Please welcome Holly McDowell to the blog today! Holly is the author of the King Solomon’s Wives serial, which is a digital, interactive, serialized thriller about the women alive today who descended from King Solomon’s ancient harem, and she was kind enough to answer my questions about the books, and more!
Holly, will you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Of course! Doesn’t everyone?? There’s the rejection, the sleepless nights, the introversion, the obsession with a project no one else might ever read, the alcoholism… oh wait.
But, yes, I have always wanted to be a writer. I was writing stories and poems when I was very young. I was also drawing, designing palaces, and writing songs. Writing was the thing I enjoyed most, so I dedicated myself to learning whatever skills were necessary to do something commercial with it.
Will you tell us a bit about your King Solomon’s Wives series?
It’s a modern-day thriller based on epic historical events: Women alive today–who descended from the women in King Solomon’s ancient harem–are hunted because their touch is addictive. It’s a serialized story and comes out in 100-page chunks. Episodes 1 and 2 are available now, and episode 3 is coming soon.
The coolest part about writing it is that my characters, the Wives, are fugitives, so they hide in small groups all over the world; I get to write about lots of different places, and I get to tell a broad story encompassing a lot of characters. The women are connected through shared enemies and heritage, but they relate like a giant family, some getting along better than others. With the family saga and historical conspiracy aspects, it’s sort of like Dan Brown meets Anne Rice.
Another cool thing is that Wives pass down genetic memories of their struggles through each generation. My Wives have been on the run for thousands of years, and I can refer to their histories in any place and time.
That’s where reader feedback comes in… [See next answer...]
It says in the book descriptions that they are interactive. How so?
At the end of each episode, I ask readers questions about which characters they want to hear more about, where they want episodes to be set, and what historical periods most pique their interest. They get to vote right on their e-reader! I have an overall story arc in mind, and I know what challenges await my characters, but I’m writing the episodes as I go and taking into consideration everything my readers tell me.
What kind of research did you do for the books?
I love research! I read non-fiction books and do research on the web. I’ve visited most of the places on my list of setting possibilities, though clearly I’m going to *have* to get to Istanbul pretty soon. On any vacation, I always “sight-see” by immediately sniffing out places of historical significance and places where my fugitive Wives might be able to hide in the story.
What , or who, are some of the biggest influences on your writing?
My writing heroes are Margaret Atwood, Tracy Chevalier, and Sarah Dunant. The latter two are historical writers, and I love how they bring history to life.
If you could experience one book again for the very first time, which one would it be?
Margeret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale. I think the writing, ideas, and storytelling are brilliant. Whenever I need inspiration, I open it up to a random page and read. The book opened up a million new story possibilities in my head when I first read it, and I’d love to have my mind blown all over again.
When you’re not working on your next project, how do you like to spend your free time?
I got inspired by watching Project Runway a few years back and decided to learn to sew. I spend a lot of time making clothes for myself. I also love exploring Chicago, where I’ve only lived for a year and a half. There’s a thriving literary scene here, and I love being part of it.
What’s next for you?
I recently turned in episode 3 of King Solomon’s Wives to my publisher! It comes out in September 2013, and I’m excited about it. Certain characters that my readers have been asking about will feature prominently. (Wink, nudge!) But of course, I’ll have to start working on episode 4 now. Also, see above regarding the thriving literary scene in Chicago; I’m writing personal essays and even poetry these days, hoping to participate in reading series around town. And, of course, I’m planning that research trip to Istanbul.
About KING SOLOMON’S WIVES: HUNTED:
The two thousand descendants of King Solomon’s ancient harem have the ultimate power of seduction: Their very touch is as addictive as any drug.
But that power comes at a price: Wives die giving birth. They can only bear daughters. They are only fertile until the age of twenty-four.
Hunted for hundreds of generations by men who crave their touch and fear its power, the Wives have kept safe by following three simple rules:
A Wife shall have no meaningful relationships outside the clan.
A Wife’s addictive touch may be used only for procreation or to protect the clan.
A Wife shall sacrifice herself for her daughter at the age of twenty-four.
But tonight, the rules have been broken, and someone must pay.
In the blistering first episode of King Solomon’s Wives, we meet Sumarra on the night she plans to conceive. Instead, she and the other wives find themselves under attack from a group of male hunters, intent on destroying them.
Sumarra has always broken small rules and indulged rebellious tendencies. Now that the Wives have been found, her defiance will either be their salvation or her own undoing.
About KING SOLOMON’S WIVES: ADDICTED:
In the aftermath of a brutal, coordinated attack by male Hunters, the descendants of King Solomon’s harem have gone into hiding. Terrified, hungry, and mourning the loss of their Sisters, they live in fear and isolation, trying to avoid capture and hoping to find a way to reach each other.
Unaware of their plight is Sonya, a rogue Wife who ran away to Las Vegas when she violated the clan’s cardinal rule: falling in love with a man. Now married and coping with her husband’s addiction to the chemicals in her skin, Sonya lives in self-made exile, knowing that if they are discovered, the clan will punish her and kill her husband Ashe.
But when Wives turn up in Vegas held hostage by Hunters, Sonya can only save them by revealing herself, potentially sacrificing her freedom…and Ashe’s life.
Her family, her conscience, and thousands of years of historical bonds are at stake. And once again, Sonya will have to choose between duty and love.
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