The vivacious Holly Craig
Meet my October 1st Author Stalker vic...the vivacious (and extremely busy) Holly Craig, who once took a flight as a kid where Kylie Minogue was dressed up as their Flight Attendant!
Her intriguing debut novel The Shallows (Thomas & Mercer publishers) https://www.amazon.com.au/Shallows-Holly-Craig/dp/1662508166 hit shelves on September 1st. Picture this. Two women, Emma & Ariella, live next door to each other with what appears on the surface to be charmed lives. But then Ariella is murdered...and Emma's daughter Kiki innocently uploads footage of it. Now neither of them is safe!
Prolific on social media, Holly's Instagram feed is a veritable feast of all things writing & reading, & is filled with gorgeous images including her recent trip to London in July, to meet her agent and publisher, where she got upgraded in her hotel for ‘being an author?’ Talk about living the dream Holly! https://www.instagram.com/p/Cu2a6bLL2mN/?img_index=2
Holly also co-hosts the popular podcast Off the Page with fellow author Polly Phillips https://hollycraig.com/off-the-page-podcast/ which takes you behind the scenes into a writer's world, runs writing masterclasses & retreats & offers mentorship services.
And not satisfied with just one novel out in the world, Holly's highly anticipated second novel The Rip https://www.booktopia.com.au/the-rip-holly-craig/book/9781662508189.html will be released on February 20th 2024.
But now, without further ado, I will hand you over to the gorgeous Holly.xx
Q1: What was your inspiration for this story and how long did it take you to write the first draft?
A: It took me 8 weeks to write the first draft of THE SHALLOWS and mainly because there was a desperate urge to be published. My first novel that secured me my agent never got picked up by a publisher on submission, so I was adamant that THE SHALLOWS would be ‘The One’.
I wanted to write something commercial, hooky and attractive. And I wanted to write a survival suspense story, something action-packed, on water. I got the idea for this story simply by watching my daughters in their tree house fort. They used to play-pretend YouTubers and I wondered what it would be like if they accidentally filmed something sinister happening in the neighbouring property and then uploaded it without telling me.
Queensland. We went to Fitzroy Island in Jan while I was doing the edits of THE SHALLOWS. I felt like I was in my book and it helped cement the setting in my mind.
Q2: You are hosting a spectacular dinner party. Name four dream guests you would love to have seated around your table, and what would they be dining on and drinking?
A: I would have Wayne Dyer, my spiritual guru, so I could pick his brains on manifestation. Ian McEwan, my fave author, to teach me his craft. Tony Robbins, so we could talk business together. And then someone huge in the film industry who would want to adapt my books. We would be eating crayfish, prawns, salmon, salads, the best cheeses and the best French Rosé wine.
Q3: What is your favourite book of all time and why?
A: Saturday by Ian McEwan https://www.penguin.com.au/books/saturday-9780099469681 For so many reasons. His writing is genius, he incorporates a whole character’s life and backstory into single day, Saturday. But he also incorporates human experience, philosophy, politics and society into this entire book.
Q4: If you could travel anywhere in the world to write for a year, where would we find you?
A: Rottnest Island.
Rottnest Island and Bathurst Lighthouse which inspired the cover of
THE RIP. I grew up on Rottnest, and my brother and sister went to school there. It’s very much a place of my childhood and now we go there twice, sometimes three times per year with my girls.
Q5: Describe your go-to reading spot at home and what book/s would I currently find there?
A: Out on my sun lounge. The edits to THE RIP, Manuscript Assessments from The Write Club https://hollycraig.com/events/ The Lingering by Susi Holliday https://www.simonandschuster.co.uk/books/The-Lingering/SJI-Holliday/9781912374533
Q6: Tell us a bit about a typical writing day…
A: When I’m writing, I write full time. I take the kids to school and start writing at about 10am, stop for lunch and keep going until 3pm. When I’m almost at the climax, and I’m really excited about the story, I will write on weekends and at night too.
I won a scholarship to a school of drama, and often ‘play act’ the characters in my stories to help with characterisation!
(Love this Holly. While I don't 'play act', I do see my story as a movie reel unspooling before my eyes! Shelley.xx)
A picture of boats and the river. I go walking everyday along the cliffs and the river and the boats get me in the mood to write.
Q7: As a lover of words, is there a special quote you would like to share with us?
A: 'Write what hurts' by Ernest Hemingway.
Q8: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
A: Cooking, baking, reading, walking and running.
Q9: Any advice for aspiring authors?
A: Find a mentor, or an author who is willing to share their experiences, their resources and their time. Look to authors who are succeeding and copy their method. Find a writing group who will support and provide feedback. Lose your ego.
Holly's second novel THE RIP, set on Rottnest Island, will be published February 20th 2024
Luxury villas on hot white sand, views for miles over turquoise water. Flawless hostess Penny gathers guests to an island for her husband’s birthday celebrations. But she soon regrets inviting self-obsessed Eloise…When a child vanishes on the night of the party, their perfect island weekend is ripped apart.
Even paradise harbours murky secrets…
Has he been taken? Has he drowned? In the panic to find any trace, Penny casts about for someone to blame - even if that person is her own daughter, Rosie.
Even clear waters descend to pitch black…
But it’s not the first time Rosie’s been attacked by her mother. And it’s not the first time she’s turned to Eloise for support. As the sun beats down and dark secrets rise to the surface, can they find the missing child before it’s too late - or will this sudden disappearance endanger them all?
…and someone among them knows the whole shocking truth.
Q10: In a few lines, which debut/emerging Aussie author should we look out for?
A: I don’t think she’s a debut, but Jess Kitching https://jesskitchingwrites.com/
is someone to watch. She’s just as passionate about writing, and her career as an author, as I am. Plus she’s giving, she’s generous and she’s real.
Her best friend is dead.
Emma and Ariella, neighbours in one of Sydney’s most exclusive suburbs, appear to have it all―perfect homes, perfect husbands, perfect lives. But they both know dark secrets lurk beneath the surface and shallow waters can’t hide Ariella’s. Now she has been found murdered.
Her daughter filmed the killing.
Not knowing what she’s filmed, Emma’s daughter Kiki innocently uploads footage of Ariella’s brutal death. Emma fears the worst―the killer will know what she and Kiki have seen. Their safe suburban lives no longer exist.
Her husband knows more than he’s revealing.
Emma’s husband Charles forces the family to leave their perfect life and escape on their yacht. His dangerous plan to flee means Emma is trapped and desperately seeking answers. What are they hiding from? What did Ariella have to confess? And who else knows Emma’s own secret?
Her secret isn’t safe and neither is she.
Thank you Holly for being my October 1st Author Stalker victim. xx
The Shallows is available now through all leading bookstores and online retailers.
If you would like to find out more about Holly, you can find her here: