Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Author Jean Holloway


Ace of Hearts

(click on picture to purchase)

Jean Holloway says: "I was born October 10, 19… in good ole Queens, New York. I had a difficult childhood, though it’s not your usual abuse story. I developed severe eczema and most of my schoolmates shunned me until high school. Books became my friend.

Early in life, I found myself fascinated by the macabre. I would actually set my alarm if one of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock, Rod Serling or One Step Beyond was coming on late at night. These kept me up ‘til the wee hours of the morning.

Being raised in Amityville was the icing on the cake. My biological mother died when I was thirteen, the age where puberty reared its ugly head. Needless to say, I was a wife and mother by the time I was seventeen, divorced at twenty. Then I met Fred, my second, current and final husband. We’ve been married over 36 years. He helped me become an adult although I went kicking and fighting the whole way. Together, we raised six children.

Reading was my education. I can’t list my degrees or college affiliations. I learned from the masters; Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Jean Auel, even Sidney Sheldon. I love you all."

Tell us a little bit about you outside of being an author.

I came from a rather large blended family with 3 sisters and 3 brothers, one deceased.

I'm a wife of 36 years, mother of 6 (5 sons, 1 daughter), Gramma of 9. God & family are the most important things in my life. I can honestly say I'm still in love with my husband, Fred, so I know I'm truly blessed. I love to read and own a small collection of porcelain dolls.

My other claim to fame is I did stand-up comedy for over two years and have been on stage at the Comedy Store. Oprah did a show way back in '85 on "Housewife Comediennes", I think, and they showed a clip of one of my auditions, but while running the credits! Still, it was amazing how many phone calls I got!!

What is your earliest writing memory?

I was more of a reader than a writer, but the first thing I wrote was a poem for my infant son. He's 40 now!! ;o) I actually wrote "Ace" on a dare. My youngest sister, Lori, said "You read so much, I bet you could write a book and I said, "I bet I could" and began thinking of what I'd like to write. My favorite books and movies were always the ones that would grab me in the beginning and then smack me when I didn't see it coming. So that's what I hope "Ace" does to my readers.

What feelings do you experience once you are satisfied with your completed manuscript(s)?

What a feeling of accomplishment. The only thing better was having children! In fact, it's a lot like giving birth without the physical contractions, but you do have a few emotional ones. You should I finished the manuscript in 1982, but after several rejections, I shelved it for the next 22 years while working and raising our family.

In your upcoming release or newly released book, how did you come up with the idea of your main character(s)?

I was brought up in the era of blaxploitation TV and films. When I started "Ace of Hearts", I wanted to portray a strong, intelligent Black heroine, sort of that "Get Christy Love" vibe. You couldn't find that in the books I was reading in the early 80's, so I decided to do it for myself.

Tell us a little bit about your work in progress and/or your upcoming release.

I'm working on the sequel to "Ace of Hearts", continuing to share Shevaughn's life with my readers. She will be immersed in another murder case and there just may be a new love interest in her life (or was he there all along?)

I'm a big believer that word of mouth creates more sales than advertisements. Let's say I've never read any of your books before, how would you pitch the idea of your latest release to me?

"Ace of Hearts" is a hot, romantic thriller that catapults you into the eighties. It will take you down memory lane, but with a lot of twists and turns. To me the best books and movies are ones that hit me when I don't see it coming. My favorite review said it was a roller coaster ride. Another said it was a guilty pleasure because I take you out of your comfort zone, but you can't put it down! I love that.

Enjoy the ride!

I consider myself a tough critic when reviewing books. What do or would you do when you receive a mediocre or less than average rating from a reviewer or reader?

Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but that sounds like a challenge! I'm a Gramma, I can take it. Not to brag, but my lowest rating has been 4/5 stars, so I'll deal with it and move on. Okay, here's where the menopausal comes back into play. I'll cry first and then get over it.

What authors influence your writing dreams, goals and aspirations?

Ooh, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Jean Auel, I believe in aiming high, but they've all taken me to places I can only imagine. When you're raising 6 kids, it's like a cheap mini-vacation!

What books would you recommend on writing?

Stephen King's On Writing. It helped me through a very difficult editing period and I don't know how I would have overcome it without his book.

If you could change one thing you did during your road to publication, what would it be and what would you have done different?

I wouldn't have waited so long to test the waters again, so to speak, to see if anyone was interested in publishing "Ace." Three months after I went to NBCC (National Book Club Conference) and passed out copies of my manuscript to anyone who wouldn't throw it back at me, I had a contract!

And I would have learned more about promotion and marketing. I thought I was finished working on "Ace" when I first held it in my hands, okay, I cried a little, menopausal and proud of it, but now I'm on a crash web marketing campaign with my own website and I have pages on MySpace, NiaPromotions, GoodReads, BlackPlanet, BookTour, Published, LinkedIn, Tagged, Classmates, AxisAvenue and several smaller sites. Not really into the blogging, though I do have one on Amazon.

What advice would you give an aspiring author?

If you feel you have a story to tell, stop procrastinating. Dedicate at least one hour a day (with NO distractions) and write. And once you're happy with your manuscript, look at small independent publishers or even self-publishing. The big boys (and girls) won't be interested until you're a known money-maker. I promise it will all be worth it, maybe not in sales, but in self-satisfaction. Don't get discouraged. It took me 27 years to go from pen to published, so my motto is: Never give up your dream.

Where can readers learn more about you and your books?

You can go to my website www.deckofcardz.com. While you're there, please join my mailing list.

"Ace of Hearts" has been nominated in the Mystery category for the 2008 African American Literary Awards Show! My name's right under Walter Mosley!! So stop by and vote for me. I have a link to the ballot on my website.

You can also find me at Amazon.com or any of the sites I previously mentioned.

AAMBC (African Americans on the Move Book Club) who concentrate on the independent and self-published authors) has nominated me, Jean Holloway, Best New Author (for 'Ace of Hearts') and Dana Pittman (my publicist) Publicist of the Year. We're definitely the underdogs, so could you please take a moment & vote? You'll actually be able to immediately see the results!


  1. Jean I love your spirit, great interview...


  2. Hey Angelia,
    Thanks for stopping by.



JC Martin is an aspiring author, a mother, and a wife. She has been reading books as far back as her memory will allow her to remember. She has always used books as an escape from her everyday life. Her passion for words became evident to her English teacher in the eighth grade. Since then Jennifer has been writing non-stop, but it was not until 2006 when she finally realized her passion. She reviews books because she truly loves reading, and wants to spread the word to more than just the people she knows.
DJ Frazier is an Ohio-born, spoken-word poet who has composed poetry since she was able to hold a laddie pencil. As reviewer for A Place Of Our Own (APOOO) and aspiring novelist, she dabbles in the literary scene from all perspectives. She has been published on www.thebacklist.net, interviewed on www.blogginginblack.com, and is currently submitting fiction manuscripts to publishers while juggling daughterhood, sisterhood, wifedom, parenthood, and of course, writing. Outside of family and all things literary, Darnetta overindulges in Hip-Hop, dabbles in computer graphic design, and creates handcrafted cards, candles, and jewelry.