Interview with Lorna Hollifield

Interview with Lorna Hollifield

What genre do you write and why?

My writing could be classified under the Women’s Fiction umbrella, but is almost always set in the American South.  I grew up in Asheville, NC, and live in Charleston, SC now.  The South is what I know.  I understand the people; their connection to the land, the history, the heat...there’s something charming, yet rogue about all of it.  The South is like katnip to writers.

Interview with Lorna Hollifield
Tell us about you latest book.

My first novel was released in June and it’s called Tobacco Sun.  It’s the story of two sisters from the rural fields of NC, who carry a big secret, along with the keys to the other’s freedom.  It has suspense elements, but could fall under “Family Epic.”  Two decades of secrets keep slinking out of the tobacco leaves with every turn of the page.

Do you read your book reviews?  How do you deal with the good or bad ones?

I try to read as many of them as I can!  Luckily, I haven’t been absolutely slammed by anyone.  When someone raves about the book, it’s a dream come true.  I’ve always wanted to write literature that would touch people.  I struggle when I find that a reviewer didn’t get something I was trying to convey, or maybe missed the connection with certain characters.  I’m an extrovert, so I love human’s connecting through what I write.  If it missed the mark for someone I don’t feel angry...I feel like I wish they could feel what I felt.  It’s a difficult thing to explain.

Who are your favorite authors?

I love a lot of the Southern authors who showed me where I fit in the literary world: Toni Morrison, Pat Conroy, Sue Monk Kidd. These authors can write in complete southern slang and still come off so eloquently, delivering lines that stick with me forever.  They put emotions, especially the regional ones that are part of my culture, into beautiful words that communicate those emotions to people all over the world, but without sacrificing any southern flavor.  I admire and aspire to be like them.  My favorite books from each are Beloved, Beach Music, and The Secret Life of Bees, respectively.

What advice do you have for other writers?

You don’t have time for fear.  If you want publication, start NOW. It takes a while, and it’s a battle.  Go to conferences, linger at the bar after hours, meet agents, educate yourself on how to get noticed then actually do it.  Don’t let your face wrinkle, and your hair grey while you’re in the planning phase.  Eye on the prize.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Being a writer is the best part of being a writer.  It isn’t money or glamor, though we all hope those things come.  It’s sharing an intimate part of who you are with the world, and maybe making a difference because of it.  Whether it’s to ignite passion, encourage thinking, or to make someone laugh, it feels good to accomplish that, to make people move.  Most writers are writers because they can’t help it, and when that passion culminates in a boom on the shelf it’s the sweetest feeling on Earth.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

You can find me at, or on Twitter (@AuthorLornaH), Instagram (writerlornahollifield), or Facebook (Lorna Hollifield).

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?

I think everyone goes through really hard stuff in life, but it’s different for each person. For some it might be poverty, for others abuse, or for others health issues. There is always something that is hard and seems to define us. This book is about many of those difficult things, but it is also about redemption. Like the stubborn tobacco leaf growing in arid soil, it continues to stretch its head up to find the light. I want readers to feel that within themselves as well. Also the settings, bouncing between early Hollywood and rural NC are just entertaining!

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I love this question, because...NO, NO, NO!  This might be an unpopular answer, but I don’t believe just anyone can write.  And I don’t really think it should be forced.  I think writing can be improved, and the craft can progress.  However, I think writers cannot help but write.  You have to give yourself over to it if you feel the itch, let it pour, then just clean it up later.  Like Mark Twain said, “All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.”  Writers write.  Painters paint.  Basketball players shoot the ball. It’s not always perfect.  You will mess up, but if it’s in you, it will happen by nature.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

I run because I like the challenge, and I like to stay healthy - that’s the other productive thing I do.  But really, I am a sundress wearing, music-listening, sun-worshipping BEACH BUM.  I love living on the SC coast and take full advantage of all of the water.  My favorite thing is to get my husband, my dog, and a big group of fun friends and just camp out on the sand all day long!


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