Thank you for having me here today, Ally! I wanted to pop in and introduce myself and tell you about a story I’ve written.
My name is Holly Day, and just a few days ago my first story, Hop Hop, Carrot Top was published by JMS Books, and I’m super excited about it.
Do you want to tell us what it’s about?
It’s about Kiss a Ginger Day – you’ve missed it now, so no running around kissing random redheads! January 12th was Kiss a Ginger Day. It was back in the autumn; I was scrolling through one of those online holiday calendars and saw it there. I figured someone should write a story to celebrate the day. We have so many Christmas, Halloween, and Valentine stories, but have you ever read a Kiss a Ginger story?
Flynn hasn’t set foot in his hometown in twenty years. Growing up wasn’t easy, he was this swishy, redheaded kid in a less than accepting small town, but now his mother has passed away and he’s back to clear out her house.
I made him have a rough time in school because while Kiss a Ginger Day sounds like a fun, quirky holiday; it was created as a reaction to Kick a Ginger Day (!) that’s in November. Often, there are anti-bullying campaigns connected to Kiss a Ginger Day, since red-haired children often are made fun of in school. So, I figured, dear Flynn had been one of those children.
What was your biggest struggle with the story?
What came to me first was the title, I thought Hop Hop, Carrot Top, and pictured a fun, light-hearted story. But how do you make a story where the main character is grieving his mother on top of having to face his greatest fears from his childhood light-hearted? So, I’d say the tone was my greatest struggle.
I knew what I wanted for my characters – I wanted Flynn to confront his fears and find his HEA – but I had to give up the idea of it being light. It’s not super angsty, but Flynn isn’t a happy-go-lucky guy.
Do you have many unpublished and half-finished books, and do you plan to finish them?
I have a few. I have a story coming for Valentine, and then in March there is Extraterrestrial Abductions Day, and in April we have Big Wind Day. All days deserve a story, don’t you think? I think they do. And yes, I plan to finish them. Hopefully.
Are you friends with any other authors and do they help you become a better writer?
You know they do, Ally. I have some awesome author buddies – Al Stewart, Amy Spector, Nell Iris, J.M. Snyder, and the lovely Ally Lester. I never could’ve done this without them. Having someone who not only understands the struggles of being a writer but also wants to help me is important to me.
Being a writer is solitary, and I like that. I’m not sure I’d be a good co-writer. I want to be alone with my characters, but sometimes I need to discuss things with someone who understands. And writing is so much more than just chatting with the voices in your head, not to mention things like this – popping up at someone’s blog to say hi. You, my dear reader, might never have known I existed if it hadn’t been for Ally allowing me to drop by.
I think community is important. We’re a team, not competitors. A reader can read a book a day, but a writer can’t produce a book in a day, so we have nothing to lose by helping each other.
What is the best part of your day?
The best part of my day is when I, on the days I don’t have to go to my day job, get up early in the morning, put on the coffee maker and fire up my computer. I sit in the quiet for a few minutes, then I open my browser and say good morning to Nell Iris, who often is the first person appearing in our virtual morning office.
Hop Hop, Carrot Top
Contemporary M/M Romance / 19,129 words
Flynn Thomas is back in Hartley. His plan is to be out of there before anyone notices he’s back. He left twenty years ago and promised himself he’d never have to face his childhood bullies or set foot in his bigoted hometown ever again. But it’s been six months since his mother passed away, and someone has to clear out the house.
Caspian Cook is out on a walk with his three dogs when he sees Flynn Thomas, at least he thinks it’s Flynn Thomas. He never forgot the red-haired boy his brother used to harass, and he never forgot how he used to wonder if there were freckles underneath his clothes as well as on his face.
Flynn mistakes Caspian for his childhood tormenter and flees. Caspian can guess why he’s in such a hurry to get away, but he hasn’t seen Flynn in twenty years, and if he allows him to run off, he fears he’ll never see him again. Will spending time with Flynn be enough for him to forget who Caspian’s brother is? Flynn needs help. He underestimated how much work it would be to move his mother’s things. Caspian offers to give him a hand, but can he trust someone who looks like his worst nightmare?
According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserves a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.
Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.