I always say that my books are like my kids...I try not to play favorites. But that one will always be very special to me!


Debby Mayne said...

Every Holly Jacobs book I've ever read has been wonderful!

I loved the interview!

HollyJacobs said...


Just popping in to say thank you! What a lovely thing to say!

I got the news last week that two of last year's books (Same Time Next Summer and Once Upon a Christmas) are in the final five of the Holt Medallion Awards!