Tell me your name and a little bit about you.
My name is S.M.Holland (My friends call me Shy), I am an expat living in Indonesia with my husband and two daughters.
Did you always have a passion for writing?
When I was in Jr. high, I knew I wanted to write. I used to write short love stories for my friend and leave them in her locker. However, it wasn’t until I was twenty-eight that I gave myself permission to dive in head first and I began to write for myself.
What was the catalyst for your first book? Have you or will you write more books in the future?
The catalyst for my first book was an attempt to process some trauma that had happened. I started writing about the same time that I started seeking help. It was a way for me to dump out all of my emotions into one place, and it grew from there. I have currently written four books in my Get in My Head series, and there are plans for several more before I complete the series. Outside of the series, there are many ideas brewing.
Give me a brief description of your book.
The Get in My Head series portrays teens who struggle with mental illness, and how it affects them and those around them. Each book is different, because each teen has a different disorder and family dynamic. The stories are intertwined, all in the same town, and the same high school, etc. A lot of the background characters, along with the main characters make appearances or have different roles in each book. The purpose is to show that you never know what someone is going through.
Who would you say your book would resonate the most with? Who did you have in mind when you wrote it?
My books resonate with people who are struggling with mental illness and need someone to relate to. On the flipside, it is also an opportunity for those who do not struggle with their mental health to learn, become more aware and have more empathy for those who do.
Where can it be purchased?
My books can be purchased online through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Soon they will be making their way into book and motor stores upon reqest.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? How do you deal with that?
Yes, I am currently fighting writers block, but I think a lot of writers and artists are at the moment, considering the state of our world.
For me, when it comes to writer’s block, sometimes I have to go with the flow and not fight it, and find a different artistic outlet until the words start flowing again.
Did you find telling your story cathartic?
It was very cathartic. I didn’t know it was possible to let so much go and forgive so many people just by writing a few books.
What was the publication process like for you? What, if anything, would you change in that process?
Publishing was pretty straightforward for me, as I had a lot of help and coaching from other authors. But it was expensive. I chose to Indie-publish this specific series to retain full control over the content. It took a lot longer than I thought it would as well. I took the time to interview people who deal with mental illness on an every day basis. I also used sensitivity readers among my beta readers to check for accuracy. Following beta readers, all my manuscripts went through a professional editor. My very first manuscript took almost fifteen drafts! Maybe that was overkill-but maybe it really needed it.
If I had to change anything about my process, it would be to let go of my manuscripts sooner. I struggled a lot with self-confidence and anxiety in the beginning.
Do you have any advice for someone attempting to get their story published?
Make sure you do your research on whatever topic you are writing. It is very important, and readers can tell when you’re winging it. Also, do not be afraid to let other people read it in the beginning stages before you seek out an editor or agent. Another set of eyes on your manuscript is essential.
Do you personally experience any mental health issues? How has this impacted your mental health? I struggle with rapid cycling Bipolar Disorder, CPTSD, and OCD tendencies. It has impacted my mental health in a big way. At one point I was not functional enough to leave my house. Medication and therapy have saved my life and helped me overcome a lot of struggles. I am now able to lead a more stable and hopeful life.
What are your goals for the future?
I would love to keep writing. Currently my focus is in YA with a focus on mental health. I would love to explore other publishing routes in the future as well. But for now, I am content on continuing to write the Get in My Head series until it is finished.
What are your social media links?