Debby Holt is a bestselling author of popular women’s fiction, published by Simon & Schuster in the UK. Her bestselling books have extremely striking titles including The Ex-Wife’s Survival Guide, Annie May’s Black Book, The Trouble with Marriage, Love Affairs for Grown-Ups, Recipe for Scandal, and Friends, Lies and Alibis. It has taken a huge amount of talent, perseverance and drive to get where she is today. She is married with five children and lives in Bath.
When was your first book published and how long did it take you to find an agent? My first book, The Ex-Wife’s Survival Guide, was published in 2006. It took me an eternity to find an agent, or rather it took me two years – a very long two years! I’d sold a lot of short stories in the previous decade and in fact my first novel grew from a short story that was far too complicated to BE a short story.
How did you decide what ‘genre’ to write? I didn’t actively choose to write in a particular genre: basically, I liked to write about relationships in a way that was sometimes humorous and apparently this meant that I was a chick lit writer! I think what I find frustrating is that I AM regarded as a chick lit writer whereas I am just as interested in, say, familial relationships as I am in romantic ones and I genuinely think my books are suited to readers of all ages
Have you always liked your book jackets? I think Sarah Gibb who has designed all my covers is brilliant but I worry that they might deter people over thirty from buying them.
Did you ever go to ‘writing school’? I never went to writing school but I feel I did my apprenticeship in the years I wrote short stories for magazines.
Who are your favourite authors? I have always read voraciously and my favourite authors are Anne Tyler, Georgette Heyer, Carol Shields, Ann Patchett, Zadie Smith, Nick Hornby and David Nicholls.
What are your three top tips to getting published? My three top tips to getting published are to 1) visit conferences or festivals where you can meet agents, 2) make sure you have a superb first chapter and three-line précis and 3) don’t be put off by rejection. To quote Calvin Coolidge, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.”
Can you pitch your latest book in one line? My latest book, Friends, Lies and Alibis is based on a difficult dilemma: is it ever right to try to break up a friend’s marriage?
Thank you, Debby! To buy Debby’s latest bestseller, click on the jacket below: