Tuesday, November 7, 2023


I want to thank Holly Guy for taking the time for this interview!


Holly Guy is usually lost in a world of dark and forbidden romance novels. She battles with dark-antiheroes and sinful or forbidden desire.

Join the thousands of readers who are obsessed with her wicked words and follow her forbidden steps into the depths of romance!

When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I knew I wanted to be a writer when I began writing novellas on sites such as Wattpad and Movellas when I was only 13 years old (Now there are age restraints on how old you must be to publish!). From there, I published a multitude of (awfully written!) stories, each one inspiring me to work harder and develop my craft to where I am today, almost a decade later!

Did you have any influencing writers growing up?

I didn’t have any influencers growing up, but I definitely revered Rina Kent, H.D Carlton, Lauren Biel, and more dark romance authors before I began publishing “properly” on Amazon and other sites.

Are any of your characters based on people in real life?

I would never say a single character fits one single person in real life, but I certainly do pull connections between real life and characters. 

For example, I discuss mental health quite significantly in Mr Anderson, We Shouldn't, and Notes. 

In Mr Anderson, my female main character suffers with paranoid schizophrenia. This is something I’ve witnessed from a very young age from a close family member, and writing ‘Willow’ allowed me to spread what it can be like having a loved one suffer greatly with delusions, hallucinations and severe confusion. 

In this regard, each character I create has been molded by several things I have experienced whether that’s personally or heard about from someone else.  

Where do you draw your book inspirations from?

This is going to sound insane, but the majority of my inspiration comes from dreams. I have a very vivid imagination and it conjures up some sick and twisted stories that I can deliciously mold into extravagant, steamy stories. 

The only exception is Mr Anderson which I decided to write because there was a large audience for a steamy professor x student novel with suspense and twists and turns.

Do you use have a basic outline when starting a new story or do you let the characters lead the way?

I have a fairly strict method of writing. I start with mind mapping everything I want to involve in the novel, and then I work through tons of work sheets of content to make sure I have a fully fleshed out plot with believable characters. I really encourage new authors to have a similar process; they can find all my booklets on my etsy!  


When you are picturing the characters in your book, do you have a cheater photo for inspiration?

I have recently started using Pinterest to fully flesh out my character images which has been fantastic. Not only for me when it comes to description, but for my readers to have a clear image before they dive into the story. 

Use this link to see the characters in some of the novels! https://www.pinterest.co.uk/hollyguyauthor/

Many people read as a form of escape and relaxation. What is your favorite way to sit back and relax?

I have a super comfy armchair in the corner of my living room, sandwiched between two large bookshelves, a large overhanging lamp and lots of blankets and pillows. 

My form of escapism and relaxation involves loud indie music, a large bottle of wine (or two!) and my friends or partner to chat to, followed by a ‘feral’ night out at the club!

Who are your favorite current authors to read?

I have many authors that I’m currently obsessed with, but Audrey Rush, Jescie Hall, Peneloppe Douglas, Angel Lawson, Samantha Rue, and Lauren Biel are my favourite authors within my genre currently.

What are your favorite books by others?

Lords of Pain by Angel Lawson and Samantha Rue

That Sik Luv by Jescie Hall

Haunting Adeline by H.D Carlton

Hitched by Lauren Biel

Crawl by Audrey Rush

Punk 57 Peneloppe Douglas.

Do the locations in the stories have any meaning to you?

I usually centre locations based on places that I’ve visited for purely geographical & logical reasons (meaning, I do not have to do too much research into them haha!). 

Quite a few places are based in Southampton, UK, where my twin sister lives (a couple of hours from me!). It’s almost a way for me to live near her without having to physically move!

Do you write in single or multiple POV?

I love multiple POV! In each novel, I will always write in the lead female’s and the lead male’s POV. 

I believe my record number of POVs in a single novel is five. This is in We Shouldn't a dirty reverse harem novel about three brothers and one woman. 

Multiple POVS keep the novel exciting, engaging and my readers love it!

What do you find to be your best research tool?

Life! I love sitting in the pub and chatting to as many people as I can to create beautiful, unique stories that my mind alone wouldn’t be able to discover.

Do you write under a pen name? Also, do you write under more than one name?

I write under my real name (Holly Guy).

What genre do you write and why is this your preference?

I mainly write dark romance or erotica. This is my preference because everybody responds to sex. It’s one thing that I can guarantee brings out an emotion in every reader whether it’s a certain kink, a preference, a fantasy or something controversial…  there will be some sort of reaction.

Furthermore, my main aim in publishing dark romance novels and erotica is that it is an escapism for women, especially women struggling with sexual trauma. Reading a novel where a woman is ‘powerless’ but still actually in ‘control’ can be incredibly freeing and I’ve had hundreds of women reach out and compliment my writing in this sense. It’s our way to play around with power imbalances in a safe environment.

Tell me something about yourself outside of writing. Jobs, accomplishments, family, quirky trait...what led to you being you?

This one is quite controversial to many people! Outside of writing dark romance novels, I am a special educational needs tutor and support worker, specializing in students who are in the care system. I’ve been doing this for three years, helping young people from ages 8-18 to gain qualifications (SATS, 11+, GCSE, A-Level), achieve valuable professional skills, build their confidence and more! Many believe that it isn’t possible to be in my line of work and write my novels, but I couldn’t disagree more. I’ve helped change hundreds of young people’s lives and I plan to continue doing it as long as they need me! The students do not read my novels, nor do we ever discuss them, and every employer and parent had the option to view my website and social media as it was posted on my teaching profile and CV. I have never had a single complaint in over three years within this industry, and yet strangers on the internet continue to shame me for my ‘double-life’.

In the same way another tutor/support worker wouldn’t delve into detail about a gruesome video game they are obsessed with, or a ‘naughty’ TV series, art form, book they are reading, my work life and author life are completely separate from one another.

What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

Write, write and write some more. 

Oh, also, turn off your mind to criticism because unfortunately you will be exposed to a ton of it! If I had a penny for every time someone asked me: ‘How can you post that ridiculous TikTok?’ or ‘My parents would be ashamed of me if I did what you did!’ or ‘are you not embarrassed by your work and marketing?’. My answers is: ‘I will post what I like, when I like, and how I like. Everyone who means something to me knows what I do and couldn’t be more supportive.' And I love being cringe. 

Do the courageous thing today that you were too scared to do yesterday! Trust me, if you spent every minute of every day worrying about what so-and-so thinks, you’d never get anything done. 

Ignore those who doubt you, embrace your inner winner, and write that novel! And I am always here for advice and tips. Refer to this page for more about how I can help you get that novel out there! https://www.booksbyhollyguy.com/about-1

How do you deal and process negative book reviews?

I’ll be honest, I used to be really affected by poor reviews and criticisms. I used to believe each and every word a critic said and ignored the hundreds of positive reviews. This was until I realized the only reason that I cared about what the critic said is because I deep down believed it myself. Imposter syndrome is very real, especially in this industry. I never felt good enough, popular enough, proud enough until one day my friend was crying to me about how she felt ugly (which I found super insane because she was the most beautiful girl I’ve ever met!).

I asked her ‘why’ and she said because a scorned ex-lover described her as this. I asked ‘why does that matter?’ and although her arguments were understandable (‘because I loved him & trusted his opinion, ‘because if he thinks that, who else will?’ and so on), they didn’t make much sense because this was just one opinion in a world of billions. It took us a while but we finally found out what truly mattered wasn’t what he thought, but it was because deep down she believed that she was ugly and he happened to mention her insecurity. He could have said many different insults and they might not have hurt as much because she didn’t believe them, but it just so happened that ‘ugly’ was how she felt and therefore had a lasting impact on her.

After I realized this, I turned around to her and said ‘you’re right. You are ugly. Super ugly! I’ve never met anybody so ugly in my whole life! I mean, that blue hair! That’s what makes you awful to look at. It doesn’t fit your skin colour, your eye colour, your personality…’ (I really roasted the sh*t out of my poor best friend!). Keep in mind, my best friend has blonde hair. She has never been blue in her life. Between tears, she looks at me and says ‘Holly what the f*ck are you on about? I don’t have blue hair.’ And I said ‘exactly. So does it upset you that I’m saying it’s ugly?” and she said ‘No because it’s stupid. How can my hair be ugly blue when it’s not blue?. And I smiled. ‘Exactly, my love. If you do not believe you have blue hair, then me insulting the hair means nothing. If I call you a name and you believe that name, then you immediately think my insult holds weight. I tell you one hundred time a day how pretty you are but you don’t take my words at face value, so why take his words? Because deep down, you believe them.’

She was stunned. I was stunned. Where the f*ck did I learn that?

And then it hit me… I’m a hypocrite! The only reason why those mean comments affected me was not because I cared about what some stranger said on the internet, but because, deep down, I did not believe I was good enough. The mean comments came from me before they ever were published on Goodreads!

The moral of the story is: when someone gives you criticism and you take it really poorly, ask yourself: Who had this thought first? The critic or me? And go from there…

What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

The most difficult part of my writing process is hitting publish. Once published, I cannot make any further (major) changes to the characters, plot, tone, and I’ve always struggled with leaving a work ‘rest’ once I’ve finished creating it. I always want to edit and change the novel because I am a strong believer that art is never finished, including stories.

What do you need in your writer’s space to keep you focused?

Controversially, I require super loud indie music and my laptop… that’s it! I can’t have anyone else in the room if they’re being distracting (for example, my partner loves to game opposite my writing corner!). I also need three-four different drinks around me (a weird request but necessary). This keeps me locked in my seat and writing for the period of time I set myself.

What is your naughty indulgence as you are writing?

Controversially, I love beer as I write. It allows me to loosen up, write that particular scene I might not have been brave enough to include without alcohol, and makes the writing experience feel like I am ‘pre-ing’ for a party rather than forcing myself to work! This, of course, only works in the evening!

If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose? And why?

This is a fantastic question! Honestly, I wouldn’t be able to choose! I have grown close to Lauren Biel, Audrey Rush and Marissa Serrao. Any one of those fantastic women!

What is your schedule like when you are writing? Do you have a favorite writing snack or drink?

First things first, stick that kettle on! I am British so I love a good cup of tea and boy do I drink enough for England! I will also have my ‘vitamin C’ drink and then a litre of water, and a lemon & honey tea (fresh, of course!). I cannot focus if I do not have three-four different types of drink around me… I’m not sure why, but I started doing this a couple of years ago and I haven’t been able to stop! 

With regards to a snack, if it’s an evening writing session, I will have the marvelous popping candy chocolate bar!

Do you listen to music when you write – what kind of music is your favorite?

Hell yeah! I often get complaints from roommates, family or my partner that I listen to an excessive amount of music and on a high volume, especially during a writing session. In particular, I love indie, R’n’B and rock music. It ranges from Lana Del Ray, Amy Winehouse, p!nk, to Artic Monkeys, Kings of Leon, Pulp and more! 

Having said that, for most novels, I create a Spotify playlist to capture the emotions within the novel to inspire me to write. The novel I’m currently writing is Notes about a young woman who is completely irresponsible and drinks, drugs and has lots of sex because her plan is to commit suicide in 6 months on her 25th birthday. 

The music is hypnotic! You can listen to it here if you’d like: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6MwjaIWi9qROYjC8DNC77H?si=4fda1ab036564b16

Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing?

I have a ‘wobbly’ cat (a medical term for a neurological problem that causes him to walk funny!). He is aptly named ‘Tipsy’ because he always looks drunk. He loves to stumble into me as I’m writing which is very distracting (but incredibly cute!). He seems to know when I’m busy because that’s when he wobbles over to me for food to attention (and I wouldn’t have it any other way!).

What is your kryptonite as a writer? What totally puts you off your game?

People in the room with me. If someone is talking on the phone, watching TV, or (the most annoying one of all) watching loud TikToks, I cannot focus. I am fairly easily distracted so if I hear even the slightest bit of noise that isn’t my blaring music, I really struggle to stay in the zone!

Have you ever killed off a character that your readers loved?

Oh yes… much to their anger! (Look away now if you do not want a spoiler to Illegal Activities)!

I originally killed off the main love interests in Illegal Activities at the end. Murdered them both and then cried because it was so tragic, but I thought it was a fantastic ending, apt for the mafia husband & wife. I hit publish and then the reviews came in, and oh boy, were they angry at me! So frustrated that I actually had to rewrite the ending! Now there is a much much happier ending. Haha! Sorry readers!

How do you celebrate after typing THE END?

Pub, bar, club. Simple as! I gather my closest friends and we celebrate the British way… getting absolutely trashed!

I hope you enjoyed this interview!

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