A Quickie with Hollie Overton

Tell me about your latest book and why we should read it?

The Walls is about Kristy Tucker, a single mother who works as a publicist for the Texas prison system, informing the media and public what happens, which means bearing witness to every execution and reporting on it. When she meets Lance Dobson, her son’s martial arts instructor, he seems like the missing link, accepting her complicated job, and treating her teenage son and ailing father like they are his own. It’s only after they’re married that Lance reveals to Kristy his true sinister nature. Now this woman who has always been on the right side of the law must decide whether she’s capable of doing the unthinkable to protect her family.

I was partly inspired to write this story by my own experience with domestic violence—my mother and stepmother were domestic violence survivors, suffering abuse at the hands of my father.  The other inspiration for The Walls was based on an experience from high school. My journalism teacher who also worked as a reporter for my home town, ended up covering the execution of a man who had murdered a young woman. She ended up recounting the execution to our class and from that day forward, I became obsessed with reading and researching capital punishment. All of these things came together to inspire The Walls.

If someone was to write your life story what would the title be?

“Down But Not Out” or “This is why We Can’t Have Nice Things.”

What’s the strangest fan question or request you’ve received?

It wasn’t a question exactly, more of a complaint. After my first novel, Baby Doll, was published, a man emailed to say he was upset by something a character had done. In one chapter she ate a chocolate covered cherry blizzard and then in a later chapter she had banana split. He was very adamant that I’d ruined the book for him. But I was oddly pleased by the email. It was important enough that he spent time tracking me down to send a message. It’s difficult keeping someone’s attention and even if he was upset, I did just that!

If you could co-write with anyone in the world (alive or dead) who would it be?

Growing up, I always found myself drawn to Southern writers. In my early teens, I discovered Pat Conroy and was awestruck. He perfectly captured how a person could simultaneously love and want to escape their hometown. Not only that but he crafted such complicated, flawed and humorous characters, I would have loved to have seen what we could have cooked up together.

Tell me something nobody else knows about you (yet!).

I write crime thrillers, but I’m actually afraid of scary movies. I tend to watch them when they’re out on DVD or streaming so I can fast forward the scary bits. My husband likes to tease me by saying, “You know it’s not real,” but I am just a very receptive audience.

Finally please recommend 3 books that you have recently read and tell me why you’ve chosen these.

Then She was Gone by Lisa Jewell – It was a recommendation by my editor, and I absolutely adored her latest novel.  I know there are a lot of books about missing girls, but this book sucked me in from the first page. It had some great twists, and the ending was unexpected in the best way possible.

Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan – Clarissa and I were both on the shortlist for the Bath Novel Award (she won!) and though she lives in Singapore, we’ve become Twitter friends, offering one another encouragement advice on our publishing journey. She was nice enough to send me an advanced copy and I absolutely adored it. This story, about a young man who sets out to find his sister’s killer is part mystery/part literary fiction and its    The writing is sparse and elegant, and the story defies convention. It’s not out until 2018, but I can’t wait for it to be released. I hope everyone loves it as much as I do.

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith – I was going on vacation and looking for something fun to read when I saw this on the shelves at Target. I read a lot of crime thrillers these days, but I still love YA. Lottery stories have always fascinated me and I’m a sucker for a good romance. This had both. It’s one of those books that make you feel happy with every turn of the page.

Who is Hollie Overton:  An identical twin, I was born in Chicago, IL and adopted at six days old, along with my identical twin sister, Heather and carried home in matching red Christmas stockings.

My father was a member of the Overton Gang and spent several years in prison for manslaughter. Unfortunately, he found family life overwhelming. His addictions began to consume him, leading to my parent’s divorce. My mother relocated my sister an I to her hometown of Kingsville, Texas. A theater nerd, I spent my childhood dreaming of bright lights and big cities.

My love affair with storytelling led me to New York City where I studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, writing at Hunter College and mixology in Murray Hill. A few years later, I headed to Hollywood with dreams of becoming a star. My sole TV claim to fame was one episode of TNT”s “Leverage,” opposite DB Sweeney. Thankfully, I realized my talents were better suited behind the scenes.

My first screenwriting break came in 2008 when I was accepted into the coveted Warner Brothers Writers Workshop, a boot camp style program for aspiring TV writers. I’ve gone on to write for CBS and Lifetime. I’m currently a writer and Co-Producer on the new Freeform drama Shadowhunters, based on Cassie Clare’s international bestseller “The Mortal Instruments.” There’s nothing more I love than working with aspiring TV writers. I currently teach and offer private consults at Script Anatomy.

I live in West Hollywood, CA, with the loves of my life, my rescue Chihuahua, Stevie and my Geordie husband, David. When I’m not writing, I can be found exploring LA (and beyond) with my twin sister, Heather. Sometimes we even let Stevie and David join us.

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