Friday, July 16, 2010

Coffee Shop Conversations: Q&A with Author Gina Holmes

Hello all you fabulous Dames, and welcome to Coffee Shop Conversations!
On this segment of the blog I will be conducting interviews with Authors, Bloggers and anyone else relative to the literary world willing to answer my questions. Coffee Shops are great places to just relax, let the hair down and talk about life, love and good books! So without further adieu, let's get to chatting with my special guest:

Author Gina Holmes

In 1998, Gina Holmes began her career penning articles and short stories. In 2005 she founded the influential literary blog, Novel Journey. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her husband and children in Southern Virginia. Her debut novel, Crossing Oceans released April/May 2010 with Tyndale House Publishers. To learn more about her, visit: or

 Gina Holmes on the web: Facebook | Twitter | Website | Blog: Novel Journey 

Gina's Latest Release:
'Crossing Oceans'

(released May 2010)

Sometimes love demands the impossible
   "Nothing deepens a stream like a good rain . . . or makes it harder to cross.Jenny Lucas swore she’d never go home again. But life has a way of upending even the best-laid plans. Now, years after she left, she and her five-year-old daughter must return to her sleepy North Carolina town to face the ghosts she left behind. They welcome her in the form of her oxygen tank-toting grandmother, her stoic and distant father, and David, Isabella’s dad . . . who doesn’t yet know he has a daughter.
   As Jenny navigates the rough and unknown waters of her new reality, the unforgettable story that unfolds is a testament to the power of love to change everything—to heal old hurts, to bring new beginnings . . . even to overcome the impossible.

-Read an excerpt: here
-My Review of 'Crossing Oceans' can be found: here
Get Your Copy Today:

RJ: Hey Gina! I am so glad you could stop by and chat. First off, congratulations! Your new book, 'Crossing Oceans', just debuted in May 2010. What have the past few months been like; with the post release promotion and all the feedback you've received (Lots of praise and acclaim from what I read)? What have you experienced emotionally as well as professionally with this book?
GH:Thanks so much, Rita. It's been quite a roller-coaster ride, that's for sure. One day I'm getting a letter from a reader that my novel was the most beautiful book they'd ever written and it changed her life, the next reading a review from someone that said it was sappy and they hated it. A few days ago it looked like my Amazon sales were dropping off and the next I see I've made it on the CBA best sellers list. Good thing I have a strong stomach with all of these ups and downs. It is, of course, the nature of the business.
RJ: Why don't you tell me and the readers a little about your journey to being published. You've been writing for over a decade, how did it all start for you and how did you get here?
GH:You can read the longer version if you go to and click the "press" tab. There's a link there to how it all went, but the short story is:
A 17 year old at my church was talking about writing her 2nd novel and I thought if she could do it, so could I. I read somewhere that if you wrote one page a day, at the end of a year, you'd have a novel. I wasn't sure if I had it in me to write a novel, but one page a day I could do. It wouldn't take me that long though. At the end of 6 weeks I had a rough draft of my first novel. It was terrible of course but at least it gave me the confidence to know it could be done. I joined critique groups, read every how to book I could get my hands on, went to writer's conferences, read and wrote.
Five novels later, I had my first contract which was for Crossing Oceans.
RJ: You run the successful blog Novel Journey, what significance does it hold to you?
GH:Novel Journey started as a way to build a platform back in 2005. While it seemed my writing wasn't being blessed with great success, the website was. We were named twice as one of Writer's Digests best sites for writers. I figured as long as God was blessing that website, it was the least I could do to keep it going. The site is to me a way to get the word out about great books and authors, and to educate people who may know nothing about Christian fiction about the genre. It's not what it used to be. There are authors every bit as excellent as some of the best secular authors and you can find novels that tackle every subject from incest to murder, divorce to infidelity. If you haven't checked out Christian fiction in awhile, you may be surprised to find it's not all Amish and prairie romance, though we certainly do still have a large number of those. There's something for every taste now.
RJ: Why don't you tell us a little bit about your debut novel, 'Crossing Oceans'?
GH:Everyone's telling me it's a tear-jerker, and that's no surprise to me. I cried every time I had to edit certain chapters. The basic premise is that it's about a young woman who has to return home, face the ghosts of her past and tell the man she left behind that he's about to inherit a daughter he didn't know he had.
RJ: The presences of spirituality is strong in this novel. How has your faith played into this book and your other books?
GH:I'm a Christian. Not a perfect one. I'm a sinner and I've messed up and fallen again and again. Because my faith is so much a part of who I am, it seeps out into everything I do-what I wear, what I listen to and watch, etc, it is only natural that it leaks into my work. I don't think you have to be a Christian to enjoy what I write because it's not preachy and there are no pat answers or characters. I struggle with questions within my faith and my characters are as imperfect as I am. I love God and I would hate it if you couldn't tell that from what I write.
RJ: What challenges or difficulties did you face with the writing of this particular novel?
GH:When I started it, my husband had filed for divorce. I believe it was that pain and worry for my children and myself that I was working out in writing it. Because I wasn't in the best of places emotionally, and because of the difficult subject matter, I cried a lot while writing it. I struggled with the blues but ultimately hope in my own life and in the character's won out. It's a very hopeful book despite the tough subject matter.
RJ: Where did the inspirations for the plot, characters and setting come from?
GH:The divorce I think was part of the inspiration, though I didn't realize it until after it was written. The characters are a mixture of people I know and my own imagination. Each has a little of me, both good qualities and bad. Mama Peg was based loosely on my own grandmother. She had died recently and I missed her terribly. Writing Mama Peg helped me bring her back for the time it took to write Crossing Oceans.
RJ: The writing process differs from author to author. Some are planners, others just jump right in. Some consider themselves night writers, while others need daylight and a park bench or a coffee shop (wink) to set the mood for creativity; whats your writing process like?
GH:I have 5 children and a day job, so I have to be flexible. I can write almost anywhere, though I'm definitely more creative during the morning hours. I'm part planner and part seat of the pants. I start with a premise of the story, start asking what it..., anything to make it as hard for the character as possible, then I start thinking of who the characters are, I write a few chapters, then very loosely outline a few more. Sometimes I can plot the book start to finish, mostly I have to do it as I go.
RJ: Romance has transcended many different sectors of pop culture. I think the Beatles said it best, "All you need is love". This being a Romance Blog, I've got to ask: what are some of your favorite pop culture romance picks for the following: Favorite Love Song? Favorite Scent on a man? Favorite Romantic Comedy? and of course, Favorite Romance Novel?
GH:My favorite love song would be Five for Fightings "If God Made You He's in Love With Me." It's mine and my husband's song. I remarried June 09 to the love of my life. My favorite scent on a man is my husband's natural smell. I don't know if it's pheromones or what but I can't get enough of his scent. Favorite romantic comedy... the one that comes to mind right off is Overboard with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. More recently I liked The Proposal with Sandra Bullock. My favorite romance novel, no contest is Jane Eyre.
RJ: What's coming up next for you? (Book-wise or otherwise)
GH:Dry as Rain should be releasing spring 11. It's the story of a married couple who lets misunderstandings and unkind words fall like dominos until the only thing left standing is their pride. There's a good deal of humor in it as well.
RJ:Final Questions: Name something shocking or interesting about yourself that the readers may not know.
GH:I don't know how shocking it is, but I'm a bit of a thrill seekers. I bungee jumped and loved it. Next in line is to sky dive.
A special thanks to Gina Holmes for stopping by! To all the readers, be sure to make use of those links above to better acquaint yourself with this fabulous author! It has been great and I hope all of you have enjoyed this edition of:

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