Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Holly Robinson interview

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The Write Step with RJ Jeffreys -- Talk Radio -- Live!

Holly Robinson
Award-winning journalist, author and celebrity ghost writer

Listen to the interview with Holly Robinson

My esteemed guest is award-winning journalist, author and celebrity ghost writer, Holly Robinson. Holly and I discussed the craft of writing, her published novels and her latest book, The Wishing Hill, which is already receiving glowing reviews and was just published by New American Library/Penguin on July 2, 2013.

Holly’s marvelous work appears regularly in national venues such as Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle, Huffington Post, Ladies’ Home Journal, More, Open Salon, and Parents.  She also works as a ghost writer on celebrity memoirs, education texts, and health books. Her first book, The Gerbil Farmer’s Daughter: A Memoir, was named a Target Breakout Book. Her first novel, Sleeping Tigers, was named a 2011 Book of the Year Finalist by ForeWord Reviews and was more recently listed as a Semifinalist 2012 Best Indie Book by Kindle Book Review.

–Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You says of The Wishing Hill, “Who and what make us who we really are? In Robinson’s luminous novel of buried secrets, she explores how the past can jumpstart the future, how motherhood can be more than genetics, and why finding yourself sometimes depends on discovering the truth in others.”

 The Wishing Hill can be purchased at Barnes & Noble and links below: and

 Feeling Creatively Blocked? Turn Off the Noise in Your Head!

by Holly Robinson

We all have mornings like the one I had today: making breakfast, using the cattle prod to get kids off to school, kitchen cleanup, laundry, email, texting, phone call to the car mechanic, phone call to the insurance company—and all BEFORE we go to work. Is it any wonder we have trouble turning off the noise in our heads long enough to feel creative?

Thanks to our handy phones, which can do everything but drive our cars, it’s getting harder to hear our own thoughts, and becoming nearly impossible for us to feel creative. If we’re not keeping up with our virtual lives as well as our actual physical ones, we feel like failures. Yet, the more we scramble to keep up, the worse that ugly static sounds in our minds, obscuring our thoughts and making it impossible to tap deep enough into our souls to produce new work.

Luckily, this past weekend I stumbled across an amazing essay in the May/June 2013 issue of Poets and Writers magazine. That piece, “The Calm Before the Calm: Silence and the Creative Writer” by Daphne Kalotay, hit home for me because she wrote it while waiting for her new novel, Sight Reading, to be published by HarperCollins. I’d been biting my nails prior to the publication of The Wishing Hill by NAL/Penguin, valiantly seeking refuge where I usually do: in writing something new.

But I was having a problem: I couldn’t concentrate. It wasn’t just because of the usual writer’s crisis-in-confidence, but because it’s the end of the school year and, as any working parent knows, June is a nightmare of activities, events, final exams and graduation parties which all drop you headlong into summer, where your free time is sliced, chopped and grated tiny bits. I’m also supposed to be promoting my book.

How could I possibly think, never mind write? I couldn’t! But then I read Daphne’s finalparagraphs, where she talks about silence being important because “silence is where we go to write,” and found the inspiration I needed in the last paragraph:

“Silence is where you were when you first lifted your pen and listened for the words in your head. Silence is where you are sovereign, where you write what you are drawn to write, not what you are told to write. It is where the muscle-work of creation takes place. And, in this age of nonstop tweets and text messages and headlines flashing across screens, silence—that space free of anyone else’s words—is more elusive and precious than ever.”

As we try to survive the relentless meteor storms of information hurtling toward us—storms that we, as writers and artists, are fully expected to contribute to by promoting ourselves and our work—Daphne’s words should serve as a call to action, reminding us to seize time for our creative selves in the midst of the madness.

The same day I read that essay, I turned off my phone and shut down the computer. Then I went outside to sit on the porch and write longhand in my journal, trying to recreate my last writing retreat. I only had half an hour to myself, but it was enough for me to feel like a writer again.

I can’t do anything about being a working mom scrabbling for free time in June. But, when I do have free time, I can vow to make better use of it and do what I love most: follow the story.

You can do the same. Find just half an hour, or even ten minutes, and turn off the noise in your head. Pay attention to what’s around you. Breathe.

Then create.

Reprinted with permission from the author, Holly Robinson
(All rights reserved))