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  • Anna P.

Indie Support Sunday: Holly June Smith

I try very hard not to pick up books based on covers and focus on the blurb, but sometimes the cover really draws me in. And that’s how I stumbled across Holly June Smith. The cover for The Best Book Boyfriend was making the rounds with some of my author friends and I loved the simplicity and ingenuity of the design that I picked up the book instantly. Then I befriended Holly and here we are!


Since then, I also read and loved Just A Little Crush and have her other two books on my Kindle. A few months ago, when she announced her holiday romance, I got so excited because not only is the cover gorgeous, the book sounds incredible too! And from all the reviews I’ve seen so far, it’s going to be an absolute treat.


If you haven’t connected with Holly or read her books yet, this interview will give you good insight into the amazing person she is. My favorite thing about her? Holly June Smith works as a wedding celebrant!


All her books are currently available in Kindle Unlimited and highly recommended!

BEING AN AUTHOR

Who or what inspired you to write?

I’ve always written in some way, whether that was blogging or my work as a wedding celebrant. For years, I’d been working on a book (mostly in my head) under the assumption that I’d get it out there but after I got hooked on reading romance around 2020 it was obvious that’s what I should be working on instead. I just love love stories.


What’s the best and worst part about being an indie author? 

The best thing is definitely the community. Having that strong connection with your readers and other writers is so motivating and inspiring. I love being in charge of my own workload and deadlines, and it feels pretty badass to know I’ve done it on my own.


The worst part is not having enough time to write everything I want to work on. I have about 7 or 8 books in the works, and I can’t just put them out of my head.


Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?

I sent my first full-length novel, The Best Book Boyfriend, to a number of agents in Spring 2022, and while I had lovely feedback, I wasn’t snapped up. In the meantime I’d started looking at authors whose books I love, and realized lots were self-publishing. I took it as a sign to try it myself.


I then wrote what would become my first published book, Just a Little Crush, in the school summer holidays and planned to release it as a bit of an experiment in how to self-publish. Once I saw how easy the process was, there was no turning back.


When you’re not writing, what do you do to get the creative juices flowing?

As of last year, I’m a gym girlie, and I have so many ideas while I’m working out. My notes app takes a hammering when I’m resting between sets.


If you were to recommend books to me (in any genre), what would they be?

Two that spring to mind are Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff, Nobody Will Tell You This But Me by Bess Kalb. They’re not romance, but I think about them all the time. 


I also love food writing and we have a great author here in the UK called Ella Risbridger whose books mix cookery with memoir. She is endlessly inspiring.


What are your top 5 tips or pieces of advice for aspiring authors?

  1. You probably have everything you need to start writing. You don’t need the latest MacBook, a fancy desk, or anything Instagrammable. If you wait for everything to be perfect you might be waiting a very long time. So just start.

  2. Your path is yours and yours alone. It might not look like other peoples, and everything can be figured out one step at a time.

  3. That said, you can learn a lot from looking at how other authors, especially indies, promote their books. Trends are trends for a reason, jump in and join the party.

  4. Indie authors are always selling. Launch content is important, but you can’t do three weeks of daily posting and then never mention your book again. (Oops, this is exactly what I do.)

  5. Take readers on your journey. People sometimes ask if I’m worried people will steal my ideas, but only I can write the books I write. Sharing behind the scenes gets readers as excited as I am from early on.

 

ROMANCE AS A GENRE

Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in? What is your favorite thing about the genre?

I’ve been a wedding celebrant since 2014 so I’ve always loved love stories, but while I enjoyed rom-com movies I was a bit of a snob about romance novels. Thankfully I got a grip, and fell faster than a surly cowboy with a cute new neighbor. 


My favorite thing is how romance books make me feel, which is generally happy. The rest of my life can be pretty stressful, so I love reading a book I can lose myself in.


If not romance/subgenres of romance, what genre would you like to write in?

I have a few book ideas that have romantic/spicy elements but don’t have a HEA, so I might consider pursuing those at some point. For now though, it’s HEA all day every day.


What are your most and least favorite tropes?

I’m obsessed with the Brother’s Best Friend trope right now, as that’s a major one in my new holiday novella, Can I Tell You Something? I’m not so hot on dark romance and bully romance, though they do sometimes sneak to the top of my TBR when the mood strikes.


What are some tropes you want to write in the future?

Single parents. I’m a mum of two kids, but so far none of my characters have had children so I’d love to dig into that sub-genre.


What are some topics (sensitive and otherwise) that you think should exist more in romance?

I’d love to read more books with representation of men’s mental health issues. I love that we have moved to a time where not every book ends with marriage and babies, but I always want to see more of what a childfree life looks like for these characters beyond the epilogue.


I’m aware these probably exist and I just need to expand my reading. If anyone has recs, please jump into my DMs asap!


If you write open door romance, why did you choose that and what inspires your sex scenes?

I love open door romance as a reader, so it seemed like the natural choice for me. Since having my kids I’m also ruled by my hormones meaning there are parts of my cycle where the horn simply cannot be switched off. Writing books is the perfect outlet for all the filth in my brain.


YOUR BOOKS

What inspired your published stories? How and when did you come up with these stories and plots?

The idea for The Best Book Boyfriend came to me during a massage. I imagined a character reading in a coffee shop, and a shy barista insulting her literary choices then immediately trying to make it up to her. The plot came to me almost complete, and once I started writing it became clear Kara’s best friends deserved their own novels too.


The idea for Just a Little Crush came to me when I was about to listen to a spicy audiobook on a long drive. I wondered what would happen if there was an accident and I couldn’t shut it off while being rescued. By the time I drove home, Bec and Rennie were waiting for me to write their love story.


Can you briefly tell me about your books?

Can I Tell You Something? is my brand new holiday romance about Hannah, a workaholic who is looking forward to some downtime at her family’s snowy chalet. She plans to eat, drink, and take a lot of ‘naps’ to listen to her favorite audio erotica voice actor. Little does she know, her brother is about to bring an unexpected guest home for the holidays… and said guest is about to meet his biggest fan.


Just a Little Crush is about a horny cheesemonger, her firefighter friend, and the awkward car wreck that forces them to reveal their attraction to one another. While Bec recuperates, Rennie insists she stays in his house so he can take care of her. Very good care indeed!


In The Best Book Boyfriend, Kara has sworn off men after the love of her life left without warning. She’s quite content with a plethora of book boyfriends who’ll never let her down. Luke is starting over after the death of his wife. New town, new business, and a new friend… the woman who reads at the window seat in his cafe.


The Worst Guy Ever sees Kara and Luke’s best friends Hattie and Rob go head to head. Neither are the relationship type, but when Hattie turns down Rob’s advances he can’t believe she wouldn’t want to hook up with him. When he bets he can get her into bed by the end of the month, Hattie accepts, and then it’s all out war.


Do you already have a favorite character from the stories you’ve written?

I could never pick just one, but Bec’s love of cheese matches mine.


How much of yourself do you put into these characters?

I think there’s a sprinkle of HJS in all my characters. I think there has to be, or maybe I just haven’t written a true villain yet.


Is there one common element that readers can find in all your stories?

Food crops up a lot in my books. I don’t do it on purpose, I just love getting people around a table to eat so inevitably that ends up on page too.


What’s next on the bookshelf for you? Anything you can tell us about a future project?

I’m writing an old friends celebrity romance, then I’ll be completing my Sunshine Book Club Series with The No Rules Roommate, a forced proximity, boss’s daughter, age gap romance where she’s older.


Then my next series will feature Second Chance, Single Dad x Nanny, Mistaken Identity, and Childhood Besties who’ve grown apart. This bunch are running riot in my head so I can’t wait to get them written.


When you write these stories, what are you hoping your readers will feel?

Uplifted and turned on. The way the best books make me feel!


AUTHOR’S CHOICE

  • Paperbacks, hardbacks, ebooks or audiobooks - I’m an ebook girlie and I mostly read on my kindle app on my phone.

  • Contemporary, fantasy, historical or romantic suspense - contemporary

  • Single or Dual POV - Dual POV. Show me the pining man!

  • Standalones, series or standalones in a series - Oooh I like to mix it up.

  • Open door, ajar door or closed door romances - Mostly open door.

  • Music or silence when writing - Silence.

  • Plotter, pantser or plantser - Plotter

  • Water, tea, coffee or….wine? - Water, coffee, a little cocktail in the evening

  • Cold or warm weather - Cosy in cold weather. I hate being too hot.

  • Write better in the morning, afternoon or night? - Morning for sure. I only write garbage after I put my kids to bed.

  • Illustrated or photo cover? - Illustrated, but I’d never say no to a photo cover either.


Make sure you follow Holly on Instagram and sign up for her Substack to get all the latest updates!

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