About Holly Bargo:
Holly Bargo is a pseudonym and the registered name of a horse, a temperamental Appaloosa mare who crossed the Rainbow Bridge long ago. Holly lives on a southwest Ohio hobby farm with a menagerie that, yes, includes a horse (this one a Morgan), plus a geriatric llama, a Great Dane, and clowder of cats. She is married with two children, one currently enrolled in college and the other enlisted in the military.
What inspires you to write?
For me, writing is a compulsion, a need to get the voices out of my head and tell their stories. If I don't write, my brain will explode.
Tell us about your writing process.
Process? What process? There's nothing methodical about the way I write: seat-of-the-pants to the extreme. I start with an idea which may be at the beginning or somewhere in the middle of the story, and then let the characters lead the way. I'm pretty much at their mercy. I don't outline the plot, nor do I draft character descriptions. What happens in the story may surprise me even as I write it. I prefer to use Google Docs for drafting and editing, but then will format in MS Word for upload to KDP and/or CreateSpace.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I listen to my characters. I couldn't really say I engage in conversations with them, but I'll mull over directional elements and, when one strikes that "YES" vibe, then I'll follow that.
Characters–at least the protagonists–generally begin as voices in my head. I "hear" their conversations and become them, then translate their stories to virtual paper. Sometimes secondary characters develop strong voices and demand to have their stories told. They don't leave me alone until I do.
What advice would you give other writers?
First, master the craft. Some people think mastery unimportant, others think labeling writing as a craft pompous. But it is a craft and those who excel in it master the ability to tell a good story. That involves a deep understanding of the mechanics of language as well as the nuances that distinguish good storytelling. This encompasses focused use of active voice, avoidance of information dumps, and knowledge of correct grammar.
When writing–especially fiction–the idea is the easy part. Ideas are cheap and plentiful and none of them is truly unique. Originality comes from the execution of that idea: how one delivers it makes the story unique. This is how tried-and-true tropes remain fresh and interesting.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I began writing decades before the digital revolution. In those days, one either paid a vanity press or received a coveted acceptance letter and contract from a traditional publisher. When e-books arrived, I resisted, preferring the heft and feel of paper. I submitted to publishers and agents without success. After a long hiatus from writing, I finally made the jump as an independently published author using CreateSpace in 2014. I uploaded just one book as an experiment and was hooked. Now, I wouldn't necessarily deny a traditional publisher who showed interest in my work, but neither would I automatically sign their contract.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Traditional publishing will not disappear; however, it is losing and will continue to lose ground to self-publishing as authors demand more control over their work and higher royalties. Self-publishing also places greater responsibility on authors, which yields other problems in terms of quality. Traditional publishing offers the advantages of quality control: their books generally don't go public without having edited.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: fantasy and romance, including paranormal, mafia, contemporary, and new adult sub-genres.
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print