Holly Müller is a Welsh writer and musician whose debut novel My Own Dear Brother is published worldwide by Bloomsbury. She is currently working towards a PhD in Creative Writing. She is the singer, lyricist and violinist in the band Hail! The Planes.
Currently Holly is doing various events to promote My Own Dear Brother, including a reading which took place at Foyles Bookshop, London, on February 25. She will also be appearing at Bath Literature Festival on March 3.
As for new writing projects, she is in the process of amassing ideas and plotting her second novel, set in 70s Britain. Its provisional title is The Far and Aways.
Of her new project, she said: “I’m getting very excited about it now because the world is really taking shape, as well as all the characters. I love this bit – sheer freedom and a huge sense of possibility.”
My Three Top Tips for Writers
1. Feed your self-belief till it’s fat and happy
If you don’t believe in your own ability you might struggle to get through the gruelling and long process that is writing and FINISHING a piece of work, whether that’s a poem, short story or novel. You will need masses of determination to get through, but also a kind of elated conviction that you have something valuable, even wonderful, to say. I think you have to be a little bit zealous and also a little bit arrogant. You must dare to invest everything – to commit. Do not hedge your bets. There is no way round the fact that you take a massive risk; there is always the possibility of failure, but isn’t that the case with everything worth doing in life?
2. Plan your story in advance
I’ve only ever written one book, which is My Own Dear Brother, and I dived in without looking at all, straight to the bottom of the proverbial creative pond, where plot and planning do not come into things. I explored an underwater world, things coming at me out of the dark, and currents sweeping me sideways. It was so exhilarating – for a while. But then I realised I was sort of drowning, and spent the next few years swimming for dry land. Turns out you do need a good solid plot beneath your feet.
For my next book, I am preparing everything before I begin; I’m making notes, drawing loads of timelines on rolls of wallpaper on my study floor, and properly developing my characters in advance. I hope this means the novel will take less time to complete. My Own Dear Brother took six years from start to finish and, although I never lost focus or drive, I’m not sure I can handle that again!
3. Don’t read your Goodreads or Amazon reviews
Wait for the real reviews to come in then read them if you have to, but don’t torture yourself with reading all the misguided, vindictive, or plain stupid reviews put up by some readers. Some will be great, and if you’ve got the stomach to sift through the crap to find those, then do it. But I say it’s not worth it. Just believe in your book… back to belief again. Believe in your book.
You can find out more about Holly via her website and blog at hollymuller.com.
Her book, My Own Dear Brother, is published by Bloomsbury Circus and you can buy it here for £13.49 or in bookshops (RRP £14.99).