Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Guest Blog ~ Bill Surie

About the book ~

Holly’s Inbox by Holly Denham (aka Bill Surie) started out as
a serial website in 2007—at it’s peak it received 90,000 daily views—often causing the site to crash! It was an instant viral sensation in the UK and Bill decided to take his email format and put it into a book.

The amazing thing about this site was that it looked like an
Outlook Inbox! And the emails were released in real time—interspersed with actual present day gossip (watch out Perez), and telling a captivating and sweet story of one lowly London receptionist learning more about her life, love, hopes and dreams! Holly is our funny, flawed best gal and her family, friends and co workers are all people we’ve met in our lives—how could you resist reading her emails?

For the June 2009 USA release of Holly’s Inbox in stores, Bill has done the unthinkable—he’s RESTARTING
www.hollysinbox.com. . . . it’s dangerously addictive, and if you’re at work it looks like an email screen. Check it out and get ready to be consumed with Holly’s office romance, her hilarious best friends, her pesky family members and a secret that she thought was long gone…

Guest blog ~

An email went out to 90,000 people telling them NOT to visit www.HollysInbox.com 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 meltdown.

Having had no success in my ambition to be a writer I had various jobs in different countries and finally took a position as a recruitment consultant. I met a beautiful woman, we got married and very soon we had set up our own recruitment agency which specialised in Receptionists. The idea for the site came one day when we had to trawl through an 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. The life she was leading was so full of mystery, intrigue, romance (and many many lies) that it made me wonder what it would be like to read a story told in this way.

I began writing, and discovered (to my wife’s initial horror) that I loved writing as a woman. The characters began to talk on their own, and were much funnier than I could ever hope to be (I once tried stand up comedy – I died).

The initial plan for the site was just to attract more candidates to our reception agency, nothing else.

The basic plot had around two email exchanges a day and we launched www.HollysInbox.com . 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.

Not many people enjoy criticism, and I had always been particularly scared of receiving feedback. However Holly’s Inbox initially had a LIVE forum, where readers could immediately let off steam if they were unhappy, sometimes before I had even finished a sentence. If it wasn’t funny, they would say so (and the emails miraculously disappeared), if it was too obscure I’d make it clearer, too slow and I’d make it faster… basically they taught me to write and I will be eternally grateful to the fantastic forum fans. Holly still keeps in touch with them on Facebook and twitter.

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. My wife’s favourite story was when she had been interviewing a candidate while just across office I sobbed uncontrollably. The worried candidate had asked her if everything was ok and she had laughed and said I was only crying because I’d finally discovered she was having an affair, then continued with the interview.

Holly’s Inbox follows the life of Holly Denham a new receptionist on the front desk of an investment bank in London. She attempts to retain her sanity, whilst juggling some rather surreal characters in both her personal and work life. Between her gossipy co-workers, supervisors breathing down her neck, and some intriguing emails from a flirtatious VP, Holly is in for more than she ever imagined. And when a secret from her past makes an unwelcome appearance, Holly’s unsure if she has what it takes to survive the corporate workplace.

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 www.hollysinbox.com is now live with emails being sent and received by Holly Denham, I hope you like it.

About the Author

Bill Surie is the owner of a placement service for receptionists and secretaries in London. He started the Holly’s Inbox website as a place to serialize his first novel. His second novel is now in the works and currently lives in England and Spain.

1 comment:

Holly Denham said...

Hi Lori - just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU for having me on your site - it was very kind of you and it is much appreciated.