Friday, December 6, 2013

Interview with Debra Holland

This month, I'm going to be featuring the authors of Sweetwater Springs Christmas in a series of blog posts, excerpted with permission from an article by E. Ayers in the December issue of HDR

Let's start by introducing Debra Holland, the driving force behind the anthology. She's the author of the Montana Sky series of western romances, which take place in the fictional town of Sweetwater Springs, Montana, in the late 1800's.

Debra, did you expect the Montana Sky series to have such longevity and so many successful sequels?

Debra Holland: I didn’t expect for the Montana Sky Series to become an “empire.” J  

Wild Montana Sky was the first book I’d ever written. I didn’t dream that there would be more. After I finished the first book, my critique group told me I needed to write a second book because, if I sold the book, my editor would expect me to have another book. So I started writing Starry Montana Sky.

Also, even though Wild Montana Sky won the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award in 2001, no one wanted to publish the book. I had two agents try. But the book wasn’t sexy, so it received a stack of rejection letters. I started writing book three, Stormy Montana Sky, but set it aside after 50 pages, thinking, Why should I write a book in a series that isn’t selling?

It wasn’t until I self-published the first two books and they became successful (Wild Montana Sky made the USA Today List) that I started to think of other stories in the series. Now, I have enough ideas to write Montana Sky stories for years!

I sold the larger books to Amazon Montlake, and I self-published the smaller books, novellas, and short-stories. I was stunned when Amazon chose Starry Montana Sky in February as one of the top 50 greatest love stories, and Stormy Montana Sky made the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller lists.

That is quite a success story and shows the caliber of independently published books in the marketplace.

You're a successful psychotherapist, consultant, and speaker on the topics of communication difficulties, relationships, stress, and dealing with difficult people. You've written non-fiction so how did your Montana Sky series come into being?

Debra Holland: Many years ago, I started dating a young cowboy (and they are rare in Orange County, California.) My cowboy and I had nothing in common, but he was cute, and sexy, and fun. I started to think, If we lived one hundred years ago in the West, who he is and who I am just might have worked. And that’s how the idea for Wild Montana Sky came to me.

The Montana Sky Series in Order:

Wild Montana Sky
Starry Montana Sky
Stormy Montana Sky
Montana Sky Christmas
Painted Montana Sky
Sweetwater Springs Christmas
Beneath Montana’s Skies (Summer 2014)
Glorious Montana Sky (Fall 2014)

Mail-Order Brides of the West: Trudy
Mail-Order Brides of the West: Lina (December 2013)
Mail-Order Brides of the West: Darcy (Summer 2014)

I'm thrilled to be part of Sweetwater Springs Christmas: A Montana Sky Short Story Anthology 
by Debra Holland and Friends:
E. Ayers, Linda Carroll-Bradd, MJ Fredrick, Paty Jager, Jill Marie Landis, Trish Milburn, Linda McLaughlin, Bev Pettersen, Tori Scott, Cynthia Woolf 

Come celebrate the holidays in 1895 Sweetwater Springs, Montana, as ten Western Romance authors join New York Times Bestselling author DEBRA HOLLAND in telling SHORT STORIES of love and laughter, heartbreak and healing, and most of all, Christmas joy.

Available at

Later in the month, I'll share questions and answers from the anthology authors.



Debra Caldwyl said...

Great article, thanks!

Linda McLaughlin said...

Thanks for stopping by, Debra. Hope you're staying dry!

woolfcindy said...

Great interview. Love finding out the history of such a successful author and series.

Linda McLaughlin said...

It was interesting. I've known Debra for years but never knew she once dated a cowboy here in SoCal. (We don't have many authentic cowboys anymore.) That would have been a good question for the Facebook party. :)

Bev Pettersen said...

Lovely interview. So we have a cowboy to thank for your great books. How appropriate!

Bev Pettersen said...

Lovely interview. So we have a cowboy to thank for your great books. How appropriate!