For our March 2021 meeting of the Lesfic Book Club, we discussed Bring Holly Home by Amanda Radley. If you weren't able to make it, check out the transcript below.
A couple of notes on the transcript:
If you want to join us live, we discuss lesfic novels every month at http://lesficlove.com (sign up or follow me on Twitter to find out what we're reading next). Some chat participants requested that their names be obscured, so below you'll see that everyone has been anonymized as Reader 1, Reader 2, etc.
Reader 1 4:01 PM
Hi Amanda, thanks for joining us!
Reader 3 4:01 PM
Reader 2 4:01 PM
Amanda Radley 4:02 PM
Thanks for asking me, glad to be here!
Reader 4 4:02 PM
Reader 5 4:02 PM
you wrote a wonderful book:slightly_smiling_face:
Reader 2 4:02 PM
Such an amazing book, thank you
Reader 1 4:03 PM
So we’ve had you at book club in the past, but it’s been a little while - basically readers post questions, it can get a little crazy sometimes, and you’re free to either respond inline or thread. And if you have any questions for us feel free :slightly_smiling_face:
Thoughts, questions on Bring Holly Home, everybody?
Reader 2 4:04 PM
What was the inspiration to make it an "accident" that resulted in amnesia.. Quite the incident to go through (edited)
Reader 3 4:04 PM
I love your books, I have read all of them and own most. All of them so different, but this I feel is quite unique on it's own
Reader 5 4:07 PM
i had a MC accident in 2006. I put into a medically induced coma so I could relate to what Holly was experiencing. I was in the hospital for 6 weeks and I still cant remember the accident. This book felt really personal to me. Thanks
Amanda Radley 4:07 PM
@Reader 2 Bring Holly Home was originally a fan fiction based on the movie Devil Wears Prada. I loved that film but I always thought it was strange how everyone basically said "oh well, Andy's not here, she must have quit." She threw her phone in a fountain and no one ever heard from her again, she could have been kidnapped, murdered, anything. But nothing is questioned and they all go back to New York as if it was perfectly normal. So I started playing with the idea of what if something happened. The accident and amnesia was a good way to build that tension, and guilt, for Miranda/Victoria.
Thanks @Reader 3 I'm so pleased you enjoy my books. I also think Bring Holly Home stands out as quite different, it is definitely one of my own personal favourites.
So sorry to hear about your accident @Reader 5
Reader 6 4:09 PM
Did you have to do a lot of research into amnesia for this book?
Amanda Radley 4:11 PM
@Reader 6 I did some but not a great deal. When I'm researching something I try to not go too deeply into details, sometimes you can become bogged down by all the research you did and feel a need to put it in the book and then it ends up reading like a manual of whatever you're talking about. I wanted things to sound plausible and to have an air of realism but I didn't go much further than that (also there's a LOT of different kinds of amnesia and a lot of confusing about it too)
Reader 3 4:11 PM
What made you write a sequel for it? (edited)
Reader 7 4:13 PM
I love the sequel as well. Brilliant tying up of ends x
Amanda Radley 4:13 PM
@Reader 3 I don't tend to write sequels but I had an idea for this one and a gap in my schedule so I could write it there and then. Usually I am scheduled for several books in advance so if I have an idea now... I'll be writing it in about 8-10 months. But that just happened to come at the right time.
Reader 5 4:13 PM
Remembering the dog hit me like a ton of bricks. I was wheeled into my home in a wheelchair, not remembering how to tie my shoes but my dog Taylor met me at the door and I had no trouble remembering him
Amanda Radley 4:15 PM
@Reader 5 I'd read a couple of accounts of people remembering very little but somehow remembering a pet so you're definitely not alone there.
Reader 6 4:15 PM
What was the part of this book that you enjoyed writing the most?
Amanda Radley 4:16 PM
@Reader 6 the opening scene, I had a clear visual of Victoria in the car being driven away from the hotel and this journalist trying to see her and the photograph of Holly being slammed on the window.
Reader 5 4:17 PM
i think its their energy that you remember. Love unconditionally.
Reader 8 4:18 PM
Where there times while writing that even you got frustrated with either of the characters? Either behavior or a reaction to something?
Reader 9 4:18 PM
Hi! So enjoyed the book!
I cant imagine being Holly and having no recall for that long - so scary
Amanda Radley 4:19 PM
@Reader 8 not that I recall, I run a pretty tight ship and plot everything out before I start. But, because this one was original fan fiction, I'd already ironed most of it out. I did need to change the ending and trying to pitch Victoria correctly there took a little time
@Reader 9 hi, thank you for reading! Glad you enjoyed it :slightly_smiling_face:
Reader 3 4:21 PM
What do you prefer, to write a new story or to mold the fanfiction story to a book format?
Reader 1 4:22 PM
Do you mean you wrote the whole story as fanfiction first and then reworked it with Victoria and Holly? Or did you always know it would end up a novel?
Amanda Radley 4:23 PM
@Reader 3 I prefer to write from scratch. I hate editing and redrafting so I try to do as much as possible in one go and then go back once tidy up and make sure the flow is right. Working a fan fiction into a novel involves a number of passes to get it right for me. And because I write full time now, I don't have time for fan fiction (which is sad, because I used to adore writing it!)
Reader 6 4:24 PM
Asking this question for someone who couldn't be here: Why have you gone back to a trad pub (you started off at Ylva) as you've said indie was best for a long time. What made you change your mind and go to BSB?
Amanda Radley 4:25 PM
@Reader 1 I wrote the fan fiction long before I was a published author, it wasn't something that I ever thought would become a book. I never thought I'd write books at all at that point. It wasn't until I'd written a couple of books that I started to look at my old fan fiction work and realised some of it could be made into novels.
Reader 10 4:27 PM
I'm so late! Lost track of time! Hi Amanda!
Reader 9 4:27 PM
Could you describe your plotting process and how long it usually takes you? Do you use any tools to help you or just pen and paper? Picturing heads down, writing feverishly, haha.
Amanda Radley 4:27 PM
@Reader 6 it was the right time for me in my career. I still passionately believe Indie is a great career path and absolutely the right decision for some people. But I was at a time where I had built up an audience and wanted to focus a little on improving my craft and giving myself some time to work on other projects. Signing with a publisher meant they dealt with a lot of the production side of things for me, and BSB have good editors who I knew could help me grow as an author.
Reader 10 4:30 PM
I've been making my way through all your books! They are amazing and considering I read you as Fanfiction before you became an author :blush: I have to say you are still so amazing! I love everything I read!
Amanda Radley 4:30 PM
@Reader 9 whenever come up with an idea for a story, I email it to myself and then file it away in a folder called "Story Ideas". Quite often one of them will stick and start to grow, and I'll keep replying to that email with the other plot points I come up with. When I'm ready to sit and write (or actually when I send the book proposal to BSB) I open a Word document and I outline the whole book, chapter by chapter. I don't start writing until I have all of that down, every chapter, which point of view it will be in, what happens throughout the whole story.
Thank you so much @Reader 10 I really appreciate that! And I love how many fanfiction readers came with me on this publishing journey, it's so nice!
Reader 10 4:33 PM
I don't have any questions on Bring Holly Home but I do want to ask what gave you the idea for Lost at Sea? That's definitely at the top of my favorite list!
Reader 1 4:33 PM
What lesfic authors have you been reading lately, or other genres, if you have time for things like that? :smile:
Reader 9 4:34 PM
What's the best writing advice you've received that has really stuck with you over time?
Reader 5 4:36 PM
Have you ever had a boss like Miranda??
Amanda Radley 4:36 PM
@Reader 10 I wanted to write a book set at sea—for romance you generally want to have the two characters be forced to spend time together and ideally have a conflict. So I thought something at sea satisfies the forced together bit. I had an idea about a cargo ship being taken over by modern day pirates as I'd ready about the citadel (safe space in the middle of the ship). But then I thought who wants to research cargo ships etc? So then I moved to the idea of a cruise ship!
Reader 10 4:37 PM
Lol... Definitely glad you didn't go that root! I loved the cruise ship!
Reader 6 4:37 PM
Okay, thinking of a "me" question to ask and the first thing that popped into my head was this. Would you ever write a detective/mystery story that involved time travel?
Amanda Radley 4:37 PM
@Reader 1 I actually read very little. I write books back to back and I lose my train of thought very easily (I'm on the spectrum) so I generally don't pick up books. The last one I did read was The Lily and the Crown by Roslyn Sinclair which is a fantastic book and was a fantastic fan fiction as well.
Reader 5 4:37 PM
that sounds like a ship i would like.
Amanda Radley 4:38 PM
@Reader 9 "you can't edit a blank piece of paper" has always stuck with me. As long as you get something down, you can work with it. I write every day and even when I know it's terrible, I keep going because I know I can fix it.
@Reader 5 I haven't personally but when I worked in a large marketing department once a member of our team worked with one of the directors and she was a little like Miranda. She never told you exactly what she wanted, but you knew she wanted it done perfectly. I avoided her as best I could!
Reader 5 4:41 PM
i had a head nurse that was a little Miranda like
Amanda Radley 4:41 PM
@Reader 6 I'd never thought of a mystery story that involved time travel, but I have written mystery and I've also considered writing time travel—but that was more for romance. What time period do you think would work best for a mystery?
Reader 6 8 minutes ago
I would guess it would depend on how many jumps would be involved. Any time after the beginning of the industrial era would be good I think if it's just going to be set in modern times and one other time period. Or perhaps both time periods could be in the past. Maybe one after the end of World War I and the other after the end of the second world war.
There's a lot of possibilities. I guess it all depends on the mystery and what time period you think would fit it best.
But if you're considering a larger number of time jumps/periods, then the time periods could be all over the place.
Reader 3 4:44 PM
Do you plan on doing another collaboration like with Ice Cream Wars?
Reader 1 4:45 PM
You mentioned that you tend to be working 8-10 months in advance. If you get an idea now for a future story, are you researching and developing it in that 8-10 months?
Amanda Radley 4:47 PM
@Reader 3 I don't have anything in the works and I don't plan to approach anyone at the moment, but if I was approached by someone else I'd considering it depending on what it was. My wife is focusing more on fantasy at the moment so I doubt we'll co-write again in the future - but it was a lot of fun to work on Ice Cream Wars with her!
Reader 3 4:48 PM
Asking for a friend: how does having 2 writers in the house work?
Amanda Radley 4:50 PM
@Reader 1 if I have an idea for a story now, I just jot it down in an email and send it to myself. If I add to the idea, I keep replying to that email until such time as I'm ready to outline it. As an example, I'm currently finishing up a story that will be released in December, and I'm contracted for the next which will need to be sent to BSB by 1st June. I have to send BSB a book proposal document for them to read and then amend/approve before they contract me for a book. The proposal I'm working on now would be due October 1st so any ideas I had today the absolute earliest I'd start thinking about it would be 1st June when my last one gets sent in... if that makes sense!
@Reader 3 it's great, we both sit in our separate offices with headphones in and type all day. We meet up for lunch, complain about how we can't think of another word for "just" and that our shoulders/back/neck hurts and then go back to work. It's good because we can talk about work like two people who work in the same company but for different departments.
Reader 1 4:54 PM
Separate offices sounds like a key to making it work - I’d be tempted to wander in periodically to procrastinate :smile:
Amanda Radley < 1 minute ago
We do sometimes end up in each other's offices... looking at a bookcase or staring out of a different window. But if one of us is in the middle of something complex and keeps getting interrupted, then the other soon gets the message and leaves!
Reader 6 4:54 PM
Thinking about it more I guess it would make sense for a time travelling lesbian detective to travel to times where there would still be detectives. And depending on the time period you'd have to consider if they'd have to pose as a male or not just to get any detective work done. Going further from this would add a lot more complications I think.
Reader 5 4:55 PM
You said you write every day—does that mean like an 8 hr day or something?
Amanda Radley 4:58 PM
@Reader 5 I try to write between 1,500-2,500 words a day depending on what I'm working on. I can usually do that in the morning and then I spend the afternoon doing admin/marketing etc. If I don't get my writing target done in the morning, I'll keep going until I get it done. I have sat here at eight in the evening tapping out a word every other minute to just force myself to get it done. As I said to @Reader 9 above, you can't edit a blank page!
Reader 1 5:00 PM
Haha would you put that down more to dedication or stubborn determination if you get to the 8pm forcing the words out point?
Reader 10 5:00 PM
Both I'd say :joy:
Amanda Radley 5:02 PM
@Reader 1 knowledge that I'll be annoyed at myself the next day if I hadn't done it! And I'll add that day's word count target to the next day and give myself an even bigger job the next day. Sometimes I used to leave a few days between sitting and writing and forgot what I was writing, now I make sure I work every day to make sure I keep in the story.
Thanks everyone, I appreciate the invite! If you have any other questions for me, I'm always around on social media or you can email me through my website contact form www.aeradley.com