Thursday, 14 June 2012

Per Holbo

Author of: Princess Lila and The Knight in Shouting Armor

Book blurb:
Princess Lila has low self-esteem symbolized in The Knight in Shouting Armor, but when she meets the dragon, together they find the way to defeat her bad feelings of who she is. 

As an introduction, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
38 yrs old, married, 2 boys at 6 & 12 yrs and 2 girls at 8 & 10 yrs. I was brought up in Horsens, Denmark in a shady neighborhood with gangs (Hells Angels Wannabees). I have a university degree in Political Science and History.

What is your book about?
Princess Lila lives in a tower in her father´s castle and she is about to be married to a prince. She really likes the prince and he likes her, but The Knight in Shouting Armour shouts at her and takes away her self-confidence. Then she meets the Dragon, who helps her defeat the Knight in Shouting Armour and eat away the bad feelings she has for herself.

When and why did you begin writing?
I´m not sure when… But when I was about 8 yrs old I began writing stories about ghosts and such, because I had had some strange experiences with what you might call the spiritual world.

What genre do you prefer to write in?
That´s a tough one. I would very much like to write SF, but until now I haven´t been able to finish anything in that genre. What I do best is definitely Children´s Books and what I call “wry and dry,” a special angle to writing about everyday life where humor plays the role of a midwife releasing our anxieties so that we open to looking inside ourselves.

What is your biggest writing achievement to date?
During an exam I finished an entire essay in one of the assignments we could choose from, but decided it wasn´t good enough, tossed it and started over with another assignment. I finished that assignment and left the exam 30 minutes before deadline and received an A.

What inspired you to write this book?
As a parent I see it as my most important job to raise my children as individuals with a strong character. To succeed you need to ensure that your children know, deep in their hearts, that they are valuable and loved for who they are. But in modern day society this is quite the challenge. Everything we do signals value for what you can do. I hope this book will give kids that wisdom in their hearts: you are valuable just because you are who you are!

While we are at it: The people who inspired the most writing this book are two of my children, Clara and Milter, to whom I also dedicate the book along with my wonderful wife, Kirstine, who has been amazing backing me up as I strive towards the big breakthrough! I owe them all!
Who is your favourite author, and what is it about their work that strikes a chord with you?

I have many favorites. First and foremost, when it comes to kidlit, my absolute favorite is Hans Christian Andersen. He writes in many layers, so there is something for everyone, but still in such a way that the layers for the grownups doesn’t disturb the reading experience for the children. In the thriller/horror genre I like Stephen King because of his ability to bring something new with every book. My favorite SF-writer would be Isaac Asimov who wrote the “Foundation” series. His force is taking something we all know a bit of, math, and bring it to use in a most unusual, but still credible way (if you like that sort of thing)
What book are you reading now, and would you recommend it?

“Orbit” by Ib Michael and a definite NO. He´s gotten lazy. It seems as if he just wrote whatever came into his head and a few months later sent it to the publisher and BANG! A book was sold. His basic idea with the story is no less than brilliant, but he doesn’t take the time and effort to bring the story to you. I struggled my way 2/3 into the book, but then I just gave up. It wasn’t worth the effort.
What are your current projects?

I always have many projects and some of them result in publishing and some don´t. Currently the most likely to be published are:“Hickory Street Changing” – a collective novel about a small town community where the residents try to keep up appearance, but they all have their secrets which are revealed one by one. “Sebastian on Sock Island” – a children´s book about Sebastian being sucked through a portal to the place where socks relax when we think they have disappeared. “A Puzzle Life” – a non-fiction about living with ADHD.

Where and when do you do most of your writing?

Everywhere and everywhen. Literally. When I cook, I sometimes have my computer standing open so that I can type when it´s possible. I even take my laptop with me to the little house if I know I´m going to be there for a while. Don’t tell anyone I said that, though. Let´s keep that a secret between you, me and whoever else reads this blog…
What would you say was the hardest part of writing your book?

This particular book almost wrote itself, so there were no hard parts.
Who designed your book cover – and was the cover something you deemed important?

The cover is always important. It´s your visitation card, the first thing people see. If your cover looks pro, people are more likely to buy your book. This cover was originally designed by Kathrine Wanninger, who is also the illustrator of the interior, but for the English version I´ve put her illustration into the template I use for most of my publications. There will be a new cover designed by Wanninger in a few weeks and I´m looking forward to it.
Did you try to go down the route of traditional publishing first – or did you feel that self-publishing was right for you from the beginning?

After waiting 3½ months to get a useful response from the publisher I decided it wasn’t worth waiting. The main problem is that conventional publishers today do not service new authors as they did just 20 years ago. And they better get going if they want to keep in business, ´cause indie will be the main way of publishing within the next 5 years if they don´t get into gear.
On the whole, how have you found self-publishing?

If I could get someone else to do the marketing bit I would be absolutely thrilled, because it steals away my time to write and to be in contact with my readers. Other than that, self-publishing has been a good experience and what has really made me happy is the way people in the indie-world are helpful giving advice and generally helping out.
Where can we buy the book?

Smashwords and Amazon
Do you have a website or blog where we can keep tabs on you?

Several. For my English audience, these are the ones to go for: (to observe and comment a work in progress)

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just one: First you write what you think about – then you think about what you write.

And, finally, do you have anything else that you’d like to say to everyone?
Oh, have I! Thank you all for getting all the way down to this sentence. I am both surprised and honored that you would fight your way through all that nonsense and smugging…

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