Holly is a very funny author and illustrator living in New York City. She has studied improv, cartooning, and doo-wop singing. When she isn’t drawing pictures in her Harlem studio, she likes to swing dance, bike ride, and go to flea markets. She sometimes writes books with her husband, Broadway actor David Manis.
My Creative Process
To create a story, I give my main character a really big problem, and make it get worse and worse. As the story builds, the reader should be dying to know, how’s he/she going to get out of this one?
I write the text first, and then do the illustrations. I often have to do some rewriting, when some of the punch lines turn into cartoons.
I have a new book coming out later this year, THIS DANCE IS DOOMED. Selfie, the 8th grade Queen Bee of the school has a shameful secret--she doesn't have a date for Prom. It's up to Becca, a 6th grade nobody, to find her one.
I loved HARRIET THE SPY. Like Harriet, I wanted to be a writer, too, and live in New York City. And I couldn't wait to see how she handled the problem of the whole school reading her diary.
I get up, make a smoothie, and walk to my studio in Harlem. I either write at my computer, or draw all afternoon. At the end of the day, I’ll have dinner with a friend, go to a play, lecture, or event. When my husband gets home from work, I show him the pictures I drew that day, or the words I wrote.
When I discovered DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, I got excited about telling stories with words and pictures, from a kid's point of view. So I wrote THE LOSER LIST, my first illustrated, original book for 8-12 year olds. It became the first in a best-selling series for Scholastic.
It was hard to create a plot that was the right size for a middle grade book--something with high stakes, but could be resolved in two hundred pages.