Saturday, June 13, 2015

INTERVIEW AND GIVEAWAY: Paranormal/Scottish Historical Romance Author, APRIL HOLTHAUS

I came across April Holthaus by chance as I was browsing books on the internet. When I picked up her first book, The Honor of a Highlander, I did some research on her and also found that her passion for history extends to researching her own family tree back to the 1100s (and most recently, the 900s). What I enjoy about April's stories is what close attention she pays to historical detail in the midst of everything else happening. This is evident in The Honor of a Highlander, which takes place during the time of William Wallace and the seige on Scotland by the English.
At the end of the interview, April is giving away a digital copy of her newest book, The Legends of the Fae along with her new forthcoming release. In addition, I am adding an Amazon gift card to the pot. And those on my mailing list are automatically in the drawing that will take place at the end of the week. :)






TA: First, tell a little about yourself and the sort of stories you write.

AH: I am married with a one year old son. and live in Minnesota. I work full time in the mailing/printing and marketing business as an Account Manager which I have been doing for over 12 years. 
I write Scottish Historical/Paranormal Romances. I have always loved writing but never considered pursuing it as any type of career. My passion is actually Biology.  I started my first book: The Honor of a Highlander in the winter of 2012 as a hobby. After I completed the story about a year later, I have several friends of mine read it and they convinced me to get it professionally edited and in September 2013 my first book was published. I never thought I would sell more than 10 copies or even get more than a 3-star review, but surprisingly, within the first 2 months of publication on Amazon, the book made the Top 10 Best Sellers in the Scottish Genre. Since then, I found a permanent editor and published 3 other works in which all three hit the Top 100 Best Sellers at one point.


TA: Much of what you write seems to fall into the Scottish Historical (particularly Medieval) and Romance categories. Why those as opposed to a more contemporary romance?
 

AH: That is a very good question! Ever since I was in High School, I have always read Harlequin Medieval Romances. I never got into reading anything contemporary. I think with Historicals, you can write more about fantasy and adventure and romance that just doesn't fit into today's world, plus it is such a romantic era where men were honorable and knew how to be men. That alone makes it easy to write the perfect hero. 


TA: On your websites and in other interviews, you tell of how you traced your family's own geneology as far back as the 1100s. How much work went into this and did any findings make it into one of your story plots?
 

AH: I started researching my family tree back in 2005 just before my Grandmother died. My grandmother, like me, loved history and felt very proud of her family. She had kept pictures of our family as well as had written a part of her family tree as far back as my 5th great-grandfather; White Eagle, an Iroquois Indian who lived in Canada. When she passed, I took the information she gave me and started researching the names and birthdates on various online ancestry groups and was able to find many distant cousins and connect to several other family trees.
I do, now and again, randomly pick a name where I hit a dead end to see if I can find more information so its been a long ten year process. I have now successfully found a few additional names dating back to early 900s. I haven't used any of the information I found in my stories yet, other than getting inspiration for names.


TA: What was your most interesting find in tracing your family's history?
 

AH: The most interesting find is that I am related to a few French nobles and royalty, the earliest one dating back to mid 900s such as Charles III of France to the lineage of Gilbert de Venables, the Baron of Kinderton. I guess I always found it fascinating to know how these people are and to know that they are my (X#)-great grandparent! I don't know them but I love them just the same!


TA: Your new book, Legend of the Fae, seems to have a more paranormal twist. Can you tell a little about it?
 

AH: Legend of the Fae is the first book to my first Historical Fantasy series: The Dark Fae Saga.  This story is about the Scottish mythical creatures called the Fae, which is somewhat similar to Fairies.  This story was inspired after reading the book The Renegade's Heart by Claire Delacroix which also involved the Fae.
In Legend of the Fae, it is about Galen and Ella, two young adolescents who are not only best friends but are just starting to realize that they are starting to develop romantic feelings for each other. Galen, the unwanted nephew of their clan's laird and Ella a peasant, are both faced with their own struggles and hardships. They both desperately wish they could run away from their responsibilities but before they could, a dark, mysterious woman appears and kidnaps Ella and several of the young children in the small Scottish village. The story then jumps ten years into the future. Galen is now Laird of their clan and Ella has been brainwashed and molded into the Princess of Darkness within the Fae Realm. While she eagerly takes on a dangerous mission as the Fae world is on the brink of war between good versus evil, Ella is swept away to the mortal world where she knows nothing of her past, a curse that was placed upon her when she first came to the Fae world. She believes the humans to be cruel and savage but when a kind and gentle Galen comes to her aid, she finds herself falling for the man who saved her. Now she is caught in the middle of the world she knows and the man she loves.



TA: As an author, what were/are some of the greatest challenged faced?
 
AH: In writing, there is always so much to learn that comes with time. With each book, I try to bring in more detail, more character development and emotion to the characters as I hone my craft. With experience I have learned to have more beta readers to help offer ideas where scenes may need to be improved and to have a really good team supporting you.

TA: What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
 

AH: Since my first book: The Honor of a Highlander was published, I set 1 goal for myself and that was to not be discouraged by bad reviews. I told myself that if I can at least make 1 person happy who has enjoyed reading my story, that was all that mattered to me. I write because I enjoy it. Not for the money, not for the acknowledgement, but just to feel like I accomplished something. One of my books, Escape to the Highlands hasn't done as well in sales or reviews as the others but that one still today is my favorite one.


TA: When you're not writing, what do you do in your down time?
 

AH: Downtime! HA! I have a one year old. I don't know how people can handle more than one! The rare and few moments I do get to myself I am usually watching my shows from the previous week on the DVR that I am behind. Other than that, I love being outdoors hiking and walking, spending time with my family and watching my son play and grow. I have been very blessed.


TA: And finally, what's next for you? Plug away!

AH: I am very excited about my next series. Its called the Protectors of the Crown Series. It is a five book series. The first book: The Heart of the Highlands: The Beast which is available now on Amazon for pre-order and will be released on July 25th.
For hundreds of years, Scotland has battled the English for their freedom. Now, they face a new threat. In a divided world between politics and religion, the young King James V faces a threat; his own people rebelling against him. As civil war break out amongst the Highland clans, James recruits a secret group of warriors for protection. He calls them the: Protectors of the Crown. 




Here are my web links:


Thank you Tiffany for having me on your blog. I really enjoyed the interview! As a bonus to your readers, I would love to gift a copy of my latest book: Legends of the Fae as well as my upcoming release The Heart of the Highlands: The Beast.


TIFFANY'S NOTE:  For a chance to win free copies of April's newest books and an Amazon gift card, either leave a comment in the comment area below or sign up for my free Messages from the Labyrinth Newsletter!
Those on the newsletter automatically entered in any giveaway. Or you can just comment in the comments section. Thanks, everyone. And thanks, April! :)






*****

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2 comments:

  1. Thank you Tiffany for having me on your blog page!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Never a problem, April. And thank you for the interview. :)

    ReplyDelete