I'm really excited to have Mercy here with us today. She is my go-to when it comes to questions about guns and law enforcement (you'll see why when you read the interview). But beyond that, Mercy is a friend of mine - we meet usually once a week for author and life chit-chat (and one of these days we'll get some writing done!). She's an amazing woman and it's my honor to introduce her to you! To start off, let's take a look at her office...
LoveRRs: Oh my God, I'm so jealous! I love your office!!! Please do the formal introduction - your name, where you're from, and what you write.
MH: Hi, I’m Mercy Hollow. I’m originally from South Florida but I have moved about 20 times and lived on three different continents. I’ve traveled my whole life and love exploring the hidden and less known parts of places. I write urban, paranormal, and YA fantasy, horror, suspense, and grimdark. I really like to write mixed genre - the current series I’m writing, Legions of the Claimed, is urban fantasy with romance, thriller/suspense, grimdark, and humor mixed in. It’s set in modern-day Chicago about an underworld controlled by antigens in their blood.
LoveRRs: How did you become an author? Please share a bit of your journey with us.
MH: I’ve always written for fun or for work (mainly nonfiction) and started writing fantasy and young adult fantasy as an escape at night and on weekends from the stresses of my job. In my previous career I worked in forensic psych and spent my days with violent felons. I wanted a change and always loved talking with people about stories and characters, so I went back to school for editing and began my own editing business five years ago. I also work at conferences and lead workshops on editing, writing, world building, and read and critiques. I specialize in genre fiction.
LoveRRs: What are you working on now? Do you have a recent or upcoming release?
MH: Currently I’m working on the third book in the Legions of the Claimed series entitled Vegan after the main character in this book. It should be out later this year.
LoveRRs: What is the most challenging part of writing romantic suspense?
MH: I have a lot of experience with real life suspense from my previous career and some good experience with the suspense of romance from my personal life. I think the most challenging part of writing romantic suspense is to strike a good balance, to make sure that both the romance and the suspense plot are driving forces in the story, propelling the characters, the storyline, and the relationship forward.
LoveRRs: What kind of research do you do when you set out to write a new book?
MH: The kind of research I do depends on the book, the characters, and the setting. For this series I’ve gone to Chicago a couple of times – which I love. I checked out great dive and motorcycle bars, talked to bikers, mechanics, got tips from amazing people who live and breathe the city. I scouted out places to bury a body or have a funeral, where to run a drug trade, and where to hangout with gamers. Some of my characters run a motorcycle shop and are mechanics, and while I know a lot about motorcycles since I ride, I still check things out with my mechanic buddies. I researched street and alternative drug trades, since I have two drug trades in my series. The antigen suppresses the Claimed’s functions – breath, pulse, REM, release, perspiration, tears – and I needed to come up with a Function drug trade, so medical and chemistry research was needed. I love the research part. You get to learn about random, fascinating things all the time.
LoveRRs: Do you have any work experience involving the elements of romantic suspense (such as working in law enforcement or in the military)?
MH: I have extensive experience working in this field. I’ve worked with law enforcement, military, courts, forensics, prisons, juvenile halls, drug enforcement, emergency rooms, felons, victims, friends and families of both, as well as a lot of veterans. Every day was different. Every day brought new challenges. I experienced a world many avoid. I saw a lot of people on the worst day of their life. But I also got to help them get through it and help them find qualities and strength in themselves to let them hope for and build a better tomorrow.
LoveRRs: Please share one piece of advice to aspiring authors - what do you wish someone would have told you? Or, what did someone tell you that you’d like to pass on to others?
MH: My advice for authors is the thing that made the biggest difference for me as a writer – find good critique partners. Finding someone who gets your writing and you get theirs. Someone you can get regular, reliable feedback and motivation from, not only on the days you really need to work hard, suck it up, and make something shine to submit, but on the days when you need somebody to tell you to not give up and keep writing.
LoveRRs: Now let's shift to the more fun party of this interview. :-) What's your favorite holiday?
MH: My favorite holiday is Halloween. It’s full of darkness and imagination, characters and creativity. It’s a day where everyone around me gets to enjoy the silly, goofy, creepy, dark things I love every day. It’s the time of year retailers sell the housewares and accessories and knickknacks I love. It’s where I’m surrounded by my favorite color – black, the happiest color ever, and Halloween is the day where everybody else is happy wearing it. Plus, there’s chocolate.
LoveRRs: And now for the speed round!
City, suburb, or small-town? City
Dark chocolate, light chocolate, or white chocolate? Light chocolate
Alpha, beta, or both? Alpha - broken alpha, lol
Wine, whiskey or punch? Whiskey
Hot dogs, hamburgers, or tacos? Hotdogs
Boxers, briefs, or commando? Boxer briefs, love me the boxer briefs
Cowboy boots, biker boots, or flip-flops? Biker boots
Leather, lace, or silk? Leather with a cotton T underneath
Cake, cookies, or crumpets? Cake
Top, bottom, or against the wall? Against the wall
Biceps, abs, or buns? Buns
Cats, dogs, or exotics? Exotics
Legions of the Claimed
Thousands of years ago the Founders combined their powers to create an equitable society governed by contagions inserted into their blood. After nearly a hundred Rulers, one man split the singular power of reign between his three sons, severing the Legion.
Now, the brothers clash over turf, the Function drug trade, and their family’s fate.
The Ceremony is coming.
The Curse of the Generations holds strong.
One dagger and one soul will determine their liberation or annihilation.
Can the daughters of the Claimed rise to tame the men bound by retribution?
Where to find Mercy