Friday, May 22, 2009

Guest Blog- Bill Surie

I just finished reading Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham. It was a great book! Read my review here.

Holly Denham is the pen name for Bill Surie. And I'm so excited to have him as my first guest blogger!!

I don’t know which one started the argument, I think it was Tara, she’s usually the more aggressive one, but as the row escalated and became more personal, I could hear my wife calling me. I looked up.

“Stop it, just stop it now, you’ll have a hemorrhage or something.” Tara was sniggering somewhere behind me.

“Just get back to the story, stop fighting with your aliases, people are leaving the plot and moving over to the chat room”

She was right, she usually was.

It all started a few months earlier, the idea for the site came when we had to search through a previous ex-employees work email account. The woman in question was single, extremely flirtatious and had always loved us to bits. We discovered she was married with four children, and couldn’t stand the sight of us. Her life was so full of mystery, intrigue, romance (and a few fibs) that it made me wonder if you could tell a story using an email account.

I began writing and quickly commissioned a fantastic website developer and together we began working out a way of getting the story across by emails. All I wanted was a way of attracting more receptionists to our agency, and this seemed to be the answer.

An email went out to 90,000 people telling them NOT to visit because unscrupulous IT hacks had posted a live email account of a fellow employee onto the web in total disregard of our privacy laws.
We said - if she was working for your company it was essential you let her know NOW! Before the world discovered what she really thought about her co-workers.

The site went into melt down.

The plot had around two email exchanges a day and we launched . The site’s popularity spurred me on, but it soon became obvious I had grossly underestimated the amount of emails I needed each day to keep people on the site… so I began writing in real-time.

We built a forum into the site and to my horror people began logging on to provide some feedback. When a writer receives criticism it’s not usually that quick…. I was getting mine sometimes before I’d even finished the sentence…. If it wasn’t funny, they would say so (and the emails miraculously disappeared), if it was too weird I’d make it less-weird, too slow and I’d make it faster… as much as I hated getting criticism… it was helping me to write.

I continued to run the agency whilst writing Holly’s Inbox but became less and less aware of my surroundings, immersing myself in the characters often giggling and occasionally crying in the process.

To gain a really in-depth understanding of how people felt as the story progressed, I joined the live chat room under two different aliases. Sometimes they fought, sometimes my wife had to separate us all, it had to be done. Holly still keeps in touch with the fantastic forum fans on Facebook and Twitter, she is of course eternally grateful for their help.

As the story reached it’s climax I began to panic. The site would be over and I had no idea what I was going to do next, so I began emailing as many agents as possible the web link; without knowing what I wanted from them. At last a wonderful fabulous woman replied and told me it would work in a book… and it did. Holly’s Inbox has now been translated into 6 different languages but the one place I had always dreamed about being published was of course the USA, and Sourcebooks have at last let me achieve this dream!!!!

The site has been re-launched and is now live with emails being sent and received by Holly Denham, I hope you like it.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for hosting me - and giving me such a lovely review! Let me know if you want me to do anything else - I'm just so grateful! - oh and I'll be checking back here if anyone has any questions - comments etc.
    Thank you once again x Holly/Bill