Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


Hello dear readers,

I’ve been caught in a game of virtual tag by the lovely Ev Bishop, who writes the blog Write Here, Write Now. Ev and I became friends on an iVillage Writers forum, where I think we were the only sane people. We used to write long emails to each other everyday, and quickly became very close. It was exciting to meet her in person at the Surrey International Writer’s Conference, where she was every bit as lovely as I’d expected. We don’t talk as much these days, but I still consider her a good friend.

This game is simple, and requires no running, which is great, because my legs are killing me! I have to answer the eight questions below and tag five other bloggers to do the same. Read my answers, if you’re interested, and scroll to the end to find out if I ran fast enough to catch you.

1. If you could have any superpower, what would you have? Why?

I’d like the ability to grant wishes–sort of like a genie superhero, but with no limitations. I could grant them to anyone I chose, including myself. Want world peace? POOF! Done. No more oil spill in the Gulf? POOF! Done. No more rain forest destruction? POOF! Done. Rock-hard abs and flawless skin? POOF! Done.

I hardly need to explain why I want this power, but I love doing things for people and making them happy. There’s also quite a few wishes I’d grant myself. Sustainable novel-writing career with no need for another day job? POOF! Done.

2. Who is your style icon?

Ev changed the meaning of this to writing style, but I also like it as a fashion question, as I’m a fashion freak. Did you know I have nearly 200 pairs of shoes? My ultimate style icon is Audrey Hepburn. But I also like streetwise and casual clothes, and in that case, I’d have to go with Gwen Stefani and Fergie. Oooh, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s character in A Perfect Murder? Perfection! I’d kill for her wardrobe.

As for writing style, I’d love a combination of Stephen King and Elizabeth Berg. Combine King’s storytelling ability and imagination with Berg’s depth and unique way of looking at the world, and you’d have one incredible writer.

3. What is your favorite quote?

From Henry Thoreau: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

My favorite quote about writing is from (and this will surprise no one) Stephen King: “If you write, someone will try to make you feel lousy about it.”

4. What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

Wow. I have to give a four-part answer here. I’ve been lucky enough to know people who were quite effusive in the compliments department.

1) From my boyfriend when I was nineteen: “If everything I said was ‘I love you’, I could talk to you forever.”

2) From my mentor and high school English teacher: “Nice work, Stephanie Queen.”

3) From my accelerated Writing 12 class, after hearing my essay read aloud: applause.

4) From my high school gym teacher: “You look so much like Audrey Hepburn.” She was the first person to tell me that, but I heard it many times thereafter, and always took it as the greatest of compliments.

5. What playlist/cd is in your CD player/iPod right now?

My musical taste is so eclectic it borders on the ridiculous, so I’ll try to sum up. I’m a sucker for a great ballad from any era. I love 80s pop and songs that make me happy. I’m also a fan of old-school Metallica, The Barenaked Ladies (before Page left), Simon & Garfunkel, the Supremes, ABBA, Linkin Park, and Bob Marley. When it comes to working out, I would not have survived without the song, “Eye of the Tiger”. I would love to see Tracy Chapman or Ben Harper in concert. And I love discovering music from other countries…used to be very much into the Latin dance scene.

6. Are you a night owl or a morning person?

Definitely a night owl. It’s very difficult for to get me to bed at a decent hour. I’m always afraid of missing something. If I could get away without sleeping, I would!

7. Do you prefer dogs or cats?

My sweet Chloe

I was a dog person until my then-boyfriend talked me into getting a cat. I was in my early twenties, and I adopted this little gray kitten who could fit in my palm. I had to feed him with an eye dropper! Previously, I believed all the stereotypes: that cats weren’t as friendly as dogs, that they were aloof, that they didn’t bond with their owners. Well, believe me–Dusty bonded. If you dared to separate us, you had one very unhappy kitty on your hands.

These days, I wouldn’t trade my cats for anything. I have two–a pedigree ragdoll named Samba and a white fluffy thing named Chloe. Samba is quite timid, as she wasn’t well-socialized before I got her, but she shows affection in her own way. I adopted Chloe from the Humane Society two years ago, and she has been the light of my life ever since. She always meets me at the door, wagging her tail and brushing against me for love. She is the most affectionate, loving animal I have ever met, and I can’t imagine my life without her.

8. What is the meaning behind your blog name?

I wanted a name that would be lyrical, but also signify my desire to live the very best life I can. If I can inspire others to do the same, so much the better!

And those are my answers!

TAG! You Are Now It:

Cat Connor

Richard Bourgeois

Laura Best

Jay Faulkner

Kimberly Belle

Thanks for reading and for playing! As Ev says, don’t feel bad if you need to holler “Home free” and pass, but I chose you five because I think you’ll have very interesting answers. I look forward to reading them.

Thanks for reading!
1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.


  1. Ev Bishop

    Fun answers, Holli! (And I’m so impressed that I managed to catch very athletic you! :D).

    ivillage??? WOW–there’s a reference I haven’t heard in so long. Crazy. But, as you said, we met through it so it couldn’t have been all bad.

    I love your super power choice and wish you could have it too. If it ever comes to pass, I’ll have what you mentioned, please: world peace, a sustainable novel writng career (and sure, good abs too).

    I’ll be sure to check out the blogs of those you chased down.

    p.s. Thanks for the kind words about me and back at you.

  2. Story Teller

    Hi Ev,

    Thanks for your comment, and for tagging me.

    I’m happy our iVillage days are over. As for the super power, as much as that would be great, I *did* wonder if it would take the value out of my achievements if I never had to work for them. Perhaps I should ask Paris Hilton….;)

    Thanks again!

  3. Ev Bishop

    >>>I *did* wonder if it would take the value out of my achievements if I never had to work for them. <<<

    That is the possible downside of a super power, all right. 😉

  4. Laura Best

    I’m slowly trying to catch up on my blog reading. Ah you tagged me! I had already been tagged by another blogger a few weeks back. Same questions! Thanks Holli, I enjoy reading your blog!

  5. Story Teller

    No problem, Laura. I enjoy yours, too. Sorry I missed your tagging…I probably saw it and completely forgot!

  6. Kimberly Belle

    Ciao Holli,

    I’ve been on the road traveling for a bit now, and am just seeing this tag and Facebook message. THANK YOU for including me on this awesome list of bloggers. I’m honored, and I’m super impressed with all the writing and redesigning you’ve been doing to your site. Keep at it, mi lady! The kickboxing writer’s work is never done 😉

  7. Story Teller

    You’re welcome, Kimberly. It’s well-deserved, believe me. Thanks so much for the kind words, but I can’t take credit for the design – that was the doing of Jessie from Tetro Design.

    Take care and best wishes!

  8. Angela

    Your kitties sound so lovely, Holli. Give them a snuggle from me, okay?

  9. Story Teller

    Thanks, Angela – they are. I will definitely pass your snuggle on to Chloe, but as for the Great Samboo – it depends how difficult she is to catch tonight! 🙂


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