Thursday, June 12, 2008

Author Snapshot: Victoria Holmes

Victoria Holmes is one of the three writers known as Erin Hunter, a pen name Holmes and fellow children’s authors Kate Carey and Cherith Baldry dreamed up to avoid confusing readers with a platoon of author names on the front of their books.

Holmes tells us that two new titles in their popular “Warriors” series were launched in April: Power of Three Book Three: Outcast and the final part of the Graystripe manga trilogy, Warrior’s Return.

“In Outcast,” says Holmes, “our three young heroes -- Lionpaw, Hollypaw and Jaypaw -- travel far from the lake to the mountains, where they meet the Tribe of Rushing Water and find out that the Tribe’s ancestors hold a dark secret linking them more closely to the Clans than any cat imagined. In Warrior’s Return, Graystripe and Millie embark on the final part of their journey to find the Clans. And this time, it’s Millie’s kittypet origins that are needed more than Graystripe’s warrior skills to tackle their biggest challenge yet.”

Meanwhile, readers can be on the alert for Seekers: Book One, which has been screaming up the charts since its release just a few weeks ago. No big cats this time, though. In Seekers, three bears of different species find themselves thrust together in unexpected adventure.

All paws on board? Great: let’s meet Ms. Holmes.

A Snapshot of Victoria Holmes
(one of the three writers known as Erin Hunter)...

Born: Berkshire, England
Resides: London, England
Birthday: July 17th
Web site:

What’s on your nightstand?
A lamp, an alarm clock, a picture of my son Joshua when he was two and a half, and always, always, always a book.

What inspires you?
Anything that isn’t man-made.

What are you working on now?
Power of Three Book Five: Long Shadows; Seekers Book Three (which doesn’t have a title yet, but it might be called Smoke Mountains); a manga trilogy starring Ravenpaw and Barley, Warriors Field Guide: Code of the Clans, planning my wedding and redecorating my apartment.

Tell us about your process.
I use pen and paper to make copious notes on plot, character, dialogue and anything else that pops into my head during the early part of planning a book. Then I create a document on my computer and shuffle everything around until I have a rough outline of the story. Finally, I go through each part adding details until I know exactly what happens in each scene, how the conversations will go, what the characters are thinking, and how the story needs to be moved forward. Once I have all this planned out (usually taking up half the length of the final book), I send it to Kate Cary or Cherith Baldry, my co-writers, who write the script out in full. Once they’ve filled in all the gaps, they send the script to me for a final check to make sure it sounds consistently “Erin,” and then I deliver it to my editor in New York. Yay! I work regular office hours, and most weekends. Writing is a job, but it’s also a way of life.

Lift your head and look around. What do you see?

I’m in my hotel room in Los Angeles, with three hours to go before I speak on a panel about Writing for Tweens with Cornelia Funke and Rick Riordan. I woke at three am, quivering with nerves -- I just hope I’m not too star struck by my companions to say anything coherent! My hotel room is beautiful, way more glamorous than my apartment back home!

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always loved reading and writing stories -- and also poems, plays, newspaper articles, pretty much anything involving words. I grew up thinking it would be nice to have the chance to write a book one day; I never, ever dreamed I would be able to make a living by writing alone! I am the luckiest person in the world.

If you couldn’t write books, what would you be doing?
Lots of things! I love horses and dogs, and spent a year riding professionally just after graduating, so my alternative career would be training young horses and helping people with their dogs. I’m particularly interested in troubled animals who need to re-learn normal behavior and the ability to trust.

And if the weather was too cold and wet to be outside with animals, I’d bake cakes for a living. My specialty is chocolate brownies, yum.

To date, what moment in your career has made you happiest?

My first ever bookstore event at Politics and Prose in Washington, DC.

For you, what is the easiest thing about being writer?

Being able to work with nothing more than my imagination.

What’s the most difficult?
Having to rely on my imagination when it would rather be thinking about something else.

What question do you get asked about your writing most often?
Where do you get your ideas?

What’s the question you’d like to be asked?
Please can I buy you a chocolate chip cookie?

What question would like never to be asked again?
Not so much a question, but someone at a school event once said: “The kids were so disappointed when I told them Erin Hunter doesn’t exist!” OH YES SHE DOES.

Tell us something about yourself that no one knows.
My greatest ambition has always been to be a dancer but I’m too short and ungraceful.

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Anonymous Bookwormreader said...

Wow! This is an incredible interview! Vicky, if you're reading this, I would like to tell you that I am one of your most devoted Warriors and Seekers fans.

But since Blizz has her paws full with Warriors, I decided I should do something about Seekers. And thus the Official SeekersFan Blog began, where I post all the newest updates and news at And yes, I just made a new blog entry about your tentative title for Book Three of Seekers: Smoke Mountains. Thank you for sharing this with us!

If you could take a look at my blog, that'd be great! I work really hard on it, and have already done extensive research on your appearance on the Today Show, which I can't wait to see tomorrow. Good luck Vicky! And thanks! :D


Thursday, June 12, 2008 8:00:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Blizz said...

Great interview January Magazine, we love to know more about favorite author Victoria Holmes! The Warriors series is a wonderful read, especially the original arc.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008 3:03:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Vixenfur said...

I am Victoria's BIGGEST fan! Whatever she likes I LIKE!! I love chocolate brownies too! Oooo I love dogs and horses too! I WANT A CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE TOO!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 7:02:00 PM PDT  

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