Well if you didn't read my blog yesterday, you missed my glowing review of what I think is one of the best chick lit books of the year! A Bookworm's World is thrilled to have the author of Holly's Inbox, Bill Surie (aka Holly Denham) guest posting today! I asked Bill where and how did he come up with the idea for Holly's Inbox.
"What’s grey and pink and bruised all over?”
I knew where this was heading; I just couldn’t see a way out. It was only 11 am but already his breath stank of whisky, his eyes danced and he bristled with anticipation. The director was getting ready to pounce.
I was temping there as a receptionist and couldn’t wait for the contract to end, it wasn’t so much his sense of humour, (we laughed at all his jokes, although none were funny) but being the only other male in the company he felt it necessary to wrestle with me. He would jump out at me from behind cupboard doors; and he was an elderly man (and my boss) so I never fought back.
For me temping proved to be very useful. It was able to show me just how badly you could run a company if you’re an ageing eccentric with a drink problem.
I liked temping though and finally I took a position as a recruitment consultant. A few years later I was married and along with my wife we set up our own temping agency which specialised in providing receptionists.
The idea for the site came one day when we had to trawl through an ex-employees work email account. The woman in question was single, extremely flirtatious and had always loved us to bits. We discovered she was married with four children, and couldn’t stand the sight of us. The life she was leading was so full of mystery, intrigue, romance (and many many lies) that it made me wonder what it would be like to read a story told in this way.
The basic plot had around two email exchanges a day and we launched http://www.hollysinbox.com/ . The site’s popularity spurred me on, but it soon became obvious I had grossly underestimated the amount of emails I needed each day to keep people on the site… so I began writing in real-time.
Not many people enjoy criticism, and I had always been particularly scared of receiving feedback. However Holly’s Inbox initially had a LIVE forum, where readers could immediately let off steam if they were unhappy, sometimes before I had even finished a sentence. If it wasn’t funny, they would say so (and the emails miraculously disappeared), if it was too obscure I’d make it clearer, too slow and I’d make it faster… basically they taught me to write and I will be eternally grateful to the fantastic forum fans. Holly still keeps in touch with them on Facebook and Twitter.
As the story reached it’s climax I began to panic. The site would be over and I had no idea what I was going to do next, so I began emailing as many agents as possible the web link; without knowing what I wanted from them. At last a wonderful fabulous woman replied and told me it would work in a book… and it did. Holly’s Inbox has now been translated into 6 different languages but the one place I had always dreamed about being published was of course the USA, and Sourcebooks have at last let me achieve this dream!!!! (Bill is British!)
The site has been re-launched and http://www.hollysinbox.com/ is now live with emails being sent and received by Holly Denham; I hope you like it."
Thanks Bill for stopping by! And readers - here's your chance to win a copy of Holly's Inbox, courtesy of Sourcebooks. Open to both US and Canada. Giveaway ends Tuesday June 9th at 6pm EST. Leave a comment on this post to be entered!