100-word bio: Whether penning a memoir, writing a play or telling stories live, Laura McHale Holland strives to engage people and touch them in ways that matter. Her coming-of-age memoir, Resilient Ruin, won the 2017 National Indie Excellence Award for new adult nonfiction. Her prior books, also award winners, include the anthology Sisters Born, Sisters Found: A Diversity of Voices on Sisterhood; The Ice Cream Vendor’s Song, a flash fiction collection; and Reversible Skirt, a childhood memoir. Her plays have been produced by Redwood Writers, 6th Street Playhouse and Guerneville Friends of the Library’s Readers Theater. To connect with Laura, please visit lauramchaleholland.com.
Extended bio: Whether I’m penning a memoir, editing an anthology, writing flash fiction or telling stories live, my aim as an artist is to engage people and touch them in ways that matter. Since I don’t stick with one genre or art form, branding is quite a challenge, but following my imagination wherever it leads, and helping others do the same, is what gives my life meaning.
In addition to having a full-time editing job that is stimulating and demanding, I own a tiny publishing company through which I’ve published four award-winning books.
The first, a memoir titled Reversible Skirt, won a silver medal in the 2011 Readers Favorite book awards. It recounts from a vulnerable child’s point of view the aftermath of my mother’s suicide, a time when my father never acknowledged the tragedy and, to keep his family together, remarried in haste to a woman who turned out to be extremely abusive to my sisters and me. He subsequently passed away, leaving us at her mercy.
My second book, a collection of flash fiction titled The Ice Cream Vendor’s Song, is edgy and thought provoking. I love the flash fiction form, which requires that a writer create a complete story with minimal words. This book won an honorable mention in the 2015 Readers Favorite book awards.
I served as editor, publisher and contributing writer for my third book, the Sisters Born, Sisters Found: A Diversity of Voices on Sisterhood anthology. What began as a small project born of local readings on the topic of sisterhood became a collection of memoirs, essays, poems and short stories by 76 writers representing every continent except Antarctica. This book won a gold medal in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and was just named a finalist in the 2015 IndieFab Book of the Year Awards.
My second memoir, Resilient Ruin, released in November 2016, won the 2017 National Indie Excellence Award for new adult nonfiction. It’s a tale of coming of age in the tumultuous ’60s when I was an orphan in the care of a stepmom who offered no love or guidance. I made mistake after mistake, and the consequences, as I succumbed to depression, abused drugs and alcohol, engaged in risky sexual behavior and was drawn in by a cult, were increasingly heartbreaking and, at times, brought my very survival into question. Yet survive, I did, with little of what I longed for, but all that I needed to start building a good life.
My other writing has appeared in such publications as NorthBay biz magazine, the Noe Valley Voice, Every Day Fiction Three, Wisdom Has a Voice, My Gutsy Story, Every Day Fiction, And the Beat Goes On, and several Vintage Voices anthologies. My one-act play Are You Ready? was produced by Sixth Street Playhouse and Redwood Writers, as well as shortlisted for the Short+Sweet Sydney 2015 festival. My latest play, You’ll Be Sorry, was produced in 2016 by Friends of the Guerneville Library’s Readers Theater.
An avid fan of story performance, I also enjoy freeing stories from the printed (or digital) page. In all of my work, I strive to illuminate truths that are often hidden and inspire others to do the same. Maybe I could inspire you, and vice versa. To learn more about my work, receive exclusive previews of new stories, and get updates on events and other news, please sign up for my newsletter. I’ll send you Have You Noticed?, a ebook of short works created exclusively for subscribers as a thank-you gift.