Author Interview: Holly James – Nothing But the Truth by Holly James is a fun, and liberating read. What happens when a Hollywood publicist can’t tell a lie? This post may contain links to purchase books & you can read our affiliate disclosure here.
Synopsis for Nothing But the Truth by Holly James
It’s the eve of Hollywood publicist Lucy Green’s thirtieth birthday, a day she hopes will bring the promotion she deserves and a proposal from her boyfriend. But he stands her up for a date, not for the first time, leaving Lucy alone at the bar—or at least, alone with the handsome bartender on the other side of the counter—so she makes a rueful wish over her cocktail for a perfect birthday. But when Lucy’s wish is granted in the most unexpected way, things go terribly awry, as things often do when wishes come true….
When Lucy wakes up on her big day, she can’t seem to force herself to go through her rigorous fitness and beauty routines—things she usually tells herself she likes. She has no desire to eat only a spoonful of yogurt for breakfast and she simply can’t bear to put on the uncomfortable shapewear needed for the power outfit she had planned for work.
Then Lucy arrives at the office, and she realizes that not only can she no longer lie to herself, she can’t lie to anyone else, either. Not her clients, not her boyfriend, not her creep of a boss. Now that she can’t hide how she feels, Lucy must confront all the injustices—small and large—she’s faced on a daily basis at work, in her relationship, and in every other aspect of her life…and the truth is going to come out in a big way.
This sharp, bighearted, and magical novel tackles all the lies women are encouraged to tell just to get by in today’s world—in life, in love, and in the workplace—and the liberation that can come from telling nothing but the truth.
Author Interview: Holly James
Holly, I’m so excited to talk to you today about Nothing But the Truth, out now. Thank you for joining me for this Q & A.
Nothing But the Truth was such a great read! I cheered within the first few chapters when I read a frank and honest discussion about menstruation! Can you tell readers what tropes and/or themes to expect from your newest book?
Thank you! Nothing But The Truth is lightly speculative women’s fiction with a romantic subplot. It has an empowering, feminist message and tackles all the lies—big and small—that women are expected to tell in daily life. It stars a plucky heroine and has a supporting cast of sassy best friends, eccentric celebrity clients, an inspiring mentor, and a Hot Bartender love interest.
Can you tell me a little about the inspiration behind Nothing But the Truth?
I got the idea for this book in the late summer of 2020 when I’d been working from home for about 5 months. I distinctly recall lying on my bed one day thinking about how much happier I was not going through the routine of doing my hair and makeup to get ready to go into my office. Not to mention, spending the day working from home in much more comfortable clothes. That realization made me wonder why I had ever gone through that process in the first place. Where did those expectations come from? What would happen if I stopped complying? Around that same time, my husband was one day randomly watching the Jim Carrey movie Liar Liar, and it struck me how different that story would be if it was about a woman and all the lies that she couldn’t tell in daily life. The two ideas merged, and a story was born about a woman unable to lie to herself or anyone else about all the societal expectations women put up with just to get by in life.
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Lucy is a Hollywood publicist and I am a sucker for any story with a celebrity element. Can you tell us more about Lucy?
Lucy is an ambitious Hollywood publicist rising the ranks at her company. We meet her on the eve of her thirtieth birthday when she has been stood up by her boyfriend, not for the first time, and she makes a wish over her cocktail for the next day to be perfect. When she wakes unable to lie, her life changes in dramatic and empowering ways. I would describe her as bubbly, sharp, and driven. I wanted her to feel like a relatable everyday girl who readers would want to be friends with. I think she has a great fashion sense and I’m sure she would be a great time at a party.
Do you have any favorite scenes in Nothing But the Truth?
I love all of Lucy’s rants, but I think my favorites are when she lectures her best friend Oliver about periods and when she talks with her coworker Chase about the stresses of expectations put on women in the workplace. Both of those scenes really resonate with me personally. I also love her scenes with Adam, especially the one on the park bench.
Author Interview: Holly James: Let’s Chat About Writing
I would love to know if you’re a plotter or a pantser. What seems to work best when you’re working on a new manuscript?
I am a pantser to a fault! I never know how a story ends when I start writing it—which can create problems when my publishing team needs an outline or synopsis! I usually get the idea for the story’s hook, and then the main character comes to me. Then I think of a few pivotal scenes, and just go for it! Hitting 50k words is my personal metric for knowing if the story is going to make it to the end.
Do you have any favorite snacks, music or rituals for your writing? For instance, are you blasting music or need complete silence?
I think I am one of the few writers on the planet who doesn’t drink caffeine. I carry my Hydro Flask full of water around with me like a security blanket. I currently have a full-time day job, so my writing is limited to mornings, evenings, and weekends. I try to squeeze in an hour before work, a few after, and then I binge write on weekends. If I listen to music while I write, it’s usually only to drown out whatever my husband is binging on Netflix in the next room, and it’s always instrumental music. I love a good classical piece or an ambient spa relaxation station.
Do you have any advice for fellow writers?
My favorite piece of writing advice is to allow yourself that bad first draft. I used to put so much pressure on myself to have the first draft come out perfect, and once I stopped doing that, the quality of my work improved (and I was a lot less stressed!). I love the sentiment that the first draft is just you telling yourself the story. This especially resonates with me as a pantser!
Reading Recs, Cocktails, TV Casting & More
Lucy makes a wish over a birthday cocktail that changes her life. Do you have a favorite cocktail?
I love a French 75, mai tai, or a margarita on the rocks!
What are some books on your TBR?
Too many to count! Some highlights I’m really looking forward to are: As Seen on TV by Meredith Schorr, Smart Girl Summer by Kristin Rockaway, You & I Rewritten by Chip Pons, and of course Carrie Soto is Back by TJR.
I always love talking about TV and movies. If you were to cast an adaptation for Nothing But the Truth, do you have anyone in mind for your characters?
I love this question! Of course I’ve thought about this. I had Chloe Fineman in my head while writing Lucy. She is hilarious and has the right energy for the character. I’d love to see an icon like Reese Witherspoon as Joanna, and I think Daniel Levy would make a perfect Oliver. Leo Ash is partially based on Harry Styles, so that’s an easy fit, and I can picture Glen Powell as Hot Bartender, aka Adam.
Do you have any favorite TV shows or movie franchises?
I am a shameless Marvel junkie. I will see every movie in theater, and the Disney+ spinoffs have been fantastic. This year I was obsessed with Severance. Nothing has topped it for me! I’m currently loving season 2 of Only Murders in The Building. And of course I binged the new season of Stranger Things.
Who is the ideal reader for Nothing But the Truth?
Anyone who is a fan of big-hearted, empowering stories with a hint of magic, likes stories about Hollywood and fictional celebrities, and wants to see a woman face a day full of obstacles and come out on top.
Thank you again for taking the time to speak with me, Holly! How can readers best connect with you?
Thank you! Readers can find me on Twitter and Instagram at @HollyM_James or drop me an email through the contact form on my website www.hollyjamesbooks.com!
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