Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
My name is Holly (Frances) Gerlach and I’m the author of Happily Ever After: My Journey with Guillain-Barre Syndrome and How I Got My Life Back.
What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
Happily Ever After is my story of surviving a devastating disease that put me in ICU for nearly three months – just weeks after giving birth to my daughter. It focuses on how I barely survived through complete paralysis and horrible pain for what felt like an eternity, then how I fought through that to get back to my life – and back to my baby.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
I was inspired by my own strength, something I didn’t even realize I had. I wanted to write the book to remind others that we are so much more capable than we realize. That we can recover from the most horrific of times in life and come our stronger.
How do you deal with creative block?
Writers block is tough. When I find myself having difficulty writing Ill read some of my own work to get my mind into it again. If I still have trouble, I just force myself to write. Written words, even those that need to be heavily edited, are better than none at all.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
I’ve learned that while some details may seem important for me to include, they may not be as important to the reader. When writing, especially about something personal, it’s important to figure that out.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
When choosing a title, you want to make sure it gets across what the book is about. The cover should be simple but intriguing and make you want to turn the page.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
Bad reviews are hard, and I admit I’ve let them get to me a time or two. I try to remind myself that everyone has a different opinion and viewpoint that may differ than my own. I also remind myself that the positives always outweigh the negative. If my story impacts just one person, that’s all that matters to me.
How has your creation process improved over time?
As I write more over the years, I’ve learned what works for me and what doesn’t. I highly suggest working with a professional editor who can provide you tips on both the publishing process and the writing.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
The best thing was just getting all my thoughts and feelings onto paper! The worst is when I struggled with writer’s block (especially when I’ve allotted hours to write but felt I couldn’t). The most surprising thing was how long it took to write.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
As I mentioned before, it can be tough not to want to include every detail. But readers don’t need every detail. I balance that by listing all chapter beats on a separate paper, then decide which ones are for me and which ones are more for the reader. I will dive into more detail for those that readers will benefit from, and scale back the details for the ones I want included for my own purposes.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
I have to really be able to feel the emotions on the scene to be able to best describe it.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
Find out when you feel most creative. For my that’s night time!!
What are your plans for future books?
I am currently working on a memoir that includes what I went through with GBS, and then goes into the strength I gained to help others going through the same disease.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
I am very detailed and definitely A type personality. I have lists for everything!